Buy A Henrob?

Potential Henrob buyer asks: "The plans arrived last week, I am ready to start building but I haven't purchased the oxyacetylene torch yet.
Big question is: "Is the *Henrob* (sp?) worth the dollars asked?   I've never seen anyone around here using one, they build just fine with regular industrial names, small size, though. What do you other builders use?"

Third Party answers:

You answered your own question, "nobody" uses the Henrob because it doesn't weld any better than a conventional torch and its big and clunky to boot. Victor, Harris, Smith, Meco all make fine aircraft torches.

Victor is least preferred IMHO because they don't have a good tip for welding 0.035 walltubing. which is unfortunate since so many homebuilt aircraft require just this size tubing.The OO is too small and the O is too big. I use either a MECO Midget or Aviator Jet. I especially like the MECO "N" tips because they are very resistant to popping and have the "soft" flame.

You can bore the N tips to whatever size you want, too. I had one drilled to #73 (number drill), just ideal for 0.028" tubing. Victor and MECO are both subsidiaries of Thermadyne Corp., BTW

I tried the Henrob when I was at Osh a few years back when it was being demonstrated under the welding shelter.  It *was* easier to weld with than a conventional torch, although the pistol grip was a little awkward depending on the situation. 

The gas velocity was much less, and it put out a lot of heat for the flame size, and  because of the low velocity flame you could make a big puddle and it wouldn't blow through as readily.  It seemed to bring the weld area up to temp very quickly.  I would say it was easier to weld with for someone starting out. 

After practicing with a Smith torch for a while and getting fairly good at it, I found the difference in ease of use to be less of an issue, and after a while I figured the high price of the Henrob may not be worth it if all I was doing was welding tubing.

The guy demonstrating it did an impressive job welding aluminum pop cans and welding up a cast iron exhaust manifold using an old piston ring as filler...  an impressive gadget, just maybe not worth the several 100$ in extra cost if you take the time to master a regular torch and you just want to weld up a fuselage.