Stainless steel is a strong material that is durable and resists corrosion. This makes it popular as a building material, but welding it can be a little tricky. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure a great weld on stainless steel.
What Type of Welding Works for Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is most commonly welded with gas tungsten arc welding (TIG) or metal arc welding (MIG). Both of these processes will result in a slightly different finish, so it’s important to consider the factors necessary for your project. Some things to keep in mind are aesthetic, required finesse, skill level, timing, costs, and thickness of the metal.
How to Weld Stainless Steel
1. First, clean the material.
Before you can weld stainless steel, you must first make sure the material is free of dust, debris, grease, or anything else that could get in the way of getting a nice weld. Use acetone to clean the stainless steel, and make sure there is no moisture remaining when you start to weld. Don’t use any of the tools you use to work with carbon steel with your stainless since the carbon can contaminate the piece. It is best to have separate work areas for carbon and stainless steel if you have space.
2. Choose a welding machine.
The two most common ways to weld stainless steel are MIG welding and TIG welding. TIG welding gives the nicest-looking weld, but it requires more skill. If it doesn’t matter what the weld looks like, MIG welding does a fine job. Unless you are going to be welding a lot of stainless steel, it is probably not worth buying a TIG welder if you already have a MIG welder on hand.
3. Get the settings right.
Some common mistakes with MIG welding are having the gun angle too steep, the travel speed too slow or too fast, the gas flow too high or too low, the electrical stick-out too long or too short, the wire feed too high or too low, or the voltage too high or too low. With TIG welding, make sure the amps are not set too high or too low, and most importantly, match the travel speed to the amp setting. Also, make sure your tungsten is clean and sharp.
4. Make the weld.
Keep your weld straight and steady and make sure your travel speed is right where it needs to be to get a good weld. You can use a stitching motion if desired, depending on the look you are going for.
Welding stainless steel brings its share of challenges and advantages. As long as you consider both the pros and the cons when it comes to your project and makes decisions accordingly, your end result will be professional and valuable.
Contact the Stainless Steel Experts at Atlantic Stainless
Atlantic Stainless is a distributor of high-quality stainless steel products including but not limited to stainless steel sheets, bars, tubes, channels, beams, pipes, plates and hardware. We offer the largest variety of products and unmatched cutting, shearing and polishing services. To inquire about our products, please request a quote.