An H2O oxyhydrogen torch, whose gas supply is generated by the electrolysis of water, is also known as hydrogen torch or an H20 torch. It burns hydrogen as the fuel with oxygen (the oxidizer). The result is a high-temperature flame used for cutting, welding and shaping various metals, glass, and certain thermoplastics. H2O torches are most commonly used for soldering and brazing jewelry, but are practical in many industrial applications.
Soldering with the gas generated by a hydrogen torch is often a cleaner, safer and more economical alternative to using pressurized fuel tanks containing combustable gases. These torches are also easier to set up, use and maintain. And since so many small shops are prohibited from using and storing pressurized and/or flammable gas tanks, the H2O welder is a great solution.
The H2O torch produces its flame using low-voltage electricity to breakdown distilled water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.
Oxyhydrogen torches are preferred for some types of iron or steel welding, but also because it lends itself to brazing, braze-welding, metal heating (for annealing or tempering, bending or forming), rust or scale removal, the loosening of corroded nuts and bolts, and cutting ferrous metals.
Industrial and personal applications of the H2O torch in jewelry fabrications are many (e.g., resizing rings, chain repairs, gemstone alterations, fixing damaged prongs and other common soldering tasks.
Hydrogen torches are great for annealing metals. When annealing, the metal is heated slowly to a specific temperature and cooled slowly. This process softens the metal, which can be shaped and cut easier.
H2O torches are useful for reshaping glass and blending colors while forming stronger types of glass.
The hydrogen torch can be found in dental and clinical health offices because it uses clean fuel and it won’t contaminate sensitive medical devices. The fine pinpoint flame is perfect for very small items like dental appliances, stents and guide wires.
The torch can be used to flame polish edges of plastic sheets.
Other applications include but not limited to:
In order to function, the hydrogen torch relies on two important chemical solutions.
At the heart of the hydrogen torch is its internal water tank. This is where the hydrogen gas used for the flame is produced. The name implies that these torches use only water to operate but this is not the case. H2O torches require a low voltage, high amperage current applied to the water tank to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Since water is not conductive enough on its own, potassium hydroxide (also known as caustic potash or KOH) is added to the tank in a prescribed ratio. The caustic and water make an electrolyte solution used to produce gas. This solution lasts a long time without compromising performance.
Always use distilled water in the tank. The impurities found in tap and DI water will contaminate the electrolyte and cause the tank to rust exponentially faster.
While the internal tank creates the hydrogen gas needed to operate the torch, it would be unusable without some type of carrier in the booster tank. Depending on your application you may want to use a different types of de-oxidizing solutions in the booster tank. The most common solution is methanol with or without Boric Acid added.
Hydrogen torches are capable of producing flames with temperatures as high as (3300°C / 6000°F). Obviously, anything that hot can be very dangerous, so safety is of great importance when operating one of these machines. It is recommended to maintain a distance of at least 20 inches between yourself and the flame at all times.
Be careful when handling the Electrolyte solution as it is very corrosive. Wear protective eyeglasses and gloves whenever handling. the caustic electrolyte and/or boric acid. Should any chemical come in contact with your skin, wash immediately with water. If any solution is spilled on the machine or work area, vinegar can be used to neutralize the solution.
We recommend wearing protective eyeglasses and gloves while cleaning or performing any maintenance tasks on your welder.
Oxyhydrogen torches require routine check-ups along with regular maintenance to continue performing efficiently and reliably. Below is our recommended tasks and maintenance schedule.
Check fluids and replenish as needed
Check condition of the needle tip
Rinse out the booster tank with hot water
Replace the Booster Seal Gasket and the Booster Handle O-ring.
Flush the caustic tank clean and replace Electrolyte solution
Replace the Check valve
Check torch hose for holes and wear
Check torch shut-off and add oil if stuck
Gasket set replacement
After a few years, depending on usage, the machine should undergo a complete technical and operational review. Such work should be performed by skilled technical personnel. At SRA we offer full repair services on all our hydrogen torches.