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  #1  
Old 2012-11-18, 3:04pm
boroglasster boroglasster is offline
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Lightbulb Best beginner torch for soft/boro lampworking

I've been doing a lot of research on what torch to buy first, yet I still have not made any purchases. I've been working with a hothead propane only torch for about 6 months. I want to be able to do soft and hard glass beads, and eventually do hard glass sculpting. I like the Bethlehem Alpha, National 8m, or the mega minor burner. Cannot decide which one of the three to get, any ideas or suggestions are highly welcome. Even if it is not one of the 3, would love to hear peoples opinions

Thank you,
Boroglasster
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  #2  
Old 2012-11-18, 3:25pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boroglasster View Post
I've been doing a lot of research on what torch to buy first, yet I still have not made any purchases. I've been working with a hothead propane only torch for about 6 months. I want to be able to do soft and hard glass beads, and eventually do hard glass sculpting. I like the Bethlehem Alpha, National 8m, or the mega minor burner. Cannot decide which one of the three to get, any ideas or suggestions are highly welcome. Even if it is not one of the 3, would love to hear peoples opinions

Thank you,
Boroglasster
I don't know the difference between the torches you mentioned...just wanted to say I am using a Nortel Minor and it works great! I'm a newbie so others can give you better comparison info.,,, just wanted to say that it is easy to use.
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  #3  
Old 2012-11-18, 5:09pm
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If you are looking for a torch that is conservative in oxygen then consider the GTT Cricket. It works well on one 5 LPM concentrator.

The Cricket will do boro beads in the range of 18 to 22 mm. And if more heat is required it is an easy upgrade to a Scorpion as the Cricket is the center fire.

There are other torches in the same price range. However, some others require more oxygen for maximum performance.
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  #4  
Old 2012-11-18, 5:52pm
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houptdavid houptdavid is offline
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The Cricket is more pinpoint than a Minor, the mini cc even bushier.
What is your oxy source going to be?
A Minor will work on one 5 lpm but rocks with 2 and even better with a 10lpm. The newer torches don't really lose much in value, so it's not like you are stuck with it if you want to sell it.
If you really want to do Boro I'd go with at least a small 4 stud torch, Hellcat, Scorpion, Bravo, of course it's going to cost you 310% more, but you won't be wanting to upgrade right away (YEAH that's BS kinda like threefootitis in boats!)
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  #5  
Old 2012-11-18, 6:02pm
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i agree with David

i've been doing boro on a minor with a 10lpm oxycon and while its doable, it gets frustrating pretty quickly and i've given up for the time being

if you have the money go for a Bravo
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  #6  
Old 2012-11-18, 7:28pm
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First you need to decide what kind of oxygen source you will use, then decide on the torch. IMO if u r going with oxycons the budget torch would b the cricket if you have the funds go for the scorpion (the cricket is the inner fire) if you are going with tanks for soft and boro beads and small sculpture you can't go wrong with a lynx or a bravo, if you want to do any tubing I would go with the bravo.
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  #7  
Old 2012-11-19, 3:52pm
Lampwork49 Lampwork49 is offline
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Go with the GTT Lynx. You can do soft glass and boro. If you stay with beads and marbles no bigger than 1 1/4-1 1/2" you'll never need another torch. It is awesome!!
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  #8  
Old 2012-11-19, 4:08pm
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I'm on a Bravo with 2 Regalia 10L concentrators. Been playing at torch 10 yrs.....just did the upgrade to Bravo so can do some boro as the mood strikes me....have been on Minor and Mini CC since the beginning.....new system rocks!
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  #9  
Old 2012-11-20, 8:34am
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I would definitely recommend a cricket for a beginner - I switched from a hot head to the cricket and never looked back. It's a great torch, and melts boro. 'Course if money was no option, I'd go with the Scorpian
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  #10  
Old 2012-11-20, 9:01am
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Default alpha

The alpha is the center fire for the Bethlehem Bravo. I work almost entirely in soft right now and work only with the center fire 95% of the time. It will melt 12mm soft quite handily and can vary from super pinpoint to a bushy warm flame with ease. This is an excellent torch and puts out a lot of heat and is designed for low pressure oxygen supply (keep in mind the volume demands are different from pressure when speccing a concentrator - you can look up the specs on bethlehem's page) If I recall the specs are for fully open inner flame/outer flame which you would almost never be running on soft glass (so its probably ok to try something other than an ex-15 for an alpha etc)

I can't speak to it's ability to work boro but I think the consensus from others is that it will work great for smaller pieces, pendants and so forth, but you will probably want (not necessarily need) a larger torch (bravo, etc) for >1 inch marbles, scultures, etc.

About the only time I open up the outer fire on the bravo on soft glass is when I'm quickly making large (1-2inch) gathers for large stringer or twistie pulls.
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  #11  
Old 2012-11-20, 10:47am
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I really like my minor, but I don't work in boro at all. I work with a 5lpm concentrator and am able to make big beads with no difficulty. It was reasonably priced, so when I broke my old one (stupid user trick, not bad torch) and got pissed off and threw it out the window in a fit of rage, it wasn't all that expensive to replace :/
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  #12  
Old 2012-11-20, 2:11pm
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if you mostly make small/narrow round-ish beads then i'd recommend a minor or cricket as they both have a narrow but intense flame. If you prefer bigger/thicker or sculptural work then go for a Mega Minor or a Mini CC - both have a wider flame and are a bit less intense (but still very hot!). They're all good torches and all do small boro when fully powered.

