weld stainless steel
weld stainless steel

As you know, welding is the way to join stainless steel parts for repair work or even for craft projects. But what type of welding is best for stainless steel?

Before continuing with the article, it is recommended that you look at our article Types of welding: TIG vs. MIG vs. Electrode vs. Arc, where we explain the different welding methods and their advantages and disadvantages.

This article explains the different ways of welding stainless steel and the most appropriate methods.

Each must choose the most appropriate process according to the application given from these options. Let’s go there!

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Introduction to welding stainless steel

When it comes to welding stainless steel, there are a few things you need to know. First, stainless steel is an iron, chromium, and nickel alloy. It’s this combination of metals that gives stainless steel its corrosion-resistant properties. That’s why it’s often used in food processing and medical equipment.

But because stainless steel is rigid to weld, it’s essential to use the right tools and techniques. Otherwise, you risk damaging the metal or not getting a solid weld. This article will show you how to weld stainless steel properly.

Before you start

In this complete guide, we will go step by step. Before you start welding, you should know some things, and choosing the best welding method to meet your needs is necessary.

 Identify the type of stainless steel you want to weld.

Stainless steel is composed of iron (Fe), Carbon (C), and Chrome (Cr). The fundamental element is iron, but chromium makes steel stainless. Or this, the minimum proportion of chromium must be 11.5%.

Stainless steels are divided into three main groups (others are not used as much), and each type is identified by the three digits that are usually printed on the steel:

  • Martensitic stainless steel: Steel has a chromium ratio between 11.5% and 18%. t is magnetic and produces long white sparks with few forks. t is used for wear-resistant projects. Some examples are AISI 410, 416, 420, 431, 501, and 502 sheets of steel.
  • Ferritic steel contains between 17-18% and 27% chromium. t is widespread, and its high carbon content makes it magnetic. Hen milled produces white or red sparks with a few forks. Erratic steel is AISI 405, 409, 432, 439, 442, and 446.
  • Austenitic steel: The total nickel and chromium content is 23%. t is a relatively common type of steel, and they usually start with the digit 3. they are non-magnetic in the annealing condition and do not harden by heat treatment.

 Choose the suitable filler metal for your type of steel.

Depending on the type of stainless steel you have to weld, you must choose a filler metal accordingly. f the metals you join are different, you must pick them based on less cracking chance and the most compatible with the base metal.

In the following tables, we help you choose the filling material for your stainless steel:

Contribution metal for martensitic stainless steels

AISI steel Recommended input metal Alternative input metal
403 410 308, 347, 309
410, 410S 410 308, 347, 309
414 410 410 NM, 309
420 420 309
431 410 309, 310
440A 312 309

Contribution metal for ferritic stainless steels

AISI steel Recommended input metal Alternative input metal
405 410 308L, 309, 410NM
409 409CB 430, 309LSi
430 430 308L, 309L
442 308L 309L
446 308L 309L

Contribution metal for austenitic stainless steels

AISI steel Recommended input metal Alternative input metal
201, 202, 205 240 308, 347, 309
301, 302, 302B 308 347, 309
304, 304L 308L 347, 309
304H 308H 347, 309
303, 303SE 312 309MO
316, 309S 309 309CB, 310
310, 310S, 314 310 310CB, 310MO
316, 316L 316, 316L 309MO, 317
316H 316H 309MO, 317
317 317 317L, 309MO, 318
321 347 309CB, 310CB, 321
347, 348, 347H 347 309CB, 310CB
320 320LR 320
330 330
904L 385

If you are unsure of the type of stainless steel, the 309 works well in most situations.

 Choose the type of joint you need to weld.

Achy joints can be welded in different ways, depending on the thickness and shape of the joint. You must make one point depending on how you need to join the pieces together. The most common junctions are the T-joint, the overlap joint, the edge joint, the corner joint, and the top joint.

 Secure the parts you are going to weld

Place the pieces you will weld on a work surface to work with stainless steel. Ut the two parts you want to join using different accessories that usually bring the welding tables.

If you have a standard table, you can secure them with parents or cheaters as firmly as possible so they do not move while welding.

Read Next –

 Clean the base stainless steel

He makes welding better. Use a specific wire brush for stainless steel to clean the metal. Rub the brush to remove all impurities, and review with a wet rag of acetone to finish cleaning all debris.

If necessary, sandpaper and grinders can also clean the steel and remove all impurities.

