Argon -- flowmeter vs. regulator

Please help me sort through my confusion.
I have some money to spare now.
Right now, right or wrong, I have a "pressure regulator" on my Argon
cylinder. This regulator has a T handle and regulates output
PRESSURE in PSI.
I set the pressure so that when welding steel, some rust (oxidation)
appeared after welding. Then I increased pressure by a little bit. I
think that it is a little below 10 PSI.
But, perhaps, I am doing it all wrong. Maybe I am wasting argon gas,
for example.
Would I benefit from adding on, or replacing, my regulator with a
flowmeter?
Is a flowmeter an add-on to a regulator or a replacement?
Can I have both?
Would you recommend some good, brand name flowmeter if you think that
it is useful to have one?
Reply to
Ignoramus31588
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You need a flowmeter for MIG, and you absolutely have to have one for TIG. You can add a flowmeter to the output of a regulator, but you have to worry about the physical topology (many regulators don't have a 1/4"NPTF hole across from the input nipple hole, so if you added a flowmeter it wouldn't stand up straight) and also the pressure that the flowmeter expects.
There are two good flowmeters on the market that I like. One is the Victor HRF, the smallest series. The other is the Harris 355. You should be able to pick up either used on ebay for about $60. Knowing you, you'll find a better deal.
You have no idea how many cubic feet of gas you are flowing right now, Igor.
Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin
As Grant said, you have to have a flow meter. I have a Smith regulator-flowmeter for my TIG, it's a fixed regulator (no T handle, set to 35 PSI I think), only has a HP cyl pressure gauge, and has the floating ball type flowmeter with the flow adjust knob on top. They don't cost all that much complete new, and I'm sure you can scrounge a used one cheap.
Reply to
Pete C.
Thanks, Grant and Pete. I ended up buying this Victor HRF 1425-580 flowmeter:
Victor Medalist Inert Gas Flow Meter HRF 1425-580
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The price was $58 with shipping included.
What would be the optimium CFH setting?
i
Reply to
Ignoramus31588
About 20 cfh. With MIG, you turn it up a little if you start seeing bubbles in the weld (porosities) e.g. if you are welding near an open shop door.
BTW, Igor, you need to learn the difference between Victor and Victor Medalist.
But I'm sure your flowmeter will work OK.
Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin
OK Grant... Tell me what is the difference? Is that the case of a fake brand?
Reply to
Ignoramus31588
Oh. Medalist is made offshore somewhere, probably different places at different times. It's one of Victor's many off-brands.
Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin
So it is not made or marketed by Victor?
Reply to
Ignoramus31588
Certainly it's marketed by Victor! But if you go to Victor's product page and do a search on "Medalist" you won't find a single hit. If you go to a welding store and look on the shelves, you will see "Medalist by Victor" products.
I can't give you a definitive answer, Igor. You can certainly see the price differential, which is a very good indication.
Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin
When TIG welding in a breeze free environment and using a gas lens cup I get by with 15 CFH most of the time. Argon and C25 mix both use the same scale on a flowmeter. Helium needs a different scale. But helium is a gas that almost nobody uses today because argon is so much cheaper to use. A flowmeter should say what gas pressure it requires if it doesn't have a built in pressure regulator. Though it would seem obvious that a ball type flowmeter must be operated vertically I have seen several times people using them at an angle. Who knows what the actual gas flow is then. Like Grant says you will need more gas in a breezy environment. Many times just placing your body in a different position will block the breeze. ERS
Reply to
etpm
I like the Victor Medalist flowmeters. I have four on different machines.
Reply to
johnnytorch
Thanks.
That's what I ended up getting, Victor Medalist HRF 1400.
I will hopefully get it in a few days.
Reply to
Ignoramus4856

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