Except for stick welding, all the other types of welding use compressed gas to protect the molten metal from reacting with oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. We will cover everything you should know about argon gas regulators including how to connect, set and read the regulator. Also whether you can use your argon gas regulators with other gases and how they differ from other gas regulators.
Why Do You Require a Gas Regulator
The gas used in welding is supplied in a gas tank that you connect to the welding machine. To connect the tank to the welding machine you will require a gas regulator. As the gas in the tank is compressed and at very high pressure. A regulator is used to lower and stabilize the gas supply since welding machines require lower pressure.
What is an Argon Gas Regulator
A welding gas regulator is a device that is connected to a gas tank to regulate and stabilize the gas from the gas tank. Since the gas in the tank is usually at very high pressure, the regulator reduces the pressure as the gas exits the tank.
A regulator is needed when using all gases including argon, helium, nitrogen, and CO2 gas to bring down the pressure when the gas is exiting the tank through the pipe.
Where Argon Gas is Used
Argon gas is the most popular welding gas. It is either used when pure or combined with other welding gases such as CO2 and helium.
Argon gas is used in both TIG and MIG welding processes. MIG welding uses argon, or a mixture of argon and helium when welding non-ferrous metals like aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. If you are welding steel you will need either 25% carbon and 75% argon combination or 100% CO2.
Argon is also used in TIG welding to weld stainless steel, aluminum, and mild steel. Helium is also popular in TIG welding.
3 Types of Welding Gas Regulators
1. Single Stage Regulator
As the name suggests these regulators reduce the pressure of the gas in just one step. Because of the one-stage step-down design, these regulators are less reliable. In terms of cost, they are cheaper than dual-stage regulators.
2. Dual Stage Regulators
Unlike single-stage regulators, the pressure of the gas is reduced into stages. The advantage is stable output and better adjust ability. With dual-stage regulators, the pressure remains stable even as the gas levels go down. They are pricier but worth it.
3. A Flow-meter Regulator
This type is not based on how the regulator works but on the display. Flow-meter regulators mostly have one gauge instead of two. The flow gauge is replaced with a flow-meter that looks like a glass tube.
The flow-meter is calibrated and has a ball inside. When gas is flowing, the gas pressure will lift the ball up. To set the flow rate, open the gas and set when the ball rises to your preferred rate.
While they are harder to read than a clock-looking gauge, they are more reliable since the system is manual. If there is no gas the ball will go down.
8 Steps on How to Install the Gas Regulator
Step #1: The first thing to do before connecting the regulator to the gas tank is to secure the gas tank. This can be done by chaining the tank or putting it on the rack
Step #2: The second thing is to remove the safety cap from the tank. The safety cap should always be put back when transporting or moving the tank and when the tank is not in use.
Step #3: After removing the safety cap, check if there is any dirt or foreign material inside the connector. If it’s clean, open the gas for a flash of a second to clear the way.
Step #4: Having done that, you can now connect the regulator. Again, you must have a regulator that is compatible with the tank and welding machine.
Step #5: To connect the regulator, start by turning the regulator dial all the way back. Then connect the regulator to the tank connector by screwing in the nut on the end using your hand. Finally use a hand wrench to tighten the nut to make sure the regular is connected securely. Don’t use excessive force when tightening.
Step #6: The next step is to connect the gas hose to the regulator hose connection. Use a wrench to make sure the connection is tight. Connect the other end of the hose to the welding machine gas connection and tighten using a hand wrench.
Step #7: With the connection done, it’s time to set the gas flow rate on the regulator. Start by turning the regulator on top of the gas tank. As you open the valve, the pressure meter will start moving.
When the valve is fully open the pressure meter will show you the pressure in PSI of the compressed gas.
Step #8: The next step is to set the flow rate on the regulator. The flow rate refers to the volume of gas going through the hose.
Turn the dial on the regulator turn until you have the right flow rate on the gauge.
After Selecting the Flow Rate
Start the welding machine and watch the flow rate. If it reduces, increase it a bit. The goal is for the gauge to drop to the right flow rate when welding is in progress.
After you are done with your welding project you can then disconnect the setup. Start by turning off the gas tank regulator on top. Then turn the flow regulator back to the starting point. When not in use, the flow rate dial should be loose and free.
You can then unscrew the regulator and return the safety cap on the tank.
Different regulators have different features.
For instance, some regulators have a pressure release valve switch. Others have a way to turn off the gas supply without turning the gas valve on top of the tank. Others have a mechanism to lock the pressure to a specific figure.
