Acetylene gas torch cutting metal

Setting Up a Cutting Torch: A Beginner’s Guide

Setting up a cutting torch, while an involved process with many steps, can be done effectively with the right tools, information, and know-how. For this article, we’re going to focus solely on acetylene-powered torches.

For starters, it’s essential to examine safety concerns. As with any power tool, safety risks are present at every step of the way, so being amply prepared and equipped to address them is crucial.

Another critical element is, well, having the right equipment. These include bottles, tanks, and the gas itself – your fuel source.

Lastly, we’ll discuss the benefits of learning how to set up a cutting torch. When properly installed, the cutting torch will be fully functional and ready to tackle the task of your choice.

Welder using torch on metal sheet with lots of sparks

Safety Precautions

To set up a cutting torch, you’ll need to mind the following precautions:

  • Pay attention to your environment before and during the setup process.
  • Wear the proper PPE. These include boots, safety-cutting goggles, a helmet, and heat-resistant gloves. Cutting torches are so hot that they will sear into and burn anything – yes, anything – they come into contact with—even hardened steel. So don the right gear!
  • Make sure your setup area is clean and neat.
  • Remove anything flammable from your setup area.
  • Have a highly versatile fire extinguisher at the ready.
  • Make sure your environment is well-ventilated.

Equipment Needed for Setting Up a Cutting Torch

To set up a cutting torch, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Oxygen bottle or oxygen tank, including the oxygen regulator
  • Red hose for the acetylene tank and green hose for oxygen tank
  • Flashback protectors
  • Cutting goggles
  • Striker
  • Chip hammer
  • Tip cleaners
  • Wire brush for cleaning

Setting Up the Cutting Torch

Please follow the following steps to set up your oxy acetylene cutting torch properly:

  1. First, fasten both the O2 and acetylene cylinders in an upright position. They should either be in a cylinder cart or, if one is not available for use, chain-attached to a workbench, a wall, or a post.
  2. Clean out the regulator valve outlet. Remove any dirt, dust, or other debris.
  3. Connect the O2 and acetylene regulators to their respective cylinders.
  4. Using a wrench, tighten the nuts of the regulator connectors.
  5. Next, turn the pressure-adjusting screw counter-clockwise until it is loose enough to turn freely.
  6. The next step is opening the valves for the O2 and acetylene cylinders. Make sure to do this very slowly to protect both yourself and the machine from combustion.
  7. While you’re doing this, make sure to leave the wrench on the acetylene valve. This is preventative: if there’s an emergency, you’ll already have a wrench ready.
  8. Use the proper hoses and their connectors. These are the ones that are specific to cutting.
  9. Avoid using oil or grease on the hoses.
  10. Attach the O2 hose to the O2 regulator and the cutting torch.
  11. Do the same for the acetylene hose, acetylene regulator, and torch.
  12. Tighten the hose connectors with – you guessed it – a wrench!

To check for leaks, please follow these steps as well:

  1. Close each torch valve.
  2. Using a brush, apply a leak-test solution.
  3. Now, check this solution for bubbles.
  4. If you detect a leak, release all the pressure from any system causing this.

Now you should be fully set up to use your cutting torch!

Other Considerations

Tip and Tip Cleaner: Choosing the Right Tips for Your Cutting Torch

To select the proper cutting torch tip, you need to consider the following factors:

  • The seat type
  • The thickness of the metal you’ll be working with
  • Application
  • Type of fuel gas

For the seat type, the brand will determine this. Knowing who manufactured your torch and what model you’ll be using is essential.

In terms of the thickness of the metal, the center hole of the tip should be appropriately sized in accordance with the amount of O2 and pressure that aligns with the metal’s specific thickness.

There are also different tips for different cutting applications. In general, the “applications” are simply the types of metal being cut. These can range from brass to copper to hardened steel.

Lastly, we have fuel gas. Oxy fuel cutting doesn’t just use one gas; there are many options. And there are cutting tips designed for each type of gas.

Red acetylene and blue oxygen tank with hoses connected to torch


1. How long do the tanks last?

They will typically last for several years if properly maintained, cleaned, and not overused.

2. Can I use the cutting torch for welding?

While the cutting torch isn’t the preferred method for welding, you can indeed use torch equipment for gas welding applications. How does this work? By using the flame to convert the metal into its liquid, molten state; then, the rod gets dipped and merges with the base metal until they unify and become one consistent piece.

3. What are the safety precautions you must take when using a cutting torch?

Torch safety precautions include paying attention to your surroundings; wearing the proper PPE (cutting goggles, superior, heat-resistant gloves, and boots); keeping your setup area neat and clean; removing all flammable objects from your workspace; keeping your workspace well-ventilated; and having a versatile fire extinguisher at the ready.

4. What four factors must you consider when selecting your cutting torch tips?

They are the seat type, the thickness of the metal, the type of metal/application, and the type of fuel gas.


Ecenrode Welds has a superior selection of cutting torch accouterments and equipment. From welding equipment to various types of cutting supplies, we’ve got you covered. Come by our shop or order online today!

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