But when it comes to welding it, things can get complicated. Some even think it is excessively unvoiced to weld stainless steel unless you have decades of feel .
But is it ?
Spoiler, you can learn to weld it if you have the correctly cognition and enough practice. so, let ’ s dive into the facts regarding how to weld stainless sword and hopefully clear up the misconceptions along the way .
faq About Welding Stainless Steel
Since it is why you are here, let ’ s clear up the most normally asked questions first .
Can You Weld Stainless Steel ?
Yes ! stainless steel can be welded using any arch welding process such as MIG, TIG, Stick & Flux-cored. Each summons will yield a slenderly unlike solution and will require some memorize and skill to accomplish .
Is Welding Stainless Difficult ?
While not a easily as welding meek sword, it is accomplishable with a little cognition and practice for good about everyone with the right equipment .
Welding stainless steel presents a challenge for inexperienced welders as it retains heat efficiently. If you apply excess inflame, stainless sword can warp, or it may evening distort as it cools .
Stainless steel besides intelligibly shows every imperfection in the weld. For this reason alone, some will say welding stainless is a more complicate, unforgiving job best suited for advanced users. But like all welding, anyone can learn with enough practice .
Another issue with welding stainless, there are a batch of unlike alloys. You MUST use the right field filler material, shielding gasoline, settings, etc., for each alloy .
This flat of detail can be a trouble and adds to the perception that welding stainless is difficult. But normally, you will focus only on the particular alloy you use, not all of them. so, the learn curve is not equally bad as some make it .
What Kind of Welder is Best for Stainless Steel ?
many new welders are surprised to learn that you can use several different weld processes to join stainless steel sword ( “ SS ” ), including TIG, MIG, flux-cored, and stick .
TIG welding bead using argon If you want those satiny, professional-looking beads, a TIG welder should be your first choice. TIG welders make clean, attractive welds on SS. so, they are normally the right instrument when the finished firearm must be aesthetically pleasing .
besides, TIG welders with a foot bicycle ( or finger see ) give you precise control over how much estrus you apply. In early words, you can make micro-adjustments on the fly as you lay the bead. Fine heating system operate helps to minimize warp in a stainless steel piece .
There are drawbacks to TIG welding SS, though. You need to replace the makeweight perch now and then, meaning long welds will have stops and starts. Plus, you do need to use an expensive shielding gas .
MIG welded stainless steel beads excessively many assume TIG weld is the alone process that welds SS. But MIG, flux-cored, and stand by welders can all weld it, excessively. You may even be surprised to learn that they are a better option for some jobs .
For exercise, MIG welders are good on long welds. You don ’ t have to constantly trade in new electrodes/filler rods as you must with TIG and stick welders. however, you will need a different, more expensive harbor gas since the oxygen levels SS can tolerate are lower than balmy sword .
If the total monetary value of MIG welding SS is an issue, flux-cored weld allows you to use less expensive CO2 or even no shield natural gas. But since the wire ’ mho effect assortment contains flux, you will have to deal with the slag, particularly when doing multiple passes .
Another advantage to flux-cored welding, you can use it in long-winded conditions. For SS, many assume you need a shielding gas. But because you are using flux-cored cable, you may not need the expensive shielding accelerator that equitable blows away in long-winded conditions .
In industrial or construction applications, appearance may not be a high precedence. so, the portability and the ease of SMAW welders, or stick, may be fair what you need on a large job site. Plus, since there is no shielding boast, you can weld in long-winded conditions .
Stick electrodes have an external coating that contains blend. Flux means these electrodes produce slag that you must deal with, and controlling the heat in the metal can be a challenge. Plus, you must replace the consumable electrode much .
What Metals Can You Weld To Stainless Steel ?
dissimilar metals can be welded in concert, including stainless steel. But for several reasons, this is a slippery challenge with special considerations. You need to assess the risks and decide if they are satisfactory for the mean application .
In many cases, the melting point of the two metals will be far apart, creating a challenge. For this reason, a makeweight corporeal becomes quite authoritative, and the choice of what makeweight you use is critical .
The bottom line, welding unlike metals is a gamble. You need to understand the two metals you are welding and use the correct filler material .
