Argon on the Weekend?

Tuesday I bought a tank + contents of Argon from Praxair. A guy is wanting to buy my dads Featherlite aluminum trailer for his full asking price even
though he put OBO in the ad. One fender has some damage where some welds broke and I was planning on welding it up Friday night and Saturday, the guy is supposed get the trailer Saturday afternoon. Anyway, the Old Miller 330A/BP seemed to fire up just fine, it's been years since I've used it. But my brand new tank + contents of Argon was completely empty, no hiss at all when I cracked the valve open to clean it out. This was the first time I had the cap off of it since the purchase Tuesday.
Praxair is closed on the weekend and I need a tank of Argon so I can repair the trailer. There is a chance Rural King will have Argon and they are open on weekends but it will cost me about $250 for the tank and ~$40 or so for contents. If I buy a tank and contents from Rural King is it likely that Praxair will refund the money for the tank and argon I bought from them? Or perhaps Rural King would refund the money for the tank I would buy from them. Of course if there is a place to rent a tank that I can pick it up Saturday, that would work great too. I don't know what the standard policy is for returning a tank after purchase but Praxair has put me in a horrible bind with this mess. I have to do a few welds on the fender, and a couple of inches of weld on the fender mount on the trailer.
Anywhere I can get Argon on the weekend? I guess Argon/CO2 mix wouldn't work?
RogerN
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Many of Central Welding's Locations are open on Saturday mornings. Just exchange the empty for a full the same size and pay for the gas.
You can show the receipt to Praxair when you rip them a new one.

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Them sending me with an empty tank is causing me problems for sure, I planned on doing part of the welding Friday night and finishing up Saturday morning so the buyer can take possession of the trailer. I figured on an hour or two practice before I start on the trailer, it's been years since I've played with the TIG or aluminum. The places for me to get welding gas hopefully Saturday are around 30 miles away.
RogerN
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After having bought 3 empty gas refills....I always check the tank by opening the valve just a smidge before loading them in my truck. Ive caught them swapping empty bottles for empty bottles on another 2 occasions since I started. Something folks may wish to do before leaving the welding house.
Dont need a gauge generally....just crack the valve for a half second and listen.
Gunner
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Sounds like something I need to start doing. After this experience I will at least connect them and read the pressure before I have to have it on a weekend. Rural King is less than 20 miles away and will exchange my cylinder for a full for $35, Praxair charged me 31.75 for the contents of an empty tank.
RogerN
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Just got back from Rural King, their Argon is Argon mix so I'm out of luck again. They thought they had straight Argon in #2 (40 cu ft) size but their employee claimed they were all mix, I didn't see him look over the #2 cylinders because my exchange was a #3 on their sizes. I drove around 20 miles because they claimed they had Argon and they wouldn't even examine their #2 cylinders to see, I was going to buy a cylinder just to get some Argon today. If I can't do the job this weekend I may not have time to do it during the week, may not be able to do until next weekend.
RogerN
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RogerN wrote:

'Depot for a Praxair exchange???
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<snip>
I called them, they said they don't have the welder gas cylinder change there. Not sure if the guy on the phone knows what he's talking about or not.
RogerN
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The place I exchange my tanks ....is 160 miles south of my home, down in Santa Ana, California. The local praxass charges double or more for exchange of what I get them down for at Sims Orange.
Hence..I keep a goodly supply of tanks on hand here at the homestead, and every so often will take my empty tanks, plus a number of tanks belonging to friends down there on my trailer. I left a half full O2 tank open on my cutting rig a month or so ago..and when I remembered it..it was nearly 2 weeks later..and upon returning home, found it to be empty. Which pissed me off..but I simply stuck in a full bottle and tagged the empty one and put it in the rack for refill.
Gunner
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RogerN wrote:

The Home Depot by me carries Praxair Argon, Acetylene, Oxygen, etc. I don't suppose one near you does?
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<snip>
I'll have a look, if not there is a Tractor Supply that should. After I posted I saw that Praxair exchanges bottles at Home Depot and Tractor Supply so I may be in luck.
RogerN
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Do cylinders have to be bought from the company doing the exchange? There is a Rural King within 20 miles that has welding gas, hopefully Argon, but they aren't Praxair cylinders. Just wondering if I exchanged my cylinder there if Praxair would have a problem with a cylinder that came from another welding gas company. When I was young the local welding supplier required that you buy tanks, or get a lifetime lease, from them or they wouldn't handle them. I guess they claim to test them every so often and maintain the tanks.
I could see them having a problem if you wanted to exchange a junk tank but I'm not sure about a good tank. If Praxair or Rural King would have a problem with exchanging tanks that came from the other I will have to buy a new tank from Rural King and hope Praxair will refund for their empty tank they sold me. I'm just not sure what the common practice is these days.
RogerN
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RogerN wrote:

Certainly your best bet would be if you can exchange it at Home Depot for a full Praxair cylinder, then there is no question of the brand, only the refund for the fill of Argon you didn't get.
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RogerN wrote:

Oh, as for cross company cylinder exchanges, as far as I've seen / heard, this is relatively common for the smaller cylinder sizes which are always owner cylinders across the different companies. If you have a large cylinder I expect there would be more of an issue.
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Can't help you, but when I was in the biz, after two tanks that leaked out on me in similar circumstances, I just kept a bottle of water with 1/8 Windex in it to spray whenever I picked up a bottle. It's not nitpicking at those prices, and you'd be surprised at the number of bottles that leak.
Ah feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel yer pain!
Steve
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