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What’s The Skinny On Bottles?

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  • What’s The Skinny On Bottles?

    I’ve bought around ten grand in machines from ARC3 over the past few years but since I’m not a business they treat me like **** on bottled gasses. (Yeah, I think other stores are the same way here.) They limit me to buying up to S/120 bottles and they aren’t always in stock so have to order ahead. If I run out I’m screwed for a few days. I wanted some pure CO2 for globular transfer and all they will get for me is a 35.

    So my noobie question is; what’s the welding supply store business model? I guess us small fry aren’t profitable enough? If I’m willing to buy the first 200 or 300 size bottle from them why do they refuse that?
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  • #2
    The LWS here will sell, fill, and exchange anything, their only rule seemingly being that they won't exchange tanks with another company's name on them. All the tanks I use were originally rusty ones I found in barns at estate sales and such, then exchanged with them. Could be your shop is just ran by ****s...


    • #3
      My local will exchange or fill any size bottle. The neck ring pretty much means nothing and our local cylinder tester charged $2 to grind it off. But they have to be in the test date and no rust or arc marks on them...Bob
      Bob Wright


      • #4
        Mine doesn't care about rust or test dates on exchanges... They hydro in-house, so they'll just test them and slap some fresh paint on. They also don't care what valve the tank has, as long as it's the same pressure rating and type of tank, so you can exchange, say, an oxygen for an argon, but not a co2 or an acetylene. I guess it all balances out in the long run, and if it doesn't, it only takes a few minutes to swap a bunch of valves around for whatever they're running low on. However, they won't touch anything with anything at all on the neck ring. The ones they give you are unmarked, and that's the only thing they'll take in. I haven't tried bringing them anything with arc marks or that's obviously ruined!


        • #5
          It completely depends on where you live. This question is asked every few months, and usually by someone that doesn't tell us where they are on the planet.

          You really are at the mercy of wherever you go. There is no business model, and what's normal in southern Nevada and central California will be alien to a shop in Florida or New Jersey.


          • #6
            When i was at the LWS they had 1000's of bottles in circulation with their name stamped on them. They said most will never be seen again but they just swap size for size and didn't care as long as they were in test. If not the guy trading them in had to pay for a test, unless they were a smaller cylinder bought at the LWS and they covered the test cost...Bob
            Bob Wright


            • #7
              I think it is your specific lws. Around me they have lots of bottles in stock at all times. Only bottle size is the issue for what they sell. Try a different place if possible or I know Tractor supply will sell bottles or swap but kind of pricey. Maybe find a local welder and get them through him on his account?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by MMW View Post
                I think it is your specific lws.
                Sounds like you need a new gas's too short to deal with gypsies, tramps or Airgas.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Helios View Post
                  Sounds like you need a new gas's too short to deal with gypsies, tramps or Airgas.
                  Really, I still get contractor prices at Praxair here in Texas and in Yuma during the winter even tho I”m retired for all practical purposes. But here at home my closest Praxair is 50 miles away but the local Airgas matches their prices. They’ve been great to work with here even tho twenty some years ago they slipped a proprietary tank onto my truck and I wasn’t able to change it out in west Texas.

                  The difference that relationship makes is considerable. For instance the closest welding supply wants $275.00 for a box of 5P+ 3/32. Airgas and Praxair sell it to me right at a hundred dollars less. I also get great prices on gases. But keep in mind, I don’t hammer them on their prices on other stuff because no one likes dealing with someone that will run down the street for a nickel. The big LWS local guys don’t have much to play with except on gases and rod. It’s hard to justify giving a guy a break when all he buys is gas and rod in small quantities.
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