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Thread: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

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    Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Hello all and good morning
    I decided to post a new thread regarding Argon/co2 flow gauges. So a few hours ago I bought one of those cheap 30.00 flow gauges on ebay and having second thoughts. In the recent past I owned one of those high dollar Victor Medalist flow gauges, If I remember correctly the cost was some where over the 200.00 mark. Funds are tight and just looking for a affordable alternative and wanted to ask for recommendations on what to buy. Really would like to know if any one has experience in buying and using one of these inexpensive gauges Are they safe to use? at these tank pressures It's really a bit worrisome. any advise is greatly appreciated.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    You can get the "floating ball" flowmeters for not much $. They're better than the dual-gauge jobbies and not much different in price IIRC.

    If you want to calibrate them / check them, you can get a ball flowmeter tester on ebay for a few bucks.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    I agree
    All I use is the flowmeters floating ball type.
    But today I use Fluxcore no gas wire. I weld outside and gas will blow away.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by StandarDyne View Post
    You can get the "floating ball" flowmeters for not much $. They're better than the dual-gauge jobbies and not much different in price IIRC.

    If you want to calibrate them / check them, you can get a ball flowmeter tester on ebay for a few bucks.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    All of the low dollar ones with the floating ball in the glass tube have been fine for me. I bought them on Amazon. The ones HTP America have are good too. I think I probably have bought 4-5 of them over the past 10 years with all of the welders I have bought and sold. They all worked fine. https://usaweld.com/products/htp-ame...2415b17b&_ss=r
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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Same here, all of mine were "basic" units that came with my machines. Haven't had any issues with them. I'm sure they not as accurate as the other units, but I'm pretty sure the design is not too difficult to manufacture with decent accuracy consistency.
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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    From a safety standpoint I wouldn't be worried about the inexpensive generic flow meters you get on Amazon, eBay, etc....they're all pretty much the same. I've probably bought 10 of them in the past couple of years to go on welders I was selling. I've had to send two back because they had internal leaks, but the returns were easy (Amazon). I don't particularly like them for TIG because they're 50PSI output and I find that higher pressure blast at the start to be annoying (and wasteful).

    I really prefer the 20-25psi flow meters and the best combination of low pressure, made in the U.S., ability to get repair parts and price is the Harris 355 as far as I'm concerned....around $125 last time I checked. I also find them easier to read than some other gauges, so that's a plus.
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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    You write as though Medalist stuff is top end. It isn't. It's import junk from Brazil or somewhere.

    Buy used Victor or Harris.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    I like to but American when I can but the price still needs to be competitive. My oldest flow meter from the 80s work great but so does the Chinese one I got with and Everlast tig set up. I think in this case function is identical so cost should dictate the choice.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Well, I would like to thank everyone for your input and advise.
    I received my 30.00 Chinese made flow meter a couple days ago , got it all hooked up and adjusted and low and behold it didn't blow up and seems to work just fine,in a pinch, it seems to serve the purpose.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by Eelspike View Post
    I think in this case function is identical so cost should dictate the choice.
    The function isn't really the same and you can't get parts to fix them, so it's not apples-to-apples. For MIG there isn't much difference from a functional perspective, but for TIG it's very obvious. The cheap flow meters also waste more gas (because of the 50psi output) than the better meters so they will ultimately pay for themselves, or at least equal out the difference in price. That big blast of gas when you hit the pedal isn't free.
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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by Eelspike View Post
    I like to but American when I can but the price still needs to be competitive. My oldest flow meter from the 80s work great but so does the Chinese one I got with and Everlast tig set up. I think in this case function is identical so cost should dictate the choice.
    American made that would be competitive with China would be less quality I think if we even still make it at all anymore. American made is rarely ever really competitive with offshore made.

    You can't have wages and rules on industry like we have and compete with China and they know it so here we are making not much.
    Last edited by danielplace; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:10 PM.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    when this ebay find fails I'll maybe look into a pre owned Victor
    Last edited by jzr75601; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:30 AM.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    I think the Chinese are perfectly capable of making a quality flow meter and if people want to pay for quality materials and quality control, that's what they would get. But they don't - they want cheap, so they get cheap.

    [Not having a dig here, just using these comments for discussion.]

    The function isn't really the same and you can't get parts to fix them, so it's not apples-to-apples.
    Well, the function of the meters is the same - it is a question of whether or not they function properly. And who would buy parts to fix a $30 flow meter? That cheap means disposable.


    For MIG there isn't much difference from a functional perspective, but for TIG it's very obvious. The cheap flow meters also waste more gas (because of the 50psi output) than the better meters so they will ultimately pay for themselves, or at least equal out the difference in price. That big blast of gas when you hit the pedal isn't free.
    There are plenty of brand name (eg Victor, Harris) flow meters that are calibrated at 30psi and above and it is often a CO2 flow meter (or other high flow meter) that is calibrated at 50 to 80psi or more. It really doesn't cost any more to have a flow meter calibrated at 20psi than it does at any other pressure. I think that in this case, "cheap" means universal - it works with argon and CO2 and high and low flow rates, even if the torch is partially blocked.

    A good quality flow meter is a pleasure to use - it is consistent and easy (smooth) to adjust. A cheaper flow meter is not like that but it is still perfectly serviceable. The cheapest flow meters are crap, often with cast parts and threads that will never seal. Look carefully at what's on offer.

