full time metal fabricator/artist

More about oxy acetylene cutting

The three primary ways to cut steel is mechanical (saws and blades) forced air plasma and oxy acetylene.

It takes a really steady hand to cut steel when using hand tools. The slightest waver amplifies when you’re trying to draw an extremely straight line, very slowly, with molten steel spattering all over the place.

Pro’s of using an Oxy torch:

  • It’s reliable, all you have is brass fittings and valves.
  • No electronics, no PhD users manual to figure out.
  • It’s quiet, mechanical cutting is either slow and laborious or quick and deafeningly loud, plasma cutting gives off a loud hiss that gets obnoxious after a while as well.
  • It’s cutting the distance (pun intended). It’s common to have a 50′ – 100′ hose length on an oxy cutting setup. All you have to do is move the lightweight torch head and rubber hoses and your cutting steel anywhere.
  • Fumes are much less dangerous than Plasma cutters.
  • Can cut up to 12″ think steel plate. You can cut up to 25′ thick steel with a gasoline torch setup. That’s not a typo, twenty five feet thick steel can by cut with setups like this.
  • It’s safer than mechanical cutting which stores up allot of kinetic energy and this increases chances for injury.

Here’s a pair of sneakers I still rock when i’m doing metalwork. I almost hacked my toes off helping Richard Cawley (no fault of his) after a mechanical cutting wheel  jumped out of my hand and somersaulted twice then landed directly on top of my foot with the wheel still spinning, fast. I was wearing flip flops right before this, it was mid summer 2013. Using cutting wheels on heights can be hellllllla sketchy. *Shoe laces were sheared in half. These are new laces.

freedom kicks

Cons of using this setup:

  • It’s slow and hot. You have to have a rock solid hand to cut well.
  • It gives off carbon fumes. Not bad in the world of fabricating work. It’s still important to use respiration though.
  • Thin metal will warp quickly.

So this whole thing kicked off from me being really pleased with how well my torch cutting is coming along. The following is a piece of 5/8″ thick angle iron that’s going to be mounted to a cedar fence.

angle iron cut mild steel

Two light wacks of the hammer later that big piece of metal came off. I spent less than 15 seconds on each side lightly with the grinder. I then “finished the edges” by lightly taking the razor sharp metal edge off all the edges with a 45 degree bevel grind.

Here’s what it looked like less than a minute later.

angle iron cut post cleanup

There are spots in the middle where my cut deviated from the line too far and there’s a taper on my starting (left) side. I’ll always be hypercritical of my work. It’s what forces to to improve every day. I embrace this OCDelightful behavior. Then let it go when I see the beauty in the “flaws”.

I could spend two more minutes on this grinding and getting it completely square but I dig how it looks, After a quick rub down with some steel wool over the entire angle iron followed by a coat of sealant and this hand cut post will be ready for it’s install into the customs cedar fence it’s being made for. You’ll get to see this later on a much more sensational reveal. Excited to share the stuff coming out soon!

Here’s another little ditty about oxy fuel cutting worth sharing if you’re still reading ^^

Ciao for now.


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