Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?
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  1. #1
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    Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    OK, I recently acquired a Lincoln 3200HD with a 3M 9100 Utility Speedglas helmet and want to get started welding. My experience is very limited, but to start with, I want to equip my machine with gas and am trying to figure out what size tank I should have and then whether I should do refills or exchanges. I don't really want to buy a new tank and then exchange it for some old beat up full tank. So, can I just find a used tank to exchange? What do I have to look for in a used tank that I want to exchange? Do they care about inspection dates on exchanges?
    If I do refills, can I only get it refilled at the place I buy the tank?

    I am going to do very limited welding, so I don't really think I need a real big tank. Would the 20 cf tank be good enough or should I go with something bigger?

    Any suggestions and advice would be much appreciated. Once I get this step covered, I am sure I will be back for more answers.
    Thanks,
    Bruce

  2. #2
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    As for what size tank you need,as large as you can conveniently move around and use. It cost's near the same to buy or fill a 20 and 40 cf tank. I would think 40cf shouldn't be cumberson at all and an 80cf would be good if it's on a cart.
    As for questions about who,what,which,how and where to buy cylinders or have them filled/exchanged,vary's wildly from one part of country to another. You need to ask people only in your area about filling/exchanging tanks. 90% of places can exchange on the spot but require leaving tank for up to 2 weeks for refill. Call around to suppliers and ask your questions,what we do here is meaningless where you live.

  3. #3
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?


    esox07


    Quote Originally Posted by esox07 View Post
    I don't really want to buy a new tank and then exchange it for
    some old beat up full tank . . .

    . . . Any suggestions and advice would be much appreciated . . .

    Once I get this step covered . . .
    You have taken - 'bottle trauma' to a new level - most, are concerned:
    with swap/exchange [Cert. Dates] valves, fill [your own bottle = really
    dumb
    ], travel, service [Dealer Rip-Off] - and the cost of 'the contents' -

    If you want your vessel to be pretty - I'd arrange flowers . . .


    Opus



    ps -

    'Once I get this step covered' . . . You don't have 'anything-covered ' -
    Read more & ask semi-informed ?'s -





    .
    Last edited by OPUS FERRO; 08-15-2019 at 03:17 AM. Reason: . . . secquance . . .

  4. #4
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    sequence ?

  5. #5
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?


    NathanDoty


    Quote Originally Posted by NathanDoty View Post
    sequence ?
    Unless you are Peter Dragon - stepping on your brains is embarassing . . .


    Opus

  6. #6
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    I was going to start with 75/25 for mig, but after checking locally they would only rent or lease smaller tanks to individuals....I believe the max was 40cf.

    I ended up buying a 20 gal CO2 tank and get it refilled for $20. You can get ~10-12 hours of welding from a 20 gal tank.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    For size a 80,125, or 150 gets my vote. FIRST , call your local suppliers and ask what their tank policy is. Every supplier is different. Buying a tank on craigslist is ok but many are out of certification. Your supplier may exchange it but charge you a recertification fee. Talking with supplier in your area is the best .
    Many people selling tanks want top dollar and you could buy from local supplier and have no issues .
    There are many posts about this if you do a search.

  8. #8
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Most important is to open a account first. Never walk in as a cash customer.

    Get at least a 125cu.ft.(1R) tank. Anything smaller and you will pay almost the same for a lot less gas. Find that second hand on Craigslist or something.

    Almost any 125 tank as long as the neck ring is blank or customer owned you can exchange. Most will not charge for a hydro test if you have an account with them.

  9. #9
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    +1 on using CO2. Find a used 20 lb CO2 tank...I find them around here for between $25 and $75 dollars. A new one from Amazon is $125 https://www.amazon.com/Cyl-Tec-20-CO.../dp/B00ICOKQMI

    a 20 lb CO2 tank delivers 177 cubic feet of gas, which is a LOT. Refills are super cheap, and you can get them at your local welding supply house as well as various brewing supply companies, soda companies, etc.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    another CO2 user here.

    You will need an adapter though:

    https://www.usaweld.com/Gas-Connecto...p/99910-ar.htm

    as Louie mentioned a small 20lb co2 tank yields around 174 CF of shielding gas.

    1lb Co2 = 8.74 CF gas

    set your gauge to 20 CFH (Cubic Feet per Hour) and you get 8.7 hours of welding.

    set your gauge to 15 CFH = 11 hours welding.

    If you buy a small mix cylinder of ar/co2 like the 20CF you mentioned : 20/15= 1.33 hours of welding.
    Last edited by Broccoli1; 08-15-2019 at 01:48 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    I don't really care much about how the tank looks. But, my point is that I don't feel like spending $140 for a new tank, only to trade it in. I would much prefer a used tank but am concerned as others suggest that I will have to pay a recert fee. I talked to one exchange place that said they would take them, but charge $25 for the recert fee....that sounds OK if I get the used tank cheap.

    I would consider going the CO2 route, but I guess I would just prefer the ease of exchanges and I don't really want to work with that big of a tank or have to worry about an exchange outfit not taking it even with the recert fee. I think 40cf would be enough for me and my very limited need to weld stuff. How would you guys go about finding a suitable used tank in the 30-60 cf range that I could use on exchanges? I am not finding much on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace in my area. Are there other sources I should check out?

