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Author: Subject: HHO Flame Generator for Glaswork
EliasExperiments
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[*] posted on 13-5-2020 at 01:41
HHO Flame Generator for Glaswork


In this video I tried to make a flame from my HHO generator in order to be able to work with glas that has a high melting point:

https://youtu.be/Q7eQARplYJE

However as you can see the flame is too small to really melt some glas. Has anybody ever tried something similar and got it to work? Like how can I increase the flame, without the HHO generator overheating completly?
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[*] posted on 13-5-2020 at 03:53


Quote: Originally posted by EliasExperiments  
In this video I tried to make a flame from my HHO generator in order to be able to work with glas that has a high melting point:

https://youtu.be/Q7eQARplYJE

However as you can see the flame is too small to really melt some glas. Has anybody ever tried something similar and got it to work? Like how can I increase the flame, without the HHO generator overheating completly?


The last chapter of this book published in 1957 is called The Manipulation of Silica and it's all about using Oxy/Hydrogen to work scientific quartz. There's a lot of very specific tips/tricks.
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[*] posted on 13-5-2020 at 15:45


"However as you can see the flame is too small to really melt some glas. Has anybody ever tried something similar and got it to work? Like how can I increase the flame, without the HHO generator overheating completly? "

Problem with these electrically powered gas generators is they are never going to be powerful enough. Most household electric sockets can handle about 2000W. Even if you were to get complete conversion of electricity into gas and then the gas releases exactly the same energy back as a flame, 2000W is a tiny amount of power when it come to glass work. 8 to 10kW is a rough amount of power to work most glass for the fabrication of laboratory equipment and apparatus, and for silica glass it will require even more.

Using an oxy propane welding torch or a cutting head (no need for the oxy purge lever to be used here) will do as a beginners glass working torch. Even silica can be worked with this set up. Be prepared for the need to protect your eyes, quartz gets intensely bright. A shade 5 and above will be needed.

Quartz will transmit IR light down the length from where it's being worked, so be careful not to hold the cold end in your hand, the light leaving the end of the tube can burn you quite unexpectedly.
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[*] posted on 13-5-2020 at 20:45


Okay very interesting. I wasn't aware of that. Good to know I guess... Thanks for the insights!
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[*] posted on 14-5-2020 at 01:32


Quote: Originally posted by EliasExperiments  
In this video I tried to make a flame from my HHO generator in order to be able to work with glas that has a high melting point:

https://youtu.be/Q7eQARplYJE



That thing looks terrifying.......
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[*] posted on 24-5-2020 at 02:11


I think you need one of these HHO torches with built in flashback arrestor.
A lot of different ones on ebay.
Maybe you can figure out how the flashback mechanism works and construct some DIY variant.
If the flame travels back to the HHO generator you would have a bigger explosion but i assume you know this.
This HHO torch i found on a quick search on ebay, its about 40 Euros.

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[*] posted on 22-6-2020 at 10:17


Are you trying to work borosilicate (Pyrex, etc.) or quartz? For boro, propane/oxygen is the accepted flame. H/O for quartz, yes. Acetylene won't work.

I don't know what you're trying to do. I've done work with borosilicate & a tiny bit with quartz. For a good result, precautions and knowledge are necessary:

Please, please read some flameworking texts. White hot glass is not forgiving.

GET EYE PROTECTION!!!!! Not dark glasses, not a welder's mask. Get glasses or a mask specifically designed for flameworking. The proper lenses block UV & IR & the Na yellow. Borosilicate or quartz when melted throw out enough UV and IR to burn your retinas quickly. Lenses for glassblowing won't work - soft glass melts at a much lower temperature.

In the US, it's pretty easy to go to a welding supply store and buy a tank of oxygen. EBay has oxygen and propane regulators. For small amounts of O2, big box hardware/building/homemaker (Lowes, Home Depot) sell very small oxygen tanks. Propane for outdoor grills, etc. is easy. I don't know about Europe.

Again in the US the most common glassworking torch comes from National (3B I think).
The "Little Torch"(tm) is versatile for small (5mm, say) work.
There are specific procedures for lighting and turning off a torch. Use them - read the books.

