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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2007-12-04, 5:33pm
jgraff jgraff is offline
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Default First time buyer of oxygen tanks

I haven't seen this issue dealt with in depth and I thought I'd bring it up. I recently acquired a duel gas torch and I started out on my quest to find oxygen for the torch.

I had heard that you can get oxygen from medical supply companies and welding supplies. The first places I started calling were the local full service pharmacies, the one's that I knew supplied wheel chairs and hospital beds and such. They referred me to a medical oxygen supply place who told me that I needed a prescription to get medical oxygen. After contacting a few other medical supply places I concluded that medical wasn't the place for me.

I went to OSH and other hardware stores and other than the small tanks that are sold with oxy/acetyline setups they didn't carry any oxygen.

I then started calling welding supply places. None of them sold oxygen, everything else for welding but not gasses.

Then I did a yahoo yellow pages search for oxygen which only pulled up medical supply places.

Next I tried "gas" under yahoo. I found several places that supplied various gasses. Some to medical and some to the semiconductor industry (big here) and some for other scientific research.

When I called the semiconductor and scientific research places they told me that they sold 99% pure oxygen (I think medical is 98% pure), it was far more expensive than I probably wanted to pay and that what I was looking for was industrial grade oxygen.

The search that finally worked for me was
yahoo, yellow pages, Business to Business > Manufacturing and Industrial Supplies > Chemicals and Allied Products > Gases and the phone book yellow pages under

Gas - Industrial & Medical, Cylinder & Bulk

When I started calling the hits on the yahoo and phone book I found people who were perfectly willing to supply me with tanked oxygen. Of the two places I found one would deliver to my house and to my backyard! The other I had to pick up on site but they were nearby.

After finding a place that would sell me the oxygen I had two other things to think about.

How big of a tank do you want?
I have no idea where there is a chart for oxygen tanks. When I search for this information they talk about D-size tanks and E-size tanks. The oxygen places don't talk about the tanks in these sizes. I told them I wanted a tank about four feet tall (small enough for me to move around). The first place said that meant an "80" the second place said I needed a "125", 125 being the larger of the two tanks.

Rent or own?
When I first started this quest I thought, like my propane tank, I should buy the tank and keep refilling it. The one quote I got for this was to buy the "80" was $195 with $38 refills. When trying to get a quote from the second place they mentioned renting the tank. This is when I found nirvana. Both places said they'd rent me the tank for around $10 a month and refills were around $35. The place that would deliver to my house said the refill was actually a tank swapout.

The final hurdle that I have to jump is to get a credit application approved by the oxygen supply place. To rent the tank I have to have an account with them. The credit application wants my bank account number and social security number, but curiously not my credit card number. They claim this credit check for $10 a month will take five days (my gym membership for considerably more money was instant).

At this point I am about a week away from using my new torch but the end is in site (assuming I ordered the right hoses, regulators, clamps and flashback arrestors).

I can't wait to melt bigger glass!

jgraff

Last edited by jgraff; 2007-12-04 at 11:07pm. Reason: spelling mistakes
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  #2  
Old 2007-12-04, 6:02pm
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earlbacher earlbacher is offline
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wow, that was alot to go through to get oxygen...

the place i go, i have a lease for a tank... thinks a 251... cost me $220 for the lease, but its for ten years... and refills are just under $19 each time i trade out... i go get mine, havent talked to em about delivery..
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  #3  
Old 2007-12-04, 6:50pm
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Sounds like you asked all the wrong questions first.....

Quote:
I then started calling welding supply places. None of them sold oxygen, everything else for welding but not gasses.
This was kind of a tipoff...

Since you metioned OSH I assume you are in Northern Calif... All the welding suppliers in our area are also "gas" suppliers..

Dale
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  #4  
Old 2007-12-04, 7:46pm
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You must have talked to the wrong welding supply places. Any welding supply worth their weight in anything carries oxygen. It's needed for so many applications.

Don't go to a medical supply place. The bottles are too small, the price is too high, and I have heard that some medical oxygen has water added (pure oxygen will dry our your lungs).

As for which size bottle to get, get the largest you can lift. A full 125 (or whatever the designation) is a large-ish, heavy bottle. The next size larger is about the same height, much larger in diameter, and twice the weight. How much can you lift? The cost to fill a tank twice the size is not twice the cost. If your budget allows, you might want to consider having two tanks. It sucks to run out of oxygen on a Friday night, when you have a lot of work to do on the torch, and the gas place doesn't open again until Monday.

You will go through much more oxygen that you thought you would. On my little Minor Burner, I'll go through either 3 or 5 (I can't remember which) 125's of oxygen for a single 20# BBQ size propane tank.

Buy or rent? Run the numbers, and see what works for you. Even though you 'own' a tank, most people don't have *that* tank refilled .... they exchange it. So, it's mostly a matter of cost. And do shop around ... prices for oxygen do vary.

Delivery is good! Delivery is very good! There probably is a delivery charge. You'll have to determine if the convenience is worth the extra cost.

