Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?
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  1. #1
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    Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Hey, if I change from a 100% argon gas. To a mix with helium, will the weld beads look different?

    Does anyone have before and after pictures of welds with straight argon compared to blends with helium. Any links etc?

  2. #2
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    First picture is with 100% argon. The second picture is 100% helium. I’ve never used a blend of argon, and helium.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    First picture is with 100% argon. The second picture is 100% helium. I’ve never used a blend of argon, and helium.
    100%
    Hmm...

    seems easier than building a Y mix setup...

    for once in a while /small job..
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  4. #4
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Careful. Inverters don't like to start with 100% argon. At least for my dynasty.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    100%
    Hmm...

    seems easier than building a Y mix setup...

    for once in a while /small job..
    With 100% helium, it takes about half the AMPS, as with 100% argon.

    Quote Originally Posted by TJS View Post
    Careful. Inverters don't like to start with 100% argon. At least for my dynasty.
    I’ve never had that problem with my Dynasty 300.
    Don’t pay any attention to me
    I’m just a hobbyist!

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  6. #6
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    I likely wouldn't use it on thinner metal. The value is more heat. Dynasty 280 DX struggles with 5/8" thick material on argon. It takes a while to puddle, allowing things to get nasty, and drips flow to the back side. With 5 CFH of helium added it puddles very quickly, welds cleanly, and I can weld the other side with only a quick scrub with a stainless brush. I had trouble with the end of a weld melting the corner away adjacent to the weld. When it is a clean 90 degree edge to be ground smooth it can be hard to preserve the crisp edge without helium.

    It enhances a 280 amp welder to 350 amps equivalent.

    Willie
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  7. #7
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    100%
    Hmm...

    seems easier than building a Y mix setup...

    for once in a while /small job..
    Helium is expensive. Too much of it is wasteful. My Y set up was a Y fitting equipped with valves, an extra hose, and regulator. My helium tank is a trade in. I had a tank of tri mix for stainless steel MIG. It didn't work near as well as TIG so it gathered dust. If you do any thick aluminum, such as castings, you'll love it.

    Willie
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  8. #8
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    With 100% helium, it takes about half the AMPS, as with 100% argon.


    I’ve never had that problem with my Dynasty 300.
    Could not get it to start for the life of me until I mixed in some argon. I do not have "blue lightning" my Dyn 300 is 2006
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  9. #9
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    100%
    Hmm...

    seems easier than building a Y mix setup...

    for once in a while /small job..
    for really thick stuff ya but I think I'd wanna use ac and mix it. Last time I checked the price of helium it was like 150$ to fill it. Now I pay 70 for argon. It sure would last a while since it's only for aluminum

  10. #10
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by TJS View Post
    Could not get it to start for the life of me until I mixed in some argon. I do not have "blue lightning" my Dyn 300 is 2006
    Good reason to use a "Y" fitting and blend.

    Can you up your start amps?
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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  11. #11
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Good reason to use a "Y" fitting and blend.

    Can you up your start amps?

    Yes I played with that as well. I just gave up and mixed it for that particular job I had. Sorry not to highjack.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    I have used a 50/50 helium argon mix for thicker stuff. I liked it so much I started using it anytime I have a lot of AL to do. It is hotter. It also wets out better and seems to weld cleaner with a shinier bead.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Propanehotrod, thats the answer i was looking for.

  14. #14
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    I likely wouldn't use it on thinner metal. The value is more heat. Dynasty 280 DX struggles with 5/8" thick material on argon. It takes a while to puddle, allowing things to get nasty, and drips flow to the back side. With 5 CFH of helium added it puddles very quickly, welds cleanly, and I can weld the other side with only a quick scrub with a stainless brush. I had trouble with the end of a weld melting the corner away adjacent to the weld. When it is a clean 90 degree edge to be ground smooth it can be hard to preserve the crisp edge without helium.

    It enhances a 280 amp welder to 350 amps equivalent.

    Willie
    Are you using "5 CFH" of helium through a helium specific regulator, or 5 CFH of helium through an argon/CO2 regulator? If the latter, you're using more like 15-20 CFH.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Gas Flow Calculation

    Flowmeters are calibrated for a specific gas (e.g. nitrogen for the RTA). To calculate the flow rate of another gas, multiply the reading by the ratio of the conversion factor or the desired gas to the conversion factor for the calibration gas. For example on the RTA (calibrated for nitrogen), if the indication is 200 ml/min and the gas is Argon, the actual flow rate is 200 * 1.443=288 ml/min. GAS FACTOR
    Nitrogen 1.00
    Oxygen .996
    Argon 1.443
    Air 1.00
    Helium 1.454
    Water Vapor 0.817

    https://engineering.dartmouth.edu/mi...libration.html

  16. #16
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Are you using "5 CFH" of helium through a helium specific regulator, or 5 CFH of helium through an argon/CO2 regulator? If the latter, you're using more like 15-20 CFH.
    The helium regulator has two scales, one for helium, the other for argon. You are correct, helium passes through a regulator much easier than argon, little atoms.

    Willie
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  17. #17
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    Gas Flow Calculation

    Flowmeters are calibrated for a specific gas (e.g. nitrogen for the RTA). To calculate the flow rate of another gas, multiply the reading by the ratio of the conversion factor or the desired gas to the conversion factor for the calibration gas. For example on the RTA (calibrated for nitrogen), if the indication is 200 ml/min and the gas is Argon, the actual flow rate is 200 * 1.443=288 ml/min. GAS FACTOR
    Nitrogen 1.00
    Oxygen .996
    Argon 1.443
    Air 1.00
    Helium 1.454
    Water Vapor 0.817

    https://engineering.dartmouth.edu/mi...libration.html
    Yup, seen this before. Doesn't work for welding flowmeters

    Quote Originally Posted by rahtreelimbs
    Found this thru a Google search. Does this mean that since Argon and Helium are very close in numbers a flowmeter for Argon would work for Helium?
    I would venture to say that is incorrect, in general. That might be specific for that Dartmouth RTA thing, but look at this Miller flowmeter. Not that 10CFM of argon (well the ball location that is), is about ~23 CFM of Helium. Now I see why people, including Jody, say you just barely have to crack it open and float the ball above it's seat; it's a heck of a lot of flow, probably due to density differences.

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  18. #18
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    I'm anxious to give my bottle of 75 Argon 25 Helium a try on aluminum.

    Been to busy to do any testing.

    Wondering if the added energy will require going to a water cooled torch??

    On my Lincoln SW200 the stock #17 torch can reach its limits just on Argon. I do have a #26 torch that I can switch to if doing lots of welding maxed out but wondering if going to Argon/Helium mix will go beyond what it can handle.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    The added energy is in the arc, it's a more efficient thermal conductor, not a better electrical conductor. Same amps, just runs hotter in the weld pool.

  20. #20
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    Re: Tig aluminum with helium blend? Better looking welds?

    50/50 argon helium works great on aluminum. Very nice looking shiny welds on inverter or transformer. HE50 is the mix and cheaper for me than straight argon. Run about 30cfh give or take depending on what my setup is. Very fast welding, great for production, works on thinner material. Even if it was more expensive I would still use it, once you get the hang of it you won't go back. Be ready to move fast!
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    Last edited by Jawslandshark; 07-19-2017 at 02:20 AM.
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