If you use propane, make sure that your fuel hose is (US) "type T". Welding hose designed for acetylene cracks when exposed to propane.

How do you plan to anneal your work? It's really frustrating to finish a piece which shatters the next day.

I hope this is useful. I'm not trying to scare you off, but it would be tragic if you lost your vision or got badly burned. It would be very regrettable if you put in a lot of work and money and didn't get what you wanted because you didn't know the technique involved.
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[*] posted on 23-6-2020 at 02:02


Quote: Originally posted by densest  
Are you trying to work borosilicate (Pyrex, etc.) or quartz? For boro, propane/oxygen is the accepted flame. H/O for quartz, yes. Acetylene won't work.

I don't know what you're trying to do. I've done work with borosilicate & a tiny bit with quartz. For a good result, precautions and knowledge are necessary:

Please, please read some flameworking texts. White hot glass is not forgiving.

GET EYE PROTECTION!!!!! Not dark glasses, not a welder's mask. Get glasses or a mask specifically designed for flameworking. The proper lenses block UV & IR & the Na yellow. Borosilicate or quartz when melted throw out enough UV and IR to burn your retinas quickly. Lenses for glassblowing won't work - soft glass melts at a much lower temperature.


Good advice protect your eyes and face.

My understanding is: a major problems is the heat radiation over heats the cornea of your eyes because of their very limited blood supply, resulting in cataracts.

Why can you not use oxy acetylene to work quartz? Its hot enough or is it partially reduced to silicon?

[Edited on 6/23/2020 by wg48temp9]




I am wg48 but not on my usual pc hence the temp handle.
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[*] posted on 24-6-2020 at 01:24


Main reason to not use acetylene for quartz is it's too hot, it will sublimate the quartz and then deposit it on the cooler sections where it makes bloom. It's a mess to get rid of and the best thing is avoid creating it.

If you are working small quartz, maybe 5mm dia tube, you can get away with wearing two pairs of sunglasses and not get too close to it. It's not perfect but if you are a beginner it's something you can do to see what it's like working quartz. Welders brazing goggles of shade 5 to shade 8 will handle up to 20mm quartz work, but you are getting some serious heat come off that thing so you'll want to only do it for a short burst then cool down.

I work quartz up to about 50mm and it's a bit too much to be close to for any length of time at those diameters. The amount of infrared is enough to get through my shade 5 neotherm lenses as well as my didymium lenses. After an hour or so you can feel the eyes getting a bit dry and tired. I've recently ordered a set of gold mirror coated shade 5 green welders lenses to take the transmission down even further. I've used my welders helmet and set it to shade 9 but in a helmet the heat is a bit too uncomfortable to be able to work for very long.

I add this just to give you a practical guide to the kind of eyeware needed for the kind of work you might want to do with quartz.



[Edited on 24-6-2020 by Chemetix]
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[*] posted on 24-6-2020 at 04:49


Wow, that is amazing, I took glassblowing back in college (along with alchemy and dinosaur biology labs), but we never covered quartz, although I have had a few items made of it over the years. I remember how tough is can be to do normal borosilicate work, so if quartz is as tough as I hear, it must be challenging, and the IR safety issues are new to me. But I will saw that quartz can do some things that are great, like transmit UV and handle temperature changes that are huge. I think one professor burned Mg in a silica crucible inside a block of dry ice once. It can also handle boiling sulfuric acid, which can weaken glass over a long time. It's amazing how clan glassware is after handling that, the dirt all just oxidizes and the glass gleams.
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 08:59


And if that weren't amazing enough, we also depend every day on these things:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_oscillator
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[*] posted on 9-8-2020 at 07:03


I've made a pretty decent hydrogen/oxygen torch+generator. Continuous operation about 24 V/50 A=1200 W, could be used at 100 A as well but this would cause overheating of the electrolyte after a while. I'd say I had about twice the flame you show in the video.

