BIU > Company Info > Instructions and Care
Instructions and Care
Electric Branding Irons
Fire Heated Branding Irons
Propane Branding Irons
Cattle Branding Irons
BBQ Steak Branding Irons
Taking Care of Your Branding Iron
Electric Branding Irons
For branding in countries with voltages other than 120V, 60 Hz (U.S. voltage), an appropriate voltage converter must be used without exception.
The appropriate voltage converter is determined and offered by our sales representatives.
USING AN ELECTRIC BRANDING IRON
Plug voltage converter into your outlet, plug temperature control unit (TCU) into voltage converter then plug the branding iron into the TCU.
Branding in a ventilated work area is recommended.
To Prolong the Life of Your Branding Iron
Be sure your Head (or slotted head) is firmly attached to your heating tool. This will ensure good heat transfer for best branding results.
Using a temperature control unit for branding any material will prolong the life of your branding iron.
Practice Makes Perfect
It is imperative that you practice on scrap pieces of the material(s) you intend to mark before branding your actual items. This will provide you the opportunity to find just the right degree of heat for your specific application(s) and will help you become proficient.
DOs and DON'Ts
Be sure to read Hexacon's DOs and DON'Ts file for good pointers on how to properly use and maintain your new electric branding iron. You can find it available here in PDF form.
Using your branding iron in conjunction with a
temperature control unit (TCU):
- Branding in a ventilated work area is recommended.
- Make sure the scrap pieces and items you intend to brand are smooth, flat and dust free. Then set them on a flat, smooth and clean heat resistant work surface.
- Plug your temperature control unit into a 120 volt electric outlet (or into a voltage converter when required) and plug your branding iron into your temperature control unit (TCU).
- Make sure your branding head (or slotted head) is firmly attached to your branding iron and is resting on the stand provided or on a heat resistant, safe surface that cannot catch fire.
- For leather and plastic, turn your TCU up to 50% and for wood turn it up to 70%. Wait approximately 20 minutes to heat up your iron and head or slotted head.
- Test by applying the heated head (or slotted head) to a scrap piece for one second or so and check out the mark. If too light, turn up the TCU knob to a higher setting and if too dark, turn knob down to a lower setting. Dwell time (i.e. the length of time you keep the head in contact with the surface of the item you’re branding) can vary, depending on the material you are branding and on temperature conditions in your work area.
- Practicing on your scrap pieces and adjust the TCU until you find the optimal heat setting for your specific application.
- The next time you are ready to brand additional items, if temperature conditions have changed or if your work area is drafty, you may find it necessary to slightly adjust your TCU accordingly.
Note: It takes longer for the iron, head (or slotted head) to cool off than to heat up.
Detaching and Reattaching Branding Heads to an Electric Iron
The following procedure is intended only for those who have multiple branding heads designed to fit in the Hexacon Electric Irons. Otherwise there is no need to disconnect the head from the iron.
A channel lock or adjustable wrench
- When the head and iron have cooled off, wrap the head in a rag to protect it from nicks and scratches.
- Place the wrapped head in between a vice and tighten to the point where it is secure. Do not over tighten. Make sure the iron is upright and that the entire hexagonal barrel is above the vice jaws and accessible.
- Wrap the second rag around the hexagonal barrel. Adjust your channel lock or adjustable wrench to fit around the hexagonal barrel and tighten.
- Turn counter-clockwise until the iron is loose enough to turn by hand.
- Disconnect iron from the head and remove head from vice.
- To reattach the head to the iron, screw it in by hand clockwise as tight as possible.
- Wrap the head and place it in a vice with iron upright as in step 2.
- Wrap the second rag around the hexagonal barrel and adjust channel lock as in step 3.
- Turn clockwise until secure, without using excessive force.*
*It is important that the head is securely attached to the iron. This ensures good heat transfer and prolongs the life of the iron.