    Jack

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Lot's of really great comments and perspectives here. As a retired Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic I've always believed in and out of necessity purchased high quality tools be it SnapOn hand tools to power tools and everything in between, and of course back in those days every thing was American made.therefore my extreme apprehension in purchasing and using cheap tools.
    in retirement , I no longer have the luxury or need to splurge .
    Last edited by jzr75601; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:27 AM.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    [UOTE=Jack Ryan;8871891]I think the Chinese are perfectly capable of making a quality flow meter and if people want to pay for quality materials and quality control, that's what they would get. But they don't - they want cheap, so they get cheap.

    [Not having a dig here, just using these comments for discussion.]



    Well, the function of the meters is the same - it is a question of whether or not they function properly. And who would buy parts to fix a $30 flow meter? That cheap means disposable.




    There are plenty of brand name (eg Victor, Harris) flow meters that are calibrated at 30psi and above and it is often a CO2 flow meter (or other high flow meter) that is calibrated at 50 to 80psi or more. It really doesn't cost any more to have a flow meter calibrated at 20psi than it does at any other pressure. I think that in this case, "cheap" means universal - it works with argon and CO2 and high and low flow rates, even if the torch is partially blocked.

    A good quality flow meter is a pleasure to use - it is consistent and easy (smooth) to adjust. A cheaper flow meter is not like that but it is still perfectly serviceable. The cheapest flow meters are crap, often with cast parts and threads that will never seal. Look carefully at what's on offer.

    Jack[/QUOTE] Totally agree.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    The new Harris ones are the best and US made.

    If cost is a issue buy quality used instead of new convenient Chinese junk.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Rebuild kits for Victors are cheep and so are used regs with some looking. The usual part that fails on any welding regulator is the seat and they're simple to work on.

    I found this out buying a pile of SR 450 OA regs and HRF(multiple numbers) flowmeters at auction cheap because they were leakers and got lifetimes worth of hardware for less than scrap price. I even use an SR 450 on my BBQ grill after the stock cheapie died.

    BTW instead of using a dual flowmeter for purging I run a tee and two meters so if one gets damaged I can swap it out rather than have downtime for both. We figured that out in welding school where students can smash a bowling ball with a feather.

    Given that I'd not hesitate to buy a used Victor flowmeter because if it leaks it's so easy to fix in a few minutes.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/5...225#post502225

    I like a wide variety of torches but I'm lazy so a mound of standard regulators and flowmeters is the path of least effort.

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Rebuild kits for Victors are cheep and so are used regs with some looking. The usual part that fails on any welding regulator is the seat and they're simple to work on.

    I found this out buying a pile of SR 450 OA regs and HRF(multiple numbers) flowmeters at auction cheap because they were leakers and got lifetimes worth of hardware for less than scrap price. I even use an SR 450 on my BBQ grill after the stock cheapie died.

    BTW instead of using a dual flowmeter for purging I run a tee and two meters so if one gets damaged I can swap it out rather than have downtime for both. We figured that out in welding school where students can smash a bowling ball with a feather.

    Given that I'd not hesitate to buy a used Victor flowmeter because if it leaks it's so easy to fix in a few minutes.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/5...225#post502225

    I like a wide variety of torches but I'm lazy so a mound of standard regulators and flowmeters is the path of least effort.
    Hey Farmall great information wished I would have read this sooner. Didn't think of rebuilding a used one Iv'e passed up several used Victor HRF 2400 series flow meters on ebay but people seem to want a lot for them I think one wanted 85.00 for used.I think at one point I purchased a new one back in the early 80's if I remember correctly I think I paid over 200.00. regret letting it go with the recent sale of my old Millermatic 200.
    Didn't quite get your closing statement"I like a wide variety of torches" was that to say you work on ànd rebuild torches as well?

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    Re: Recommendation's on a new Argon/co2 flow gauge

    I like sampling a wide variety of torches (like guns, ergonomics and feel matter) and I especially like having a torch for every size job (including plumbing and HVAC, I also have acetylene-air Goss, ASCO etc.

    I rebuild my own but for liability reasons I don't work for the public. However it's quite easy and there are lots of good threads (Weldingweb may be the last place with that content).
    Torches and regs are just high quality (if from a good maker) plumbing.

    I hunt Facebook Marketplace ("local pickup" only) for deals then get parts/kits online. The next recession should adjust Ebay prices downward and of course they drop near the holidays.

    Even if you buy one new reg to get buy learning about this stuff is a great way to wallow in equipment. When I got a bulk load I'd clean up good parts/regs I didn't want then Ebay them as other look for cores too. I'd keep the gear I wanted and end up spending very little.

    It's comfy having not only spares but enough parts to play. For example the Victor ST torches (out of production but plentiful used) have nuts holding the tube/head assembly to the body which means the long ST tubes bolt onto the similar combination torch heads. I had an ST with a crushed body and a 2460 style combo torch so I mixed them and like the new "long cutting head" version more than the short (it still fits in the box). I built a few for my bros over the years as they like 'em for reaching into heavy equipment etc in the field.

    Basically everything you need to know is in Weldingweb forums including how to buy used gas cylinders. I'm lazy so I love having extras and can easily sell cylinders for much more than I pay for them.

    BTW they made torch head reamers stupidly expensive so if I get a head that doesn't seat tips and I like the torch I send it out. I'm retired now so I've not got to cutting my own reamer (any student level machinist with a tool and cutter grinder could do the work) which I don't really NEED but this stuff is fun!

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