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How to make the most money with a cutting torch?

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    rustbelt started this thread.
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    How to make the most money with a cutting torch?

    Hello, im new on this forum and have been reading alot on here for advice. One of the threads I read someone was talking about how much they didnt make with steel and someone else said "I make tons of money with steel, you just have to know how to use a torch" . But then they kind of left it at that. Im wondering if anyone can really expand on what this person might have meant by making the most money on steel by using a torch? All I can imagine is that they were alluding to taking the most valuable parts to sell off of a scrap vehicles or machinery in minimal time with a torch instead of wrenching things off? Im not sure really. Thanks.


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    You wouldn't need a cutting torch for curb shopping.

    I used my cutting torch to dismantle heavy equipment and structural steel into prepared number one.

    On large jobs would order a liquid oxygen from my vendor, these large units are equivalent to 18 large compressed gas bottles at a third to cost.

    Last edited by alloy2; 12-20-2016 at 03:07 PM.

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    Welcome to the forum. In addition to those possibilities we have a member who cuts up large steel at scrap yards. By big I mean he included photos of train locomotives he was in the process of cutting up. I wish I could recall his name and link those threads.

    Another was of one our members was in a scraping of a large power plant. Both are examples of how to make money with a cutting torch. There was a large discussion about the differences of torches, tips and fuel. 73, Mike
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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    Quote Originally Posted by miked View Post
    Welcome to the forum. In addition to those possibilities we have a member who cuts up large steel at scrap yards. By big I mean he included photos of train locomotives he was in the process of cutting up. I wish I could recall his name and link those threads.
    Miked, it was Pistonescrapprocessing

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    rustbelt started this thread.
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    Okay, thanks alot. Turning motherloads of big steel into numberone, just didnt cross my mind. Locomotives and powerplants, I can see how there would be huge potential in steel coming across stuff like that. Gotta truly think large scale.

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    I suggest you take the time to find those threads there is an amazing amount of information in them. 73, Mike

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    Welcome from Mesa az. It's not cost effective to use a cutting torch on a small scale. I build hot rods and other stuff from steel. The last time I filled my large oxygen tank it cost $40 bucks. If cutting a lot with the gas wrench the tank does not last very long. That expense makes less profit. For me if it cannot be unbolted or cut off with a grinder or sawzall I pass on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by rustbelt View Post
    Hello, im new on this forum and have been reading alot on here for advice. One of the threads I read someone was talking about how much they didnt make with steel and someone else said "I make tons of money with steel, you just have to know how to use a torch" . But then they kind of left it at that. Im wondering if anyone can really expand on what this person might have meant by making the most money on steel by using a torch? All I can imagine is that they were alluding to taking the most valuable parts to sell off of a scrap vehicles or machinery in minimal time with a torch instead of wrenching things off? Im not sure really. Thanks.

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    Thanks for the shoutout. I still check in from time to time. Still got guys cutting up scrap daily. What is the question I might be able to answer it?

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    What kind of setup does it take to use the liquid oxygen? Will it work in the cold, below zero temps. F?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaftsinkerawc View Post
    What kind of setup does it take to use the liquid oxygen? Will it work in the cold, below zero temps. F?
    The liquid tanks are a large thermos, when filling liquid oxygen at the plant O2 enters the tank with extra and I mean a lot of extra oxygen being bled off to atmosphere the bleed off cools the tank and contents to sub zero temperatures.

    Now that the tank has been filled, the contents should be put to work imediately or as soon as possible, as you use the oxygen your drawing gas off as a vapor which in turn is used to keep the inner contents cooled down.

    Liquid oxygen is not something you order then expect the tank to remain full for a year, if not used then as the contents warm up the tanks are designed to automatically bleed off. Think of it as a self contained refrigeration system, the more product you use the colder the contents.

    Definitely not meant to be used indoors, those that use a lot of oxygen store these cylinders outside with plumbing to the work stations.

    Piston has access to larger liquid tanks where the truck comes to replenish the product, same as the hospitals would have a large tank somewhere on the property. The larger liquid tanks actually have visible condensers.

    If your ordering a liquid oxygen they're filled to order.

    If your doing a lot of cutting you have another option, you can order in a cylinder cluster. also with a cluster there is no need to be contually drawing gas from the cylinders to keep the contents cooled down.

    With oxygen the more you use the cheaper it gets.

    On both set ups a regular cutting torch regulator works, I used propane for my fuel with a Harris torch made specially for natural and propane gas.


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    My Harris torch was thirty some odd years old before I had to send it in to have a leaky seat repaired.

    These torches also come in various lengths, I preferred the shorter one over the much longer one preferred by the scrap yards who most exclusively use Harris.

    The art of survival is a story that never ends. American Hustle.

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    I use a torch most of the time, but I am cutting up tractors and big machinery. I use liquid oxygen on big jobs. As Alloy2 pointed out, you need to burn daily to make it pay. I also use propane and any torch can burn it with the proper tip. I have a 1000 gallon propane tank to heat the house and fill my 100 pd. bottles from it saving money. Cutting sheet metal with a torch is not worth the time and effort. I have four torches in four different locations. My favorite torch is a three foot Smith because it allows me to stay out of the sparks. For delicate cutting I use a one foot torch.

    For most scrappers I recommend a replicating saw or a grinder with a cutting blade. In my opinion, unless you have heavy metal a torch does not make sense.
    The first 50 years are for learning, the next 50 are for living.

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    i find it quite interesting that no one has brought up the gas powered saws. Its basically a 14" grinder. When I'm out in the field I use the saw to cut up whatever I can, when something is too awkward or I cannot reach it I break out my little torch set. I picked up my victor torch and victor gauge and two airgas tanks at an auction for 80 bucks, I hardly use it but its nice to have.

    Also with the big saw I like to cut my electric motor cases. Its quick, and it cost a lot less then a 4 1/2" grinder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JnJunk View Post
    i find it quite interesting that no one has brought up the gas powered saws. Its basically a 14" grinder. When I'm out in the field I use the saw to cut up whatever I can, when something is too awkward or I cannot reach it I break out my little torch set. I picked up my victor torch and victor gauge and two airgas tanks at an auction for 80 bucks, I hardly use it but its nice to have.

    Also with the big saw I like to cut my electric motor cases. Its quick, and it cost a lot less then a 4 1/2" grinder.
    Of all the things that i have cut up for scrap tons of logging cable in a rats nest is the worse yet, it's springy and has to be cut into 3 ft lengths otherwise the yards won't accept it. Since I always got it free never turned it down.

    1. Cutting torch
    2. Plasma Cutter.
    3.Carbon Arc aka Air Arc
    4. Pneumatic chisel
    5. Sawzall
    6. Angle grinder with abrasive zip / diamond blades
    7. Portable welder with cheap rod soaked in water
    8 Axe
    9. Gasoline powered chop saw
    10. Bolt / re-bar cutters
    11. Side Cutters
    12. Cable cutter as shown below.
    13. Excavator with thumb used for ripping and tearing.


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    Gotta have the right items to need a torch or make owning profitable. All depends on what type of scrap you find regularly, ewasted wouldn't prolly have much use for my 12k winch or torch, as I wouldn't know to do with a torx bit smaller the 25.

    Alvord iron and salvage
    3rd generation scrapper and dam proud of it

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