4 Popular Methods for Welding Stainless Steel

4 Popular Methods for Welding Stainless Steel


Welding stainless steel is different from welding other metals. Stainless steel has some unique properties, which make it harder to weld than other metals. These specific properties need to be considered before welding stainless steel

In general, stainless steel is a nonferrous metal alloy comprising iron, carbon, and chromium at least 10.5%. It is known for its durability and corrosion resistance. Many different types of stainless steel are composed of iron, carbon, and chromium with other elements added, such as nickel, niobium, molybdenum, and titanium. Chromium, which gives the alloy its corrosion resistance and shine, is also resistant to tarnishing and rust.

Whatever your welding method, it is essential to control heating and cooling of stainless steel to achieve an aesthetic finish. Heat retention is a problem associated with metals, resulting in problems like warping, corrosion, or embrittlement.

The difference between a burned seam and perfection can be as little as five amps of power. It is also essential to ensure that the fillers are compatible with the material being welded. Finally, keep the working area clean and keep debris off of the welding table, stainless steel is prone to scratching.

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4 Popular Methods For Welding Stainless Steel

Tig Welding | Mig Welding | Resistance Welding | Laser Welding

TIG welding, MIG welding, resistance welding and laser welding are the four most common methods of welding stainless steel. They each have their own benefits and unique characteristics.

1. TIG Welding

The name TIG refers to Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), which stands for Tungsten Inert Gas. There is a gas sheathing surrounding the tungsten electrode, which gives the process its name. The electrode of non-consumable tungsten provides the welding arc with the needed current. Gases such as argon are preferred because they protect and cool the tungsten, create relatively little smoke, and prevent oxidation.

Welding with TIG is ideal for joining critical parts and is widely used in industry for fine, precise welds. It is also the most common method for joining thin stainless steel sections to thinner metals. Stainless steel TIG welding benefits include fast welding, pore-free, sound welds, a narrow fusion zone and precise control. If fillers are used, oxidation residue is reduced, simplifying final cleaning.

2. MIG Welding

Welding methods using metal inert gas are known as MIG or gas metal arc welding (GMAW), which uses electricity to melt and join metal pieces. The MIG welding process depends on a connection between two pieces of metal and a source of direct current that acts as an electrode to join them as the wire continuously passes through a welding gun. MIG welding stainless steel uses 90% helium, 7.5% argon, 2.5% carbon dioxide as the shielding gas.

MIG welding has the advantage of being much faster than traditional “stick welding”. Welding with MIG produces continuous, long weld lines at a substantially higher speed and can be used on thicker stainless steels in applications that call for long weld lines. This welding method produces a clean weld since the shielding gas protects the welding arc from contamination.

3. Resistance Welding

Resistance welding is used for seams and spots. The metal is heated and a nugget is formed when electrical current flows through an electrode and contacts the metal. This results in a metal joint. The device operates at low voltage, even though it requires large amounts of current.
Resistance welding can be more efficient than other welding methods, since all that must be done entails pressing a button. Stainless steel in particular has a short heating time and a low temperature concentration.

This means the area being worked on is affected less. Manufacturers can automate and mechanize the welding process, without requiring highly skilled welders. This not only creates a more pleasing aesthetic, but also increases productivity, reduces costs and reduces overall manufacturing costs.

4. Laser Welding

One of the most technically advanced welding methods is laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) welding. There are countless applications for this technology from aerospace to jewellery-making.
By using a highly concentrated beam of light on a very small spot, laser welding makes the area under the beam highly energetic by absorbing the light. Laser beams work by exciting electrons in the weld area to the point that the atomic bonds break, causing the material to melt.
The laser welding process is a highly precise manufacturing method. It can produce welds as small as one hundredth of a millimetre. Heat is applied in small pulses to enhance quality of the weld, thereby improving the depth to width ratio. The laser can penetrate steel or stainless steel up to 15 millimetres depending on its power.

In addition to greater versatility, lasers are capable of welding a greater variety of metals, including high strength stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, carbon steel, and precious metals.

Welds produced with laser welding are much more accurate, stronger, and the finish is superior to other methods of welding. It therefore makes perfect sense to use the manufacturing process for components that are fine and to use it in areas with limited access. Lasers enable precision and quality where required for fine components.

Summary of Laser Welding Advantages

Compared to traditional welding techniques, laser welding offers many advantages. Laser welding is a technology that has much broader applications and can be applied to weld many more metals to a much higher quality.

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