It keeps exploding because your nozzle is too big/your gas generation is too low. You must keep the gas velocity faster than the flame speed(which is insanely fast for hydrogen/oxygen). This also means it's a pretty bad idea to shut off the generation while the flame is burning. I always extinguish it before turning off the supply.

I've thought about ways of increasing the heat dissipation of a cell. The best option seems to be circulating the electrolyte and cooling it separately from the cell. It's a little tricky since the electrolyte is usually sodium hydroxide which unfortunately rules out aluminum heat exhangers which would have been convenient otherwise. So if you could fabricate a heat exchanger from electrolyte resistant material, it should be quite simple. If it's taken into account in the cell design, you wouldn't even need a pump. You could either let heat convection take care of it, or even more efficient, make the gas pull electrolyte with it, and separate them at a later point. Do note that the entire system would need to be pressurized.

The easiest heat exchanger would probably be a long spiral tube submerged in cool water. Ideally a liquid/liquid stainless steel plate heat exchanger.

This is all assuming you have the means to deliver enough electrical energy of course. You're not gonna get more heat at the torch than you put electricity into it. Probably gonna take a good 3-4 kW at least to get satisfactory results, which is pushing it even for a welding supply, not to mention your house fuses lol.
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[*] posted on 9-8-2020 at 07:28


Hi,
My limited experience is that with propane-oxygen torch you can work quartz tubes up to 20 mm diameter.
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[*] posted on 9-8-2020 at 07:54


Quote: Originally posted by Junk_Enginerd  
I
It keeps exploding because your nozzle is too big/your gas generation is too low. You must keep the gas velocity faster than the flame speed(which is insanely fast for hydrogen/oxygen). This also means it's a pretty bad idea to shut off the generation while the flame is burning. I always extinguish it before turning off the supply.


That explains why some people use hyperdermic needles or ball pump needles. Due to the speed of oxy hydrogen

[Edited on 9-8-2020 by symboom]




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[*] posted on 12-8-2020 at 09:30


Yep. Tiny nozzle and decent pressure, or you get a flashback. Also, a small nozzle not only accelerates the gas, but makes it difficult for the flame to enter since it will be very aggressively cooled due to the high surface area in relation to its volume.

Side note; the flame speed is really impressive. I once filled a clear 6 mm ID PVC hose, maybe 30 cm in length, with HHO gas. I ignited the gas in one end of the tube as it lay flat with both ends open. Despite being in a very long hose, again with both ends open, the crack it produced was still loud enough to make my ears ring a bit. I didn't notice any flame propagation speed at all, it was instantaneous as far as I could tell.
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[*] posted on 23-8-2020 at 01:40


Quote: Originally posted by Chemetix  
Main reason to not use acetylene for quartz is it's too hot, it will sublimate the quartz and then deposit it on the cooler sections where it makes bloom. It's a mess to get rid of and the best thing is avoid creating it.

If you are working small quartz, maybe 5mm dia tube, you can get away with wearing two pairs of sunglasses and not get too close to it. It's not perfect but if you are a beginner it's something you can do to see what it's like working quartz. Welders brazing goggles of shade 5 to shade 8 will handle up to 20mm quartz work, but you are getting some serious heat come off that thing so you'll want to only do it for a short burst then cool down.

I work quartz up to about 50mm and it's a bit too much to be close to for any length of time at those diameters. The amount of infrared is enough to get through my shade 5 neotherm lenses as well as my didymium lenses. After an hour or so you can feel the eyes getting a bit dry and tired. I've recently ordered a set of gold mirror coated shade 5 green welders lenses to take the transmission down even further. I've used my welders helmet and set it to shade 9 but in a helmet the heat is a bit too uncomfortable to be able to work for very long.

I add this just to give you a practical guide to the kind of eyeware needed for the kind of work you might want to do with quartz.



[Edited on 24-6-2020 by Chemetix]


Wow. I don't mean to pry but are you a scientific glass blower by trade or hobby?



