Rubber Verses Vinyl Plastic Hoses Which is Better?

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I got a call from a customer TIG welding high-end aerospace parts. He bought a complete setup from us a few years ago that featured the Weldcraft® WP-20-25-R TIG torch customized to a WP-20-25-Pro™ package by Arc-Zone.com® with all the goods needed for his new TIG machine.

The reason for the call was that the customer asked us to custom build him a TIG torch with “vinyl plastic” gas hose.

hoses_small.jpgWe generally recommend the rubber hose leads as opposed to vinyl. They are more flexible and easier to handle. Vinyl plastic hoses are more economical, but they get stiff over time and the water hose / power cable are susceptible to damage from heat generated by the power cable, along with the water pressure from the water-cooling system — you have a recipe for hose failure.  Not to mention that the hoses melt quickly when they come in contact with a hot TIG rod, or welded part!

The WP-20-25-Pro™ package that he received features Weldcraft’s high-quality rubber lead set. And that can be problematic — it seems that the rubber gas hose, in certain conditions, can absorb moisture from the atmosphere and it can cause impurities in the weld. This may show up when welding reactive metals such as titanium, molybdenum, nickel-based and aluminum based alloys as well as non-reactive metals like stainless steel.

Based on this customers request we put together a custom HPT™ “High-Purity TIG™ torch package.  If you are doing high-quality work and don’t want to settle for an “off-the-shelf” commodity TIG torch, give us a call or drop us an email.  Let our staff know that you have a high purity application, and one our technical experts will be happy to put a quote together for you.

I would be interested to know what your thoughts are — do you have an experience with this issue –let me know by commenting below — first commenter get a free Arc-Zone.com® T-Shirt!

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6 comments on “Rubber Verses Vinyl Plastic Hoses Which is Better?”:

  1. Bob

    I had heard of this also through a friend of mine. He is one of those guys that has more certs and letters after his name than in it. I had just picked up a Miller Dynasty with a Weldcraft WP-20 torch setup with nice hi flex RUBBER hose and asked him to stop by and give me a few pointers working with Ti. The first thing he said was to get rid of the rubber hoses, his reason was the rubber can impart impuritys into the argon stream….. Something you would never see while welding steel but the finnekyness (hmm I don’t think that is a word) of Ti would probably show defects. I did as he said and didn’t look back, he had never steered me wrong before. I have now welded a few Ti motorcycle exhausts with no ill effects so I have no reason to switch back.

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  2. dave beaudry

    Well,i would think that a rubber hose with a vinyl core would be the best of both worlds.That is if anybody makes it yet.Not a bad idea.

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  3. Ric Havel

    I’ve been using the rubber hoses for years on WP18 WP 20 WP 24 and have not seen any signs of moisture and weld aluminum an Ti. daily. My only experience has been on the CK products as well as other manufactures torches connectors do not tighten as you might expect and “snuging” the hose connections incorrectly will result in a water leak,however that leak is outside the hose and easily repaired.
    ric

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  4. Juan Muzquiz

    The problem was not moisture but a leaky gas hose that was not detected. I had a similar problem that would occur after the torch lay idle for a while. It drove me crazy with all kinds of weld impurities. The problem was that the rubber hose would only leak when it was twisted a certain way. The vinyl hose kind of leaks once it gets a hole no matter what. the rubber hose can seal the leak if it is twisted just right .. kind of an on and off thing.

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  5. Tom Huang

    If you look up the AWS Welding Journal, Vol. 86, No. 12 (Dec. 2007).Pages 40-45. “The Welding of Titanium Alloys”.

    They specifically state on page 43
    “Gas hoses should be non-porous, flexible, and made only of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polypropylene (PP), or high density polyethylene (HDPE). FEP-lined Tygon(R) has superior resistance to moisture absorption and is recommended. Rubber hoses absorb moisture and should never be used in any titanium welding operation.”

    Bottom line is…
    Even if you have ways of avoiding problems or defects using your methods the customer and specifications may demand you use “correct” spec certified materials and process. The defects the processes are designed to avoid may be difficult for the operator to see and be aware of.
    I will be looking for PTFE or FEP materials for my permanent set up as soon as I can locate suppliers.

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