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Smith argon regulator and helium?

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  • Smith argon regulator and helium?

    I have a spare argon regulator for my Divesion 165 TIG welder. The outlet barb on the original one (which also contains the orifice) was damaged when I received the welder. The flats on the barb were buggered by using too large a wrench - never did find out why the barb was removed from the regulator. When I called Miller and asked for a replacement barb they sent me the whole regulator. The original one worked fine after I reinstalled the buggered barb thus I have a spare regulator. And my question(s)...

    Can I use the spare regulator for Helium? If so, how far off will the calibration be? I know that flow meters have different scales for argon and helium. Can I get a helium calibrated orifice and/or gauge?



  • #2
    Using 100% helium shielding gas is really expensive. But you don't need 100% helium shielding gas as Argon Helium mix is more affordable while giving benefits without all of the down sides. Helium being lighter tends to float away more than heaver argon so higher flow rates are used. I would start at flow rate you use for Argon and adjust as needed. Really excessive flow rate turbulence can pull in air. Your actual flow rate will be higher than indicated but that doesn't really matter as you should only use high enough flow to give good welds and protect tungsten. Adjust flow rate higher and lower doing test welds to see what flow rate is really needed without throwing your money to the wind.

    I would keep extra flow gage regulator as spare, but local welding supply or on line welding supply can sell parts needed to convert it for use with flow meter.
    Not all inclusive instructions;
    Replace flow gage on flow gage regulator with LP Pressure gage.
    Remove regulator outlet fitting and install flow meter with pipe nipple between regulator and flow meter.
    Flow meter should have outlet fitting for hose.


    • #3
      Thanks Roger,

      I thought I had a deal on a 90 cf helium bottle. It is a Machine and Welding owned bottle, however, the current "possessor" of the bottle told me that M&W had been willing to fill it for him. He was supposed to check with them last Monday and see if they would continue to do so if he "sold" the bottle. I have not heard from him so perhaps the answer is no.

      I don't really have a need for helium - just thought it would be nice to have available. As to the regulator/flow gauge - here is my not so helpful interchange with Smith.

      My question is... can this regulator be used for Helium? I realize that
      to be accurate it would probably need a different orifice and perhaps a
      recalibrated flow gauge scale. Are the necessary replacement parts
      The reply
      The gauge and orifice we use is for argon or CO2. Helium is so much lighter that your calibration would be off.
      Nothing like answering the full question (guess one must read it first).

      Oh well... When it dries out a little after our 9+ inches of rain I am going to break out my new Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma and slice and dice something.



      • #4
        Ken, I picked up one of these to use with my Diversion 165 for $67.

        It has three scales - CO2; Argon or Argon/CO2; Helium; so it can be used for just about anything.

        I like the flowmeter better for TIG.
        I live in my own little world. That's OK, they understand me here.


        • #5
          Regulator used with that flow meter has 1 spring, 1 piston, 2 O-rings. Super simple reliable design and costs less.