My first piece of welding equipment was an O-Acetylene torch. With not a clue as to what I was doing, I jumped into welding/cutting. I held onto a handful of scrap pieces of metal from Items I tore apart for inventory. I started cutting them apart and welding them back together. I've gotten much better compared to when I started. But welding (and cutting), at least Oxy-Acetylene, seems like it's one of those things that I will never be able to say that I've completely figured it out. I'll continue figuring it out for the rest of my life. But there's nothing wrong with that.
I'm planning on making a new foundry that can use pure O2 as an accelerant, as well as a glass blowing torch, not to mention cutting is probably the most common use of Oxy-Acetylene torches nowadays. I built an oxygen filling station for use with my foundry, as it seemed to be the easiest option to add when compared to regularly taking cylinders to a shop - that was the reason that I chose to add waste oil in the first place, filling/exchanging my propane cylinder every other time I use my foundry made it difficult to justify such a high cost to run my foundry as I was trying to learn how to melt metals aside from aluminum with any sort of efficiency. But now that I can use waste oil that I can acquire almost anywhere (I had something like a half dozen jugs just buried in my garage as I was cleaning it out) and can produce medical-grade O2 for just the cost of electricity gives me almost zero cost for fuel while producing much greater temperatures faster and even retaining the option to use high pressure propane just in case, I decided that it was time to step up my foundry. Since I was already adding the ability to fill infinite O2 cylinders, I decided that the Oxy Acetylene torch was a significant increase to my capabilities at a low cost comparatively. I found a HUGE acetylene cylinder that was already full for $100 (a quick search showed that it would have cost more just to fill this cylinder up if it was empty), so I picked it up. I then found a lot on OfferUp for 9 O2 cylinders (also already full, which was important to me at the time because while I had the filling station, I lacked the fittings to actually connect to cylinders), two mint medical regulators worth about $250 retail, and a cylinder cart for $150. Since my budget is so pathetic, I couldn't spring for a name brand torch/hoses/regulators (even used, people were asking about retail). Instead, I got a cheap Chinese clone kit As a result, I had complications that I've never heard of from name brand manufacturers. It took 5 total regulators to get a pair that worked correctly out of the box (One acetylene regulator seemed fine, but didn't display any flow pressure until it had already been open some of the way - it still showed 0 when there was actually like 3-5 PSI going through it - which is SUPER dangerous with such unstable explosive gas. If I hadn't been so careful, there's a good chance that this website never happened. My acetylene cylinder is the second largest consumer size available as far as I can tell - 225cu-ft - and totally full, My entire house, me included, would have been only a memory. But I was careful and followed every safe operating procedure. The seller was very helpful and ended up just refunding my entire purchase of the whole kit and told me to go ahead and keep it all, but asked if I could send them a video of the malfunction to fix the issue. Of course I obliged. I don't want anybody getting hurt as a result of my being lazy. I then bought the cheapest regulators with Prime shipping (about $20-25 each). It took two more tries to get the perfectly working regulator that is currently on my setup. The Acetylene regulator only needed one from a different seller to work perfectly. So now I had the torch (which has one cutting and 3 welding tips), 15'grade R hose, tip cleaners, and five defective regulators (still good for parts, plus tearing them down will greatly help me understand how they work) all completely for free. A set of working regulators for $40-50. I bought a set of flashback arrestors too - can't be too cautious when it comes to safety working with explosive gasses). Finally the cylinders (one massive acetylene, and 9 assorted O2) filled with their corresponding gasses for $250 (though I will be able to recoup some of that cost by selling the medical regulators and cylinder cart that came with the O2 cylinders. Not to mention, I don't need so many O2 cylinders in general, so I can recoup even more of the cost). But it was quite the inconvenience dealing with the whole regulator mess, and it could have been FAR worse than an inconvenience. So if you're in the market, I HIGHLY suggest you just buy a reputable brand and be done with it. Especially if you need it for work or a project on a tight time frame. Personally, I'm very drawn to the Victor EDGE line. I almost picked up a liquid propane EDGE regulator that was on a great sale, but was $0.82 short, and by the time I got that into my account the following day, the sale was gone... along with my dream of owning one of those sexy edge regulators (their actual function is even better than their form, but I guess I'm just a shallow guy - it was the looks that hooked me. I guess I can only hope that I'm ready the next time there's a sale on one that I want. Though there's plenty more than just the one that I need. Between my O2 filling/use stations, glass blowing torches, and using pure O2 with my foundry, there are plenty of applications where I still need regulators/fittings and would REALLY like some quick couple connections, but don't technically *need* them. Though they would save a good deal of time and effort in their use with the O2 station, foundry operation, glass blowing torch(es), I would like to add a mini (jeweler's) Oxy-Acetylene torch in as well - and quick connect couplings would be useful in every application. Especially on the ones with different thread types that could instead all be connected to universal plugs, especially so with O2 connections - using inappropriate couplings with fuel gas can lead to premature degradation of the seals, but improper couplings used in an O2 line can result in spontaneous combustion.