Stainless steel is a material that has grown in popularity in recent years. It is a highly durable, hypoallergenic, stain, and corrosion-resistant material used as a base material in everything from cookware to kitchen appliances to various other things. It's is a versatile material and not like regular steel, and it can be employed in a wide variety of ways. That's why we have come with the details of how to weld stainless steel.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and other elements that contains at least 10.5 percent chromium, often combined with nickel, molybdenum, carbon content, and manganese. The amounts of chromium can vary from 10%-30% depending on the type of stainless steel. Also, there can be the presence of chromium oxide and hexavalent chromium. But, of course, the most amount will be the volume of iron.
The presence of chromium and some other materials makes it a durable, attractive, and corrosion-resistant metal used in a wide range of applications, from flatware to kitchen appliances and even medical devices like stents. It is far better than traditional carbon steel as it is durable, attractive, aesthetics, fire-resistant, corrosion-resistant, cleanable and recyclable.
Types of Stainless Steel:
There are various types of stainless steel made in the laboratory and factory. They are categorized into 5 common types based on their microstructure. Among them, three types are commonly used and manufactured. They are:
- Austenitic stainless steel: Austenitic stainless steels are the most commonly used stainless steel with incredible quality and low cost.
- Martensitic stainless steel: The martensitic types of stainless steel are used for high-wear applications. The martensitic base metals are excellent for hard-facing purposes.
- Ferritic stainless steel: The making cost of the ferritic stainless steel is cheaper; that's why it's the most commonly used stainless steel for consumer products.
Stainless steel is a material that has gained popularity in modern times. But, if you are using stainless steel, you have to weld it. But is it easy to weld? It actually depends on your welding skills. If you have strong skills, then it's easy. But if you are a newbie, you might think of it as a difficult process. But you can get the best operational efficiency. For that, you just need to understand the stainless steel welding process perfectly. To execute a successful weld, you have to understand the types of steel, the type of material, and what types of results you want. You might be confused about it. But don't worry! We are going to give you a complete and the most detailed guide about how to weld stainless steel.
Note: You might be wondering about the difference between MIG welders and Tig welders. In this article, you will get to know more about Mig vs Tig welding with tips & tricks!
Preparing to Weld:
Before starting the welding process, you need to prepare your workspace and equipment. The preparation is crucial for a successful weld because it helps with cleanliness and enhances accuracy.
- Firstly, you need to clean all the stainless steel as well as the tools. Cleanliness is a must for stainless steel as it's highly sensitive. Suppose some amounts of carbon steel dust is on the tools, then it'll definitely be embedded on the steel, which obviously we don't want.
- Secondly, you must put on the protective cloth and welding mask. The dress should be large enough to cover the skin fully. You must put on insulated gloves and boots. Also, you have to put on a welding helmet to protect your eyes and face at the time of welding.
- Thirdly, you can start your work of welding stainless steel in the way you want.
There is various type of welding process for stainless steel. But 3 of them are the most common type. They are popular and the perfect ones. You can choose any of them according to the result you want.
Mig Welding Tips for Beginners:
Mig welding is a process of joining metal pieces with the help of gas and electricity. The thicker parts require this type to ensure that they are joined well together since it results in welds more resistant than those done by other methods such as TIG or arc welding. To do welding with MIG welder for home use, you must follow these steps:
- Ensure that the MIG welding torch is in good condition. Getting a larger torch is better for stainless steel welding as its heat flow rate is higher.
- You must use stainless steel welding wire brushes and discs for the welding.
- Now, before starting, we must ensure that the weld surface is free from iron, ferrous oxide, and steel particles.
- Get the wire type and diameter correct. Then fill the filler wire through the torch. If you can't get the filler wire through the torch, then check the connection if it's done properly or not. After doing it turn on the gas.
- Now, position the torch at a 30-degree angle above the place where you want a weld joint. Hold it in such a way that the peak of the flame should touch the metal piece.
- Then slowly move the torch upright or forward to fulfill the joint. You must ensure that you are filling the joint smoothly and evenly. So, don't move too quickly or too slowly.
- Cooling process of the MIG weld is pretty fast. So, when the weld cools down and the joined becomes secured, turn off the gas.
