When we set up our flame room in our new location, we put a lot of thought into how we would get gas and oxygen to the burners. We ended up with piped-in gas and oxygen concentrators and think it is a great system.
We started with hot head torches and MAPP gas.
Hot Head Torch
MAPP Gas Canister Holder and Clamp
This was a great beginner setup and we had a great time with it.
We then took a big step and became Bethlehem dealers! Below are the Alpha and Bravo glassworking torch models.
Bethlehem Burner Alpha Glassworking Torch
Bethlehem Burner Bravo Glassworking Torch
With this system, we used 3-gallon propane tanks and some used medical oxygen generators. An issue we encountered with this system was having to make frequent runs to get more propane — and, of course, the propane would run out at the worst times. Another issue we encountered was that the used medical generators did not last. People tend to give up on these generators when they have a lot of hours on them.
When we moved, we looked at oxygen tanks. That solution sounded like a nightmare to me — the tanks must be allowed to bleed, so you are losing oxygen all the time. It is a time-consuming process to get the tanks refilled, and just having oxygen under pressure seemed to be a scary concept.
We went the concentrator route and have not regretted it. These rebuilt machines are like new and have enough power to run the Bravos — and that is a lot!
We sell oxygen generators but only for store pickup as they are difficult to ship.
A concentrator works by taking air from the room and compresses it. It then delivers air to where you direct it — in our case, to a bench burner. In a five-step process, the concentrator:
- takes air from the room
- compresses the oxygen
- takes out the nitrogen
- adjusts the way the air is delivered and
- delivers it.
The concentrator takes oxygen out of the room, so you must allow air to get back in by means of some sort of ventilation. We have our vented out through the ceiling and also have a door on each end as well as a vent toward the floor into the next room so there are plenty of ways to get air in.
I posed the question on the Facebook group Lampwork Tips, Techniques, & Questions. One person said the removal of the oxygen from the room is about as problematic as all the people in the room using up oxygen by breathing!