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  • Had a bad experience...lesson to learn...

    Hi there, I'm new here and thought I should tell you about a recent experience I had. Sorry for the long story, I like to be thorough.

    As I do a lot of automotive repairs, building trucks and other general stuff, I also do some fabricating and welding to sometimes make things the way I want. About four years ago I decided to replace my 'no name' mig welder with something decent. I went with a Miller 212 with the spool gun, thinking one day I will weld aluminum.

    Fast forward to last month and I want to build an aluminum bracket/hanger for some customizing I'm doing on my truck. So I go down to the local welding store and I purchase a bottle of Argon. I'm excited and get home, hook everything up and dig out the pile of crops/scraps of aluminum I had purchased a while ago. Having done a little (very little) aluminum welding in my younger days, I get my welder manual out and refresh myself. Then I get started and to my disbelief, it looks like crap. So I try again...push...pull...still crap. Change settings...many settings...still crap (black and full of porosity). After cursing and cursing I give up for the day. Next day I get up, and struggle some more and call up buddy who is welder by trade. He comes over and tries...and tries...and tries. Still crap, and another day wasted. Third day now, another friend (welder/fabricator) comes over to see what the fuss is. I hand him the spool gun and he's stunned. His welds look like my crap. So after trying different things, we decide to take the machine apart to look for leaks, thinking shielding gas is not getting to the gun. Couldn't find anything obvious. Then I pipe up and ask Dennis "Stupid question, but could the bottle have different gas than what is labelled?" He says "Doubtful, but hey, lets go to my place and get one of my bottles".

    We get back, hook everything up again and wouldn't you know it...a real weld. The bottle of Argon that I bought, is NOT Argon! ARGGG! One of things I hate the most, is wasting time. This cost me two and a half days of solid grief and loss of "production".

    I guess the lesson is, to never assume the label is correct and also, there are no stupid questions. Well, at least now, I trust myself in my capabilities of welding.

    I returned the bottle of (?) and the guy was stunned when I said, "I want to return this bottle of Sh/argon!" He was very apologetic and said he would send that one back for analysis and he would let me know what gas was in that bottle. No answer yet.

    Anyone else ever have this issue? Is it common?

  • #2
    Not a common thing. 30 years in this business & I have never had a bad bottle but I have heard from guys who did. On a side note just yesterday got a few one pound spools of 4043 wire & when I ran out & installed a new spool I realized something isn't right. I'm assuming they are really 5356 with the wrong label. The stiffness of the wire & the way it burns gave me a clue. Weird things happen.
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    • #3
      was your argon bottle full when you purchased it or did they fill it after you selected which bottle you wanted? your post is similar to my " millermatic 140 ...." I suspected the same thing for a bit in my situation, so i switched bottles , unfortunately didn't work for me

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      • #4
        It happens way too often for me.
        My LWS is awesome and has awesome service but they don't actually fill.
        I have had many slightly contaminated bottles lately. They are just bad enuff to make your bead look like the metal has something on it like a residue of some sort. Sometimes it is slight enuff you think you can tune it out. NOT!!

        www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
        Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
        MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
        Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
        Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

        Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
        Miller 30-A Spoolgun
        Miller WC-115-A
        Miller Spectrum 300
        Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
        Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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        • #5
          I get about 1 in 100 being a bad bottle. The life saver is that I always have some 20 bottles on hand to swap out and confirm the bad gas.
          Nothing welded, Nothing gained

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Garret View Post
            was your argon bottle full when you purchased it or did they fill it after you selected which bottle you wanted? your post is similar to my " millermatic 140 ...." I suspected the same thing for a bit in my situation, so i switched bottles , unfortunately didn't work for me
            Yes it was full already. Our welding store (Linde/BOC) only distributes bottles. I think I would have had a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a bad bottle for my first purchase, from what I hear.

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            • #7
              yes that does suck, and just plain bad luck you had to experience that on your first one, I have ran across bad bottles alot at my old work though, i cant remeber a bad argon bottle though, it was mostly mixed ones.

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              • #8
                have had a simular problem. leaking hose at the fill up station & let air into the bottle during fill up. several bottles at once were bad. took some time to figure it out!

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                • #9
                  Your story wouldn't have surprised me if you said you got the bottle from your local "Airgas". That place just sucks [email protected]!!$. All of their house brand consumables suck too.
                  Last edited by ShockHazard; 05-07-2012, 04:25 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ShockHazard View Post
                    Your story wouldn't have surprised me if you said you got the bottle from your local "Airgas". That place just sucks [email protected]!!$. All of their house brand consumables suck too.
                    AMEN to that. Our purchasing department uses AIRGAS because they are cheaper but thier gas is very unconsistent and sometimes just plain bad. They should call that place AIRINTHEGAS!! Thier service suck too. My $.02

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                    • #11
                      Hey don't feel bad i did a 2 minute job this weekend and hooked up a bottle of 75/25 to my spool gun and noticed it was welding funny. I forgot i switched my bottle rack around a few weeks ago...Bob
                      Bob Wright

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                      • #12
                        If your Airgas or other LWS displeases you, contact corporate.

                        Mine have been outstanding so I made sure their management KNEW they were good.

                        If I got skrewed I'd have upchanneled that, too.

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                        • #13
                          Ditto

                          www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                          Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                          MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                          Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                          Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                          Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                          Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                          Miller WC-115-A
                          Miller Spectrum 300
                          Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                          Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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