Good luck! And, you can always call me down here in San Jose (you're in the East Bay, right?) if you have any questions.

Malcolm
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  #5  
Old 2007-12-04, 8:12pm
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My story was pretty much the same as yours.

I ended up buying mine and I'm considering buying a second. I didn't do the credit bit because I bought my tank but the process seemed the same.

Ask them for a better price. They will probably knock it down to about $32

Yeah it is about 5 tanks of oxy to 1 tank of propane on a minor
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  #6  
Old 2007-12-04, 8:31pm
Tannise Tannise is offline
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I'm in the East Bay as well. I get my oxy from a welding supply in Dublin. I think I originally paid $100 to purchase the tank - it's a 125. I pay $20 per exchange. The guys at the shop are really terrific. They get the tank from the trunk for me and put the new one in. I did ask about delivery so I could get a larger tank and was told that if they are caught by police or fire delivering industrial oxy to a residential neighborhood - there are large fines. Don't know if they were just trying to get out of delivering to a small account, but even when I asked about a delivery fee, still got the same answer.

When I first started lampworking, I really blew through the oxy until I learned to fine tune my flame, now my oxy lasts me much longer than before. I find that I have much better heat control now and don't usually need a big flame hissing oxy all the time.
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  #7  
Old 2007-12-04, 11:24pm
jgraff jgraff is offline
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Thanks so much for all the feedback. I find I have this problem whenever I start on a new hobby. I start off with my big "Wha?" questions until I find out what questions to ask. The whole time I'm asking questions no one can figure out why I'm asking them because what I need to know is common knowledge. I'll get there eventually. I'll have a flat spot from banging my head against the wall but I'll get there.

I don't know what was up with the welding supply places. I called three and none of them had oxygen. It wasn't that they couldn't sell it versus renting it, they didn't have it at all.

Can anyone point me to a list of common tank sizes? I'm looking for a chart that says an 80 is four feet tall and weighs 40 pounds, a 125 is four feet tall and weighs 80 pounds. That sort of thing.

I started on a hot head with a BBQ propane tank. My "new" torch is a Bobcat. Am I going to need a larger propane tank or is a 125 oxygen tank and a BBQ propane tank about proportional?

Delivery is going to cost about $35.

Oh yeah. Harbor Freight said they sold Oxygen Generators but they were really Oxygen Compressors (impressively large one's too!). I've seen Oxygen Generator and Oxygen Concentrator used in connection with the torches and I know the Oxygen Compressors are used for pneumatic tools. I assume they are worthless for torches?
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  #8  
Old 2007-12-05, 9:08am
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A 125 will go pretty fast even with Bobcat.... 20lb propane will last about 6-10 oxygen tank "fills" (a 125)...

This site, Worthington Cylinders will give tank sizes by manufacturing specification...

http://www.worthingtoncylinders.com/hp_plate_spec.html
http://www.worthingtoncylinders.com/hp_billet_spec.html

This site will give you "common tank slang" descriptions most gas suppliers use in describing tanks in the market place...

http://www.airgas.com/content/produc...x?chart_type=6

HF sells AIR COMPRESSORS... Not OXYGEN compressors.... Most HF personal don't have a clue to what anything in their store is for... They just say YES to all questions to get you into store...

Dale
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Last edited by Dale M.; 2007-12-05 at 9:17am.
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  #9  
Old 2007-12-05, 9:23am
jgraff jgraff is offline
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Dale,

Thank you for the link. That's exactly what I was looking for.

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  #10  
Old 2007-12-05, 1:20pm
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I bought my tanks from Maddco in Mountain View got them refilled there. Since they don't deliver to residential address, I bought the 40 cf tanks for ease of transport using my Honda.

I have 3 40 cf tanks but don't use them any more because I am now on concentrators. Maddco told me they will buy them back but I have not got around to it yet. Let me know if you are interested in buying one at a great price. They were about $150 new.
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  #11  
Old 2007-12-05, 1:36pm
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I'm so glad I don't live in the bay area, your prices are way higher than mine!

I rented one for a year, for about $4 a month. Refills were $13 on a 125.

Teague
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  #12  
Old 2007-12-05, 2:42pm
SteveWright SteveWright is offline
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The Bobcat should burn about 8-9 cubic feet of oxygen an hour. You will only get about 14-15 hours of torch time with the 125 tank. That is over $5 per hour for oxygen. That will get old very fast.

There are reputable concentrator dealers that hang out here. The part on a concentrator that goes belly up are the sieve beds. You will want to know how many hours since the sieve beds were refurbished. The more humid the atmosphere where the concentrator lived, the shorter the sieve bed life. Bonus: you won't need a regulator with a concentrator. Since your torch is a surface mix, you won't need the flashback arrestors.