Dr. Bob:

Quote:

Wow, that is amazing, I took glassblowing back in college (along with alchemy and dinosaur biology labs), but we never covered quartz, although I have had a few items made of it over the years. I remember how tough is can be to do normal borosilicate work, so if quartz is as tough as I hear, it must be challenging, and the IR safety issues are new to me. But I will saw that quartz can do some things that are great, like transmit UV and handle temperature changes that are huge. I think one professor burned Mg in a silica crucible inside a block of dry ice once. It can also handle boiling sulfuric acid, which can weaken glass over a long time. It's amazing how clan glassware is after handling that, the dirt all just oxidizes and the glass gleams.



I am discovering these wonders lately as well! Careful in case for some odd reason you're talking within earshot of hippies. Since it's 'fused quartz' that we speak off, where as their naturally occurring quartz mined usually in Arkansas is hardly even transparent. Hmpff!
I have a quartz crucible. It's made in direct contact with NiChrome element, and it's actually intended for some type of niche e-juice or cannabis-variant. Sadly I broke on of the nichrome contacts and this is one thing i don't think i can repair.

Is there a similar device intended for a laboratory? It would accomplish every function of a crucible + flame burner,using electricity instead of open flame, and the quartz would allow the reaction to be visible.
The NiChrome is not visible in those pictures or when the device is assembled, but there appears to be a big chunk of it right under the quartz crucible, instead of wrapping or coiling, etc.


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Quote:

Chemetix

  • posted on 24-6-2020 at 04:24
    Main reason to not use acetylene for quartz is it's too hot, it will sublimate the quartz and then deposit it on the cooler sections where it makes bloom. It's a mess to get rid of and the best thing is avoid creating it.

    If you are working small quartz, maybe 5mm dia tube, you can get away with wearing two pairs of sunglasses and not get too close to it. It's not perfect but if you are a beginner it's something you can do to see what it's like working quartz. Welders brazing goggles of shade 5 to shade 8 will handle up to 20mm quartz work, but you are getting some serious heat come off that thing so you'll want to only do it for a short burst then cool down.

    I work quartz up to about 50mm and it's a bit too much to be close to for any length of time at those diameters. The amount of infrared is enough to get through my shade 5 neotherm lenses as well as my didymium lenses. After an hour or so you can feel the eyes getting a bit dry and tired. I've recently ordered a set of gold mirror coated shade 5 green welders lenses to take the transmission down even further. I've used my welders helmet and set it to shade 9 but in a helmet the heat is a bit too uncomfortable to be able to work for very long.

    I add this just to give you a practical guide to the kind of eyeware needed for the kind of work you might want to do with quartz.



    [Edited on 24-6-2020 by Chemetix]



  • Hey, I'm a not-serious glassblower / coldworker. I've had oxy-propane set ups before when I first learned. Nowadays I squeeze air-carbureted propane to it's limits using various methods like, ultra slow rotation, removal of restrictive pieces in cheap plumber's torches, and a few times I have built a torch from scratch and used forced air instead of compressed O2. Definitely interesting.

    So the darkening glasses aren't so much for the H2 flame itself, but rather the white glow of the glass, yes?
    In this regard It sounds like the same danger as staring at the sun, or watching an eclipse.

    I had a few lessons in MIG-welding, and my teacher warned me that the dangers of UV are far more insidious. There will be no symptoms of over-exposure that day. But the following day I would wake up to eyes burning from severe pain.
    I know that quartz , unlike boro or soft glass, does not on its own block UV light. But I thought this only mattered if there was some light source behind the glass generating broad spectrum light, such as flourescent bulbs, etc.

    I have this reference:
    2200°C = 3992°F, for Propane/Oxygen
    2927°C = 5300°F, for MAPP Gas/Oxygen
    2700°C = 4892°F, for Acetylene/Oxygen
    3200°C = 5792°F, for Hydrogen/Oxygen

    http://www.derose.net/steve/resources/engtables/flametemp.ht...

    And I understand of course that these measurements are misleading. They don't indicate the fuel to O2 ratio at the time of measuring the temp. Nor the size and shape of the flame. And I understand that total heat measured in BTU's is much more relevant than max temperature.


