I'm searching (Craigslist, etc.) for some used cylinders to get setup for oxy/acetylene welding/cutting. I know that I need to find 'owner' tanks - tanks that are rightfully owned by the person I'm buying them from, and not some gas supplier, etc. - but how do I determine this? I doubt that most people who are selling used tanks - as part of a rig
Look at the cylinders. They should have no raised lettering or stamped lettering on the neck ring. When you go look at them, have the phone number of a local welding supply store in your cellphone memory. If you see anything that looks like it might tie those cylinders to a company, call the welding supply and describe it to them over the phone, right in front of the seller. I have seen sellers drop their price by 50% just by being unnerved by having me call and read stuff into the phone, even when the guy at the welding supply store is telling me the cylinders sound fine.
Nobody's going to have original receipts, which are meaningless. When you buy owner cylinders, you are buying the right to swap cylinders for full ones. I have bought a few in my time and then swapped them when empty, swapped those when they get empty, etc. If it matters to a cylinder owner, you can buy brand new cylinders with serial numbers on them, and always pay to have your own cylinders refilled. Paperwork on such cylinders would have meaning, but not generic oxygen or acetylene or shielding gas cylinders.
I think it is more a matter of whether you have a gas supplier who will deal with you without a lease. Though it isn't a lot of money the tanks are painted and tested at regular intervals which is supposed to be what the lease is for not the cost of the gas for that. Nearby here there has been a lot of mergers in the gas business the small operators need to get a few contracts with big industries or government entities on bids or they have to sell out. well just my observation.
Heck I am paying a lease fee on a tank which has US army on it in real big letters. If you have a lease for say a 220 size oxygen then it is real easy to bring in a green tank which looks like their green tanks and exchange it and essentially have two green tanks while paying for one but that is the best I can do around here. There is one place which is basically a fire extinguisher place but does do any other gas which will pressure test and install whatever valve I want and fill with whatever gas the valve is for but they are kind of far and I haven't actually tried bringing them a tank. I would say an old acetylene tank is kind of a hazardous material which ought to cost to dispose of.
Like the other guy says you exchange the tanks it isn't like buying something with a serial number. I just own a few 40 cubic foot acetylene bottles, I think I bought two of them from the welding shop but really have three in rotation. and lease the biggest oxygen tank a 330 or so cubic foot size. If you really have need for a lot of acetylene for a job you can always lease a bigger tank by the month. They will let you own a tank around 55 or so of acetylene which has the valve more protected but they wanted something like $70 to trade up. The 140 size is probably considered standard and fits most carts. Gas pricing is a racket. And that includes propane if you have a propane furnace. However propane is pretty cost free in the amounts normal folks use with torches. Whether it is economic without liquid oxygen pricing is up for debate. The propane tanks can be manifolded simply like folks at construction sites do for temporary heat if you want to run oxy propane heating stuff multiple times as powerful as your house furnace.
For oxygen (argon also) 80 cubic feet is as big as my suppliers will let you exchange without a lease.
I'm going through a situation right now that has been going on for several months.
Everything legal and correct aside, if a supplier wants to keep you coming in, keep you buying your consumables and steel, and is just a good businessman, they do have SOME latitude in taking in cylinders. They can and do have ways of disposing of these things, and trading them among themselves during rounds of golf. Sometimes their hands are tied, and there's only so far they can go, but I really believe that a good supplier will work with a customer who has an account to keep their business, and not let one cylinder kill the account.
I bought over $3,000 worth of goods at a supplier last year, and they wouldn't budge on a cylinder that I bought from a retired welder. I called another supplier, and the man said bring it over, and he'd look at it, and he thought "something could be worked out." Well, even if they can't do anything, at least they're willing to look at it, and give me a chance instead of just saying, "bring it in, thank you very much."
The cylinders in question are not stolen, leased, and I got a bill of sale. I will take the two questionable cylinders to the new supplier, and see what they can do. I will also go back to the supplier who denied me, and let them know that I won't be spending anything with them this year if they don't become a little flexible.
Even in situations where you return a lease tank that is obviously and plainly marked, that should bring you a little wiggle room, even if a small adjustment in price, or some good will to show that they want to keep your business. And if they don't, I tell them what I'm thinking, and walk.
Of course, it's easier to just get it right from the get go and buy or lease tanks, but occasionally we do pick them up here and there. But that's no reason to be treated like a criminal by someone you're spending money with.
I bought an argon tank from Airgas, it was the largest one they would let you "own" Perhaps it is a 120 perhaps an 80. I think it is an 120 and cost like $130, I have yet to exchange it but that is what happens when you want more. (Unless of course you self fill it off the next big tank you get.) I am pretty sure that particular tank has the name of a welding or gas supplier and if that one doesn't then the replacement one most likely will. If you really are in business they send out a truck and take the empty ones and leave full ones. Now if I took it to abco who I also have an account with since they bought out norwich gas and cylinder I don't know what they would say.
Yep, that is a Navy tank. The US military dumps tanks at regular intervals. They used to donate them to schools and other state institutions. Almost all of the tanks at South Seattle were former Navy tanks.
If ordering enough tanks you can have a custom headstamp ring applied at the fill plant. The tanks at South Seattle had the original rings replaced with Seattle Community College District rings.
I own all my tanks and they all have company names on the rings, most do not match the welding supplier I deal with. I take in my tank and they give me another. It may or may not have they same name on the ring, may or may not have their name on it. I've been through about 4 different welding suppliers in about the last 10 years.
At one time I had a tank with my company name stenciled on the side, that lasted until I swapped it out. I forget if I got a blank one or one with someone else's name stenciled on it. As long as I get the correct size with the correct gas in it, I'm happy.