Source of refillable bottle

I'm in the Midlands, can anyone suggest where I can buy a small, refillable, bottle of argon? Its for a rather specialised type of micro-welding machine, and it needs to be small so that it can reside under the bench. The gas consumption is rather low and I doubt that I'll need to refill it more than 2 or 3 times a year. The normal hire costs would make such a consumption totally uneconomical and the disposable cylinders are not suitable because of the type of regulator needed.

Reply to
lemel_man
Loading thread data ...

consumption

Buy a disposable cylinder and make an adaptor

AWEM

Reply to
Andrew Mawson

I don't think anyone will *sell* you a refillable bottle in this country. Air Products and BOC used to offer 5-year or 10-year leases on small bottles, which might help a bit if you reckon your requirement will stretch out for that long. They'll still charge you for the pleasure of doing business with them, on top of the gas charges, every time you get a refill.

Be warned though, keep the paperwork if you take out one of these leases. I took a 10-year lease on an Argon mix bottle from Air Products, many moons ago. After 5 years, they sent me an invoice for another 5 years' rent! Because I still had the paperwork it was easy to tell them to get stuffed. The response I got when phoning to sort it out gave me the definite impression that it was just a try-on. I bet they got e few people paying up!

Gas companies are not my friends :-(

Cheers Tim

Dutton Dry-Dock Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs Vintage diesel engine service

Reply to
Tim Leech

You can't buy a refillable bottle because the gas companies aren't geared up to refill your particular bottle. Instead they exchange the empty for a full one and send the empty back to the depot where it enters a production line, is checked and serviced as needed, then refilled and distributed. If they took your bottle into their system they would have to track it until it came out of the other side and return it to you, which would be a logistical nightmare and you would have to wait at least several days without a bottle. There's also the question of liability, if it was your bottle and caused an accident in their factory you could be held responsible, and you'd have to pay for it's maintenance.

The only workable system is that all the bottles are theirs, so they can swap it at the distributor's, and all the responsibility and maintenance costs are theirs. Obviously if you rent something of theirs they are going to charge for it, after all you could have it for years without paying for a single refill and then return it in need of refurbishment, lets face it they're in business to make a profit and you don't get owt for nowt in this world.

I rent an Argon/CO2 mix from Energas for my MIG, and yes it costs a lot per year to have that facility, but I tried the disposables and they were an absolute joke, almost nothing in them. So for the few hours welding I do each year it's still cheaper to rent. They also do pure Argon in several sizes, though their web site doesn't seem to explain the sizes so you'd have to give them a call to find out if they do one small enough for you. Also bear in mind you need a proper regulator to handle the high bottle pressures, not one of those joke things you get for a low pressure disposable, and they don't come cheap but should last a lifetime of amateur use.

Greg

Reply to
Greg

Reply to
scruffybugger

The SIP disposable bottles are filled to ~ 60 bar and contain about 60 litres / 2.1 cu ft of argon at normal pressure. This is about 5 minutes of typical mig welding. They cost about £7.

Micro mig/tig uses less, but how much less depends on your setup. However I'd guess you would still save over renting even if you used 10 or more bottles per year.

I can lend/sell you the m10 x 1 tap needed to tap the bottle side of an adapter or regulator (having recently done just that).

My local gas supplier also does week/weekend hire of 2,000 l size "X" cylinders for about £30 (+/- deposit) which is cheaper than disposables if you can somehow store the argon. An attic full of balloons?

Old pressure cylinders are available very cheaply these days because they do not comply* with EU regulations, and after hydrotesting they would probably be safe if used at half rated pressure, but if you are not absolutely sure what you are doing don't go near that idea.

  • you can't get an old cylinder made compliant by testing and certification any more, that ended in 2002 iirc. The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 are the UK embodiment of the EU directive, it'll be in there somewhere. There are also The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 to consider.

Note that it would be hugely illegal to use an uncompliant cylinder in a work-related context - though I _think_ it would be legal to do so for private use (especially if you are the manufacturer of the pressure assembly, which I think you would be if you made a few bits and stuck a few more bits together).

The other exception is where the PV of the individual vessels is less than

250 bar-litres, ie each stores less than 250 litres of argon. I am not a lawyer though, and I have not studied the relevant legislation in detail.

But let me repeat, if you are not sure what you are doing then don't do it. High pressure failures kill.

Reply to
Peter Fairbrother

maybe one refil every 2 or 3 years, I can't remember the cost of that but it's not much. So if you're going to do much more than an hour a year it's economic to rent, I realised this after emptying about a dozen disposables and only having completed part of the welding on the front end of a Transit 8-(. I spent the same amount again or an X size and had a years worth of welding!.

Greg

Reply to
Greg

If any one's interested it costs me £47.66 for rental and £27.40 for a refil, including handling and VAT for a "migweld minipack" which as I understand it is Energas's X size.

Greg

Reply to
Greg

That's very interesting - do they have an agent near me in Leamington Spa (nr. Coventry)?

Reply to
lemel_man

I dunno whether X is any kind of standard - it's just under 6" diameter and

2'8" high ex the top. Holds 10 litres water - hence the X - and 2,000 l at 200 bar (just under, but argon behaves pretty close to an ideal gas under these conditions).

My guy charges £29.odd for a fill, including hire, but you can only keep the cylinder for a few days, a week at most.

He does standard :-( rental deals too, AP I think.

Reply to
Peter Fairbrother

Their web site is here and they have a depot in Derby, bear in mind that the prices I quotes are from their last invoices at the back end of last year. You do of course need to buy a proper regulator from somewhere, they supplied mine but you're free to get them anywhere and they should last a lifetime. There may be other suppliers in your area for you to compare with, but I would steer clear of BOC as they were far more expensive when I compared.

formatting link
Greg

Reply to
Greg

Without actually going out to measure it that sounds like the one. I suspect there is a standard and that they are fully interchangeable between distributors as we used to rent Nitrogen in the same size bottle at work from BOC, we've grown a bit now though, so much so that we have liquid nitrogen delivered to two tanks outside, it's a bit of a spectacle when they deliver 8-).

Greg

Reply to
Greg

Thanks Greg, and all the other responders. The special m/c came with a very nice regulator. I checked Energas and they compared very favourably with BOC and AP, and, although renting a bottle is a lot more expensive than owning one, I have persuaded myself that I can live with it. I've arranged for the the rep to sign me up this Friday.

Reply to
lemel_man

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.