"Flame Polisher" machines - use electrolysis to turn water into an acrylic polishing flame


#1

I just found out about a kind of machine that I had never heard of before. It seems that it uses electricity to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen which can then be used to flame-polish acrylic. The big advantages are that it creates a “clean” flame (the only byproduct is water) and it only/mostly uses water (which is safer and more readily available than compressed hydrogen and oxygen). It appears that the machines may also require some kind of alcohol and/or sodium hydroxide (AKA lye).

Here’s a video showing one of these machines in action…

It appears that you can pick up one of these machines from eBay or Amazon for a couple hundred dollars. Anyone own one or ever use one?


Trying to cut 3/16" Acrylic w/ ultra smooth finish
#2

This is gonna be awesome…wondering if we can plastic weld with it.


#3

Nice find. There are similar tools for soldering platinum, but they are pricey…


#4

Unless you are going to do a lot of acrylic this looks to be a solution without a problem. Most everyone has a propane torch laying around and while not as pure of a flame works great for occasional work like this.


#5

Those small creme brulee kitchen torches are about 20-25 bucks. Bet that would work too. :smiley:


#6

I am totally unfamiliar with such but if it is a hot clean flame, absolutely.


#7

My interest in a machine like this isn’t the $3 saved by not buying propane, it’s the time saved by not needing to go to the store to buy propane. The clean flame is a bonus. I wonder how it compares to propane (and others) in heat.


#8

I just looked these up. Should work great for that once in a while flame polish. Like everything, depends on how often you need it. A plumbers propane torch should last about 10 times longer and like the video showed if you where running a shop of just acrylic a big bottled oxy hydrogen unit would be called for.


#9

Oxy hydrogen is comparable to oxy acetylene, but totally clean. Way more than needed for flame polishing.


#10

So …wondering…you use plastics…if I read right…will this work on clearing up automobile lenses that are scratched to crap ?


#11

If there are really deep scratches they would have to be sanded out first but for final polish a flame should work great.
Thing is though, often auto lenses are crazed which is not just the surface and just need to be replaced.


#12

Ok just thinking of something else to justify the cost…lol


#13

Good! They’re refillable (butane canisters) and the flame does last a very long time. (Lots longer than the guy in the video spent polishing.)

Propane torches are not a problem around here (hubs is the sales rep for TurboTorch), but I like the little one 'cause it’s easier to control one handed. (Less intimidating for us gals.) :wink:


#14

Totally understand and I might pick one up for myself. The self lighting and supper light weight would make them great for “I just need to polish this one little edge”.


#15

That technology has been around for ages. Check out Brown’s Gas and the claims made for it if you want a good laugh:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=brown's%20gas

You could just as easily buy a cylinder of hydrogen from your local compressed gas supplier which give you hours upon hours of flame polishing. Looks like Amazon gets 500 for the same model in that video and that it draws 600 watts of power. I'm too lazy to do the calcs but that data gives you enough info to figure out what the theoretical cost of a cubic foot of hydrogen is from the process. The oxygen in the air is free so that doesn’t really an issue.

I’d also want to check and see how much hydrogen and oxygen is stored (if any) and how well. There might also be certain local restrictions that you’d be subject to.


#16

I don’t know how much hydrogen is in a bottle, or what quantity you’d get. My understanding is that it’s quite expensive.

If 600 watts truly creates 95L in an hour, that’s about 180 watt-hours per cubic foot. At 15¢ per 1000 watt-hours, that’s ~2.7¢ per cubic foot in electricity. This is assuming the “95L per hour” rating is talking about just the hydrogen though… and also that the advertised rating has any sort of basis in reality.

Good call about the storage. It looks like it basically generates the oxyhydrogen on demand and I’m guessing the storage tank is there as a buffer to even out the pressure. Seems like that might mean it would just need a couple minutes to build up a little bit of a reserve so I imagine you’d just empty it after every use. Personally, I wouldn’t want a tank of hydrogen OR oxygen sitting in my garage.

There’s a lot of unknowns in there… I wish I could find a video showing the way they work with a little more depth than “watch me burn shit!”.


#17

here is one way, there are several. We did electrolysis on submarines but the hydrogen was the waste product, we wanted the oxygen to bleed into the atmosphere.


#18

Yeah, there are tons of videos like that.


#19

https://www.azhydrogen.com/how-it-works

not video but here is how the torch units work. Everything is on the web…


#20

I’ve heard of Google. I’m curious about the OPERATION of THESE machines.

How loud are they?

How long must you wait before you can light the torch?

What is the filling procedure like? How often do you need to refill the tank?

Do they feel sturdy? Are the instructions in English? What other consumables are involved? Do they overheat and/or what is the duty cycle? Is one brand better than another? Etc.