Stainless steel is recognized for its sturdy and long-lasting properties. Nevertheless, the most rugged materials also demand maintenance and repair works from time to time.
Many a time, I get questions asking whether the aluminum or stainless steel can be welded with a MIG welder or not. In this article, I’ll explain all your queries regarding the welding of stainless steel with a MIG welder.
So, can you MIG weld stainless steel?
In a short, the answer is “Yes”. You can weld stainless steel products with a MIG welder. However, you need to make sure you’ve got the right apparatus and safety gear before starting the welding procedure.
What Is MIG Welding?
First thing first. There are two major types of welding namely MIG welding and TIG welding.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is also recognized as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). The welding process involves an electrode wire which melts into the weld continuously. The wire that is melted acts as the filler material which helps in joining both pieces of metal without heating them to their melting temperature.
Mig Welding Stainless Steel: How to do it?
Can you weld stainless steel with a MIG welder? Yes, certainly you can. This part of the article will discuss how to MIG weld stainless steel.
1. Gather welding gears
Stainless steel welding demands lots of tools to get the job done efficiently. I’ve provided some of those above but not all of those considering you already have those if you go through welding or any repairing work frequently.
Welding machine: A MIG welding machine is required for reliable and quality repair while welding stainless steel. The machine also comes with other essential components such as a welding gun and sample welding wire so that you can start welding straightway.
Welding gun: There are several welding machines that carry welding guns with them. However, you always can look for an upgradation. Don’t forget to replace the gun tips as they get ruined with time.
Welding wire: Proper stainless steel welding wire is required for the best welding. Also, you may buy a wire feeder if you work frequently. The feeder gives you better control over the feed rate that eventually results in better welding.
Shielding gas: A mixture of Helium, Argon, and CO2 is prominently used as shielding gas for welding stainless steel.
Cleaning brush: A metal cleaning brush is necessary to clean the surface of the metal.
2. Clean The Metal Surface
Making a clean and durable weld is only possible when you work on a clean surface. So, remove all kinds of dirt, oil, and grease from the surface of the metal with the help of a cleaning brush. Utilize the metal brush after cleaning the surface to prepare it properly for welding.
3. Selecting Wire And Shielding Gas
Choosing the stainless steel MIG wire is the most crucial part of the welding. Most people prefer to use a diameter of 0.030-inch for stainless steel welding. On the other hand, the ideal shielding gas mixture features about 90 percent of Helium, 7.5 percent of Argon, and the remaining 2.5 percent of carbon dioxide.
Finally, It’s Time To Weld!
You can use the “Push” technique while welding stainless steel with a MIG weld. It is because the technique provides you better viewing angle. Maintain proper travel angle for your position which may vary depending upon the type of weld you’re doing.
Commonly, holding the gun at a 90-degree angle with a 5 to 15-degree travel angle is the most practicing and efficient position. Again, if you’re working on T-joints and lap joints, you may prefer a greater travel angle, for example, 40 to 70 degrees.
Also, if you want to penetrate the welding deeper than usual, you should follow the pull technique. You have to point the welding gun back at the weld puddle and pull away from the deposited metal.
Necessary Tools And Materials For Welding Stainless Steel
|Tools||Why you need this|
|Welding helmet||Increases weld quality and control while reducing eye strain|
|Welding glove||Delivers superior security to forearms|
|Mig Wire||Delivers gas from a pressurized gas bottle|
|Welding machine||Controls welding process|
Tips And Tricks For Stainless Steel Welding
If you want to weld perfectly, there’s no alternative to practicing again and again. Welding isn’t an easy task to do at all and you need lots of practice to weld in an effective way. So, don’t be so stressed if you have made any mistakes while welding for the first time. Practicing with proper gears and procedures will help you to weld perfectly over time.
Here are few tips for young welders:
- Check the gears properly before starting welding. Make sure the amperage and voltage of the welder machine are okay and you have enough wire supply. Don’t forget to keep extra wire for any emergency.
- Make sure you have a proper viewing angle. If you can’t see the weld you’re doing, it won’t be perfect anyway.
- Very often, coatings are set over the stainless steel surface to keep it away from rust. Make sure you aren’t welding on coatings as that won’t last long. True steel won’t be magnetic. So, it’s simple to find whether you’re welding on a true steel surface or not with the help of a magnet.
- Don’t be stressed while welding. Never weld while you’re tired. Also, try to work in a well-ventilated place as it will keep you refreshed even after working for hours.
So, can you MIG weld stainless steel? I hope you’ve got the answer you had been looking for. MIG welding is the most commonly practiced method of welding over stainless steel.
You will be able to weld like professionals with MIG welding gears, safety tools, and continuous practice. Once you’re determined, nothing can stop you from being a pro-level welder. I wish you luck.