 Type of welding for stainless steel

The most suitable processes for welding stainless steel are MIG and TIG. Although arc welding can also be used to weld stainless steel, it is not the most appropriate method, so we recommend you opt for TIG or MIG welding.

Instead, MIG welding is used for welding large parts. IG welding is more appropriate for small parts and delicate but strong welds among the MIG and TIG processes. f you need more information about these two types of welding, you can find it in our article, where we compare the different types of welding.

 Gas for welding stainless steel with MIG or TIG

The gas we need for our project depends on the type of welding we will use (MIG or TIG) and, depending on that, the type of stainless steel we have or the filler material we use.

In the following table, we show you with which gas the stainless steel is welded in each case:

MIG TIG
Filling material/steel type Basic and rutile tubular thread Solid thread and metallic filler
Martensitic 68% Argon, 20% Helium, 12% Dioxide c. 63% Argon, 35% Helium, 2% Dioxide c. 70% Argon, 30% Helium
Ferritic 68% Argon, 20% Helium, 12% Dioxide c. 63% Argon, 35% Helium, 2% Dioxide c. 70% Argon, 30% Helium
Austenitic 68% Argon, 20% Helium, 12% Dioxide c. 63% Argon, 35% Helium, 2% Dioxide c. 98% Argon, 2% Helium

Although these are the ideal gases, other mixtures can also be used. A gas with a variety of 90% Helium, 7.5% Argon, and 2.5% Carbon Dioxide can be used for MIG welding of stainless steel and 98% Argon and 2% Carbon Dioxide for TIG stainless steel welding.

 One last step before starting welding: Protection

During welding, sparks can always jump, so it is essential to use as much protection as possible. Using gloves and darkening helmets is vital and should be the minimum protection for any welding work.

Welding aprons, respirator masks, and safety shoes are also recommended. Ut, if you don’t have them, you should wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to avoid exposing the skin to any dangerous situation.

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TIG welding for stainless steel or How to weld stainless steel with TIG

TIG welding will weld stainless steel slightly thickly, approximately 6 mm. From then on, TIG welding will not be economical.

In TIG welding ( Tungsten Inert Gas), also known as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), the electric arc is established between the base metal and a non-consumable Tungsten electrode. Ll, this is done in a protective atmosphere created by the inert gas chosen for the project. His gas is used to protect the metal we melt for air welding.

The trouble is that TIG welding equipment is a little more complicated than MIG welders, and the welding process is also slower. n the contrary, when done correctly, it can create more robust and durable joints than MIG welds.

And is that the cords that are created with TIG welding are of exceptionally high quality, and there is no slag presence when using non-consumable electrodes. Because of this, in addition to thin materials, TIG welding is also used when an excellent-quality finish is needed. His article can find all the necessary information about TIG welders.
So, here we show you how to weld stainless steel with TIG :

 First steps

Insert the sharp tungsten rod into the torch and start the gas. Hen, open the electrode by turning the torch and putting the tungsten rod of the appropriate diameter in the center of the cylinder. Adjust the rod, letting it protrude a little.

 Turn on and configure the soldering iron.

Please turn on the soldering iron, setting it to DC (Continuous Current) mode. t will help if you put it in this configuration to weld the stainless steel properly.

In other inverter welders, which can use different functions and types of welding, it is sufficient to put it in TIG mode or TIG LIFT.

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 Get ready to start welding.

Light the TIG torch next to the joint you wish to weld. Hold the torch about 2 or 3 centimeters from the pieces’ junction and at an angle of 75 degrees. Old the torch at this distance and in this position while welding.

 TIG welding process   in stainless steel

They usually have a pedal to activate the torch, which lights it when pressed. You have to keep the torch still in one place until you see the metal melt, and when this happens, you have to move it to weld the entire joint.

You have to ensure that the metal does not splash; if it does, you should raise the welder’s amperage. t is a sign that the torch does not have enough strength. n the contrary, if you have too much energy or power, you will melt too much metal.

 Fill the gasket while moving the rod.

Hold the rod with one hand and the torch with the other as the filler rod in the molten metal to fill the joint and create the cord along the entire joint.

 Let it cool

Before moving the new part, you weld it and let it dry. The union has to solidify completely before moving it. The torch must also be cooled before storing it since if it is still hot, it can cause a fire.

