Rex Price's "T-Rex Burner"
(T-Rex Burner shown with optional revolving choke. Slider above is standard.)
It was pointed out to me by a dear friend that my words below may be misunderstood if they are not read carefully. I need to make one point very clear before you proceed. When I make glowing remarks about this burner being "state of the art", etc., I am most certainly not referring to burner technology found in high tech industry, but instead "state of the art" so far as the home forge and foundry operators, and small independent businesses, are concerned. If you look at the miserable burners found on most commercial forges, some of which will not even reach forge welding temperatures, my point should be clear. The burner I am describing below is light years ahead of the burners on any commercial forge I have seen, such as those for sale by Centaur Forge, and others, and well advanced over what most blacksmiths have built for their own use. There are burners available from the various air amplification technology companies that easily eclipse this burner, but you will be paying a great deal more for them too. This is most definitely not new technology, but having burners of this quality and performance level easily available to the home forge or foundry operation at a reasonable price is. Please read my comments below within the framework that I intended them to be interpreted. Thank you.
Note: Rex now has a web page devoted to the various burners he is producing. From there you can access his burner/forge troubleshooting page, or a burner price sheet page. I suggest you read through my page here first however, as it has a lot more information specific to the T-Rex burner. After reading through this page, if you are interested, go to http://www.hybridburners.com/ for further information.
My Personal Evaluation
I am so impressed with this burner that I felt it deserved its own page so that I can describe its properties and options in full. However, I do not sell these burners, and will refer you directly to Rex Price's web page, the machinist who is responsible for the superb design, and who machines these precision burners in his own shop in Georgia. This page is intended to provide a critique of this new burner, and my personal endorsement of it. The name "T-Rex" is very appropriate for this burner. The burner is truly the top of the food chain, the "baddest" burner in town, the king of beasts, much like its namesake who lived 65 million years ago. The greatest endorsement I can give the T-Rex burner is to say that I am switching my two gas forges over to use these burners just as soon as Rex is able to get them shipped to me. I can't wait to see what they will do when installed in my big four burner forge. :-)
Note: I have only had time, due to my recent 5 month illness, and subsequently to the construction of my "dream shop," to install and use one T-Rex burner on my four burner forge. It is rather amazing how different it is from the "Reil" burner it replaced. My four burner forge could easily run with only two of these burners, and would probably be hotter than I can achieve with the four Reil burners running, and would use less fuel too. I doubt I will install all four of them on this forge as it would be a waste of two burners. I would never use more than two of them, and only rarely more than one. As to my Mini-Forge, I am permanently installing one of the "Shorty" burners in it, which is discussed at the bottom of this page, and which now has its own page.
I am elated to, at long last, be able to provide a source for top quality forge and foundry burners. Even more, these burners are what I consider to be the finest forge and foundry burners easily available anywhere in the world today to the home operator. Rex took the information I have posted about the Mongo series of burners and designed the ultimate burner, which he has named the "T-Rex Burner." It is in-fact a hybrid design Mongo burner because it uses the air intake porting that would normally be found on a 1-1/4" diameter Mini-Mongo burner, and combines its massive intake suction power with the smaller and more universally useful 3/4" diameter Micro-Mongo burner tube. The result is a hybrid Mongo burner that will fit into any burner mounting designed for the standard 3/4" burner, but this burner has a far greater output, approaching that of the much bigger Mini-Mongo burner. The most amazing aspect of this burner is its fuel economy. It was tested against a "Reil" burner, and was found to use no more fuel, but produced higher temperatures in the test device. Apparently this is due to the efficiency of the fuel/air mixing, and the ability to instantly tune the burner to a perfect neutral flame at any gas pressure setting, thus obtaining the maximum burn temperature possible. This was a totally unexpected. The burner now comes with a sliding choke sleeve, and stainless flared nozzle, as standard.
The technology that Rex has employed is not new, it is a jet ejector burner, but the way in which he has put it all together into this "super-burner" is. This burner is not made of "off the shelf" plumbing parts, but is a finely machined precision tool that has been thoroughly thought through and tested. When I received one of the burners for testing, I was initially impressed by its weight. It is rock solid, no thin sheet steel or cast iron fittings. The intake assembly is all turned and milled 1018 steel, providing an axially true adjustable jet, fitted with a replaceable Tweco 14T tip. The tip is replaceable, not because it will ever wear out, but to allow you to change the jet orifice diameter easily, if you should ever decide to alter the operational properties of the burner....not recommended.
The operational characteristics of the burner are outstanding, but are also different from most burners of this type. When I first hooked up the newly arrived production version "T-Rex Burner" in my test jig, adjusted my regulator to 3 psi, slid the flared nozzle to a reasonable exposure of about 3/4", opened the choke and tried to light it, it refused to light! I am familiar enough with propane burners that I knew the cause, but it was still a surprise to me. Usually by adjusting the gas pressure down to the lower end of the range it will allow easy lighting of a burner, but not this time. I then closed the choke down to leave only about 10% of the intake port open, and this time it lit immediately. I quickly learned that the gas pressure and choke must be coordinated together with this burner, due to the tremendous intake suction the burner creates, and which creates such an air blast out the burner nozzle that it will blow away the flame, no matter where the the nozzle is set if you do not have it choked properly.
