Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monster TIG nozzle = monster waste of money

UPDATE 6/15/2013: Arc-zone has redesigned their Monster TIG nozzle. It now has a chunk of rock wool or similar material to help diffuse the gas flow. I have never used this version, and so the comments in this blog post do not apply to it. Check the comments section for more details.

Today's lesson involves my quest to weld stainless steel sheet metal, a Monster TIG nozzle, and a copper chill bar. In previous posts, I've described having trouble maintaining weld bead quality on thin stainless sheets. The problems are a combination of putting too much heat into the metal, and having too little argon gas coverage. I am not sure if addressing one problem can help solve the other. Today, I did some testing to find out if adding a lot of gas coverage can help. I also tested out a copper chill bar.

Common weld parameters for the whole test:
1/16 ceriated tungsten ground to a sharp point
55 amps (pedal floored for the entire test)
very slight %90 pulse at 200Hz just to get my auto-darkening helmet to work
20 CFH pure argon
10 sec post-flow

I purposefully used a small piece of 304 1/16" sheet to show the heat buildup problems. I also welded close to the edge to test the worst-case heat buildup.

First up: normal gas lens with #8 cup.

Wow, I never knew the copper could help that much!

Next, a large diameter gas lens with #12 cup
Same story here. It looks like there was even less heat in the metal. This might be because there was better contact between the sheet and copper, or because the gas nozzle has a wider opening. I'll bet the Monster nozzle will be even better...

Finally, the "Monster TIG nozzle", which is 1" in diameter and uses a stubby gas lens collet body.
Wha?! There must be something wrong -- what's going on here?! I tried all gas flow settings from 5 CFH up to 30 CFH and concluded this nozzle is completely useless. It's possible that I am misunderstanding something since I am a new welder, but I am pretty sure this thing just plain doesn't work. I noticed that the tungsten had turned black after a few welds, indicating the gas coverage isn't even enough to keep the tunsten from oxidizing. At 30 CFH, the gas flow was so turbulent, I could see the arc getting blown around, and pops of smoke coming out of the weld. At lower flow settings, I could see the stainless oxidizing even before I lifted my hood. I tried different stickout from 1/8" up to 3/4" with no change. I am sure the cup made good contact with the torch body, and there were no air leaks. I even tried extending the nozzle away from the gas lens with a spacer to make sure there was adquate space for the gas to disperse with only a tiny improvement.

On the right: large gas lens with #12 cup. On the left, you guessed it, Monster suck.

This screen arrangement doesn't look so great.

It's made with just two screens without any spacers between them, and two very coarse screens on the outsides. The screen diameter is a few mm less than the interior diameter of the ceramic cup, so I'm guessing a lot of gas slips around the edges of the screens.
So, I'll be continuing my stainless welding quest without the Monster nozzle and with copper chill blocks. I'll also be testing Solar Flux B. So far, I think it works well but poses a huge cleanup mess after the welding is complete.


  1. Welding stainless is not rocket science man. really for your application you should be fine with a #6 cup on a gas lense set at 17-23 cfh. You give a false representation of this product due to your lack of welding knowledge/experience. you need to back off the heat and speed up you travel speed and reading a book wouldn't hurt either.


  2. You're right, I am definitely a new welder, and have spent less than a dozen total hours welding stainless steel. I've read four books on welding, and believe it or not, reading a book doesn't make someone a good welder. It takes practice and "seat time". I am still learning how to do it, as I mentioned in the post.
    However, there is no question in my mind that the Monster TIG nozzle performs less well than a standard gas lens. Just look at how it is built: Two flimsy screens without any spacers -- how can that ever work? Have you ever used a Monster TIG nozzle? Do you actually prefer it over a gas lens?

  3. Ben,

    I came across this comment about one of our trademarked products-- The Monster TIG Nozzle. I'm not sure where you got your nozzle, but I checked our customer list, and you have never purchased from Arc-Zone. For the record, the nozzle that you are referring to in your story is a white Champagne Nozzle from WeldTec -- not a pink Monster TIG Nozzle from Arc-Zone. Like you, I had mixed results with the Champagne nozzle I tested in our weld lab. The screen stack is marginally effective, and the metal tungsten guide and wire retaining ring causes turbulence in the gas flow.

    Please Note: One of the pictures in your story (link below) clearly shows the nozzle incorrectly installed on the TIG torch. There is a Teflon make-up gasket that is to be used on the nozzle in conjunction with the "Stubby" front end parts. It's clearly missing in the picture.

    The Arc-Zone Monster TIG nozzle is approved, and specified for critical turbine blade repair applications by several aircraft repair stations.

    I would appreciate if you would modify your post to reflect the facts.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim Watson
    CEO & Founder, Inc.

  4. Jim, I definitely want to get my story correct. However, I'm fairly certain that I ordered from arc-zone, and the nozzle was called a "Monster TIG". Here's an internet archive snapshot:

    The image even says "Monster TIG Nozzle". It's white and looks identical to my photo.

    I've ordered other things from arc-zone and have had great service and great products with the exception of this nozzle.

  5. Jim, also take a look at the very bottom of this current page:

  6. Ben,
    After a little more research I realized I'd forgotten a bit of the history of our Monster TIG Nozzle, and our difficulties in sourcing a quality sub-component manufacturer. You can read about it on my blog:

    I wish you'd have contacted us directly-- we have a 30-Day No Hassle Return policy. I'd like to offer you a replacement Monster TIG nozzle
    at no charge-- we actually re-introduced the Monster Nozzle last month... Give us a call at 800-944-2243.

    And thanks for giving a try!

  7. Wow, that's quite the customer service.

  8. and wow.. I love when amateur grade people pass judgement on professional grade products. BLOGS, FORUMS, AND EQUIPMENT DO NOT MAKE THE MAN

  9. Wow... clearly Ben knows what he's on about.

    I mean....he has a blog!

  10. Problem solved in the end at least. Kudo's to Arc-Zone for responding so diligently.