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What’s the Best Way to Weld Stainless Steel?

How to TIG Weld Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a trendy material used for its anti-corrosive properties, durability, and beautiful finish. Its qualities make it perfect for food preparation utensils and appliances, medical equipment and devices, transporting substances that would corrode other materials, and so on.

If you have a project involving welding stainless steel, read on and research to obtain the best result for your task.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel has the main advantage of not becoming rusty that easily, which is attributed to its chromium content (in between 10% and 30%). This iron-based alloy performs excellently at a wide range of temperatures, both hot and cold, which makes it so good for piping, medical devices, and instruments, lighting products, and at a large scale in buildings and other structures.

Amongst the other great qualities of stainless steel, we would like to mention that it’s easy to form and fabricate and it can be recycled, making it a sustainable material for wide uses.

Read More: How to TIG Weld Stainless Steel

Tips for Welding Stainless Steel

Stainless steel might not be the easiest metal to weld because of its tendency to warp and the fact that you have to use a lower heat setting than you would with other metals.

  • Expectations. For an inexperienced welder, working with stainless steel might be frustrating at times, since it shows any little mistakes you make, affecting the end result. Also, as mentioned, it tends to warp when subjected to high heat, especially if it comes in thin sheets. It might also warp when cooling down.
  • Avoid Warping. To avoid the warping of the stainless steel, you can put a piece of copper behind the seam as you weld. This will cool down the area and prevent the weld from burning through on the other side. You can also take your time and weld in short segments, allowing the metal to cool off before moving to the next segment.
  • Prepare. Preparing the area and the stainless steel for the welding process also plays a big part in the success of your task, as certain precautions need to be taken first. You need to remember that stainless steel will rust if it’s exposed to particles as fine as dust from carbon steel, so make sure your materials, tools, and working area are completely clean before you start welding.

Types of Welding for Stainless Steel

In order to choose the best method to weld stainless steel, there are several factors to consider: the experience of the welder, the thickness of the stainless steel you are working with, how esthetically pleasing the end result must be, and what your budget and timeframe are.

  • Shielded metal arc welding (MIG Welder): Efficient in terms of both time and cost, MIG welding works with stainless steel as long as the final result doesn’t have to look flawless.
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (TIG Welder): This method is better for projects that require a lot of precision, such as ones involving smaller or intricate pieces, or those that will show the welding as part of the esthetic final result. TIG welding is slower and requires more experience, so don’t start before you test your skills first or before you are confident in your welding.
  • Stick welding: When choosing your welding rod or wire, make sure you select the same grade material or higher. Use stainless steel rods or, if you need to use another type of material, keep in mind that the weld can rust and protect it with primer or paint.

As you can see, you have several options to choose from, and the three common methods above should already be familiar to you. Go with TIG if you are working with thin sheets. If you are focusing on keeping the costs low, then you should go with spot welding. If you need advice on what would work best for you, ask an expert.

Other tips to take into account while welding stainless steel

How can you ensure best results when actually welding?

  • If TIG welding, go with a DCEN or DC electrode negative setting and a current with a ratio of 1 amp for every 1/1000-inch thickness of the metal.
  • If MIG welding, use the push technique. This approach lets you see what you are doing more clearly and produces less beading. Only use the pull technique when you need deeper penetration.
  • Hold your welding gun at a 90-degree angle with a travel angle of 5 -15 degrees. For T-joints and lap joints, try a greater angle of about 45-70 degrees.
  • Keep your work area clean, safe, and well ventilated.

Although welding stainless steel is a little more complicated than other welds, it can be done. You can even weld stainless steel to mild steel. Using the right equipment, managing your temperature, and getting the right filler material can produce a strong, durable weld.

Can I weld stainless steel?

It is possible to weld stainless steel with the correct tools and procedure, although it can be tricky. You need to be careful because it can get bent or cracked when it gets too hot. Even if it doesn’t crack, it can end up with scratches and marks. Keep the following in mind when welding stainless steel:

  • Different types of stainless steel need different welding techniques.
  • MIG and TIG welders are the best machines for welding stainless steel.
  • MIG is good for thicker pieces, while TIG is better for thinner ones.
  • You need a welding gun, wire, and temperature-checking device for welding.

In short, we recommend leaving welding stainless steel to the experts.

Do You Need Welding Supplies, Training, or Equipment?

There is quite a learning curve to welding stainless steel. As sturdy and flexible as this material is, welding can turn into a nuisance if you are not careful enough.

For all your welding needs, the Perfect Power Welding Supply team is at your service, providing high-quality welding supplies, classes, and support. If you have a project that involves welding stainless steel, don’t hesitate to contact us and ask for guidance, materials, and tools, as we have the expertise needed for the best result.

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