Educate me on welding gas

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So I have narrowed down which welder I will be getting and would like to use some sort of gas on it. I am very much a hobbyist and will probably use the welder once in a blue moon but figured it would not hurt to have a bottle of gas on hand, something small that I can refill more often.

Now I have no idea exactly what I am doing as I am still learning about all this, but it seems that I should be able to go to a local Tractor Supply, buy the tank with gas (maybe a 80/20 mix) and then take the empty bottle there again and get it exchanged or refilled.

What are my options here, do I just buy a bottle (rather not lease), to be honest have not even looked up what size they are, and if so what should I be on the lookout for?

Thanks.
 

mckutzy

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Im guessing this will be a hobby use... and since you may not use this all that often...
Depending on how much you want to spend and for a refill....An 80 or 122CF bottle would last a while.. Me personally, Id go for the 250cf as that will give you plenty room to work with for a long while and not a sudden OMG NO FRICKEN GAS... and everything grinds to a halt....

A mix gas or even Co2 would be fine.. As I recall the mix with argon give a better finish..

Is this just for MIG or do you have a TIG aswell???
 

snowjob

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I advise scoping out your local weld shops. Many are very particular about buying, leasing, filling something they don't own, etc. For MIG, I suggest a simple C25 mix. Only now at farm stores are tank swaps getting common. The nice thing is it works just like swapping your propane tank.

Gas Pony Brochure

For hobby use, I like the 40cf tank.
 

Kartorbust

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The caveat with leasing gas bottles, you cannot move out of state with them. Of you buy the bottle out right, it's yours to keep. Also with leasing, you can only exchange it through the place that you got it from. When I got my C25 gas several years ago, I bought it out right, because I knew at some point I'd be moving out of state. I also, bought a 125 cf bottle because that will give 6 to 8 hours of welding before you need to refill/exchange it.
 
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I would def rather just buy the bottle and not lease. So I am either thinking of getting a 80 or 122cf bottle. From what I can see Airgas is somewhat close to me just not sure they sell to individuals, I see their trucks all the time delivering bottles to businesses.

This will be strictly for MIG and I will also see what is around me as far as local goes. I work in McKinney, TX and live about half an hour east of there.

--Daniel
 

snowjob

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Airgas is one of my two local weld shops and they gladly sell to individuals. I would hope/expect it is the same in your area.
 

Kartorbust

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I've never shopped at airgas and a year or so before Chucke2009 decided to nuke his YouTube channel, he talked about why he won't shop there anymore for supplies or welding gas. So with that in mind, I'd suggest the Praxair or Metroplex Welding Supply in Dallas at that point.
 

KartFab

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METROPLEX WELDING SUPPLY is where i get all my stuff. I bought a used tank (expired with the hydrotest with the wrong valve on it) on craigstlist and they hydrotested it and put a new valve on it. They by far have the least expensive stuff. Praxair is a rip off. I got the full size tank too, they will fill it (exchange) and not rent it out to you. Since I dont weld a lot, its a good deal that lasts me for a long time.
 

Kartorbust

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Where I got mine in Minnesota, my 6hr/125 bottle was $340 +/- with taxes. Kind of expensive, but it should be like $50 to refill. Then after about 5 years, the bottle needs to be recertified (I'm not sure on that cost), or they might just do an exchange.
 

anickode

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Where I got mine in Minnesota, my 6hr/125 bottle was $340 +/- with taxes. Kind of expensive, but it should be like $50 to refill. Then after about 5 years, the bottle needs to be recertified (I'm not sure on that cost), or they might just do an exchange.

Around here, they typically swap owned bottles instead of fill. Sucks when you have a shiny, clean new bottle and get an old dumpy looking one back, but you rarely have to worry about hydro tests, as they maintain anything in their inventory. If you go years without using a full cylinder, then you have to start looking out for test dates a little more.
 

gegcorp2012

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Around here, they typically swap owned bottles instead of fill...

This ^^^ happened to me... I had a nice bottle that I used to get refilled at the local Cryoweld, but one day I needed gas and they offered an exchange rather than refill, and I ended up with a smaller bottle, so I am stuck with the smaller one.

Now I live in a place where they swap only and just had a discussion about renting a larger cylinder. I may go that way if my projects take me towards a need for even more welding since I am burning a couple of bottles on a project.

Also be sure to turn the bottle "off" the right way so the gas lasts longer. (my 25 yr old welder eventualy leaks out if the valve is left open)


Sent from my SM-J700T using Tapatalk
 
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What type of welder are you looking at? Gas is nice, and provides a clean and pretty weld, but I hardly ever use it. As a beginner, I would recommend starting out with a good flux core wire. Hobart makes the best flux wire in my opinion. I've used just about every brand out there (a lot of "brands" are made by the big suppliers, and packaged as their own. You can tell by the msds in the package, provided by the manufacturer) Flux is going to be more forgiving, and a lot less dependent on outside factors. Nothing worse than running a beautiful bead, and halfway through your weld it starts to imitate pumice stone. Then you've gotta grind it out and try again. I like flux because it burns a little hotter. The biggest factor in a welding machine is adjustability. Find a welder with "infinite" heat and wire adjustments. Start with the recommended settings, and adjust to your preferences. As a beginner, dont focus on how pretty your welds look, it is an indication of a good weld, but not a guarantee. Focus on getting good penetration without going through. I tend to run in a horseshoe pattern, but all the big names recommend you go in a straight and steady motion. Whatever works for you. Keep your heat on your thickest piece of metal, and work the puddle into the thinner piece when welding different thicknesses together. It's not rocket science, the biggest thing is to know your limits and dont be afraid to ask for help. Let me know if you need any info
 

anickode

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I just upgraded my little 20cf bottle to a 125cf today. I figured having a second larger tank is far more useful than the 20cf, as I RARELY do any portable MIG welding.

$239 after the 20cf trade-in. Fills are pretty cheap beyond that.
 
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