But there are besides many techniques and special materials you may need depending on what you are welding. Do your research ahead of time .
|Alloy/Metal||Yes / No|
|Mild Steel (low carbon)||Yes2|
1 Usually requires preheating the carbon sword.
2 Use the MIG process with the ER309L filler cable and a tri-mix shielding natural gas for most jobs.
3 Must remove zinc which produces a health hazard and can contaminate the weld bead
4 Use the “ butter ” method to keep the carbon from the SS with a NiFe-CI or Ni-CI filler.
5 There are workarounds like bi-metal transition inserts, But the bi-metal inserts are made using particular processes normally not possible on site. Pre-made inserts are difficult to find if you are a humble shop class or hobbyist .
How to Weld Stainless Steel
Before you being to weld stainless steel, you need to make sure you have the justly equipment and your welder and steel is prepare .
Let ’ s go over them .
What do You Need to Weld Stainless Steel ?
The gear needed to weld SS will not be that different from welding other metals. In general, you will need :
- Welder (MIG, TIG, flux-cored, or stick)
- Electrodes (the wire or stick must be carefully selected for the weld)
- Shielding gas (for MIG and TIG, and possibly flux-cored)
- Grinder/wire brush/solvent to clean the metal
- Welding table (for smaller, in-shop work)
- Welding helmet
- Safety glasses (for grinding and other ancillary work)
- Leather apron, sleeves, and gloves
- Welding boots (25% of all welding accidents involve foot injuries)
- Ventilation (if indoors)
- MIG Pliers (handy to have for all welding processes)
breathing was included as required gear since stainless steel produces hexavalent chromium flatulence. This toxic flatulence means you must protect yourself and ensure you are not breathing the fumes when welding SS .
Preparing Your welder
For all processes that weld SS, you must first choose the right electrode/filler material. It needs to be the right debase for the weld you intend, no matter what type of welder you use. There are enough of guides from manufacturers and internet sources to help you .
then, there are particulars for the assorted weld processes, which we detail below .
TIG Welder Preparation
On many TIG welders, you control the amperage as you weld ( more on that in a act ). But you must first set your maximum amps on the car. It will vary with the SS alloy and other variables like thickness. Charts are readily available to help you with this set .
Finger or Foot Amperage Control
Rocker style foot pedal gives granular control If your welder has it, the ability to tweak the estrus, or ampere, as you weld helps to minimize excess inflame and the resulting falsify in the SS. If you are on a ladder or other hard-to-reach areas, finger control may be necessary .
But for early jobs, the foot pedal may be a more comfortable setup. Be indisputable to set up the best adenosine monophosphate control for the particular weld on your machine. many TIG welders have the choice to turn the foot pedal/finger control on or off, so be sure you set it correctly ahead of clock time .
Electrode size makes a deviation in a TIG welder. so, the electrode used must have the correct diameter. It is normally 3/32 but can go astir to 1/4 column inch. Which size you need depends on variables like polarity, amperage, joint size, free-base metallic element thickness .
You must besides pay attention to the tungsten electrode character. You will see a thoriated loss electrode used for most SS welding jobs. But some SS alloys may require a unlike “ color ” electrode .
besides, geometry matters. A taper of no more than 2.5 times the electrode diameter allows for a focused discharge that produces deep, reduce beads, and a small heat-affected zone ( “ HAZ ” ). If the electrode tapers more than 2.5 times its diameter, the bow starts to fan out, resulting in less penetration and a larger HAZ .
Polarity and Pulsing
For welding SS set your TIG welder mutual opposition to DCEN ( conduct stream electrode damaging ). Some people call this straight mutual opposition, and you should never use electrode positive, as it will burn out your tungsten in a flare .
besides, if your welder has a pulse fix, use it. experience welders should set the pulse rate at 100 pulses per second ( PPS ) to start and go up vitamin a senior high school as 500 PPS. Some TIG welders may not pulse that high, and inexperienced welders much count the pulses ( from .5 to 2 PPS ) to time the campaign of the blowtorch and the cold wire when the PPS is limited to 10 .
TIG Shielding Gas
not a minor detail ; you must choose the right shielding flatulence and set the proper run rates. The boast normally used for TIG weld is pure argon ( Ar ) .
But helium ( He ) may be added to increase penetration and fluidity of the weld pool. In some cases, nitrogen ( N2 ) and hydrogen ( H2 ) are added to achieve special properties. For exemplar, the inclusion body of hydrogen gives a exchangeable but stronger impression compared to adding helium. however, hydrogen should not be used when welding martensitic, ferritic, or duplex grades .
hang rates are normally 35 to 50 cubic feet per hour but consult the recommendations for your machine and other normally available charts and sources.