WARNING: TO AVOID BURNING OUT YOUR ELECTRIC BRANDING EQUIPMENT,
READ THE FOLLOWING:
DO NOT CONNECT YOUR ELECTRIC BRANDING EQUIPMENT TO THE VOLTAGE CONVERTER (whether purchased from us or elsewhere) UNTIL YOU VERIFY THE VOLTAGE READING BY TAKING THE FOLLOWING STEPS:
- BEFORE plugging any piece of electrical equipment into the voltage converter -- Plug the voltage converter into an outlet, on its own.
- Using a Voltage Meter, Check the voltage output from the 110 Outlet located on your voltage converter. We recommend the use of a Digital Voltage Meter for a more accurate reading.
IMPORTANT: The Voltage Meter reading should NOT EXCEED 120-VOLTS.
If the reading EXCEEDS 120-VOLTS it could burn-out your branding equipment.
You may want to consult a local licensed electrician or obtain a more suitable Voltage Regulator for your area and repeat steps 1 and 2. If you cannot resolve the voltage issue please contact us before you using your branding equipment.
If the voltage reading DOES NOT EXCEED 120 Volts, you can proceed to use your branding equipment. Be sure to follow all enclosed instruction pamphlets, including our BRANDING INSTRUCTIONS & CARE tri-fold included in your packaged order.
Basic Operating Instructions
- Make sure that the transformer (voltage converter) switch is "Off"
- On the back of your transformer, you will see an "Input Voltage Selector". Make sure that you plug it in to the option that fits the voltage of the country that you are located in.
- The transformer cord is fitted with a North American Plug. If you are operating this transformer outside of North America, attach the plug adapter included with your transformer to the North American Plug.
- Plug the transformer into a wall electric outlet.
- Plug your branding equipment into the transformer-Make sure that you plug it into the correct side. (110 Volt socket.)
- Turn on the switch of the transformer.
- Turn on the switch of the branding equipment.
If the Transformer does not work, check the fuse at the back of it. If it is burnt, replace it with one of the additional fuses included with your transformer.
All of our converters include a 1 year parts and labor warranty as well as a 30 days replacement warranty
D. P. Model Branding Irons – Irons for use in drill presses:
When using a D.P. model branding iron, you will need to either remove the safety switch of your drill press or unplug it.
- Inset the shank of the D.P. iron into the chuck of your drill press and secure in place by tightening the chuck.
- You will need to use your drill press quill only, for lowering onto and raising off the items being branded.
- Be sure that the damper arm on the drill press arm is working properly. The arm should not snap back or cause any vibrations.
- Follow all other instructions provided above for handheld irons.
- If you would like, you can create a set-up on your drill press table, just be sure that it is level. This will ensure that every item will be marked exactly in the same spot. It will also increase efficiency.
CAUTION: Do not exert additional force beyond the springs maximum compression. Doing so may result in damage to your branding equipment.
Fire-Heated Branding Irons
- Before placing head over open flame, make sure rod (with handle) is tightly screwed into your branding head.
- Be sure to use thick gloves.
- Some practice on scrap pieces of the same material to be branded is required for increasing proficiency.
- The length of time for holding the head over open flame can vary, depending on a few factors such as how close you hold the head over the flames, the head size, the material you intend to branded and how dark you wish the mark to be. Dwell time on the item being branded may vary from one application to the next, as the head will gradually lose heat. If branding multiple items, it may be necessary to reheat the head and results may vary, depending on the degree to which the head is reheated.
Propane Branding Iron Safety Instructions & Care
Using the Branding Iron for the First Time
Out of the box, the P-1000 Propane Branding Iron needs adjustments before it can be used. The branding head is pressed up against the burner for shipping purposes. When not in use, the branding head can be in this position for compact storage.
To adjust the branding head to proper branding position, take the following steps:
- Choose a flat, level surface and, over it, proceed to remove all packaging materials from the branding head.
- Rest the branding iron on your chosen flat surface, to ensure the branding head will not fall to the floor and possibly get damaged while you’re making the necessary adjustments.
- Using the included hexagonal wrench, loosen the two black hexagonal screws which hold the branding head in place. Do NOT unscrew them completely.
- Slide the branding head away from the burner so that the back of the branding head is about 2 inches away from the burner opening.
- Tighten the two black hexagonal screws till the branding head is firmly in place. Do NOT over-tighten.