I continued to experiment with the burner, and after about 5 minutes I was very comfortable with its "touchy" operation. You have to learn how to control all that power the huge intake assembly makes available to you. I found that I was able to instantly crank up the pressure to "jet engine" levels, and while doing so, smoothly adjust the choke to maintain a stable and neutral burn. This applies clear across its operating range, which for me was zero gage pressure to 30 psi, the limit of the two gages on my test jig. There was no tendency to blow out the flame once I understood how the choke and gas pressure had to be operated in relation to each other. As to the nozzle flare, its tuning is almost irrelevant because you can easily tune the flame for any operating pressure with the choke and still maintain a stable flame. I initially set the flare at 3/4" of overhang, and adjusted it a little bit back and forth, but found that anywhere between 3/4" and 1-1/4" worked fine. It was not at all critical, so no careful tuning will be needed with this burner. To say the least, I am very excited about using these burners in my forges.
The air induction ports are long milled slots, providing the necessary cross-sectional area to allow the burner to draw in all the air that its advanced design is capable of. Simple drilled round ports would limit the intake volume, creating an artificial BTU limit far below what the burner is capable of delivering. The BTU output is now limited only by the frictional coefficient of the 3/4" burner tube, a parameter that can't be altered or improved upon. In other words, this burner is constructed to operate up to the full theoretical design capacity, or output, that the burner is capable of.
The standard T-Rex comes with a sliding choke sleeve, shown above the burner in this image. I found this "slider choke" worked very well, and in fact produces a better shaped flame, but was not as convenient for me as the milled quarter turn revolving choke that is in place on the burner in the image. The revolving choke is no longer offered as an off the shelf option, but can still be orderd on a custom basis. I like the revolving choke option because of its instant and convenient adjustability. Also, it will not accidentally slide down the intake assembly when you release the thumb screw lock like the slider can. Both chokes will function well however, so what you are buying with the revolving choke is convenience. Since making the revolving choke requires a lot of time, it is not cheap to produce, and the price is not listed on the price sheet page. You will have to e-mail Rex for a quote.
There is an additional concern associated with this burner that I need to advise you of, actually two of them. Although I am switching over my forges to use these burners, and they will all be fitted with stainless flares, these burners easily can generate enough heat to melt stainless steel nozzle flares if you run the burner up into to its upper range. Melting and collapse can be controlled to some extent by proper positioning of the nozzle flare in the outer layer of Kaowool in your forge. However, even with these precautions you can easily damage or destroy the flare. The first signs of nozzle distress is usually the appearance of little sparklers in the burner flame, caused by the flare deteriorating and flaking away. Maintaining a slightly reducing flame will help prevent this. The only sure prevention is to keep the heat down below the destruction point of the stainless flare, or use of a ceramic nozzle, which we are working on, even as this is being written. Until we have a ceramic nozzle source, you will just have to be aware of the problem and be careful.
The second concern relates to safety. These burners are capable of extraordinary temperatures, and this poses all the normal dangers associated with high temperature tools, including "flash burn", which is normally only associated with arc welding. If your forge temperature remains in the lower yellow range, you will probably be fine, but if you crank up the heat into the upper yellow-white range, you may be subjected to strong UV radiation. So, please read the safety warning comments I have posted at the top of the Mongo Burner section of my Design Page....better safe than sorry, especially where your eyes are concerned.
This burner will find application in virtually any forge, melting furnace, and even in heat treating ovens. Its smooth adjustability and controllability, from little more than a cigarette lighter flame at zero gage pressure in my test jig, to its jet engine output at 30 psi, gives this burner broad application in almost any high temperature propane fired heating device. I consider this burner to be the ultimate achievement in atmospheric burner development for the home forge and foundry community. We have come a long way since the "Reil and EZ-Burners" first came on the scene. I don't expect to see this burner bypassed any time soon, if ever. I think it would be fair to say that this burner does not represent the cutting edge of burner technology in the home metalworking community, it is the cutting edge.
I will close with these comments. This is a top of the line burner in every way, the best available anywhere for the back yard operator. For the guy who demands the best, and who wants to get the most out of a given tool, this burner is the clear choice. You will not do better anywhere, hands down. Yes, it costs more than building yourself an off the shelf plumbing parts "Reil or EZ-Burner," but the difference between them is like the difference between night and day. This is a superb tool, so if you are looking for the best naturally aspirated jet ejector burner you can get, one that is designed specifically for forge and foundry work, this is it. Enjoy!
Another burner in the developing T-Rex family of burners is the "Shorty Burner." This is a scaled down version of the T-Rex, and has application in some locations where the T-Rex is too big, or just not convenient. Have a look at the Shorty Burner Page if you are interested in a miniture version of the T-Rex. For additional burner models not discussed here, please visit Rex's burner page linked just below.
Go to Rex's Burner Page for
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Page By: Ron Reil
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©Golden Age Forge
28 Oct 01