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TIG Welding Tips:
TIG welding is also known as gas tungsten arc welding. This is the most highly used welding process as it provides durability, high quality, and versatility. In addition, it works with a low-heat-input process that makes the process most suitable for thinner pieces of weld metal. However, the welding machine of TIG welding is a little complicated to use. For TIG welding, follow the below process:
- You must have clean stainless steel.
- Get the TIG torch set up for the stainless steel welding. You must ensure that the TIG torch has the proper duty cycle to run the amperage.
- Choose the correct tungsten rod, select the correct type and diameter.
- Enter a sharpened tungsten rod inside the torch and open the solid wire electrode by twisting the head of the torch.
- MIG welding machine has two welding application that includes positive and negative electrical current. So, flip the switch to set accordingly.
- Position the torch where you want to join a 75-degree angle. Now start heating the torch by pressing the foot paddle.
- Tab the rod into the aqueous metal as you fulfill the joint. Move it slowly to get a smooth finishing.
- Now wait till the metal gets cool though it's not a slow cooling process. In this time, keep the torch upright so that it doesn't touch other places.
- When the metal cools down and the joined sealed perfectly, turn off the torch heating.
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How to SPOT Welding in Stainless Steel:
To weld two pieces of stainless steel together, one must first heat the edges. This is usually done with an acetylene torch which melts and joins both sides of the metal instantly once it touches them for a few seconds. Once heated, you can then apply pressure in a circular motion on your welding surface while using a filler rod as needed until all holes are filled up entirely.
After this process has been completed successfully twice consecutively without any problems or mishaps (such as a fire), you may now proceed to start applying more solid steel rods that make contact just below where we previously placed our fingers before adding more molten wire from underneath after rotating 360 degrees, so there's enough even coverage across the entire joint area; but not too much because over.
SPOT welding is also known as resistance welding. It's the easiest way of welding stainless steel. It's the cheapest way to weld the pieces of steel. You just need to follow the steps for MMA welding:
- Put the piece of steel you want to join together.
- Start the welding machine.
- This machine uses the electrical current to melt and join pieces of metal.
- Now wait till you finished weld and then turn off the machine.
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So, you can use any of the three ways of welding stainless steel for your stainless steel projects according to your need. The ways actually depend on the type of weld joint you want. It can be lap joints, root joints, or others. Be careful the entire time while doing the welding as the material is pretty sensitive and different from mild steel or standard carbon steel. Also, ensure that there are no trace amounts of other products. That's it. Just follow our instructions and have perfect and smooth welding!
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ):
- How to stick weld stainless steel with mild steel?
It's similar to do stainless steel. There is not any restriction when you joint stainless steel with any dissimilar metal. The setup, machines, and precautions are the same as stainless steel welding. But you must choose the electrode correctly as it's the most important fact here.
- How to choose the right electrode?
The correct electrode choice is mandatory for perfect stainless steel welding. What kind of electrode you want actually depends on the material and your budget. We recommend E309 or E309L. If you are a beginner then go for a high-quality electrode.
- What type of rod do I need when welding stainless steel?
The type of rod actually depends on which stainless steel you are using, what kind of finishing you are looking for, and what type of welding you are using. Also, is the material thick or thin or is the stainless steel welder a beginner or experienced.
What type of welding is best for stainless steel?
There are three types of stainless steel welding and all of them are great. Three of them provide three different results. Also, the type varies depending on the thicker pieces or thinner pieces of steel you are using, welder experience, the finishing you need, and many more.
- Is it necessary to preheat a stainless steel welding rod?
You just need to preheat the base metals, not the filler materials.
- Is welding stainless steel difficult?
It's not difficult but as a beginner, you might feel it a little tricky. You just need to follow all the steps perfectly, strictly follow what to do or what not to, and do the welding slowly and carefully. And, start with small pieces.
- How dangerous is welding stainless steel?
Welding is not dangerous if done correctly. The same goes for stainless steel welding. You must wear all the safety clothes, shoes, and other materials. Maintain the safety measure properly; otherwise, you might face some inconvenient situation. Overall, welding stainless steel is not dangerous if done adequately with safety measures.