What is a Stubby Gas Lens?

A stubby gas lens kit lets you use smaller, more agile, cups on larger TIG torches. But is it worth doing? Here's how it works.

Stubby gas lens tig torch versus a standard 17 tig torch.

Stubby TIG Torch Benefits

A stubby torch lets you keep the heat control benefits of a larger TIG torch, like a jumbo gas lens, but with a compact profile using smaller cups. Larger 17 and 26 TIG torches handle more heat than smaller 9 torches, but their standard cups are large, harder to control, and don't fit as well in tight spots.

Comparing jumbo gas lens kit, stubby gas lens kit, and a standard tig torch setup. The stubby torch is smallest. All three have a number 8 cup on a ck17 tig torch, with a six inch rule above for sizing.

Do Stubby Torches Need a Gas Lens?

You don't have to use a gas lens to make a stubby TIG torch. You can convert a larger torch into a stubby setup using either a stubby collet body, or a stubby gas lens, as shown below.

A stubby collet body or a stubby gas lens can make a stubby torch.

Parts Needed for a Stubby Gas Lens Kit

You need two parts for a stubby TIG torch. Remember, the same small cups are used on both number 9 (air-cooled) and number 20 (water-cooled) TIG torches. To get these smaller cups to fit on larger number 17 and 26 TIG torches, you need to swap out the collet body and the collet.

Stubby Collet Body or Stubby Gas Lens

This special collet body is large enough to thread onto larger TIG torches but can accept smaller TIG cups on the other side.

Showing how much smaller a stubby collet body is versus a standard 17 collet body.

Or you can swap out the standard collet body with a stubby gas lens. Below you can see how it compares to three other gas lens sizes.

Comparing, from largest to smallest, jumbo gas lens, standard gas lens, stubby gas lens, and number 9 gas lens.

Note the different thread size on bottom of the gas lens for number 9 and 20 torches, versus the other three threaded for number 17 and 26 TIG torches.

Stubby Collet

You can't use number 9 or 20 collets with a stubby gas lens. Yes, the stubby setup is smaller than a standard 17 torch setup, but you can see below the stubby collet is a unique size.

Comparing, from largest to smallest, a number 17 collet, a stubby collet, and a number 9 collet.

Stubby Insulator (optional)

When it comes to insulators (sometimes called heat shields), whether you need to (or can) swap out the stock for a stubby depends on the brand of TIG torch.

I've always been able to use stock insulators with stubby setups. However, if you can find a stubby insulator that fits your torch, it can shave off another quarter-inch from your torch length.

Stubby insulator has a shorter profile than a standard number 17 tig torch insulator.

Who Makes Good Stubby TIG Parts?

The following is only my opinion, based on extensive use of these parts over the years. These are not affiliate or paid links, just two brands of exceptional quality whose products I've learned to trust.

Furick Stubby Gas Lens

Furick is famous for their innovations in TIG cup design, but they also produce other premium welding accessories, including a stubby gas lens (external link).

The link goes to the stubby gas lens page on the Furick shop, but you can also find stubby kits on the site.

CK Stubby Gas Lens Kit

CK Worldwide is a staple in the welding community, and for good reason. They have a long history of innovation in the TIG welding game and don't seem to be slowing down.

You can find a dealer for their stubby gas lens kit (external link) by clicking onto their site. It's common for dealers to offer anything from single parts to various kit assortments.

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