Some of the Best Argon Gas Regulators
|Forney 85363 Regulator||Argon/CO2||MIG and TIG||2 gauges|
|BETOOLL HW9003||Argon/CO2||Mig Tig||flowmeter|
|RX WELD Flow Meter Gas||Argon/CO2||Mig Tig||flowmeter|
|RX WELD Dual Output Regulator||Argon, Helium, and CO2||Mig Tig||2 flowmeters and gauge|
|Industrial Argon Regulator||Argon, Argon/CO2||Mig and Tig||2 gauges|
FAQs about Argon Gas Regulators
Do I need a special regulator for argon?
The correct regulator for argon gas tanks is the CGA-580 connector. This connection has a 0.960” – 14 NGO thread size. It has an RH female connector and is made of brass. Apart from argon, a CGA-580 connector is also used for
This connection is also used for other gasses outside of welding such as Krypton, Neon, Tetra Fluoro Methane, and Xenon gases.
Is an argon regulator the same as nitrogen?
Yes, nitrogen, argon, and helium gas tanks use the CGA-580 connector. If you have a CGA-580 connector you can use it interchangeably with any of these gasses.
Can an argon regulator be used for oxygen?
No, oxygen gas tanks use a CGA 540 connection, while argon gas tanks use a CGA 580 connection. It’s advisable to not use an oxygen regulator with other gasses. Also, don’t oil or grease a gas regulator.
Can you use an acetylene regulator for Argon?
No, acetylene gas tanks use a 510 CGA connection, while argon uses a CGA-580 connection. Acetylene compressed gas has a much lower pressure of 500 psi (3447.5 kPa) while compressed argon gas tank has a 2640 psi. So an acetylene gas regulator cannot handle the pressure from argon gas tanks.
Can I use an argon regulator for helium?
Yes, both argon and helium gas tanks use the CGA-580 connector. Nitrogen, argon, and helium use the same connector
Can an argon regulator be used for CO2?
Carbon dioxide gas tanks use a 320 CGA connection, while argon uses a CGA 580 connection. The only way around it is to buy an adapter that will let you connect the argon to a CO2 gas tank. 320 CGA connections have right-hand thread direction and support up to 3000 psi.
What thread is an argon regulator?
CGA-580 connections for argon, helium, and nitrogen gas tanks have a 0.960″-14 thread size. There are 14 threads in 1 inch and the threads have a 0.960” diameter.
How do you adjust an argon regulator?
Setting an argon regulator is easy. Every CGA-580 regulator has a dial on the flow rate meter that you use to set your preferred pressure. For MIG welding it’s recommended to set between 15 to 20 cubic feet per hour.
How many PSI is a full Argon tank?
A 40cf and 80f argon tank will have about 2015 PSI, while a 125 cf tank will have about 2265 PSI.
Is a flow meter better than a regulator gauge?
While both of them are reliable ways of determining the flow rate, the flow meter is more accurate and reliable. Since it is manual, you will easily know when the pressure is high or low. It’s very hard to notice a defective regulator gauge. When purchasing a Gas regulator, some will have both a Flow meter and a gas regulator gauge.
How to Read Argon Regulator
Reading an argon gas regulator is pretty simple. Welding gas regulators have two gauges. Gas flow meter and gas cylinder pressure. The flow rate is used to set the output pressure depending on what you are welding. The settings range from 10 and 35 cubic feet per hour. There is a dial that you use to set the pressure.
The other one is the gas cylinder pressure gauge that shows you the pressure of the gas inside the tank. The pressure will go down as the gas volume goes down.
Cubic feet per hour refers to the volume in cubic feet of the gas that exits the gas tank in one hour. 15 cubic feet per hour means 15 cubic feet of gas will exit the tank in 1 hour.
PSI is an abbreviation for pounds per square inch
What is the Function of an Argon Regulator?
An argon gas regulator is used to step down and maintain a steady pressure for the gas exiting the gas tank.
Wrapping up-What You Need to Know About Argon Gas Regulators in Welding
When using compressed gas to weld you will require a regulator. Since the gas in the tank is usually at very high pressure, a regulator steps down the pressure as the gas exits the tank. The Compressed Gas Association has standardized the regulators used in different gas tanks.
For instance, the CGA 580 is the regulator designed for Nitrogen, Argon, or Helium gas tanks. This standardization brings order to the industry. This means that all argon, helium, and nitrogen gas tanks will connect to a CGA 580 tank. Connecting, using, and reading a gas regulator is easy as I have explained above.