- Your P-1000 Propane Branding Iron is now ready to use. Review and then follow branding instructions below.
-- When you are ready to use your P-1000 Propane Branding tool, carefully read these Instructions & Care information pages from beginning to end. We recommend that you do this before each branding session, especially if those sessions would be few and far between, until this marking method becomes “second nature” to you and/or another trained user.
-- Select a well ventilated space that is a safe distance away from any source of ignition, flame or flammable materials.
-- Make sure you are mindful of your surroundings. Remove any objects that may melt or catch fire, as this tool’s burner flame widens when it hits the back side of the attached branding head, which also heats up to high temperatures. (Flame temperature can be about 700° F)
-- Keep children, mentally challenged people and pets away from your selected work area.
-- Take every precaution to ensure safe use of this branding tool, by following all the instructions included throughout these Instructions & Care pages.
What you will need:
Hexagonal wrench (included)
20 lb. liquid propane gas cylinder/tank
26mm wrench or adjustable wrench
Flint striker, long lighter, long match or another safe igniting device
Brick or similar burn-proof flat object, on which you can rest the hot branding head
Connecting the P-1000 Propane Iron to a Propane Source
The P-1000 includes a Sievert Pressure Regulator 3091. Use of a pressure regulator reduces the cylinder pressure, allowing a safe and consistent gas flow from a standard 20 lb. steel LPG (liquid propane gas) cylinder/tank, commonly used for BBQ purposes.
- Place the regulator in contact with the propane cylinder valve.
NOTE: The regulator connector has a left-handed thread, requiring counter-clockwise tightening.
- Slip the connector nut onto the propane cylinder valve thread, then turn counter-clockwise.
- Using a 26mm wrench, an adjustable wrench or another suitable tool, tighten the nut to a firm connection.
Lighting the Propane Branding Iron
Before attempting to light your branding tool burner, once again, be sure you have chosen a safe and well-ventilated work area (see Preparation above).
Check for leaks (see Leakage Checklist below) and be sure to follow safety precaution at all times (see Safety Information below).
- Set a brick (or similar object) on your chosen melt & burn-proof flat work surface, on which to rest the branding head while heating it up, during a branding session, and while the branding head cools down.
- Check to see that the adjustment knob on the burner is completely closed, by turning the knob clockwise till it stops turning.
- Open the propane cylinder valve until it stops turning.
- Hold the Propane Branding Iron away from your body and in a safe direction. Then, slowly turn the adjustment knob counter-clockwise, an approximately quarter-turn. Listen to hear the propane gas flowing out the burner.
- Due to air trapped in the propane hose, it may take a few seconds before only propane starts flowing through and out the burner.
- Using a safe ignition source (flint striker, long match or lighter) carefully light the propane flowing out the burner.
Heating the Branding Head
• At this point, set the lit branding tool down, with branding head resting on the brick (or similar burn-proof flat object) for approximately 10 minutes, to allow the branding head to heat up to a branding temperature.
NOTE: Heating time may vary, depending on branding head size, space between head and burner, flame intensity, and weather conditions.
Prevent Accidents -- Do NOT leave branding tool unattended.
- Before branding your products, test-brand sample pieces of same material, to see if your branding head is at an optimal branding temperature for your application. For lighter or darker/deeper marks, adjust the burner flame intensity and/or the dwell time (length of time branding head remains in contact with the surface of your sample piece or product being branded).
NOTE: After each adjustment, allow a few minutes for branding head temperature to stabilize.
- Dwell time is an important factor to consider. The longer the dwell time, the darker and deeper the mark will be. After finding a good dwell time, it can still vary from one branding session to the next, depending on burner flame intensity, material type and its humidity contents, as well as change in weather conditions. Typically for wood, dwell time would be about 2-8 seconds.
- Based on the outcome of step 1 and 2, proceed to brand the products that need to be marked.
Extinguishing the Burner Flame
When you are finished branding your products, follow the following procedure to extinguish the flame.
- Turn the burner adjustment knob clockwise until it stops and the flame is gone.
- Close the propane cylinder valve until it stops turning.
