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How to Set-up a Torch for Glass Blowing

In this video we're going to discuss how to set up a two-inlet torch for glassblowing. Setting up your first torch can be a little frightening and lighting the flame can be awfully exciting.

Today we'll go through how easy it is to set up and light up.

You're going to need five pieces of equipment shown here:

You'll also need two adjustable wrenches and a spray bottle with soapy water for a safety test.

Today we're using the two-inlet Bethlehem Alpha torch, it's a surface mix and extremely durable reliable and well-priced introduction torch. You can see the oxygen and the propane knobs along with the two inlets has a nice adjustable base where you can adjust the pitch and angle of it. It's a full versatility torch.

Here we have a propane regulator with a CGA 510 male fitting, along with the low-pressure gauge and the high-pressure gauge. Then the knob in the middle is the pressure adjuster valve. Sometimes it's shaped like a T instead of a knob. Then next we have the male fitting for B fittings, which the T-Grade hosing will attach to. The oxygen regulator is basically the exact same thing except it has a GGA 540 female fitting but also has the same high-pressure and low-pressure gauges, along with a knob to adjust the pressure and the same with the B fitting to attach the T-grade hosing. Then we have the flashback arrestors for safety, the green is for oxygen and the red is for propane. The T-Grade hosing has the same red and green sides to it. There are B fittings on both ends to connect to the flashback arrestors and the regulators.

Starting with our torch you'll see it has again the same green and the red. We're going to hook the corresponding T-Grade hose up to each of those starting with the oxygen. Then we will just hand tighten it on a little bit. We will use the adjustable wrench to firmly tighten it down. Once we have the oxygen nice and hand tightened, we'll go ahead and attach the propane.

The thing about the propane is you'll see on the actual nut itself a little notch at each corner. What that means is that it is threaded the opposite way. So instead of righty tighty lefty loosey, it's actually opposite so you'll have to tighten it by going to the left.

Now that we have both hand tightened, we'll go ahead and get our adjustable wrench to firmly tighten them down to the torch. Next we're going to take the other end of the T-Grade hosing and do the same thing; hand tighten them down to the flashback arrestors again making sure to correspond the colors and making sure not to switch them. You don't want to cross thread anything by putting a propane into an oxygen fitting. Keep in mind again that the propane has those notches on it, and you'll be needing to tighten it to the left now.

This is where we will need a second adjustable wrench. We're going to use one adjustable wrench to hold the T-Grade hosing and then another adjustable wrench to hold the flashback arrestor. Then you are going to be pushing them in the opposite direction. You are going to make sure you get a nice and secure, safe fit on there. We'll go ahead and check these later on with that soapy spray bottle water.

Now we're going to attach the regulator to the flashback. We'll go ahead and just hand tighten it and then again, use the two adjustable wrenches. One holding the flashback arrestor and the other holding the regulator to make sure it's a nice, firm, secure fit.

All right, now we're going to connect the regulator to the tank. We'll start with the propane just hand tightening it and making sure to give the regulator a little bit of support. Do this when you're wrenching it in initially, just so you don't have any cross threading. Once you have hand tightened as far as you can. you'll want to get the wrench, you can use just one this time, to get a nice full tightened seal on there.

Sometimes it requires a little bit of extra elbow grease to make sure it's secure. Then we'll move on to the oxygen regulator and get that nice and tightened up.

Now that the regulators are all connected, we're going to make sure to decrease the pressure adjustment before turning the tank on. Once it's Decreased, we can turn the tank on and we'll see the high-pressure gauge get pressure. Then we're going to slowly adjust the pressure adjustment to get the desired pressure on the low-pressure gauge.

We'll do the same thing with the oxygen; we'll make sure that the pressure adjuster is completely decreased. Then turn the tank on. Once the tank is turned on the high-pressure gauge will start to show pressure and at that point we can start to use the pressure adjustment to get our desired pressure on the low-pressure gauge.

Again, same as with the propane, now we're going to make sure that we take care of the scariest part, the safety.

The best way to do this is to use a spray bottle with soapy water and test every one of your connections to see if there are any leaks. That soapy water will start to bubble up and you'll see gases coming out after there's pressure from the turned-on tanks.

None of our connections had any bubbles coming up from that soapy water because we made sure to make nice, tight connections and not have any cross threading through the whole process. So now that we can rest easy and know that we have an airtight system, we can go ahead and get that torch lit up!

Make sure to secure your torch to the table. We used a C clamp here, but most torch bases have a hole or two that you can screw it in to the table. First, we're going to turn the propane on softly and use a sparker to get a flame going. From there, we introduce a little bit more oxygen nice and slow then we can adjust the propane and the oxygen knobs to get our desired flame.