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 Video

If you want to see on the video how the welding of stainless steel with TIG is done correctly, we leave you a video so you can do it:

MIG welding for stainless steel or How to weld stainless steel with MIG

MIG welding, also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), welds thick pieces. His welding is faster than TIG welding and easier to do, so you don’t have to be an experienced welder to get a good weld. The bad thing is that the created union is not so durable. t is more fragile. o for those who ask if you can weld stainless steel with MIG, the answer is YES.

The MIG torch has the filling material to be welded with one hand. His MIG welding process, and the MAG (Metal Active Gas) process, are used to protect the welding with inert gas since an electric arc is established between a consumable electrode and the stainless steel part will weld. Active gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, or hydrogen usually achieve better arc action, but this will depend on your chosen gas mixture.

If you weld stainless steel using MIG welding, you have all the information you need about MIG welding machines in this article.

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Without lengthening more, let’s do it; here, we show you how to weld stainless steel with MIG :

 First steps

First, pass the filler wire through the MIG machine’s reel and take it out through the torch’s tip. His wife has to protrude from the torch about half a centimeter. Once you have put the wire in the correct position, you only have to activate the gas to weld stainless steel with MIG to start welding.

 Hold the torch at 30 ° above the weld joint.

You must hold the torch at a 30º angle to the pieces you must join. You have to have the torch in a position that allows you to reach the edge of the two parts so that the flame heats the pieces. n this way, a weld bead is formed in the joint with the liquid metal created when melted.

To do it correctly, the metal cannot splash, and if it does, it is a sign that you need to use more power. And on the contrary, if the metal melts too quickly, you must lower the ability to achieve a smooth liquid cord so that you can easily control it.

 Move the torch over the edge to join the entire joint.

You have to move the torch little by little, keeping the angle of 30º along the entire edge of the pieces to fill the joint. o it at a constant speed so that the welding is uniform throughout the joint. His way, you will create a weld bead throughout the entire joint.

Before moving the torch forward, you must ensure that the gasket has been filled smoothly and evenly. If you drive very fast, the steel will not melt enough, and the union will be fragile. And otherwise, you will melt too much metal, which is also not convenient.

Let the solder cool

The welding will be completed when you pass the torch over the edge. t this time, do not forget to turn off the gas. Once you finish, you must let the welding and the torch cool down.

Typically with MIG welding, this happens very fast, so you don’t have to wait long.

 Video

Finally, I leave you with a video where you can see how the welding of stainless steel is performed:

I hope you found the article helpful! You can write us with any questions!

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🔥 MIG Welding Stainless Steel

Tips for welding stainless steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, and nickel. It is a versatile material with many applications in the manufacturing, medical, and construction industries.

When welding stainless steel, a few things must be kept in mind to ensure a strong weld.

  • Use a clean, dry wire brush to remove any rust or debris from the surface of the metal.
  • Make sure that your welding machine is set up for stainless steel. This includes using the correct electrode and gas mixture.
  • Use short, quick welding strokes when joining stainless steel pieces together. This helps to prevent warping and distortion of the metal.
  • Allow the welds to cool slowly to prevent cracking.

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How to avoid common mistakes when welding stainless steel

When welding stainless steel, it is essential to avoid common mistakes that can lead to poor weld quality and premature component failure.

Some of the most common mistakes made when welding stainless steel are:

  • Not using a sufficiently powerful welding machine – Stainless steel requires more heat to weld than other metals, so a lower-powered welding machine will not be able to generate enough heat to weld the material properly. This can result in incomplete fusion of the weld joint, leading to component failure.
  • Not cleaning the metal before welding – Any contaminants on the stainless steel surface will be drawn into the weld pool during welding, potentially causing defects in the weld. Therefore, cleaning the metal thoroughly before starting any welding work is crucial.
  • Not using appropriate filler materials – When welding stainless steel, it is essential to use a proper filler material that matches the composition of the base metal. Using an incorrect filler material can lead to Weld Metal Embrittlement (WME), a significant cause of premature component failure in stainless steel welds.
  • Incorrect gas shielding – When welding stainless steel, it is essential to use an inert gas shield around the arc to protect the weld pool from contamination by atmospheric gases. Using an incorrect gas or failing to maintain an adequate gas shield can lead to porosity and other defects in the finished weld.
  • Improper cooling after welding – After completing a weld, it is essential to allow the joint to cool slowly to relieve stress and prevent warping or distortion. Rapid cooling of the weld joint can lead to cracking and other damage.

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What kind of weld do you use on stainless steel?

There are several types of stainless steel, but the most common are austenitic and ferritic. Austenitic steels are non-magnetic and have high levels of chromium and nickel. Ferritic steels are magnetic and have lower levels of chromium.