NOTE: The flame may be extinguished and the tank is shut, yet the hose is still filled with propane.
- Turn the burner adjustment knob counter-clockwise about a half-turn. You should hear the propane gas escaping from the burner.
- When you no longer hear gas escaping through the burner, turn the adjustment knob clockwise until it stops (To the OFF position).
- At this point, the branding head is still very hot. Let the branding head air-cool for at least 1 hour before attempting to touch it. Make sure others, including pets, do not have a chance to accidently touch or come in contact with the hot branding head. Do not leave your branding tool unattended.
- To check if the iron is still hot, steadily and gradually bring your hand closer to the branding head, making sure you do NOT touch it. With your hand carefully hovering over the branding head, feel for heat waves rising from its surface. If you feel no heat rising, the branding head is most likely cool enough to touch. NOTE: Using a heat-resistant mitt or glove is recommended.
Changing or Switching the Branding Head with Another
Before attempting to detach the branding head, be sure the branding head is cool.
- Rest your branding tool on a flat and level surface (same work surface you have used for heating up the branding head is fine), to ensure that the branding head will not drop down to the floor or ground (and possibly get damaged) while detaching it.
- Using the included hexagonal wrench, loosen the two black tightening screws that hold the branding head in its branding position, till the grip no longer restricts the two rods from sliding.
- Hold the branding head and pull it away from the burner, until the two rods slide out and are no longer connected to your propane branding tool.
- Put the detached branding head aside, kept attached to its two rods. Choose a secure storage place, free of sharp objects (to prevent nicks and scratches). Proceed to slide the two rods of your other BIU Propane Branding Head into your branding tool rod holes located in the rod holder (labeled “Branding Irons Unlimited”).
NOTE: Our propane branding heads always include two rods that perfectly fit into the holder of your P-1000 propane branding tool.
- Adjust the spacing between the back end of the branding head and the burner opening to about 2 inches apart.
- Tighten the black screws to a firm grip with the hexagonal wrench (provided). Do not over-tighten.
- Your P-1000 Propane Branding tool is now ready to be used. When you are ready to brand, review & repeat the instructions on these pages, while observing all safety precautions.
Before you attempt to light the burner of your P-1000 Propane Branding tool, check for any leaks from the cylinder itself (your propane source), as well as any that may be between your propane cylinder and your branding tool burner.
To check for leaks, follow the following steps:
- Close the adjustment knob of your branding tool burner.
- Open the propane cylinder valve slowly.
- Brush or spray the connections with leak spray or a soapy solution (soapy water).
- Look for leaks which will occur as bubbles.
- If bubbles occur, close the gas cylinder valve. Check all connections for tightness and/or damage.
- After making any necessary adjustments, repeat the process from step 1 until no leaks are detected and no bubbles form. If leaks persist, contact the appropriate distributor for further assistance.
- Always shut off the gas supply by closing your propane cylinder valve.
- Never use your cylinder valve or regulator as a handle to lift the tank. This may break the connections or damage the tank.
- Always change and set your propane cylinder upright, in a safe place outdoors, away from any source of ignition such as naked flames, lit pilots, electric wires and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.
- Never check for leaks with a naked flame. Use soapy water or leak-detecting spray only.
- If you discover or suspect that there has been a leak, you must be extra careful and evacuate the gas by adequate ventilation. LP Gas is heavier than air and can easily accumulate in trenches, poorly ventilated spaces and below ground level.
- Never try to repair or modify a defective regulator yourself.
- Always have the propane gas cylinder standing upright.
- Never leave your P-1000 branding iron unattended, with a flame-lit burner and while branding head is cooling off.
- Be mindful of your surroundings. Do not use your P-1000 branding tool in poorly ventilated spaces and around objects that can catch fire or melt.
- Keep the propane hose a safe distance away from the flame-lit burner and hot branding head.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy whenever using your P-1000 Branding tool.
- Do not leave your branding tool unattended. Make sure others, including pets, do not have a chance to accidently touch or come in contact with the hot branding head.
Electric Cattle Branding Irons
Do Not let the Branding Iron come in contact with water, mud, dirt, sand or ashes.
