I decided to scrap the idea of using my ring burner shown in "part 5" of my conical fermenter series of posts. Instead, I started reading about home-built propane burners for use in small metal-working forges.
These sites were very helpful:
I decided to follow Mr.Zoeller's design, for which he was kind enough to post a PDF and provide great instructions.
I used an 1/8" NPT brass cap to seal the end of the 1/8" pipe nipple instead of a Tweco Mig tip. I drilled a .035" hole in the center of the brass cap after machining the sides and face smooth.
I used a 3/4" to 3/4" extender as a flare. I cut out the threads on the lathe, leaving a 1:12 taper on the interior surface. I tested the burner briefly before cutting the taper, and I'm not sure how much it really helped. I never tested it without the flare.
This is really a very good design. It can be built from parts found at any hardware store, and it only requires a couple holes to be drilled. The performance seems to be quite good. I do not have any other burners to compare it to, but I am quite pleased. It doesn't like to run at very low pressures. The flame will be drawn back into the tube, and it starts to sputter (as well as heat up the tube). Above 3 or 4 psi, it runs like a champ, and the adjustable air shutter is a critical piece. Without the air shutter, the flame is very lean and might blow itself out. I kept the shutter half-closed, and this seemed to produce a very neutral flame.
I fitted the conical with its valves and added 1 gallon of tap water. The burner is mounted by simply placing it between two short stainless pipes that I welded onto the frame rail. There is currently nothing holding the burner in place except gravity. I'll probably add a pin or strap to prevent the burner from accidentally falling.
I achieved a full rolling boil in 20 minutes (1 gallon of water). I started out fairly low with the gas pressure, and gradually increased it, as I saw nothing bad happening.