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  • Fluxcore vs Shielding gas cost

    So I have mainly used fluxcore wire for welding, shop and outside on edging. For my own shop use, is it better to stick with fluxcore or dive into using shielding gas as well? My main concern is cost, gas plus wire, how many hours you get out of a 75/25 tank (large I think is K)Is it more cost efficient to just use flux core for my hobby welding, and have a small tank of Argon for any Aluminum welding I may want to try? I am open to either or, just wondering from a cost stand point. I figure the experts who deal with this everyday would have great insight. Thanks all.

  • #2
    I would opt with the gas and solid wire esp since those little spools of flux core cost about 14 bucks but thats just my thought. I wouldn't use the Argon for steel unless you are stranded on a island and that was all there was. It will work but its not a textbook gas for steel...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      Unless you're working outdoors, gas is going to be faster and cheaper in the long run.
      Jack Olsen
      The Garage(And its slideshow)
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      • #4
        Originally posted by admcnich View Post
        My main concern is cost, gas plus wire, how many hours you get out of a 75/25 tank
        Without a big long sermon-
        Your main concern should be using the right equipment for the job.
        Or, just limiting yourself to things that only flux core can do.
        Using the wrong equip. for a job, is like trying to 'un-ring' a bell:
        If/When a weld fails, no excuse will be good enough to 'un-fail' it.


        As far as tank life-
        If you have a full 300 cubic ft. tank, and use a flow of 15 cuft. a hour:
        You'll get pretty close to 20 hours of pulling the trigger. At 12cuft- approx. 25 hours.
        With a 125-- at 15cuft.---- about 8 hours.
        And so on..
        Last edited by Winger Ed.; 05-15-2011, 08:51 PM.
        "Gone are the days of wooden ships, and Iron men.
        I doubt we'll see either of their likes again".

        Circa 1920.
        Author:
        Unknown US Coast Guard unit Commander.

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        • #5
          Thank you Ed

          I think that is what I am having the hardest time figuring out, what is right for the job. I do not have a metals, fabrication, or welding background. Trying to find good and reliable information is hard to do at times, that's why I am asking the people with experiance and hands on knowledge. Is CO2 best, a 75/25 mix best, fluxcore best? I want to find that balance between what is right, and what will allow this to be a fun hobby, way to relax, and possibly help a few people along the way. I am trying to educate myself on different process, equiptment, saftey, things like that, but the shielding gas it seems to me is a big mystery. All of my welding experiance has come from using fluxcore to weld steel edging, and the work we do in the shop. So I do want to know from a dollars and cents point of view, cost, benefits, even practice burns gas and wire. Sorry to be a pest about it, I am a true rookie in this matter. Now if it was grades or irrigation, that's a different story.

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          • #6
            I dont know if you read what winger wrote for you.
            It's all about using the right wire for the job, then you use the right gas for the wire.
            And to make a decision on what type of wire to use, you have to find out what type of metal you want to weld and use the right wire for the metal.

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            • #7
              The advantages of solid wire (with shielding gas) is

              1. the cost of the wire is less: I recently paid $2.35 per pound vs. $6.87 for FC wire (11 pound spools) and there is less metal in the FC wire
              2. less smoke
              3. less energy used (slightly)
              4. No slag

              Disadvantages of solid wire
              1. Need tank - my new 125 cf tank was $210
              2. Need gas - $42 to fill with 75% Argon 25% Co2
              3. Can't use in high wind

              Every place I have seen recommended the 75/25 mix for steel. It works fine for me. I have yet to weld outside or use FC with my home mig welder, although I do have a spool of FC wire in case I need to.

              In my humble opinion if you do very little welding then the FC will be more cost effective, as a matter of fact if that is the case just hire your welding needs out.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by admcnich View Post
                Is CO2 best, a 75/25 mix best, fluxcore best? .
                Home/Hobby shop type welding is great. I'm as supportive of new people getting into it as I can.
                Read the thread of the folks here that have daytime jobs that don't even relate to professional welding.
                It opens lots of doors to do things that were impossible before ya took it up.
                But its not a field where ya get to pick between 'good', 'better' & 'best'.
                You need to think in terms of what's the right tools/materials for what you're trying to do.
                It'd be like a mechanic trying to decide if its better to have a socket set, or a set of screwdrivers.
                Each does different things, its not a issue of which one is 'better' than the other.

                Everyone wants to save a buck where they can.
                Just don't get into a spot where something is unsafe,
                or breaks because you tried to save $3 and change.

