Unlike in the past where people knew little about welding gases, welders are more informed nowadays. The change and invention of both TIG and MIG welding machines have contributed to more welders using welding gases. So, how much is welding gas?
The cost of welding gases varies depending on different factors. As much as welding gas is a common commodity in any welding workshop, the price is determined by the purpose.
Can a welding gas go bad? Welding gases have a great shelf-life. Welding gases don’t go bad but can separate if you are using mixed gases.
What is the Cost of Welding Gas?
The cost depends on the cylinder size and the type of gas you are buying. The cost is $350 per cylinder on the highest. Argon gas is the most expensive because it’s difficult to collect compared to the rest.
Welders are at liberty to choose whether to refill the gas cylinder or simply buy a new one. Refueling is more economical than buying a new cylinder. Also, buying a larger cylinder has the benefit of holding a larger gas volume, which makes refilling the cylinder more economical than if you refill a smaller cylinder.
How Long Can a Welding Gas Last?
It depends on your gas regulator flow rate, which welders normally set, and the work environment. The flow rate ranges from 10 to 40 cubic feet per hour. The figure goes higher if you operate in a windy area because of the need to protect the weld from air bubbles and maintain the shielding gas around your weld.
Even a small breeze can cause issues if you are working with an open garage door in windy weather. Set the regulator at a higher flow rate to counter the wind.
Use the following calculation to know the gas welding time. Divide the gas cylinder volume by the regulator flow rate. What you get is the number of hours you can use the gas cylinder as you weld.
Note that you can lose your welding gas faster depending on your welding machine. Your gas will not last long if the welding machine is dispensing gas all the time. Ensure the machine is only dispensing gas when you are welding.
Types of Welding Gases
Earlier we said the cost of welding gas depends on the type of welding gas. The most expensive gas is argon. Below are some main welding gases.
This is an inert gas and used as a shielding gas to keep air bubbles out of your welding arc. It’s the main gas in purging and primary welding stages. Argon is used during MIG welding in shielding mixture.
An abundant gas is used as a shielding gas and is mostly created from organic matter. Not commonly used by professional welders as argon because it doesn’t produce high-quality welds like argon. Carbon dioxide gas is mostly used as a mixture and in MIG shielding, Flux core welding, and plasma shielding.
Commonly used in jobs involving stainless steel and non-ferrous metals that need deep penetration. Sometimes the gas is mixed with carbon dioxide or argon to make it work better in stainless steel.
The gas is preferred for TIG welding because it forms hotter arcs and increased productivity, making it able to travel at faster speeds.
It’s a passive and friendly gas. However, it’s a very reactive gas and is often mixed with a small number of shielding gases like argon to make the welding process faster and give fluidity to your molten weld.
The gas amplifies heat when gas welding and is commonly used to cut metals in an ox-cutting process. It’s mixed with acetylene to create an oxy-acetylene flame which has extremely high temperature enough to weld steel.
The most abundant gas in the atmosphere and essential for all living organisms. Nitrogen acts as a shielding gas and is also used in specific applications. Nitrogen gas enhances the mechanical properties of alloys and deepens their penetration besides stabilizing the arc.
Hydrogen gas provides fuel and burns without giving emissions. It’s an abundant gas and is used in welding as a shielding gas when mixed with other gases in small amounts to avoid explosions. The gas also increases penetration and gives you a cleaner weld.
What is the Purpose of a Welding Gas?
Welding gases are used for various reasons. The main purpose is to shield the welding arc from impurities like air bubbles and dust. The welding gas also keeps your weld clean and is used to heat metals.
Categories of welding gases are;
- Reactive gases
Inert gases don’t change or cause change when they are in contact with other temperatures or substances. Inert gases remain the same in a welding process. This feature is important when welding metals as the gases don’t bring distortions or unwanted weakening in your weld.
Reactive gases react to create a change in the weld and in themselves. The ability to react makes it a useful welding gas in bringing positive changes.
Purpose of a Shielding Gas
The main purpose of welding gas is shielding to prevent air bubbles from ruining your weld and weakening it. Whether TIG or MIG welding, it’s impossible to operate without using a shielding gas unless you are using a metal that is coated or flux-cored.
Shielding gases are mostly inert gases, and the gases remain stable under extreme pressure and heat during welding. This makes them ideal for welding as they can nurture your weld in different ways depending on which inert gas you are using. Some inert gases provide more fluidity and penetration.
Can you MIG Weld without Using a Welding Gas?
MIG means Metal Inert Gas, which means you can’t weld without a welding gas. However, there is gasless MIG welding which is, in reality, a hybrid between MIG and Stick welding or commonly known as FCAW.
The hybrid welding uses coated or flux core wire, which has self-shielding benefits, meaning you don’t need a shielding gas to protect your weld from air contaminants. The gas is produced, but you don’t need to carry a welding gas cylinder around.
What is the Cost of MIG Gas Bottle?
The cost of a welding gas is affected by the size of your gas cylinder and the type of gas you are buying. Gas cylinders come in 40, 80, and 125 cubic feet. Bigger cylinders are only sourced by special orders or leased from stores by selective clients.
The price per bottle is at most $350. for welding gases like Argon 75 25, you can pay $150-170 if you are buying a 40 cubic feet cylinder. Argon is the most expensive welding gas. Refills are cost-effective and are $20-50 per refill.
How to Know if your Welding Gas is Empty?
Welding gas cylinders use regulators for flow rate. The regulators have a pressure gauge, which helps you know if you are running low on welding gas. Always monitor your pressure gauge when you weld. Mark down the pressure of your welding gas when it’s full.
The pressure drop in the gas bottle as you weld. If it drops to half, it means you have already used half of your welding gas. The MIG bottle is empty when the pressure gauge hits zero or your welding machine stops feeding gas as you weld.
I hope I was able to answer your question, “how much is welding gas?” Welding gases are usually mixed to improve their properties and to save costs. They come in different cylinder sizes with the larger cylinders going for $350.
Argon is the most expensive welding gas. A single-cylinder can last your welding up to 30 hours.