How to repair a TIG hose

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Since you are reading this article, I will presume two things about your situation: 

1) you are a budget conscious welder and 

2) you have a damaged TIG hose that you would like to fix.

If this is the case, I will give you some tips for a hotfix, how to prevent hose damage in the future and (even though I might lose some of you here) why it might be better not to repair the TIG hose with a hotfix to stay on the safe site. 

How to repair a TIG hose? If the damage is at the end of the hose, shortening the tube can help. Vulcanised rubber patches or clamps are other hotfixes. Although replacing the hose and adding a cable cover to prevent future damages is the safest and best option. 

Repairing a TIG hose is not as simple as fixing a bicycle tube. This article aims to help you to fix either fix the hose successfully or at least prevent damage on the TIG hose in the future. 

The 2 most common reasons for TIG hose damage

The two main materials for TIG hoses are rubber and vinyl. 

Rubber hoses are more flexible and generally they are easier to move around with. Handling is therefore better. Vinyl hoses have the big disadvantage that they get stiff over time, however they are more economical.

The welding shop environment can be tough on the material, especially flexible rubber that is exposed to all kinds of hazards like heat and sharp objects. So when your TIG welding hose shows signs of damages or leakage, you are in good company. Here are some reasons why a TIG hose got damaged

  1. Heat: One of the major reasons for TIG hose damage is overheating of the rubber material. Rubber has a low melting point, around 400°F/ 200° C depending on the type of rubber. But this will by no means withstand the heat that most other TIG torch parts can withstand. That also means that the rubber of the hose is one of the first things to go when the cooling system is not working properly. When the cooling system does not work properly, chances are one of the following is true:
    1. Maybe your welding plant has a switch for manually switching the cooling system on an off. Check if that is the case before considering anything else. 
    2. Your water cooling system is broke or due for maintenance. Maybe some blockage or the pump broke. There is no workaround fixing this issue first. 
    3. The connection for the water cooling system is not properly plugged in.
  2. Mechanical Damage: A welding shop is no clean room, and the main material is metals that are sharp and heavy in form and size. Additionally, most welders are moving the welding torch around there workpiece, and so traveling quite some distance with the hose. Constant bending and straining the hose makes the rubber brittle, sharp and heavy objects easily poch holes into the soft rubber. 

There might be other circumstances, like manufacturing defects or increased water pressure causing a defect, but these two above mentioned reasons are the most common, and when you bare with me until the end of the article, I will suggest some help on how to prevent these defects. 

8 tips to (temporarily) repair a TIG hose

There are multiple ways to repair a TIG hose, depending on where and how the hose got damaged. If the damage occurred on the ends of the hose, it might be possible to shorten the tube and get away without any major changes. Is the damage or leak further down or right in the middle of the hose but gigantic, tape or clamps might be a hotfix. Below are some useful methods listed. 

A word of warning though: Every situation is unique, and messing with a welding plant without expert knowledge is dangerous and get lead to serious injuries. Having said that, here are my favourits: 

When fixing a water leak in the middle of the hose, these are some available options: 

  1. Liquid insulation, available from 3M. When used with an overlapping piece of additional tube, a water leak can be sufficiently fixed. 
  2. Alternatively, clamping or cable ties in combination with a piece of tube added above the damaged hose can give some relief. 
  3. Vulcanising Patches. Similar to the bicycle repair patches, these patches “weld” themselves into the existing hose material and seal the leak. But the patches do not work with all those materials. So check before you buy if this is an applicable solution for you. 
  4. Duck Tape and a piece of PVC to fill. Not recommended though, since the chances of stopping the water leak are slimmer than with the other hotfixes. 

When your damage is close to the torch: 

  1. Disassemble the torch
  2. Cut the damaged part of the hose off. 
  3. Use a piece of nylon or brass splicer and tape over the concerned area. 
  4. And for the water supply, clamping the wire and safety wire pliers to tighten

General solutions for all areas: 

Get a TIG hose repair kit: Easy to install, no tools required and suitable for TIG, MIG & PAW gas supply hoses. Great option for in the field.

How to find out if your repair has worked? Do a water leakage test to see if gas escapes the newly repaired patch. That will validate if your repair work, for the moment at least. 

Another great tip if the budget is tight: buy some tube in bulk and cut it yourself. That will be safe you a decent amount of money in the long run, especially if you choose to ignore the next big tip:

Prevention is the best fix: How to prevent TIG hose damage

Well, it takes no genius to acknowledge that it is better to never get a problem instead of fixing a problem. If you want not only to increase your welding safety, save you some money in repairs and spares but also prevent your hair from getting grey or your boss from getting angry because of the maintenance downtime, prevention is key. 

Cable covers might be a good solution for you if you frequently have trouble with broken hoses. There are some covers out of different materials like Nylon, which are much sturdier against mechanical and heat-related damages. The cover will make your setup a bit bulkier, but there are great alternatives which have no impact on your TIG torch handling but increase your TIG hose protection by a lot. 

Hope this rundown over TIG hose damage reasons, hotfixes and prevention methods helped in solving your problem. I take no responsibility for your hotfix, and only experts should even consider these solutions. Remember, you are working with a high current that is almost in any case lethal when connected falsely.

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If you liked this article, have a look at my other articles I wrote about the topic!

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