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Old 02-20-2012, 11:09 AM   #1
DocTim
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Hello to the group. I would like to share an occurrence that happened to me. I consider myself very safe and cautious when it comes to welding. I keep the workplace clean, clear the area where I’m welding, have a fire extinguisher and water hose available I even think of an escape route out of the garage if things get out of control. After a day of welding I come back and check the garage an hour later to be sure nothing is smoldering.

The sparks off the four inch grinder also gets a lot of respect.
What had happened was as follows. I was welding a fitting with the Oxygen Acetylene torch, completed the weld and promptly turned the torch off. The tanks were still open for I was going to weld some more.
The fitting required some shaping so I started using the 4 inch grinder being aware the direction that the sparks were going. With that done I walked across garage to the workbench passing the welding tanks oblivious of what had happened
Finished with the wire brushing on the motor lathe I was returning to the welding station when I heard a faint noise similar to the sound of a wooden log in the fireplace letting out gas or steam as it heats up.
Looking at the Acetylene tank there was a candle like 1 inch flame flickering off the top of the shut off valve which must have been ignited by the sparks generated by the grinder. Needless to say I quicklyblew it out like a birthday candle and shut the tanks off. Closer examination found the valve cap fitting slightly loose.
I went over the rest of the fittings with soap bubble solution and found them tight and will“preflight” my welding unit more frequently.



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Old 02-20-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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Scary isn't it? The same thing can happen if you have a regulator diaphragm failure. The regulators have a hole in the housing on the side of the regulator opposite the gas being regulated and when this diaphragm fails the gas is vented to atmosphere.
Now just imagine you had gone in the house for a sandwich and left the tanks on...BOOM!
I actually experienced a dentist's office explosion first hand about 30 years ago. The office was about one quarter mile from my house and when it went up it shook the walls at my place.
Turns out they had an oxy weld rig in the office for soldering partials. Someone left it on, or leaking and when the mixture was just right something in the office set it off.



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Old 02-21-2012, 02:19 AM   #3
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Didn’t know that about the diaphragms in the regulators, makes sense that they would wear. Any idea how frequent the regulators should be serviced? Mine are at least8 years old.

I used to shut down after welding by closing the main valves, bleed the lines and then back off the regulator valve to take the pressure off the diaphragm. I now just close the main valve and bleed the lines leaving the regulators set at the pressures I use. Which way is better?
It’s interesting you mentioned a dental office; I have a dental practice myself and have Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide tanks. Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide alone are not explosive but they will support combustion very well.

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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The life of the regulators depends on the make and type.
The one that failed on me was a Victor, about 20 years old and a rubber diaphragm type. Very exciting! of course it was the acetylene that failed.
I heard a POP! from behind me while I was deep in concentration on a weld with the tunnel vision that accompanies the wearing of those little goggles, and when I looked there was an orange plume about a foot long projecting from the regulator.
A good time to put away the torch and go have a cocktail!

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:04 PM   #5
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It's a good practice to back off the regulators after shutdown for the sake of the diaphragms and the springs.



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