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lenses in old gas regulators

metalmagpie

Titanium
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
Seattle
A friend gave me some scrap brass yesterday. Included were two old regulators, the kind that screw onto gas cylinders. One is a real nice Victor VTS-400, a two-stage regulator with what looks to be an original green paint job. I'm quite familiar with oxygen cylinders. There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with this one so I'll put it through my quick and dirty regulator test and see if this pig will still wear lipstick.

The other one is interesting. It has a CGA 350 tank connector fitting, which means it is intended for use with these gases:

Arsine, Carbon Monoxide, Deuterium, Deuterium Selenide, Diborane, 1,1 Difluoroethylene, Ethane, Ethylene, Germane, Hydrogen, Hydrogen Selenide, Methane, Methyl Fluoride, Methylene Fluoride, Natural Gas, Pentaborane, Phosphine, Silane, Stibine, Tetrafluoroethylene, Vinyl Fluoride

I have never heard of natural gas being bottled up in a cylinder but obviously it must be. Some of the rest of these are downright intimidating.

Anyway, it also looks real nice except the glass lenses in the gauges are broken. Curiously, their retaining rings unscrewed readily. Usually those are impossible to remove even with vise-grips. So my question is about glass lenses. I know they used to be common but were outlawed at some point. Now all gauges like these come with plastic lenses. I'm fine with that, but I can't find any plastic lenses that you can just put in in place of glass ones i.e. held on by the original (very cool) brass threaded rings. I do have an intact glass lens to work from.

Here are the two old Victor gauges in excellent condition (with the lenses removed):

vintageVictorGauges.jpg


Here you can see the partial bevel:

glassGaugeBevel.jpg


And an intact glass lens:

glassGaugeLens.jpg


So. I can go down to TAP Plastics and buy all the 3/16" plexiglass I want. What I'm not sure on is how to make that round beveled shape from it.

And dang it, I don't understand why nobody sells plastic lenses like these! Pop out the glass ones, pop in the plastic ones and you're good to go. Why buy all new gauges? I think these vintage old gauges look great and I bet they work perfectly too. Lots of guys would love to have a like-new set like these for their old regulator.

Anyway, got any ideas?

metalmagpie
 
Any glass or mirror company can cut them for you. NOT a big box or hardware store, you will have to go to a glass company. I had 2 cut at Gates Brothers Glass here in Marysville a few years ago. I don't know about glass lenses being outlawed seems to me plastic is just a lot cheaper to make.
 
Any glass or mirror company can cut them for you. NOT a big box or hardware store, you will have to go to a glass company. I had 2 cut at Gates Brothers Glass here in Marysville a few years ago. I don't know about glass lenses being outlawed seems to me plastic is just a lot cheaper to make.

I can see a glass company being able to cut glass rounds. But how would they do the bevels? The bevels are key to a proper fit.

metalmagpie
 
Small places can likely do it.
For a small DIY quantity just circle cut and chamfer on a router table. Suction or glue if you want to turn or mill.
Could cut the bevel first, leave some depth, then cut the OD and leave a few break off tabs too. Sort of surprised nobody sells them, but how big really is the market?
 
Companies that do architectural or decorative glasswork should be able to grind the bevels. "Thumbnail" bevels and bullnose rounds are pretty common on heavy glass tabletops, for example. You'd have to stress that they need to reproduce your existing example accurately, not just "eyeball close".

Places that do plastics can probably rout the bevels.
 
glass bevels are done on a diamond wheel slow and wet. Your local rock / gem club probably has the tools and someone to do it freehand.
 
A friend gave me some scrap brass yesterday. Included were two old regulators, the kind that screw onto gas cylinders. One is a real nice Victor VTS-400, a two-stage regulator with what looks to be an original green paint job. I'm quite familiar with oxygen cylinders. There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with this one so I'll put it through my quick and dirty regulator test and see if this pig will still wear lipstick.

The other one is interesting. It has a CGA 350 tank connector fitting, which means it is intended for use with these gases:

Arsine, Carbon Monoxide, Deuterium, Deuterium Selenide, Diborane, 1,1 Difluoroethylene, Ethane, Ethylene, Germane, Hydrogen, Hydrogen Selenide, Methane, Methyl Fluoride, Methylene Fluoride, Natural Gas, Pentaborane, Phosphine, Silane, Stibine, Tetrafluoroethylene, Vinyl Fluoride

I have never heard of natural gas being bottled up in a cylinder but obviously it must be. Some of the rest of these are downright intimidating.

Anyway, it also looks real nice except the glass lenses in the gauges are broken. Curiously, their retaining rings unscrewed readily. Usually those are impossible to remove even with vise-grips. So my question is about glass lenses. I know they used to be common but were outlawed at some point. Now all gauges like these come with plastic lenses. I'm fine with that, but I can't find any plastic lenses that you can just put in in place of glass ones i.e. held on by the original (very cool) brass threaded rings. I do have an intact glass lens to work from.

