- Small Businesses at BOC
Articles & Advice
- How to choose the right shielding gas for your welds
- Choosing the right welding helmet
- How Caple Forge maintain their steel fabrication quality
- Top tips on managing cashflow
- Automatic balloon filling kit helps keep waste at a minimum
- Balloon filling kit helps Cardwise achieve top fills
- Small welding gas cylinder takes poll position
- Save on welding gas with new lightweight cylinder
- Rented gas cylinders ease pressure on costs
- Welding gas cylinder is just the right size for MG Midget
- Commitment to quality gives Hitchin firm ability to grow
- Step-by-step video guides
To achieve the top quality welds that your high standards demand or your customers expect you need the correct shielding gas for the job. Discover the gases that meet just some of the needs of small businesses and DIY welders.
Whether your business is auto repair, maintenance or panel beating, you fix agricultural equipment, weld pipework, or you’re a DIY welder working on a car or motorcycle at home, your welds will improve if you carefully select the right shielding gas to fit your application.
The shielding gas does more than protect the finished weld from the effects of oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. It affects the weld’s bead shape and size and its porosity and fusion, as well as the welding speed and amount of spatter.
Choose your gas wisely and you’ll achieve strong, tough and corrosion-resistant welds; select poorly and you affect performance: delivering welds that are never quite good enough.
Right gas for the job
No shielding gas exists that fits all applications. So the first step is to decide what you want to improve in your welding and match this to the benefits the shielding gas can bring. Just remember the gas may change as the thickness of material increases.
For example, with components that have to be painted or coated after MIG welding it is important that the amount of spatter produced is kept to a minimum. Using carbon dioxide can cause large amounts of spatter to be ejected from the weld pool damaging the surface of the component. A change to Argoshield Heavy can halve the amount of spatter produced. Moving to Argoshield Universal can halve it again.
BOC supplies a wide range of shielding gases specifically designed to optimise performance in particular conditions. In vehicle repair and manufacturing, argon-based gas mixtures are commonly used to MIG weld carbon and low alloy steels.
Argoshield Light is one of those choices. It’s ideal if you are welding thinner carbon steel ranging from 0.6 to 5mm in thickness.
The addition of oxygen to Argoshield increases arc stability to minimise spatter and fast weld speeds with its low heat input reduce distortion. So it’s perfect for our earlier example where the components of a car are being painted or powder coated after welding.
And for hobby welders and small businesses without the space to spare for a standard-sized cylinder, there’s even the choice of a more practically sized lightweight 2-litre Argoshield Light that takes up less space at home or in a van.
Argoshield Universal contains the same amount of oxygen as Argoshield Light but slightly less argon and more CO2. It produces smooth, flat welds with fewer weld defects and with its low spatter performance reduces the need for rework.
It’s best used when productivity and low levels of distortion are important – such as semi-automatic, automatic and robotic applications in the automotive industry.
Ferric stainless steels used in the likes of exhausts and catalytic converters have high strength and good high-temperature properties, while martensitic stainless steels – used for vehicle chassis and under-carriage components of tractors – are more difficult to weld.
A gas for every occasion
Specshield 2.5% CO2 is an excellent general-purpose gas for applications like MIG welding thin automotive parts, such as exhausts, using solid wire. Its mix of argon and 2.5% carbon dioxide gives a good wetting action and produces smooth welds with minimal spatter and low surface oxidation but its fusion is relatively low.
For low spatter and distortion and better fusion of welding automotive components in the thickness range of 0.5mm to 3mm, Stainshield Light is a better choice.
Anyone requiring high-integrity welds, such as those used in pipe work and paneling, for components ranging from 3mm to 12mm, should consider Stainshield Universal’s argon, helium and carbon dioxide mixture.
It produces welds with very good low temperature toughness values, excellent corrosion resistance, high penetration and low levels of porosity.
Other priorities when choosing a shielding gas
Of course the right shielding gas is not the only consideration – your safety when using high-pressure cylinders is also paramount.
It’s important to go to a reputable company to rent your shielding gases, so you can be sure strict standards are met and cylinders comply with regulations.
Renting a cylinder from BOC gives you peace of mind. You know it is well maintained and renting can also be more cost effective. Find out why it’s good to rent.
It’s also a priority to use the right safety equipment such as helmets and gloves, which you can also find through BOC.