--Have listened to Ernie and am in the process of getting a
flowmeter for my argon tank. The trouble is I haven't been able to find one
with anything other than a 0-100cfm scale on a small column; i.e. there's
insufficient resolution to see what's really going on! Anyone got a link to
one that's readable?
Ernie and I went through this recently. I found some NOS Meco flowmeters on ebay
that have really good resolution at the low end, essential for helium. I also
like the Harris No. 355 regulator/flowmeter - it has good resolution as well.
(So does the 356 dual flowmeter ..).
I cobbled up a dual-flowmeter setup using the Meco flowmeters, but then I got a
factory-made dual. I'd be willing to let go of the flowmeters individually or
If you're interested in corresponding about buying my flowmeters, grab my email
If you only shop local at one store then why ask here, just look to see
what they carry? On the other hand, if you are willing to open up your
search parameters a little, you can get what you need.
A company named Dwyer makes lots of flowmeters for air and such. I think
that you can look up the calibration constants for air and Argon and get
a fudge factor to convert to Argon. Lots of surplus places have Dwyer
stuff - here is one, but it is for much to low flow, 20 CFH is probably
about 60x too low for welding purposes, but look around
--Well there you are; didn't even know if there were other brand
names! A ThomCat search pulls in much irrelevant stuff. Here I got some good
feel for what's best; now I can buy online. Anyone got a favorite web
I'd have to look it up. At one time I knew how to calculate it, but I
killed those braincells... I was thinking it was based on molecular
weight, but the difference between Helium and Argon isn't 7X as I remember.
Here are some sites with information on coming up with that fudge factor
Omega sells a lot of different kinds of stuff. They are good but expensive.
The proper name for the ball type flowmeters is variable area flow
meters or Rotameters. Some vendors are:
Vogtlin (should be an umlaut on the o but my keyboard and I don't know how)
I used to have a book with the coefficients for many gases, but it is
long gone as I have not worked with that stuff for 20 years.
I think it is the ratio of the gas densities.
I found a listing in a Victor regulator data sheet that lists the
correction factors, using air as 1.00, as follows:
So, if you have a flowmeter in one scale you just need to multiply by
the ratio of the ratios (got that?). Example: a flowmeter for CO2 but
is now using argon. If the CO2 scale shows 50 cfh, then the actual
argon flow would be 50x0.85/0.81 = 50x1.05 = 52 cfh
I checked this against my multiple scale flow meter, which gives the
following rough ratios:
Ar to CO2: 1.03
Ar to helium: 0.325
Ar to nitrogen: 0.857
Within my eyeball measurement tolerances, this appears to be pretty
good correlation to the Victor correction factors.
I think this is also reasonably close to the square root of the ratio
of the gas densities (don't aks me why it should be the square root).
The listed gas densities are, as follows:
argon 0.1114 lb/cubic foot