The oxycon you choose will make the difference in how hot/large you can work - 5lpm all the above torches will be fine but not working at full capacity, 8-10lpm, all will work at full capacity. With tanked oxy you can work with any torch at full capacity.

In any case, moving from a Hothead to any of them will be huge transition by comparison and it will take time to adjust to the increased amount of heat (i was frustrated/in tears for a good part of that, lol). That alone should give you lots of time to decide if they're big enough or if you need to go any bigger to suit your needs. I went from a HH (2yrs), to Mega Minor (4yrs) to most recently a Lucio and i still own my first two torches.

Hope this helps, happy shopping!
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  #13  
Old 2012-11-20, 2:13pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelanieG View Post
I really like my minor, but I don't work in boro at all. I work with a 5lpm concentrator and am able to make big beads with no difficulty. It was reasonably priced, so when I broke my old one (stupid user trick, not bad torch) and got pissed off and threw it out the window in a fit of rage, it wasn't all that expensive to replace :/
LMAO! you actually threw yr torch out of the window???
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  #14  
Old 2012-11-20, 2:49pm
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Dragonharper Dragonharper is offline
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Here is a video using the Bethlehem Betta, the forerunner to the Alpha. Plenty of power to work 10mm solid Boro.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIi6gc249b4

According to the Bethlehem website the Alpha is capable of working 16mm boro rod and 19mm boro tubing. At wide open it uses about 12 LPM of oxygen.

http://www.bethlehemburners.com/torches/alpha
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  #15  
Old 2012-11-20, 3:42pm
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Quote:
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LMAO! you actually threw yr torch out of the window???
Yes, well, it went sort of like this.

I got glass stuck in the torch head (clumsy hormonal day) and I couldn't get it out myself because I didn't have the little wire tool that came with my torch. So... I went to the studio about 45 minutes away, and they helped me get it out. I got the torch home, hooked it up and then promptly did it again. I panicked, them got it out pretty quickly without much fussing around, then sat down to make murrini and clumsily touched my gather to the torch face AGAIN infecting multiple holes.

I couldn't face the drive to go back to the studio, so I tried to get it out myself, and I got a piece of metal stuck in the torch head that I couldn't pry out. I had a temper tantrum, unbolted the torch from my table, opened the window and chucked it outside. This did some irreversible damage all over the place and it was clear that I'd just done something really stupid that was going to cost me some money.

So, the next day I went and bought a new one, making sure I came home with the fancy little wire tool.

I miss my old torch - the new one isn't quite the same, even though it's also a Minor. However, it does the job and I love it, too.
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  #16  
Old 2012-11-20, 6:51pm
boroglasster boroglasster is offline
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Wow didn't think i would get so many responses so quickly. Thank you all for you input, I am going to be using tanked oxygen for now till i can afford a concentrater. I know tanked is expensive, but I was able to buy a nice size tank already filled from my boss. (reg included), now I just need to buy a torch and hoses, as the ones she gave me with the tank are dry rotted. I think I am going to research the cricket a bit before I decide, I really like the Alpha though. I have read on several sites that the alpha is the center for the bravo as smpalmer85 mentioned. So for what i want it looks like the right choice. Once I make a purchase I will post it here

One other ?, where is the best place to buy an oxy concentrator? One that would run the alpha or cricket for thicker glass beads/small sculptures
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  #17  
Old 2012-11-20, 7:32pm
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I have a minor and a national, love the minor and can't stand the national (have to admit that I probably didn't give it a fair shake)... I can do boro beads with tanked O2, concentrator for soft glass. I've used a lynx and a scorpion, IMO, go with the minor, it's fairly inexpensive, easy to use, consistant, and you can always sell it if you decide to upgrade.

Kirsti
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  #18  
Old 2012-11-23, 4:32am
BeadedChic BeadedChic is offline
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I am a huge fan of my Mini-CC. A real work horse and not fussy at all. I had originally wanted a GTT Bobcat, but the wait at that point was upwards of 4 months. I got a second one for doing on site demos, and found that even switching from tank to oxycon wasn't difficult at all.
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  #19  
Old 2012-11-24, 3:12pm
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The Mini CC is awesome for beginners because its flame is so gentle. Uneven rotation doesn't cause uneven heating as badly, and raised dots aren't so easily boiled. It's not just awesome for beginners, either - I use mine more than my Minor, Cricket, or Phantom, these days.

However, with the flame being so gentle and all, I'm not sure how well it works for boro.

Last edited by dusty; 2012-11-26 at 9:15pm.
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  #20  
Old 2012-11-26, 11:27pm
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forget the cricket and go straight for the scorpion, you can use the centre fire until you get another oxycon then you have the full power.
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  #21  
Old 2012-11-27, 2:45am
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Selection would depend on the users budget. Cricket about $170 --- Scorpion about $780.

The Cricket will work with one 5 LPM machine. With two it really comes to life.
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