Here are the two old Victor gauges in excellent condition (with the lenses removed):

vintageVictorGauges.jpg


Here you can see the partial bevel:

glassGaugeBevel.jpg


And an intact glass lens:

glassGaugeLens.jpg


So. I can go down to TAP Plastics and buy all the 3/16" plexiglass I want. What I'm not sure on is how to make that round beveled shape from it.

And dang it, I don't understand why nobody sells plastic lenses like these! Pop out the glass ones, pop in the plastic ones and you're good to go. Why buy all new gauges? I think these vintage old gauges look great and I bet they work perfectly too. Lots of guys would love to have a like-new set like these for their old regulator.

Anyway, got any ideas?

metalmagpie
Natural gas can be purchased in compressed cylinders. I bought several to try natural gas instead of propane as a fuel for my oilfield engine before having a gas line installed to the shop.

Bob
WB8NQW
 
So. I can go down to TAP Plastics and buy all the 3/16" plexiglass I want. What I'm not sure on is how to make that round beveled shape from it.
Anyway, got any ideas?
metalmagpie
That would be pretty easy faceplate work. Just double-stick tape a square to your face plate. Put a scrap of something in the center to push against with your live center. Cut the circle. Cut the bevel and tune it with a file if needed and finish with sand paper.

You probably know glass cirles can be easily cut with abrasive al-ox slurry, a section of pipe, and a slow-turning mill or drill press. By contouring the pipe edge, the bevel could aslo be made in glass.

Denis
 
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I always wondered why I couldn’t find a replacement lens for my old gauges. Great working order but ruined lenses. I contemplated trying to buff them clear but always find more important shit to do.
 
Bevels that size are easy and fairly fast with the diamond sanding pads/sticks enamelist use. There is a good enameling supply house in Seatlle.
Do it semi submerged/sloppy wet in a stainless bowl. A little soap or simple green in the water helps.
 
Since no reply mentioned the obvious, here it is. A big welding supply house will have the ability to repair gas regulators, including a stock of new diaphragms and lenses. A small outfit might have to order the parts. The older the regulator, the more likely that parts are scarce, of course. The repair shop might suggest all new gages if they can't get a lens. My city has at least two big welding supply shops that probably can repair regulators, though it is 50 years since I had one repaired.

There is such a thing as an oxy-hydrogen torch, which burns hotter than oxy-acetylene.

Some small antique clocks had beveled round or rectangular glass, so there is a slight demand for replacements. It is hand work, so either expensive to get it right or cheaper for something that is wrong. In 1978, I bought a small antique clock in London that needed new rectangular beveled glass side panels. I went to the Clerkenwell area of London (known for clockmaking) and found a tiny shop with an old guy who only did glass replacement on clocks. He got new glass made for me in a few days for an affordable price, but they were a bit uneven on the bevels. Better than nothing.

Of course there are some sizes of round beveled glass for sale at clock part supply houses that will be cheaper than custom work.

Larry
 
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Since no reply mentioned the obvious, here it is. A big welding supply house will have the ability to repair gas regulators, including a stock of new diaphragms and lenses. A small outfit might have to order the parts. The older the regulator, the more likely that parts are scarce, of course. The repair shop might suggest all new gages if they can't get a lens. My city has at least two big welding supply shops that probably can repair regulators, though it is 50 years since I had one repaired.

There is such a thing as an oxy-hydrogen torch, which burns hotter than oxy-acetylene.

Larry
No places near me will touch these without it costing more than new. I’ve rebuilt them myself before when diaphragm was the issue but lenses are a no go.
 
" I can go down to TAP Plastics and buy all the 3/16" plexiglass I want. What I'm not sure on is how to make that round beveled shape from it."

Umm. A lathe. Stick the plastic to a faceplate with strong double stick tape. Trepann the lens to size, then chamfer the edge.
 
Oxy Hydrogen is hotter but the Acetlyene version has more energy. You can work quartz with hyrdogen but not acetlyene.
"Oxyhydrogen: The amount of heat energy released is independent of the mode of combustion, but the temperature of the flame varies. The maximum temperature of about 2,800 °C (5,100 °F) is achieved with an exact stoichiometric mixture,"

"Oxyacetylene welding, commonly referred to as gas welding, is a process which relies on combustion of oxygen and acetylene. When mixed together in correct proportions within a hand-held torch or blowpipe, a relatively hot flame is produced with a temperature of about 3,200 deg. C."

Denis
 
Once you have new covers, remove and check that the gauges work properly. I find gauges with broken covers are rarely, if ever, still accurate.
 
A friend gave me some scrap brass yesterday. Included were two old regulators....

I have never heard of natural gas being bottled up in a cylinder but obviously it must be. Some of the rest of these are downright intimidating.
Any gas for which there is a detector there must be a calibration/check gas. And then there is CNG.

Kinda funny they mentioned NG and Methane, most folks wouldn't bother with the difference.
 








 
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