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Old 04-28-2013, 09:35 PM
Nate Lagler Nate Lagler is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Emmaus, PA
Posts: 302
Default Cobra (Henrob) vs. Smith AW1A

For some reason I have an itch to get a new torch setup. The one I use now is my Dad's. No name on it and it was just always there so it is what I used. When I get my own shop I'll need one so I'm thinking about what to get. The two I'm looking at, but not limited to, are the Cobra or the Smith AW1A, mostly got those from looking around on here. I guess what started all this is that I'm also looking at an air acetaline torch for soldiering and noticed that the Cobra comes with a tip for that also. The air acetaline kit I'm looking at, Prest-O-Lite (which we use at work very often)
presto lite.jpg
comes with 4 different tips, so I'm wondering if the Cobra is really this magical all in one wonder tool?? Hopefully some can offer advice based on experience from actual use. I think I might be cheaper getting the prestolite and aw1a and just getting some tips as I need them...
-Nate Lagler
Instagram: @natelagler
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:50 PM
Richard K's Avatar
Richard K Richard K is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN or On the Road
Posts: 1,130

Regardless of which torch you chose you shoul get two-stage regulAtors. They make either torch into a great tool. The two stages can maintain 2 to 5 psi gas pressures. A single stage reg may be able to set the pressure at 2 or 3 psi but the moment you light the torch any regulation less than five psi is not going to be reliable.

I have both torches and both are good with two stage regs. The conventional torch is a lot lighter and easier to handle in my opinion.
Richard K
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:57 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Madera,Ca. Home of Yosemite
Posts: 6,058

I have the cobra and like it.
If I weld Al. I use my tig though.
2 years ago at the Santa Cruz meet Jerry Kirkpatrick was there selling and demoing the DMC (cobra) he layed down the nicest weld on Al. That I have ever seen. Even Ron Covell was amazed. Later I found out he used to weld for Carroll Shelby.
Rick Scott
The second mouse gets the cheese!

Last edited by HEATNBEAT; 04-30-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:23 PM
longyard longyard is offline
MetalShaper of the Month September 2013
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 1,083

Rick is right. The key to success with the Cobra is a rock steady 2 stage regulator. Old regulators can have age-hardened diaphragms, btw. I have a Cobra/Henrob/Dillon, but as much as I've tried to like it over the years, I find it too chunky for my hand, and maintaining the low pressure is too difficult.

My favorite torch is a Purox W-200, it's similar to a Victor J-28. These two torches were standards in the aircraft industry to weld both steel, and aluminum. The Purox fits my hand nicely and feels "natural".

The right torch is the one that works for you. I would try them out before buying. Cobras are often sold at car shows. The Carlisle import show is in a couple of weekends and last year there was a dealer there. Try his.
Bill Longyard
Winston-Salem, NC
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 AM
Mark Fox's Avatar
Mark Fox Mark Fox is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Melbourne,Australia.
Posts: 525

Hi Nate. Check this one out also
$39.50 plus post. I have one not bad at all.It is a small torch. They used to be made in the off shore. The company has been going a long time.

Last edited by Mark Fox; 04-29-2013 at 04:09 AM. Reason: forgot to add something
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:18 AM
idickers's Avatar
idickers idickers is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 203

I have the Dilon/Henrob Cobra, and like the flame, but find it too heavy. I picked up a Meco Midget and a set of light weight hoses from, and love it. The Meco is flexible; in addition to welding thin sheet metal, I found with a neck extension and a #7 tip I can also use the torch for welding or heating thicker metal.
Ian in Rochester, NY
M2 site
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:29 PM
scranm scranm is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 279

dagger sells a real nice torch also. I have used it and I'm impressed with it.
Craig also sells the low pres reg also

Last edited by scranm; 05-02-2013 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:00 PM
John Buchtenkirch John Buchtenkirch is offline
MetalShaper of the Month October 2012
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Glen Cove, Long Island
Posts: 1,649

I loved the way my Dilon Cobra torch welded but I always found it to be awkward to use and it places your knuckles too close to the hot weld. Lately Iíve been using the Meco Aviation-Jet torch with a Kent White extra flexible hose. Itís light and a joy to use with Kentís hose. Because the adjusting valves are spaced 180 degrees apart it will lay on its back nicely with the flame going straight up, somewhat of a safety feature in my book. The down side is the Aviation-Jet and itís tips are only available used although some new stuff does turn up on eBay at times. ~ John Buchtenkirch
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:15 PM
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tdoty tdoty is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winchester, TN
Posts: 1,327

I love my DHC torch. It has its quirks, but it does the job nicely. I've always gas welded with low pressure, no matter the torch, 7-psi or less for both oxy and acetylene.

John, I have an Aviator Jet too, but the only tip I have for it is a cutting torch! I have not been lucky enough to run across any tips for it. Bought the torch 12-years ago at a yard sale for $15, always wanted to be able to use it for welding.
Tim D.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:32 PM
Dutch Comstock Dutch Comstock is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 189

Nate, I have been welding about 55 years. I originally learned on conventional torches of different brands and have always have been able to weld with them. After learning to use the Henrob I have switched to it for torch welding and soldering. You have to hold it in a way which seems to be awkward but once you get used to it it is easy to use and does nice work. I also have my original torch which I use for heavy cutting and the use of the large rose bud tip for heavy cutting. It will only be picking what you like and as you grow you will then pick favorites. Dutch
Dutch Comstock
926 Shells Bush Road
East Herkimer,N.Y. 13350
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