Where to Get Welding Gas & How Much Should You Pay? (2023 Update)
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In past decades, stick welders did not have much information about gases with regards to welding. This whole concept changed with the invention of TIG and MIG welding machines and their constant rise in usage. Gas is now considered a common commodity in most welding workshops. But how much does welding gas cost? If you’re just setting up shop, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll break down where to get welding gas and the costs associated with it.
Where to Get Welding Gases
Welding gases can be outsourced from various vendors depending on your location and the type of gas you require. Most vendors provide the option of free delivery for local orders and charge a few bucks for regional deliveries.
The Uses of Welding Gas
Welders use welding gases for several reasons, with the main one being shielding the arc from impurities such as dust. Gases are also used to heat metals during welding and to keep the welds clean.
Welding gases are categorized into two types — reactive and inert. Inert gases are known for not causing any changes to the materials. They also remain in the same state during welding. This ability makes welding more comfortable without weakening or distorting the welds.
Reactive gases are the opposite of inert gases. They react by changing their states and causing changes to the materials. This property makes these gases ideal for enhancing the fusion of metals.
The Cost of Welding Cylinder and Gas
The cost of a welding cylinder usually varies with the size and the type of gas it carries.
Argon gas cylinders are considered the most expensive, with prices going up to $350 for a new cylinder. This is due to the cost of mining and collecting the gas. Buying one large cylinder is more economical than exchanging several small ones.
Gases Used in Welding
Welding Gas Bottle Sizes
Most homeowners and small-scale welders prefer buying welding cylinders with volumes of 40, 80, or 125 cubic feet (CF). On the other hand, large-scale welders prefer larger cylinders since they allow greater welding time due to the amount of gas they contain. Acquiring a large new cylinder can be quite costly. For this reason, most welders prefer renting them out for an agreed fee for a period ranging from 6 months to 5 years.
Finding Out How Much Gas Is Left
Knowing how much gas is left is essential to keep your welding workshop running. Welders who use pure argon or argon/carbon dioxide mixed cylinders can use the pressure gauge on the cylinder’s regulator to estimate the amount of gas left in the tank.
However, measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in the cylinder using the pressure drop on the regulator’s gauge is not reliable. As the gas nears its endpoint, it tends to give a sharp drop in the reading, making it inaccurate. You can obtain an accurate reading of a pure carbon dioxide tank by using a weighing scale to monitor the weight changes.
When using a full cylinder containing pure argon or a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide, the pressure reading should be approximately 2,015 pounds per square inch (PSI), the maximum pressure. Depending on the amount of welding, the pressure readings will drop gradually. For example, when the tank is 75% full, the pressure reading will be at 1,500 PSI, while at 50% full, the reading will be about 1,000 PSI.
During welding, ensure you monitor the pressure changes while adjusting the flow rate to keep a constant cubic flow rate per hour (CFH). Temperature changes may also change the tank’s pressure. A drastic drop in temperature will cause the tank’s pressure to drop in equal measures. For this reason, always try to measure the tank’s pressure reading at a constant temperature.
The quality of the regulator will also determine the pressure readings. Often the regulator’s needle may get stuck on a particular reading due to slow gas discharge. This can cause frequent drops in the cylinder’s pressure giving inaccurate readings.
How Long Will Welding Gas Last?
Welders can accurately calculate their welding gas time by dividing the cylinder’s volume by the flow rate. This will help you determine the number of hours to allocate per weld.
1. How Much Gas Does An MIG Welder Use?
Average-sized MIG welds require between 25-30 CFH of welding gas to complete a weld. However, thicker metals such as steel need more gas, around 60 CFH, to weld and make the product look aesthetically pleasing.
2. How Long Does An Argon Gas Tank Last?
Welders using an average-sized tank of argon with a flow rate of about 20-25 CHF should expect a welding time of about 10 hours.
3. How Much Welding Gas Do You Need?
The amount of welding gas used to weld different metals is determined by several factors. These factors include the type of welding machine, the working environment, the pressure gauge’s quality, and the welder’s flow rate.
There are several suppliers in the market for welding gas and welders need to exercise caution and outsource only from licensed vendors. During purchase or refilling, ensure you get a well-sealed cylinder to avoid unnecessary leakages or getting half-filled cylinders.
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