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Thread: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

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    New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Hello I have used smaw in the past and it doesn't require gas so this aspect is new to me. My local gas supply has some for 60. Nothing special just the 2 guages and hose. I have also seen some with the tube and ball. I will only be running straight argon. I thought about a mix but I read that it would make my consumables go super fast and might effect the tungsten tip.

    Is there a reason not to buy used? I saw a few on marketplace and Craigslist for 30 to 40 bucks. What should I look for if I do or even if I don't? Any brands to stay away from?

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Probably not what you want to hear, but more expensive flowmeters save gas by reducing surge upon start. Most cheap azz flowmeters are dual for mig and tig. A specific tig flowmeter has an output of 25/30psi and every time the solenoid opens you don't surge huge amounts of built up pressure in the hoses. Mig specific flowmeters have to pass gas through longer lines and more obstructions and have an output pressure of 50/80psi.

    I save the cheap azz flowmeters for secondary purging jobs. And I couple my Victor tig flowmeters with low volumn hoses for my everyday tig use. One flowmeter is this one with the part number 1425 with 25 being the output pressure is one I use.https://www.ebay.com/itm/20345628294...MaAmljEALw_wcB

    I get my gassaver hoses from Netwelding.com
    http://netwelding.com/prod02.htm
    Last edited by shovelon; 07-10-2021 at 07:49 PM.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    I second the gas saver hose, not cheap but worth the cost.
    Ernie F.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    To add what shovelon posted, most inexpensive flow meters are set to deliver the gas at 50psi. When you hit the pedal or open the valve you get a pretty big blast of argon for the first second...it's annoying and wastes gas. Most of the better flow meters deliver the gas at 20-30PSI and don't give that big blast when you first start. They also tend to be more accurate and can be fixed if something goes wrong (dropped).

    I've used some of the cheap ones off Amazon and regardless who you buy them from, they seem to be the exact same product. They work, but I've had two out of maybe a dozen that had to go back because they had some sort of internal leak the instant I hooked them to a tank. Luckily returns are easy. Even the "Victor" branded ones you find for around $60 in most welding shops are actually the same product, made in China, in a nicer package.

    I've had really nice flow meters from most of the big names, but the one I have on all my machines now is a Harris 355....it's a 20PSI unit, made in the U.S. and you can rebuild them or get repair parts if needed. They're only a bit over your budget at $119 shipped from Amazon.

    https://www.amazon.com/Harris-310020...5965668&sr=8-2
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    To add what shovelon posted, most inexpensive flow meters are set to deliver the gas at 50psi. When you hit the pedal or open the valve you get a pretty big blast of argon for the first second...it's annoying and wastes gas. Most of the better flow meters deliver the gas at 20-30PSI and don't give that big blast when you first start. They also tend to be more accurate and can be fixed if something goes wrong (dropped).

    I've used some of the cheap ones off Amazon and regardless who you buy them from, they seem to be the exact same product. They work, but I've had two out of maybe a dozen that had to go back because they had some sort of internal leak the instant I hooked them to a tank. Luckily returns are easy. Even the "Victor" branded ones you find for around $60 in most welding shops are actually the same product, made in China, in a nicer package.

    I've had really nice flow meters from most of the big names, but the one I have on all my machines now is a Harris 355....it's a 20PSI unit, made in the U.S. and you can rebuild them or get repair parts if needed. They're only a bit over your budget at $119 shipped from Amazon.

    https://www.amazon.com/Harris-310020...5965668&sr=8-2
    Harris is good too. The fact that repair parts are available is plus.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Thanks ypu guys confirmed what I thought about the cheap ones. Any reason not to pick up a used one?? Hear are a few that I've been looking at on fb marketplace. Name:  Screenshot_20210711-081321_Facebook.jpg
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    Last edited by PainfullyBonded; 07-11-2021 at 09:17 AM.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    While I value the opinions of all the guys above, I take a different point of view. For the home hobby guy, argon waste is not a material cost. I use these: https://www.amazon.com/AGPTEK-Regula...6017810&sr=8-3

    If you are welding a couple of hours a week, save the money and get the $30 flow meter. The floating ball is also usually more accurate than most dial gauge type flow meters.
    Miller Multimatic 255

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    While I value the opinions of all the guys above, I take a different point of view. For the home hobby guy, argon waste is not a material cost. I use these: https://www.amazon.com/AGPTEK-Regula...6017810&sr=8-3

    If you are welding a couple of hours a week, save the money and get the $30 flow meter. The floating ball is also usually more accurate than most dial gauge type flow meters.
    I don't really care about the argon waste with those cheap flow meters, but the 50psi blast of gas at the start is annoying.

