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Thread: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

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    Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    When I was at my LWS the other day I got a price on a 25/75 mix - ~$240 for the tank and $30 for the gas. The tank was described as an "RO" size. I haven't been able to get a clear description of the size, but I believe RO is 125cu ft?

    At the moment I only have DC TIG, but down the road I'd like to get AC for aluminum.

    I've read a few posts/threads around the 'net and most people that post up about tanks/sizes have some perspective on the larger tanks being the ones to upgrade to or go to off the bat because they have more gas and the refills are overall more economical.

    Just starting out and looking in to trying out TIG the RO tank at the LWS is way bigger than I'd like to have around - its about 4ft tall, maybe taller.

    What are your thoughts? I'd like to get a small tank, mostly for the storage and portability of it, but I don't want to short change myself much.

    Is there a mix of gas that would be best to go with? 25/75? 100%? I've heard guys going to helium also. All I'd be trying TIG with for now would be steel (might try alum on some scraps just for the heck of it, but I realize its not a viable process = not recommended). With alum in the future would that change up the gas much? Or maybe at that point swap tanks/type of gas?

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    100% argon... is all you need for almost everything. There are needs for mixes, but for the most part 100% argon.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    If by 25/75 you mean 25% CO2 and 75% Argon, then you definitely can't use that to TIG weld, at all.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    If by 25/75 you mean 25% CO2 and 75% Argon, then you definitely can't use that to TIG weld, at all.

    Reason I was there was to get some rods so I didn't have gas on my agenda, other than to ask about it - which I did. That 25/75 mix is what the guy recommended - and with the information that I had DC Tig and wanted to try it. So I suppose I am not sure why they would make that recommendation if that mix can't be used with Tig?

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Ok so you that guy is not so bright. Argon for Tig.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFishn View Post
    So I suppose I am not sure why they would make that recommendation if that mix can't be used with Tig?
    Simple, he just doesn't know. Good thing you didn't buy it.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFishn View Post
    That 25/75 mix is what the guy recommended - and with the information that I had DC Tig and wanted to try it.
    Let me guess: Airgas?

    Argon or helium for tig, or a mix of those two and nothing else.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    FYI, the 25/75 gas is for MIG welding.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    I live 20 miles from a fresh tank. I only run out on a Sunday. When I started learning TIG I went through a number of 330 CF tanks of argon. These days I don't get a year out of a tank. Here, I can't buy the big tanks, I can only rent them. It is a PITA to stop a project mid way to find time business hours to get a fresh tank, therefore I don't do it more often than necessary.

    Zap talks about having several big tanks of each variety, I think that might be too rich for me.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Let me guess: Airgas?

    Argon or helium for tig, or a mix of those two and nothing else.
    I wanted to weld stainless. Manager at Bennington Airgas sold me stainless mix for MIG. He assured back purge could be any gas. He was wrong.
    Later, he said about the same about TIG stainless. He was wrong.

    ALL TIG needs argon. When you can't manage the power needed (I think aluminum BIG stuff) a mix of a bit of helium boosts the power of your machine.

    In my youth I heard of Heliarc welding. Helium gas, sine wave 60 cycle power was used to weld aluminum & magnesium & alloys. Based on the items I saw finished product it was amazing.

    Now, nobody can afford helium. 50 years they have developed welders that'll do as well on argon as primative welders did on helium. We make do with argon until argon won't do. Then we mix a bit of helium. It is amazing how well it works.

    I once needed to weld 5/8" thick aluminum with 280 amp max. I tried helium mixed about 3 to 1 with argon. Joints prepped to a knife edge one piece, square edge the other, probably open root 75 degree bevel welded beautifully! I welded from each side. Second side had almost no smuts to clean up where the first had been welded.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFishn View Post

    I've read a few posts/threads around the 'net and most people that post up about tanks/sizes have some perspective on the larger tanks being the ones to upgrade to or go to off the bat because they have more gas and the refills are overall more economical.

    Just starting out and looking in to trying out TIG the RO tank at the LWS is way bigger than I'd like to have around - its about 4ft tall, maybe taller.

    What are your thoughts? I'd like to get a small tank, mostly for the storage and portability of it, but I don't want to short change myself much.
    I started out with a 125CF bottle for TIG and found I went through it too quickly and traded it in on a 330....the difference to fill one is only about $20 more for the bigger bottle that has almost three times as much gas. A 125 is right at 4ft tall. I have an 80CF for when I want to take my smaller machine mobil, or bring it into my basement (rather than my shop building) but it doesn't take long to empty an 80CF at all, and it takes up the same amount of floor space as a 125 does....similar diameter, just shorter. I can't imagine getting anything smaller than an 80 and can't even imagine having to live with that small a tank as an only tank.

