Metal Shop Welding Gas Moving Outside

To all welders!

Per the committee vote at the last meeting, we are moving the welding gas outside and running plumbing into the building. You will not need to swap and/or move bottles except in the case of welding in a location the plumbing doesn’t reach (we will keep one standard cylinder handy for that).

The new gas system will operate in the ballpark of 150 PSI; this will allow for it to be plumbed around like shop air (both pure argon and mix gas).

I will be searching for volunteers to help do the build out. We will be building a chainlink fence next to the blacksmithing flammables cage. This will contain the gas cradles, which are swapped as needed.
We will also be installing the plumbing for the gas. the current plan for the initial setup has a fixed manifold in the welding bay, with two ready to use outlets and two plugged outlets. In the future the plugged outlets will be used for adding more spots in the bay, and possible plumbing to other areas.

Members in general should not need to touch the cradles except in an emergency. You’ll be able to hook a regulator up to a fitting on a wall and be good to go.

We’re currently waiting to hear back from the landlord regarding the fence. We do not anticipate an issue, but since we reached out we’re just awaiting a reply.

Cheers,
-Jim

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Safety First!

From a Safety aspect, strongly suggest that you purchase the following signage to put on your outdoor cage.
Doc1
This aluminum sign is available through Grainger, part number 34GG47 for $8.82 each. This item is also on clearance at this time.

Why would we do this for our welding gas? It’s all inert

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Take a look at the commercial welding gas cages that Grainger sells, they have the same label.

Those are for flammables and oxidisers, such as in oxy/acetylene setups not for electric arc welders

OK, I admit that I may be wrong. But, unmarked gas cylinders locked up behind the building will give the Fire Department the only recourse to assume the worse. Suggest that the cage be marked properly.

It looks like the OSHA requirements are to label empty vs full and the types of gasses stored.

OSHA 1926.350(a)(12) refers to this, where section 3.3 details requirements on gas storage. Well, CGA-P1 2015 looks current, but it’s still behind a paywall, and since this is an academic exercise anyways, not worth the cost.

The cradles are already labeled as inert gases with placards

All leased bottles are marked regardless by the vendor, so we don’t have to worry about it. They actually won’t service unlabeled bottles.
The full empty part we have tags for however with the cradles we basically should rarely have an empty bottle considering cradle replacement is generally next day service.

Worst case, one of these on the chain link. Technically the placard is for DOT, which is for only transporting & the supplier has to legally have.

image

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I’m sure y’all will do everything correctly. The idea of making argon and co2 as flammable sent me down a rabbit hole.

Yeah FMs don’t like that happening. They end up wasting a ton of resources on mitigating fire to them or disconnecting etc when that effort could be spent elsewhere in an emergency.

Jim, are you planning on scheduling a few workdays for this? I’d be happy to help.

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Yup. Can’t schedule anything for sure until the landlord gets back to us. In reality this can probably be done in a day if we get a few people and the parts ready in advance

Back from the Dead!

a couple weeks ago the landlord finally gave us approval, and the process started. The fence for the outdoor storage was mostly completed tonight (needs a little trimming and putting in a little more of the tension strips).

The new bottle cradles get dropped off tomorrow. They aren’t going to take the old bottles just yet, as we still have to build the manifold and test things.

Cheers,
-Jim

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Gas System is Live!

Thanks to the helpful hands all around the space (@TBJK, @procterc, and others whose talk handles I do not know), the new gas system is up and running. There are a few items to be fleshed out (like adding the second output on the pure argon line due to a bad close fitting and some better labeling), but it’s ready for use.

With the gas system there are a few other items of note, namely…

Hoses!

We have 25 foot hoses for the two most commonly used machines, with quick connects on the machine side to make things easy to move around. The MIG has a quick connect on the reg side as well, and we’ll be looking at adding these to all of the machines.


How do I use this glorious thing?

It’s simple!

  • Ensure your hoses are hooked in (I’ve left them hooked to appropriate regs) Proper manifold labeling inbound.
  • Ensure the gauge on the manifold is at approx 150 PSI
  • Open ball valve for that regulator
  • Weld as normal

No bottle swapping, easier to move units with less bulk.

What happens when the gas is low?

Myself or @TBJK should know thanks to the electronic monitoring system well before a member finds out the hard way. When the outdoor 6 pack is low it pings both the committee leads, as well as our gas vendor. We crack open the spare bottle in the pack and have plenty of gas whilst a swap is scheduled.

What if I want to weld in automotive or elsewhere?

We’re maintaining one mix, and one pure bottle for keeping the machines mobile. Just hook a bottle up like before the manifold, only this time put the bottle back disconnected rather than leave it on the cart.

It took 4 months just to get approval, and we’re done in a couple weeks?

Yup, and to prove it here’s the first weld off the system:

That’s one of the new vise mounts for the welding tables. Plasma cut 1/4" plate welded to some 2"x0.25" square tube.

What’s left to do?

We still have a some outstanding items, though none currently impede operation

  • make improved labeling for each line to avoid confusion
  • install the second pure Argon output
  • install a bumper around the manifold (via the extra Unistrut space)
  • finish out the quick connects for hoses
  • setup a second MIG via the Hobart
  • get the old cylinders picked up!

Thanks to all that made this possible; Metal has come a long way since I first joined, and I’m excited to see what we can do with improved equipment and a more manageable space.

Cheers,
-Jim

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Fun little update, the electronic gas monitoring is live!

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Thanks @hon1nbo should keep operations using gas humming along.

I linked your Talk post to the Welding wiki page.

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Jim I’ve had the hot work and a couple welding classes but I’d really like to know more. Are you planning to do any seminars about the new equipment? Perhaps some basic “here’s where everything is and how you should connect it.”

It’s fairly intuitive to use, and if you know how to open a tank you’ll know how to use the setup. The gauges and such are even still the same. If you want a quick walk-through anyway, I should be around Saturday.

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