Convert Your Backyard Foundry To Propane! (“Gas Blaster” Propane Torch)

Turn common plumbing materials into a metal melting propane torch, and instantly convert your “flower-pot” foundry, to propane.

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Two different friends that let me study the propane torches they made from designs found on the internet. After experimenting independently, I developed the two designs into this hybrid.

WARNING: Propane torches are not toys, and must be treated with caution and respect. Flames can reach temperatures upwards of 2,000ºC, which is well above the melting point of hobbyists. Working with power tools poses risks of personal injury. This project should only be attempted with adequate knowledge and training, and under constant adult supervision. Have fun, but always think ahead, and remember that any project you try is at YOUR OWN RISK.

Project History & More Info:

A year after I made my charcoal foundry (, a friend named Chris came by to visit, and to show me a foundry he’d made out of a propane tank, and refractory cement. His was more expensive to construct, but was made to last longer, and he powered it with propane instead of charcoal.

He said the burner plans he followed were the common “Ron Reil” design, which for some reason I had never heard of. He hadn’t tested his foundry yet, so I got one of my brass ingots and a crucible, and we fired it up.

I was amazed that in just over 2 minutes, we’d completely melted the brass ingot, and there was no charcoal dust flying around, no mess inside the foundry, and we didn’t have to stop and keep adding more fuel every 5 minutes. This rekindled my interest for backyard metalworking, and I decided right there that I needed to have a propane conversion, and a new foundry.

I bought the plumbing parts from Home Depot with intentions to build the torch, but they just sat on my worktable for months as I worked on developing other projects first.

After a considerable amount of time, a young man named Shadrick came to my house with a group of other boys who were interested in seeing some of my projects. Shad noticed the plumbing parts on my table and asked if I was making a propane burner, and I said I intended to but hadn’t got around to it. To my surprise, he let me know he’d made a propane foundry himeself and had been using it to forge steel, melt aluminum, and make knives for over a year.

Shad was good enough to let me spend a couple hours at his house seeing his foundry in operation, then let me borrow his burner assembly to study it in my shop.

I noticed his assembly was completely different from the one Chris had, and since I really didn’t have much idea of how propane burners worked at all, I was interested in reverse engineering the science behind it.

In experimenting, I realized that the purpose of the burner was to mix certain amounts of fuel and air to achieve the hottest temperature possible, and the cleanest burn.

I played with different lengths of tubing, and stumbled on the realization that by controlling the air-flow through the intake port, I could adjust the flame completely, and use any length of pipe I wanted. I also noticed that without a nozzle on the end, the burner wouldn’t work.

I quickly developed some prototypes for an air regulator design I made from the lid of a tuna can, and it worked perfectly!

My final design was a hybrid of the two systems, with most of the plumbing parts based around the Ron Reil assembly, and the rest based on the connections I saw on Shad’s system.

I was going to build a new foundry, designed to last longer than sand and plaster, but when I realized the propane torch worked just fine in the mini metal foundry I made before, I decided there was no need. And considering so many people have already made the plaster foundry, this simple propane burner gives the option of switching the foundry between propane, or charcoal, with no modifications required.