                Do alot of reading up & down here, ask specific questions about what you're working on-
                The help and knowelege will come.
                Last edited by Winger Ed.; 05-15-2011, 11:43 PM.
                "Gone are the days of wooden ships, and Iron men.
                I doubt we'll see either of their likes again".

                Circa 1920.
                Author:
                Unknown US Coast Guard unit Commander.

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                • #9
                  CO2 will work and is cheap, mix is a bit better on thin materials and has a little nicer finish. The big advantage is solid wire works so well in light metal, doesn't have slag, is very fast. Great for gaps and poor fits. In some cases about like running a caulking gun, ha Especially when its about 20A too hot.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Sberry; 05-16-2011, 04:36 PM.

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                  • #10
                    If your only welding for a hobby the cost of wire is probably not going to effect you to much. haveing three different kinds of gas will. My home welder i have setup with 75/25 gas and a roll of .045 gas shielded flux core for heavier stuff and and out of postion work. I also have a roll of .030 for lighter stuff. Both run on 75/25 gas. you can run stainless wire on 75/25 but will have better results with a 98/2 or better yet a tri mix. But you can also get a gas shielded flux core stainless that runs good with 75/25.
                    So i guess what im saying is if you buy a bottle get 75/25, it is probably the most useful. Then if you have a job that requires something different like pure argon such as aluminim or any tig work then go lease a bottle from the LWS.
                    Linclon power mig 350MP

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                    • #11
                      I have 5 different bottles for steel, each useful for joint fit-up, different machines, and different situations. My 210 runs 10 CO2 (90 argon/10 CO2) for smaller things cause it just likes it. My Invision 352 doesn't like 90/10, it likes 95/5 why, it just doesn't or it is playing with me. I use a 2 Oxy (98 Argon/2 oxygen) mix for spraying since it likes this. I also have 75/25, 100 CO2. Every bottle has a different task. This is just a little information into gases.

                      But I think everyone here (if they started their own business like me) started with 75/25. It is a very common and as far as I have seen, every machine / joint likes the gas. As far as fluxcore wire goes, you are limited to how thin you can go and still be happy with the final result, but you can go outside and burn hotter for the bigger things like 1/4 and up.

                      My Mig welding ranges from building production tables from 1/16", 1 1/4" sq tubing to welding I beams, dump truck, and 5/8" plate all the time. So I have different machines for different tasks, along with different gases. If I had to personally choose from 1 gas to do all of this, I would choose 75/25 since 1/16" won't like 100 CO2

                      That is just my 2 cents


                      Edit: using the 75/25, the 3/8" and up would require more fit-up since the 75/25 has less umph to push in a root.
                      Last edited by Country Metals; 05-17-2011, 05:25 AM.

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                      • #12
                        100% co2

                        at work we basically use lincoln ultracore 71C .045 dual shielded wire for everything.

                        we even use the 100% co2 with our stainless wires too and even the hardwire.

                        i like the ultracore wire alot with the 100% co2. thats jsut my .02

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                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Winger Ed.;265639]
                          But its not a field where ya get to pick between 'good', 'better' & 'best'.
                          QUOTE]


                          I've got to disagree with that, Always, in a small scale environment there IS Good, Better and Best.
                          Not in production work where you have several hundred or thousand welds to make a profit on, but the guy is working in his garage.
                          There is very little in CS land that he couldn't do to a satisfactory level with the skills to run a oxy/acy torch.
                          Having a small flux core machine in the garage is a big plus. Adding gas to run hard wire may or may not be.
                          It sure wouldn't be for me, but a lot of people are pretty handicaped without a mig gun.
                          When people post that you need a mig to weld thin material, hopefully they are only talking about themselfs.
                          Flux core gets a lot of bashin from people who really don't have a handle on running it.
                          If YOU need a mig to make welds, that's all groovy but don't impose that on every cat in the world.

                          JT, who happily never runs hard wire but welds a lot of junk anyway.
                          Some days you eat the bear. And some days the bear eats you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jack Olsen View Post
                            Unless you're working outdoors, gas is going to be faster and cheaper in the long run.
                            It would take a long road of laying down some beads to make up any real costs

                            about a 5% difference in cost for Mig

                            and for us Hobby dudes FCAW actually comes out ahead/equal because the 5% estimate is Labor/time in Slag clean up

                            With that said I don't like to spend any more time than I have to whether I'm paid or not.
                            Ed Conley
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                            • #15
                              gas shielded flux core will out perform mig in all out of position work in no time.
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