The two most common types of welding for stainless steel are TIG and MIG. TIG welding is best for thinner materials, while MIG welding is better for thicker materials. Both methods use a shielding gas to protect the weld from contamination.

Which type of stainless steel is not weldable?

Three main types of stainless steel are austenitic, ferritic, and martensitic. Austenitic and ferritic stainless steels are weldable, but martensitic stainless steel is not.

Martensitic stainless steel is typically used for knives and other cutting tools. Martensitic stainless steel contains high carbon levels, making it hard and brittle. This type of stainless steel is not weldable because it cannot be heat treated to relieve the stresses caused by welding.

Can I use a MIG welder to weld stainless steel?

While it is possible to weld stainless steel with a MIG welder, it is not recommended. Stainless steel is rugged to weld because it is less forgiving than other metals. The high heat of the welding process can cause the stainless steel to warp and crack.

Can you weld stainless steel with regular MIG wire?

Yes, you can weld stainless steel with regular MIG wire. Many believe it is easier to weld stainless steel with standard MIG wire than with specialized stainless steel welding wire. The reason for this is that regular MIG wire is less likely to cause contamination of the weld area.

Can I weld stainless steel with a stick welder?

Stick welding is a great way to weld stainless steel, and it can be done with an AC or DC power source. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when stick welding stainless steel.

First, it’s essential to use the correct electrode. For most applications, a 316L or 308L electrode will work well. If welding a thin piece of stainless steel, you may need to use a 309L electrode.

Second, you need to set the welder to the correct amperage. For most applications, 100-120 amps are sufficient.

Third, you need to use the correct shielding gas. For most applications, an argon/carbon dioxide mix will work well.

Fourth, it would be best if you welded slowly and evenly. If you weld too fast, the heat will build up and cause warping.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to weld stainless steel like a pro!

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How do you prepare stainless steel for welding?

To weld stainless steel, you need to take special precautions. The first step is to clean the metal surface with a degreaser or wire brush. This will remove any dirt, oil, or debris that could interfere with the welding process.

Next, you need to tack weld the piece in place. Tack welding is a small weld that holds the metal in place while you complete the principal weld. Once the work is tacked, you can begin welding along the seam. Be sure to use a welding rod that is compatible with stainless steel.

Finally, finish by welding any decorative details or embellishments onto the piece. Stainless steel can be tricky to weld, but if you take your time and prepare the surface properly, you’ll be able to create beautiful, strong welds that will last a lifetime.

How would you prepare stainless steel for welding?

To prepare stainless steel for welding, you must clean the metal surface of any debris, oils, or other contaminants. This can be done with a degreaser or alcohol-based cleaner.

Once the surface is clean, you must attach the ground clamp to the workpiece. Next, set your welder to the appropriate amperage and voltage for stainless steel. Then, start welding!

Is stainless steel welding difficult?

Stainless steel welding can be difficult because it is a highly reactive metal that can easily rust. To weld stainless steel properly, you must use a filler material resistant to corrosion.

Additionally, it would be best if you cleaned the metal before and after welding to remove any contaminants that could cause decay.

Why does stainless steel crack after welding?

Welding stainless steel can be tricky and, if not done correctly, can result in steel cracking. There are a few reasons why this can happen:

  • If the weld is not cooled correctly, the heat from the welding can cause the steel to crack.
  • If the base metal is not cleaned before welding, impurities can cause the weld to crack.
  • If the welding parameters are not set correctly, the weld can be too weak and crack under stress.
  • If too many passes are made while welding, the heat from each pass can build up and cause the weld to crack.
  • If the wrong type of filler metal is used, it can cause problems with the weld bead and lead to cracking.

Do you need a unique welder for stainless steel?

While it is possible to weld stainless steel with a regular welder, it is not recommended. Stainless steel has a higher melting point than standard steel, requiring more heat to weld. This can cause the weld to be less intense and more likely to break.

A stainless steel welder will have a higher output and can better control the heat, resulting in a stronger weld.

What welding rod do I use to weld stainless to mild steel?

The most common welding rod for stainless steel is the E308L. This welding rod is used for welding stainless steel to mild steel.

The E308L welding rod is made of austenitic stainless steel and has a low carbon content. This welding rod is ideal for welding stainless steel to mild steel because it produces a strong weld with good corrosion resistance.

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Forney Easy Weld 140 MP, Multi-Process Welder

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$448.14
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