The torch tip delivers and controls the final flow of gases. It is important that you use the correct tip with the proper gas pressures for the work to be welded satisfactorily. The size of the tip opening—not the temperature—determines the amount of heat applied to the work. If an excessively small tip is used, the heat provided is insufficient to produce penetration to the proper depth. If the tip is too large, the heat is too great, and holes are burned in the metal.
Torch tip sizes are designated by numbers. The manufacturer can provide a chart with recommended sizes for welding specific thicknesses of metal. With use, a torch tip becomes clogged with carbon deposits. If it is allowed to contact the molten pool, particles of slag may clog the tip. This may cause a backfire, which is a momentary backward flow of the gases at the torch tip. A backfire is rarely dangerous, but molten metal may be splattered when the flame pops. Tips should be cleaned with the proper size tip cleaner to avoid enlarging the tip opening.
Protective eyewear for use with oxy-fuel welding outfits is available in several styles and must be worn to protect the welder’s eyes from the bright flame and flying sparks. This eyewear is not for use with arc welding equipment.
Some of the styles available have individual lenses and include goggles that employ a head piece and/or an elastic head strap to keep them snug around the eyes for protection from the occasional showering spark. [Figure 5-18] Another popular style is the rectangular eye shield that takes a standard 2-inch by 4.25-inch lens. This style is available with an elastic strap but is far more comfortable and better fitting when attached to a proper fitting adjustable headgear. It can be worn over prescription glasses, provides protection from flying sparks, and accepts a variety of standard shade and color lenses. A clear safety glass lens is added in front of the shaded lens to protect it from damage. [Figure 5-19]
It was standard practice in the past to select a lens shade for gas welding based on the brightness of flame emitting from the torch. The darkest shade of lens showing a clear definition of the work was normally the most desirable. However, when flux was used for brazing and welding, the torch heat caused the sodium in the flux to give off a brilliant yellow-orange flare, hiding a clear view of the weld area and causing many eye problems.
Various types of lens and colors were tried for periods of time without much success. It was not until the late 1980s that TM Technologies developed and patented a new green glass designed especially for aluminum oxy-fuel welding. It not only eliminated the sodium orange flare completely, but also provided the necessary protection from ultraviolet, infrared, and blue light, and impact to meet the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87-1989 Safety Standards for a special purpose lens. This lens can be used for welding and brazing all metals using an oxy-fuel torch.
Torch lighters are called friction lighters or flint strikers. The lighter consists of a file-shaped piece of steel, usually recessed in a cuplike device, and a replaceable flint, which, when drawn across the steel, produces a shower of sparks to light the fuel gas. An open flame or match should never be used to light a torch because accumulated gas may envelop the hand and, when ignited, cause a severe burn. [Figure 5-20]
The use of the proper type of filler rod is very important for oxy-acetylene welding. This material adds not only reinforcement to the weld area, but also desired properties to the finished weld. By selecting the proper rod, tensile strength or ductility can be secured in a weld. Similarly, the proper rod can help retain the desired amount of corrosion resistance. In some cases, a suitable rod with a lower melting point helps to avoid cracks caused by expansion and contraction.
Welding rods may be classified as ferrous or nonferrous. Ferrous rods include carbon and alloy steel rods, as well as cast-iron rods. Nonferrous rods include brass, aluminum, magnesium, copper, silver, and their various alloys.
Welding rods are manufactured in standard 36-inch lengths and in diameters from 1⁄16-inch to 3⁄8-inch. The diameter of the rod to be used is governed by the thickness of the metals to be joined. If the rod is too small, it cannot conduct heat away from the puddle rapidly enough, and a burned hole results. A rod too large in diameter draws heat away and chills the puddle, resulting in poor penetration of the joined metal. All filler rods should be cleaned prior to use.