Steve

(My refills for a 251 are $12. )
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Old 2007-12-05, 2:51pm
jgraff jgraff is offline
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I did look into a concentrator because I don't really want a large "bomb" in my backyard where my kids hang out. It looked to me like a M-5 would be ok but I'd eventually want to upgrade it. Then I didn't know if I'd need a dedicated circuit. Ideally I'd like to run the concentrator off the circuit the kiln is plugged in to which doesn't have any other large things on it (just some ceiling lights). I don't run the kiln that often (maybe once a week for a big batch anneal). I found three or four mail order places where I could get one for around $350 but then I read more and realized there might be noise issues and there were sequencing issues (which I'm sure I'd get used to). I didn't find any local suppliers of the concentrators on my phoning marathon (I'd love if you'd PM them to me!).

Since this is my first time on a dual gas torch I thought I'd go simple with a small tank, make sure everything worked and the whole setup was stable. For $10 a month I didn't think I was making that big of investment.
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Old 2007-12-05, 3:05pm
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Make sure that you ask if they have a glass blower's discount. That cut the price of my refills nearly in half. Also shop around. I get my 250 refilled for under $13 at General Air because the AirGas shop is right next door. At the General Air shop 20 miles from here, the rate for the same tank with the glass blowers discount is $21 because there's no nearby competition.

Chris
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Last edited by ChrisM; 2007-12-06 at 5:03am. Reason: wrong tank size
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  #15  
Old 2007-12-05, 6:53pm
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I bought a 282 cubic foot tank for 75 bucks on craigslist. the trouble was it had a neckband and that meant the guy didnt own it to sell. Lucky for me the manager understood I didnt know what was happening. Also the company on the neck band was no longer in business so he swaps my tak out with his for 28 bucks 32 with all the taxes and fees. I had to sign a paper saying I bought the tank used now unfortinatley I cant sell my tank ever however I am okay with that


check around on oxy prices I pay less then you for a bottle twice as big they will negotiate with you and most of the time if you have an account its cheaper as well
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Old 2007-12-05, 6:54pm
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I wish they had a glassblowers discount where I lived *sigh* Still I negotiated it down enough to make me happy
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Old 2007-12-05, 7:38pm
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I am paying $16 a fill for each of the four 300cf tanks I have. They cost me $40 a year each to lease. This way, I don't have to worry about running out and not being able to get them refilled. I usually swap them out when I have two empties.


If you are on a Bobcat and don't plan on needing a larger torch for a while, I would go with a concentrator. Especially with those kinds of oxygen prices. The refurbished medical ones are not bad. They aren't too loud, they sort of hum. They also don't really need too much power, but I wouldn't run them on the same circuit as your kiln. Remember they are made to run in houses with patients 24 hours a day, so are designed to be relatively quiet and easy to use. It is when you get into the generators that it is more of a problem.
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Old 2007-12-06, 2:37am
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I do exactly the same as you Paul. It costs me $12 for a delivery and it doesn't matter if the guy is delivering 1 tank or 50 tanks so I get four at a time. I started off renting what they locally (and I think nationally) refer to as a K tank. It's the 280+ CF tank. The cost to fill that tank was $12 for me, but then I discovered that I could fill a tank that they call a T tank (340+ CF) for 2 bucks more and the tank rental was the same. You really do need to run the numbers on this. I'm precisely at the point where it is nearly more efficient for me to switch over to running liquid oxygen. If you are paying out more than $200 a month in oxygen, it's probably cheaper to run Liquid. While liquid sounds like it only belongs at NASA, it's safe and very cost effective. It is amazing how difficult it is for people to get these kinds of basic supply needs met. Good luck
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Old 2008-01-01, 5:33pm
jgraff jgraff is offline
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Thanks for all your help everone. I bought a Devilbliss to go with my Bobcat and it's all set up and melting glass happily. And I don't have to worry about tanks. The oxygen place never called back except to warn me that I couldn't have Helium (???) so I have no idea if I have an account with them or not.
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Old 2008-01-01, 7:01pm
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I used to use 337 tanks (the biggest ones) I still went through 4-5 a week on my cheetah. I paid 15$ a fill for them but had to drive an hour. Now I use liquid at 100$ a fill 45$ for rental a month.
Still have to pick it up. They will want a deposit or a credit line.
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Old 2008-01-01, 7:34pm
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Default Oxy Tank

In October I ran into the same problem. I went to AirGas Inc and got a 125 tank for $32.00 with a $13.00 month rental on the tank. I found that the 125 only lasted about 3-4 days so I talked to them and got a 250. What this means is you 2500 PSI in the tank. It weighs about 130 lbs empty and 130.05 full. I have to pick mine up and it lasts almost a month. Also if you set your torch to a more natural flame it will last longer. The 250 tank runs about $52.00 with the rental at $15 or 16.00. So over the long run the 250 is a better deal. Hope this helps.
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Old 2017-04-20, 12:54pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowesky View Post
I used to use 337 tanks (the biggest ones) I still went through 4-5 a week on my cheetah. I paid 15$ a fill for them but had to drive an hour. Now I use liquid at 100$ a fill 45$ for rental a month.
Still have to pick it up. They will want a deposit or a credit line.
Are the 337 still the largest available or have things changed?
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