    As a hobby welder a lot of my projects are on weekends when the gas suppliers are closed, so I keep at least two 330s of everything on hand...one runs out and I have plenty of time to swap it out while I use the other.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    I started out with a 125CF bottle for TIG and found I went through it too quickly and traded it in on a 330....the difference to fill one is only about $20 more for the bigger bottle that has almost three times as much gas. A 125 is right at 4ft tall. I have an 80CF for when I want to take my smaller machine mobil, or bring it into my basement (rather than my shop building) but it doesn't take long to empty an 80CF at all, and it takes up the same amount of floor space as a 125 does....similar diameter, just shorter. I can't imagine getting anything smaller than an 80 and can't even imagine having to live with that small a tank as an only tank.

    As a hobby welder a lot of my projects are on weekends when the gas suppliers are closed, so I keep at least two 330s of everything on hand...one runs out and I have plenty of time to swap it out while I use the other.
    Yup, even a small TIG project will use up a lot of argon, especially with a lot of starts/stops that use pre/post-flows
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    tig and mig, sound alike, i think better chance someone wasnt speaking or hearing clear. when i phone places in the midwest/south, sometimes i have hard time understanding cuz of there accents.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    If both of you were wearing masks inside the store, it is entirely possible for confusion to set in since like 123 said, TIG and MIG sound similar.

    100% Argon for nearly all TIG.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    ALL TIG needs argon.
    You can TIG with 0% Ar (and 100% He) but it'll cost you a small fortune (and you won't get as much shielding, since the He tends to float away fast). This is how Heli-Arc was originally done.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    You can TIG with 0% Ar (and 100% He) but it'll cost you a small fortune (and you won't get as much shielding, since the He tends to float away fast). This is how Heli-Arc was originally done.
    A non welder who worked at General Electric described the process as being done in a cabinet similar to a sandblast cabinet. I will assume items too big for the cabinet were done too.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    You should be certain about the number of cubic feet. Many cylinders are offered for sale in this country that are not legally owned by the seller. They are rental tanks, or ones that have gone out on long term lease. They are still owned by a company. You can get badly burned buying a rental tank, as no one will refill it and in some cases they can even get repossessed right in front of you.

    Certain sizes of cylinders, however, are never leased or rented. In particular, the 92 cubic foot and the 150 cubic foot cylinders are always owner tanks and thus are completely safe as there is no question of their pedigree. 125s, however, are often rented/leased. You can save yourself a lot of grief and worry if you never buy a 125 and instead buy 150 or larger.

    And you should learn how to measure a cylinder. The height of a cylinder is measured from the ground up to the base of the valve. It does not include the height of the valve or the cylinder cap. The easiest way I've found to measure the diameter of welding cylinders is with two smallish roofing type squares. Hold them together with your hands and you can measure just like calipers.

    I own a triplet of cylinders that I use for most purposes now, with an old school gas mixer. I own a 100 lb. CO2 cylinder and 330 cf cylinders of argon and helium. I can mix the argon and CO2 from C25 down to C2. Here they are on a little dolly I made for them - metalmagpie


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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Pretty simple. Blank or Customer Owned on the neck ring are safe to purchase if you know anything about tanks you can do it successfully every time.

    The 150's are great up until when they don't have a 150 to exchange with what you want in it then your customer owned 150 gets worthless pretty quickly. Yea they might fill it but usually means coming back to pick it up.

    The 250's are hard to come by in customer owned around here anymore. You have to order a month in advance and then they send grind offs 9 times out of 10.

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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    Quote Originally Posted by metalmagpie View Post
    You can save yourself a lot of grief and worry if you never buy a 125 and instead buy 150 or larger.
    Sorry, but you simply can't give this sort of blanket advice and have it be true everywhere. There are some areas where ALL 125s are considered owner bottles, regardless of how they are marked. All of the local shops in those areas have agreed that they only sell 125s, not rent/lease them, so they will all fill any 125 that comes in the door (assuming a good test date, etc). Some areas you can't buy anything bigger than an 80....no 92, or 150 options at all.

    The only safe, accurate advice anybody can give about tanks is to tell folks to talk to the shops in their area and find out the facts, not a guess from someone on the internet.
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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    I have 2 local suppliers and you can buy a 3 foot tall bottle from 1 and the other will sell you a 4 foot tall bottle.

    I suggest you get the biggest bottle you can purchase as 4 or 5 yearly rentals covers the whole price anyways. If you want easy portability, get 1 of each bottle as constantly filling small bottles gets expensive.



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    Re: Argon or other shield gas for getting started with TIG?

    The small bottles are convenient for portability, but you'll probably want more than one. As a hobbyist I started with 2 - 42cf tanks of argon for welding aluminum with mig. All I had at the time was a spool gun setup and it worked. Then I got into tig welding and found I was going through those little bottles fast. So fast that my supplier ran out of the 42s so I got upgraded to an 80 and a 125 because that's the only sizes they had available at the time. Luckily it only cost me the gas price for those cylinders. I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than an 80 because you don't get a cap to protect the valve so transportation instantly gets more risky.

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