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Home Page --> Tutorial Lesson 4, Oxygen and Fuel Gas Systems


Tutorial Lesson 4, Oxygen and Fuel Gas Systems
Lesson 3
(The Glassblower's Bench)
Lesson 5
(Burners and Torches)

Oxygen and Fuel Gas Systems

The gases necessary to fuel your burners and torches may be delivered by way of complex gas manifold systems or something as simple as a compressed gas cylinder, regulator and flexible hose assembly. All federal, state and local regulations must be adhered to whichever system is used. Prior to use all gas systems should be inspected for leaks and overall safe operating condition.

Both gas delivery systems will require the use of flexible tubing at the torch or burner. Burners are usually stationary on a bench top and may require only 2 -3 feet of tubing. The hand torch will be moved a great deal, however, and will require 8 - 12 feet of tubing on average. Tygon® works very well as a flexible tubing material. It may be purchased in "twin-tubing" form with a protective woven overbraid or sleeve (recommended).

Compressed Gases

Natural gas or propane will be the fuel gases used in working borosilicate glass. Delivery pressure of 5 psi is recommended. If your gas source is from a municipal (city gas) system, chances are you will be dealing with considerably less than 5 psi. You will still be able to work glass in the soft glass and borosilicate family, but will be limited to diameters of glass less than 51 mm, depending on the type of seal attempted.

Hydrogen is commonly used for working quartz or fused silica. Pressure ranges are adjusted to the type of seal and size of quartz being worked, but you will find 5 - 10 psi a good starting point.

Oxygen is always used as the mixing gas in scientific glassblowing. Oxygen pressures range from 10 - 15 psi for most applications. Compressed air is not capable of producing the flame temperatures necessary for working borosilicate and quartz glasses.

A typical gas delivery system would be:  Gas Source --> Regulator --> Delivery Line --> Torch or Burner. Safety and shutoff valves should be strategically placed in the distribution system. See Designing The Glassblowing Shop. It is recommended that all gas delivery lines come up from under the work bench. Gas lines that hang from above or lay on top of the work surface will be exposed to flames and hot glass (not desirable)!

Tutorial Lesson 4, Oxygen and Fuel Gas Systems
Lesson 3
(The Glassblower's Bench)
Lesson 5
(Burners and Torches)


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