    Also your analysis of electricity to flame energy for electrolytic HHO generators sounds spot on.

    In another thread I spoke of a youtube video where a man makes an H2 torch using a re-sealable fire extinguisher, KOH and Al. He has a thin line of the correct material leading to the bottom of the body, where there is a small water bubbler, used as a flashback arrestor. He is very scientific although appears to be more on the tradesman side of he coin(who cares?) So he demonstrates equations and arguments for why this is safe. Mostly that a 1:1 ratio of O2 and H2 is needed for any sort of explosion, and in his demo, just a small amount of Lye and foil creates something like 120 Litres of H2, which pressurizes his tank right to the middle point that is considered safe.

    His flame indeed, is very thin, and he uses syringe tips at first. He demonstrates instant melting of most metals.

    I understand the danger of over-brightness. I have ignited potassium, sodium, lithium, they all create brightness so intense that even a few seconds of directly looking can do permanagent damage.
    So Assuming proper eye protection, have you heard of this H2 torch hack before? It sounds like you might be a professional and are bound by safety code, so I understand if you cannot comment.
    TY!



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    [*] posted on 23-8-2020 at 17:55



    Quote:

    have you heard of this H2 torch hack before? It sounds like you might be a professional and are bound by safety code, so I understand if you cannot comment. TY!



    Chemically produced H2 is known to work, just not as controllable or potentially safe. ( a reaction tank for your hydrogen can contain air which could then mix with the hydrogen and react, a closed vessel and explosive mixtures in close proximity to an operator isn't particularly practical)

    But as an experimenter who understands the risks and is willing to ensure the safety of themselves and others while investigation something is not frowned on here but encouraged.

    It seems enigmatic that H2 O2 burns hotter than alkynes/ O2 and yet I say that acetylene is too hot for quartz. The answer is more complicated than just measured flame temperature. Hydrogen reacts extremely quickly the burn velocity of H2 is 3.2 m.s^-1, and acetylene 1.7 m.s^-1, propane 0.42 m.s^-1 in air at a near stoichiometric mix. At a torch tip the reaction happens so fast the heating zone is tiny with hydrogen flames. And another thing with hydrogen is that the flame allows the energy to be radiated from the heating zone quite quickly due to the fact that water vapour and the unreacted mix is transmissive to IR energy. What this means in practical terms is that the actual amount of heating can be lower than you'd think going by flame temperature alone.

    A hydrocarbon mixture can create zones at the flame front where reactions occur, partially burnt or pyrolysed fuels mean tiny particles of carbon or soot can form which then absorb IR radiation and then re radiate some of that energy back towards the flame front keeping the flame temperature higher for longer. The slower reaction rate means you have a larger heating zone to work with.

    But then there are reducing species at work at these temperatures. Carbon reacts with the oxygen within the glass or silica and can be reduced to make sodium which recombines with oxygen and makes sodium oxides with glass or just silica with quartz that condense on cooler parts of the glass. Hydrogen flames are cleaner burning, because of the fast complete reaction, and don't produce the bloom as easily as with hydrocarbons or the higher carbon ratio fuels like the alkynes.

    The practical side of this is that propane is hot enough and burns clean enough to work quartz. Hydrogen is more expensive to use because you need more of it and you don't get much in a compressed bottle of gas. So you really need to justify using it for optical quality quartz work or for analytical instruments as an example, where surface purity is maintained.
    And yes I'm a scientific glassblower, so my personal experience with working quartz is what I'm going from. There will be debates with other glassblowers who swear that hydrogen is hotter and is better to use but I'm not convinced.

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    [*] posted on 29-8-2020 at 05:02


    Quote: Originally posted by Chemetix  

    Quote:

    have you heard of this H2 torch hack before? It sounds like you might be a professional and are bound by safety code, so I understand if you cannot comment. TY!



    Chemically produced H2 is known to work, just not as controllable or potentially safe. ( a reaction tank for your hydrogen can contain air which could then mix with the hydrogen and react, a closed vessel and explosive mixtures in close proximity to an operator isn't particularly practical)

    But as an experimenter who understands the risks and is willing to ensure the safety of themselves and others while investigation something is not frowned on here but encouraged.