    I've had to send two (out of around a dozen) of those cheap flow meters back because they had some kind of internal leak...that doesn't give me faith they're going to reliable for the long haul. I've read many other folks experience the same thing, so it tells me they don't test them even though they have a sticker on them like a QC process. Flow meters get dropped and damaged pretty regularly and you can't get parts for the cheap ones, so that's another strike. Being made in China is yet another strike. Saving a bit of gas is just icing on the cake for me.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by PainfullyBonded View Post
    Thanks ypu guys confirmed what I thought about the cheap ones. Any reason not to pick up a used one?? Hear are a few that I've been looking at on fb marketplace.
    I can't imagine spending $80 or $100 on a used/unknown flow meter when you can buy a new one for the same money. None of the ones you listed are what I would call popular for TIG welding.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    I can't imagine spending $80 or $100 on a used/unknown flow meter when you can buy a new one for the same money. None of the ones you listed are what I would call popular for TIG welding.
    +1

    Get one with the ball indicator...they're way more accurate, and no more expensive IIRC. Amazon sells them from $25 on up.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    I can't imagine spending $80 or $100 on a used/unknown flow meter when you can buy a new one for the same money. None of the ones you listed are what I would call popular for TIG welding.
    What would be a popular reliable one for tig. I've been researching and a lot of these 30 Amazon ones tend to have Flowmaster that explode. Or maybe they don't know what there doing. Idk. I was thinking finding a victor used and talking him down to maybe 50

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    A Victor regulator came with one of my new Thermal Arcs. Pretty certain that one was made in China.

    I replaced it with one of the generic flow meters from HTP ((USA Weld). Most likely the same as the Amazon ones.


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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    These days it's hard to find stuff not made in China! Personally I don't care where it's made, but how. Reliability and quality come first in my eyes. Then I ask myself is it overpriced for what I'll be doing with it. For me it will mostly be off-roading vehicle repairs and hobby.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by PainfullyBonded View Post
    What would be a popular reliable one for tig. I've been researching and a lot of these 30 Amazon ones tend to have Flowmaster that explode. Or maybe they don't know what there doing. Idk. I was thinking finding a victor used and talking him down to maybe 50
    The Victor 1425 that shovelon linked earlier, and the Harris 355 that I linked are two of the most highly regarded flow meters for TIG. One is 25psi output and the other 20psi, but that's not enough difference to worry about. I've used both and would be equally happy with either one.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Thank you all so much for sharing your education and experience with me to help me not pick a dangerous cheap regulator and injure myself.
    Name:  B1xj5RKQ2IS.jpg
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    Now I'm torn between the victor edge 2, victor 1425, and Harris 355. What are yalls thoughts on the edge 2? It seems to have great reviews.
    Last edited by PainfullyBonded; 07-12-2021 at 05:05 PM.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    https://www.qualitymachineandtorchrepair.com/ I worked for a welding supply company for 17 years in Bowling Green, KY. We used these guys. They backed up their work. We would add 15% + shipping, resell the rebuild. From time to time, customers would not come get their stuff. We sold it at cost, just to get rid of it. Ask for Alan.
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    (615) 726-5282 Eric Sam I am
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Another vote for gas saver hose, noticeable difference will be seen .
    Magazines have issues, everything else has problems

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    I'm not suggesting you buy these but just thought I'd toss it out there.





    https://www.ebay.com/itm/233916102726?_ul=CA

    Have to admit they are economical.


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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by PainfullyBonded View Post
    Thank you all so much for sharing your education and experience with me to help me not pick a dangerous cheap regulator and injure myself.
    Name:  B1xj5RKQ2IS.jpg
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Size:  120.9 KB




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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    I don't think cheap and quality are spelled the same?
    Magazines have issues, everything else has problems

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by pepi View Post
    I don't think cheap and quality are spelled the same?
    LOL

    Seriously though the terms are often used together when requiring an unfamiliar item or product for the first time. Lack of info or research usually leaves the buyer with "cheapest" as his obvious choice.

    I've been guilty of this once or twice


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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    but the 50psi blast of gas at the start is annoying.
    That can be mitigated and controlled to the absolute minimum. I use a simple " mini air regulator in-line and adjust the outlet pressure so that the flow does not surge and I can make it rise nice and slow with no over-shoot.




    I accidentally installed it backwards in that pic, but quickly fixed it. The only pre-caution that does need to be taken is to clean it out since you don't want the shielding gas to pick up hydrocarbons released from oil/grease. Disassemble, acetone wipe everything, soapy hot water bath, dry with compressed air, re-assemble, done.
    Last edited by Oscar; 07-13-2021 at 01:32 PM.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I'm not suggesting you buy these but just thought I'd toss it out there.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/233916102726?_ul=CA

    Have to admit they are economical.
    No much good without a regulator though.

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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    That can be mitigated and controlled to the absolute minimum. I use a simple " mini air regulator in-line and adjust the outlet pressure so that the flow does not surge and I can make it rise nice and slow with no over-shoot.




    I accidentally installed it backwards in that pic, but quickly fixed it. The only pre-caution that does need to be taken is to clean it out since you don't want the shielding gas to pick up hydrocarbons released from oil/grease. Disassemble, acetone wipe everything, soapy hot water bath, dry with compressed air, re-assemble, done.
    There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but I'd rather keep it simple and just buy something made in the U.S. that works the way I want from the start which can also be repaired if necessary as a bonus. If a good flow meter was hundreds of dollars I could see the extra effort, but all we're really talking about is the difference between something $30-50 by the time you buy the flow meter and mini-regulator and around $100.
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    Re: New to gtaw, argon regulator recommendations under $100

    Quote Originally Posted by danielplace View Post
    No much good without a regulator though.
    Yes. Prob good for someone who just needs to replace their leaking flow valve.


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