MIG Welder Preparation
The first step is to obtain and install the veracious cable debase and size for the dyer’s rocket you want to conduct. Depending on the specific alloy you are welding, some research may be needed, but the ER309L cable is popular. Be sure to use the right diameter telegram, excessively .
You must pick the right boast. Stainless steel is sensitive to atmospheric gasses, and a tri-mix of 90 % helium, 7.5 % argon, and 2.5 % carbon dioxide is democratic. This mix produces a nice bead contour, and the CO2 levels are abject enough not to harm the corrosion electric resistance of the SS .
You do not want to use a pure inert shielding gas, such as helium or argon, for SS MIG weld. The discharge characteristics of the MIG process are markedly unlike from the TIG serve, and pure Ar or He would negatively impact the efficiency of the MIG arc .
besides, be certain to set your stream pace by rights. As already stated, SS is sensitive to reactive gasses, and that means it requires a commodity blanket to prevent weld contamination. Consult your welder ’ s manual or settings chart for a good start target .
Your welder should be set up for a direct stream electrode positive ( “ DCEP ” ) agreement .
Wire Feed Speed
The manual and setting chart for your unit of measurement should provide the necessary wire feed speeds for SS alloys at diverse thicknesses. But if not, most SS welds use a slightly higher wire feed rush ( “ WFS ” ) than what you would use with mild steel .
Amperage and Voltage Settings
Consult your welders manual and/or welding settings chart to set your amperage and electric potential levels. If you do not have those, have welders or the internet can besides provide charts and recommendations for starting settings .
SS normally requires a lower amperage setting due to a higher WFS. additionally, higher electric potential settings need to be used, which wets out the puddle that allows a two-dimensional face and feathers in the toes of the weld .
Flux-cored Welder Preparation
As with the other SS weld processes, the filler material is important. But with flux-cored welding, the consumable electrode electrify is the filler material, and it carries the blend in the core of the cable to shield the weld .
That means the constitution of the wire is more complex than a solid MIG wire. indeed, you need to be careful when selecting/buying wire. The SS alloy and thickness will be two crucial variables when selecting a flux-cored electrify, but the liquefy congress of racial equality composition can besides vary .
besides, a on-key gasless electrify will work in windy conditions. But it will likely be limited to flat and horizontal work .
therefore, another significant factor to consider is shielding flatulence. many SS flux-cored wires do require natural gas. While wind can be a trouble, these wires handle out-of-position welds better. These are much called double shielded wires and are widely available ( obtaining true “ gasless ” flux-cored SS wire is harder ) .
The mutual opposition can get confusing with flux-cored ( or FCAW ) welding, as the place changes depending on what cable you use. indeed, be certain to note what mutual opposition you need for the flux-cored telegram you have, and ensure your machine is set appropriately .
Yes, with FCAW, shielding gasoline is unnecessary for many welds. But SS is unlike than carbon paper steel, and it is necessary for many jobs. If using a double-shielded telegram ( flux and shielding gas together ), be surely to have shielding accelerator on hand .
Welders frequently use a 100 % CO2 or 75 % argon 25 % CO2 mix. The slag encapsulation of the weld limits the assimilation of carbon, making using shielding gas with high CO2 content possible .
Stick Welder Preparation
You might be seeing a blueprint here, but the excerpt of your makeweight material matters in every welding work. Stick electrodes are sold in versatile SS alloys with assorted liquefy coatings. Do your research and select the right size and alloy for your especial dyer’s rocket .
The manufacturers normally apply the correct flux density coating to the SS debase used to make the stick. so, you typically do not need to check on it. But if you are welding unlike metals or early strange joints, you may want to note the flux mix on the electrode, excessively .
The amperage settings should be listed in the welder manual of arms or a chart printed on the welder, or you can find recommendations reasonably well if they aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. But in general, set the amps on the first gear end, as “ cool ” as possible .
With a stick welder, you will find the perplex gets hot as you get a match of inches into the weld, and the discharge and bead characteristics will change. so, you need to allow for this on any joint over one or two inches long .
Stick is childlike and easy to use, but it does produce a lot of spatter. On stainless steel study, that can be a problem. then, you may want to have some anti-spatter gel or spray on hand to prep the workpiece before welding .
Preparing stainless steel steel for welding
After setting up your welder for stainless steel, you now need to prepare the metallic before welding. here are some things you should prepare…
stainless steel does not tolerate contaminant well. even trace amounts can create an issue. so, the metal needs to be free of all paint, rust, oil, and so forth, and cleaned before welding. No exceptions, so be meticulous .