    It seems enigmatic that H2 O2 burns hotter than alkynes/ O2 and yet I say that acetylene is too hot for quartz. The answer is more complicated than just measured flame temperature. Hydrogen reacts extremely quickly the burn velocity of H2 is 3.2 m.s^-1, and acetylene 1.7 m.s^-1, propane 0.42 m.s^-1 in air at a near stoichiometric mix. At a torch tip the reaction happens so fast the heating zone is tiny with hydrogen flames. And another thing with hydrogen is that the flame allows the energy to be radiated from the heating zone quite quickly due to the fact that water vapour and the unreacted mix is transmissive to IR energy. What this means in practical terms is that the actual amount of heating can be lower than you'd think going by flame temperature alone.

    A hydrocarbon mixture can create zones at the flame front where reactions occur, partially burnt or pyrolysed fuels mean tiny particles of carbon or soot can form which then absorb IR radiation and then re radiate some of that energy back towards the flame front keeping the flame temperature higher for longer. The slower reaction rate means you have a larger heating zone to work with.

    But then there are reducing species at work at these temperatures. Carbon reacts with the oxygen within the glass or silica and can be reduced to make sodium which recombines with oxygen and makes sodium oxides with glass or just silica with quartz that condense on cooler parts of the glass. Hydrogen flames are cleaner burning, because of the fast complete reaction, and don't produce the bloom as easily as with hydrocarbons or the higher carbon ratio fuels like the alkynes.

    The practical side of this is that propane is hot enough and burns clean enough to work quartz. Hydrogen is more expensive to use because you need more of it and you don't get much in a compressed bottle of gas. So you really need to justify using it for optical quality quartz work or for analytical instruments as an example, where surface purity is maintained.
    And yes I'm a scientific glassblower, so my personal experience with working quartz is what I'm going from. There will be debates with other glassblowers who swear that hydrogen is hotter and is better to use but I'm not convinced.



    Very unique and thought provoking insights. Thank you.
    I never heard of, or thought about, side reactions occuring, but it doesn't surprise me.
    My friend is highly skilled with years of experience in lampworking, as well as via kiln, he's worked all day by the flame, but also as a teacher. His context is art glass.
    I presented a more scientific view of the craft, often challenging old models via chemistry. This actually intrigued him.
    When I mention BTU's vs. flame temp. I spent some time experimenting with making torches. I watched a few videos of how flame temp is measured via pyrometer .
    There's a much larger scene of DIY flame creators for metalwork, understandable as metalwork is of course a much larger and broader craft.
    I learned, when making my own burner, the how's and why's of making a 90 degree bend right before the flame, which allows for a cyclone like effect of mixing the fuel and the O2. I experienced why ultimate temperature is not so important by building a burner using 3/4" steel pipes, a flexible air duct, a fancy CPU fan for forced air, an invisibly small hole in a rubber stopper for fuel delivery, and SS wire screen at the flame tip. I had adjustable voltage to the cpu fan. This allowed me to alternate turning up the speed of the fan, and a valve releasing the propane, to achieve a monstrously large pure-blue flame.

    However if I didn't have the screen afixed to the tip -just right-. the flame would blow itself out every 10 seconds. In fact, every last specific detail of the final tip of the aparatus, had grave consequences on the flame. Surprisingly, everything leading up to there had quite a bit of wiggle room.
    I didn't just play around blind. All of these principles were explained, with science, by one such metalworking enthusiast.

    To be honest I never could get this torch to work ~20mm medium walled boro tubing. I know it SHOULD have been enough. It was still something lacking in the shape of the flame or the sizes/proportions of the pipe towards the end, affecting just where and how the air and fuel were mixing, and burning.

    Yes I've encountered glass blower's dogma before. I hope this information can be helpful in your outside-the-box explorations.
    P.S. Any advice on acquiring/using the grinder that cuts standard scientific tapered joints? Very hard to find info on this.

    Wow, so much new information soaking in. Much obliged!
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