When heated, keep away from any flammables and materials that can catch fire.
These Branding Irons Intended for Branding Only Cattle and Horses. Do Not Use for any other branding purposes.
- Clip any access hair off the area where the animal will be branded.
- Use the appropriate team of people for this task.
- After plugging in the Branding Iron, allow 90 seconds for it to reach the proper temperature.
- Dwell time is about 10 seconds. Branding head needs to be held on the animal with moderate pressure, until the surrounding skin turns a dark copper color. Dwell time may vary, depending on weather conditions, animal breed and/or age.
BBQ Steak Branding Irons
Heating the BBQ Steak Branding Iron
You need to make sure that the branding irons are hot enough for the brand you desire (different food materials require different heat amounts, see Test Branding below). While these Steak Branding Irons are actually designed with gas grills in mind, they can be heated up with a grill (charcoal or propane), a campfire, on the stove (gas is best), a propane torch, etc. The iron needs to get very hot to mark most items so it is a good idea to use caution.
Different types of food require different amounts of heat. The first time will probably not be perfect. That is why we recommend testing the iron out a few times on a similar surface you wish to brand to get the hang of it. After a few times, you should get a good sense of how long the iron needs to be heated and how long to hold it down on the item.
Choosing Where to Brand
Finding the right spot to brand is an important step. You want to find an area that is as flat as possible. Choosing an area that is uneven will result in an uneven brand. You will want to find an area that is also as consistent as possible. For instance, on a steak, you will want to brand on an area that is mostly meat and less fat as the fat tends to brand differently.
Take the well heated branding iron and place it firmly on your branding spot. Keep the branding head on the surface and do not lift during the process. The amount of time you leave it on the steak will be dependent on how hot the iron is and the material you are branding. We have found, that a well heated iron can mark a steak in 2-5 seconds, however, results will vary.
Cleaning a BBQ Steak Branding Iron
Simply wash with soap and water after each use. The high-grade stainless steel will last for many years and will not rust.
Taking Care of Your Branding Heads
Branding Materials that Melt
Cleaning Brass Heads used for branding plastics, rubber, wax and other materials that melt.
During the course of branding, if you find that there’s some material build up on your head, or after you are done branding for the day, keep your head connected to the iron and rest it on its stand or on a heat resistant surface.
Turn your temperature control unit to 100%; wait a few minutes until residue burns up. Turn off your temperature control (or, should you wish to continue branding soon after you clean your head, turn down your temperature control to a low percentage) and wait unit the head cools off.
Important: It does take longer for the head to cool off than it does to heat up.
If necessary, pick up your handheld branding iron by the handle and gently run it across a sheet of 400 grit metal sandpaper.
Branding Wood & Leather
Cleaning Brass Heads used for branding leather, wood and other similar materials.
Usually branding these materials does not leave residue on the head unless the items you’re branding have already been treated. Suggestions for cleaning heads used for branding materials that melt apply to your head(s) as well.
Branding Food Items
Cleaning Stainless Steel Heads used for branding food items
During the course of branding food items, if necessary, a clean damp firm but non-abrasive pad can be used for removing food residue.
After you have finished branding for the day, you can either hand wash your head, using a firm but non-abrasive dish washing pad with warm water and soap or you can put your head on the top rack of your dish washing machine.
Storing Your Branding Heads
When not in use, keep your branding head(s) wrapped in a soft, lint-free piece of cloth. This will help prevent your head(s) from getting nicked or scratched.
Electric irons should be unplugged until you are ready to use them again.
Remember to remove the cloth wrapped over your head before plugging in your iron and turning on your temperature control unit.
Removing Paint Residue from Your Branding Head
To remove paint residue from your branding head, after it cools off a little, try using a brass wire brush with fine bristles. When your branding head cools (room temperature) you can try using a paint removal solution.
DOs and DON'Ts
Be sure to read Hexacon's DOs and DON'Ts file for good pointers on how to properly use and maintain your new electric branding iron. You can find it available here in PDF form.
For further customer assistance, please call (818) 576-1101
© 2013 Branding Irons Unlimited. All Rights Reserved.