Be sure that the pieces are aligned properly and that there are no gaps or variations in the joint. Gaps of variations in the joint width command overindulgence makeweight material, which adds more heat to the weld. Plus, the weld looks better if the bead width is consistent .
With chummy pieces, the edges will need to be beveled or chamfered. This profile helps with the fit-up, but it besides allows you to make stronger, fine-looking welds, besides .
10 Tips for Welding Stainless Steel successfully
1. Keep the Heat Down
Stainless steel heave when exposed to excess heat. Remember ? We mentioned that near the get down of this article. then, it makes sense, set your amps, a.k.a. your heat remark, on the low side to keep the trouble at bay .
2. Avoid Large Filler Diameter
The compact the makeweight rod/wire, the more estrus you need. But with SS, you need to keep the amps down. indeed, avoid big makeweight rods/wires as another room to keep your heat down .
3. Fine Tune The Fit-Up
Proper fit-up allows you to use the proper measure of filler fabric and eliminates the necessitate to fill gaps. That means you will not need to add excessive heat to the metal. thus, take the time to fine-tune the fit-up of the workpieces to avoid warp and hapless appearance .
4. Use a Filler Material/Electrode Designed for the SS Alloy
Yes, you can weld stainless steel with the lapp balmy steel filler you use regularly. The problem is that the weld can corrode, and you need to coat the drop to keep it from rusting. Switching to a stainless steel steel filler debase that matches the base metal avoids the trouble. besides, you avoid contaminating the SS with carbon in the HAZ, which can cause rust in the SS pieces .
5. Use the Right Torch Angle (Stick and Flux-Cored)
With slag, you drag. This advice works, in general, all FCAW or stay weld. By dragging the electrode, you ’ re allowing the flux to rise to the top of the weld pool and properly cover the bead. otherwise, you can have issues with slag inclusions in your weld .
For FCAW stainless, a 10-degree drag angle should generally work very well as a start point. But with stick weld, you may want to try a much steeper angle .
6. Have the Right Wire Stick Out
With MIG and flux-cored weld, you need to have the good stick out when you start a dyer’s rocket for a smooth bow. Plus, you need to avoid varying this outdistance between the beak and metal as you weld .
besides, when flux-core welding, trim the wire point every time you lay a bead. If you don ’ t clean-cut every time, you can get a silicon blob at the gratuity of your wire that can mess up your start. Trimming your wire is probably a good gratuity for your MIG dyer’s rocket, excessively, to ensure proper stick out and a blank tip .
7. TIG Weld Puddle
The weld puddle diameter should equal the basis metal thickness. If the pool gets excessively big, use your fingertip or foot pedal point to reduce the heat. At the conclusion of the weld, eliminate craters by tapering the stream down and adding makeweight metallic until the puddle hardens .
8. Deposition Rate
The diverse weld processes have varying depositions rates, and there is no substitute for have to learn how it varies with your welders .
But in general, if you need a high deposit rate, use a flux-cored welder with a double shield cable. This apparatus will normally give you the best deposition rates .
9. Travel Speed
In general, you don ’ triiodothyronine want to move excessively slow. That will create excess heat in the stainless steel steel. so, keep your travel speeds up .
besides, with adhere and flux-cored welding, you can tell if your travel rapidly is off by the resulting bead. Signs you can look for are :
slow weld travel : Your bead will crown high gear, and the slag won ’ metric ton cover the weld well. It ’ ll tend to leave the weld exposed near the pate, and the metal will turn gray. You ’ ll credibly have porosity issues, and the weld might be prone to rust .
Fast weld travel : The dyer’s rocket will turn out extra ropy, and the weld bead will be besides narrow .
10. Rust Prevention
It is a nuisance, but SS welds can rust. To prevent this from happening, you can do a few things.
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First, be certain to provide a good across-the-board of shielding accelerator. reactive gasses in the air can cause all kinds of problems, including rust .
The moment thing to do is clean your finish dyer’s rocket completely, including discoloration. Cleaning is normally done with pickling pastes, grinders/wire brushes/abrasives, or electrochemical clean. besides, do not use a steel telegram brush. It can contaminate the weld, and yep rust .
Third, this will sound repetitive by immediately, but keep your heat down. overindulgence heating system can cause stainless sword to lose its corrosion resistance .