    Brocolli1: Your link for the adpater didn't work for me.
    Last edited by esox07; 08-15-2019 at 01:41 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    That big of a tank? CO2 is an exchange too.



    20lb CO2 tank is about 3' tall.Name:  Unknown.jpeg
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  13. #13
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    What city are you in ?
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  14. #14
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    I fixed the hyperlink
    Ed Conley
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  15. #15
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    IF you want to avoid being frustrated, GO to local suppliers and buy tank from them . Then all you need to do is exchange. As suggested buy at least a 80. The larger tanks like 125 or 150 are only a few dollars more. You'll get more gas for your money.
    To fill my large 330 oxygen tank was $10.00 more then filling my 125 oxygen. Double the oxygen for cheap $$$$. Talk to your local suppliers.

  16. #16
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    IF you want to avoid being frustrated, GO to local suppliers and buy tank from them . Then all you need to do is exchange. As suggested buy at least a 80. The larger tanks like 125 or 150 are only a few dollars more. You'll get more gas for your money.
    To fill my large 330 oxygen tank was $10.00 more then filling my 125 oxygen. Double the oxygen for cheap $$$$. Talk to your local suppliers.
    Exactly, you can't go wrong with that. There are no universal rules that we tell you that your welding gas supplier has to follow. It all varies across the country. A lot of times, you can't even buy a new tank, it's just the same ol' beat up tank that gets exchanged all the time within that supplier. You're simply "buying a tank".

    If you go CO2, there is also a CO2-specific flowmeter that you can get, as opposed to getting an argon/co2 and then an adapter.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    You have mentioned that your experience is very limited. Don't you need to practice and learn how to weld on scrap metrial before you get to your projects? If yes, then you should take BD1 advice and get a larger bottle so when you are ready for projects your bottle is not empty.

    Also, for a non experienced welder, CO2 perhaps isn't the best choice since finding the sweet spot isn't easy, and that may frustrate you, maybe you should consider getting mixed gas.


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  18. #18
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Very true, C25 "behaves" much better than CO2 for beginners.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    I recently leased a 50lb CO2 tank for my mobile rig. It only costs $30 to fill it and if you do the math there is 437 cubic feet of gas in it. That's over 21 hours of welding at 20 CFH. You can't get much cheaper than that. If you have a machine with an inductance setting, you can dial CO2 in to run very similarly to C25. It's a no brainer to me.

    I can dial my Lincoln 305G in to make CO2 weld butter smooth.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Very true, C25 "behaves" much better than CO2 for beginners.
    Yep, C5 , 75/25 is what I prefer. It's great for artwork and is definitely cleaner. You're not gonna use that so I would definitely go with 75/25.
    The advice given is from many professionals that are informing you on what to get and how to save money.
    Many on Weldingweb have listened and practice what we say. I've had many say thank you after taking our advice. I did have a woman's husband stop by to see what she was working on. HE complained that she was spending TOO much money ! He laughed about and was impressed on everything she made

  21. #21
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Quote Originally Posted by esox07 View Post
    I don't really care much about how the tank looks. But, my point is that I don't feel like spending $140 for a new tank, only to trade it in....
    I see where the confusion is. A tank is worth a tank, really. 85% of the tanks I see for sale in my area by private owners, are being sold for the same price as if i bought them directly from the gas supplier. Rarely I'll see an old "garage find" deal that is discounted, but that's the exception.

    A "new" tank is going to get just as scraped up as a "used" tank. Both hold gas. Both can be certified. So by buying used, there's not really a discount unless someone wants to make fast money or if they don't know what they're worth.

    It's not like buying a used car where age, amount of use, paint condition, all factor into the price. By trading a "new" one in, you're not really losing anything. As long as it is certified to hold gas, it's worth a gas holding container's price. Simply said, a tank is worth the price of a tank.


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  22. #22
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Quote Originally Posted by esox07 View Post
    I don't really care much about how the tank looks. But, my point is that I don't feel like spending $140 for a new tank, only to trade it in. I would much prefer a used tank but am concerned as others suggest that I will have to pay a recert fee...
    Every place I've dealt with, the recert fee is built into the cost of the gas. In other words, if you trade in a brand-new bottle and get a bottle that only has a year left on its cert, and then you trade it back in after it needs to be recertified, they're not going to make you foot the bill for the recert. They're just going to swap out another full bottle for your empty bottle and charge you the same price, regardless.

    This applies for bottles that are "already in their system" but if you bring them some offbrand bottle that's out of cert, all bets are off.

    In other words, don't worry about it. It's like worrying about the age of returnable/refillable beer bottles.

  23. #23
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    Dunno why people have a problem with CO2 and not finding a sweet spot.

    Works fantastic for me. I started with CO2 when I had my little weldpak 100Name:  IMG_1474.jpg
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  24. #24
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    I don't know either. Wire feed speeds are the same as C25. Just add about 2 volts and it runs pretty darn close to the same....at least on inverter machines it does. I can't speak for transformers.

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  25. #25
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    Re: Gas cylinder size? Exchange vs Fill?

    at least on inverter machines it does. I can't speak for transformers.
    Runs great on my MM252 which is a transformer. Used to run pretty well on my HH190 before I sold it.
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