Stainless steel is a fantastic material to work with; it’s tough, heat resistant, and does not corrode easily. These characteristics give them a wide variety of uses in everyday life, ranging from industrial equipment to home appliances. They can also be hygienic because of their easy-to-clean surfaces, so you can often see them in cooking utensils. Stainless steel is widely used in our daily lives, making it a favored material for welding by our experts at Topweld General Engineering Pty Ltd. This article provides an overview of the most common welding methods for stainless steel and the required materials. It should be noted that while most welding techniques can be used, the quality of the results will vary.
Arc Welding vs. Torch Welding
Welding is a process of metal fabrication that fuses two or more pieces of metal together by melting them using certain tools that produce extremely hot temperatures. The process also involves adding filler metal to fuse the metals and using flux to lower their melting point, which reduces the amount of heat required for melting. The use of flux is necessary because molten metal, irrespective of material, is highly susceptible to corrosion. The flux’s consumed slag shields the molten materials during and after welding, preventing corrosion.. Note that this protection from the atmosphere can also be produced using other methods, as discussed later in this article.
Two basic ways can obtain the heat required for welding.
Arc welding generates heat by directing an electrical surge (or arc) from an electrode to the base metals being welded. In contrast, Torch welding utilizes oxygen-based combustion to create an intense flame to melt the materials.
Neither of these two is superior to the other, and that’s why our stainless steel fabrication shop in Griffith uses a combination of both these processes in order to achieve the best quality of our work.
Stick Welding or Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Stick welding is a popular and affordable method for welding stainless steel because it uses a consumable electrode with flux, accomplishing both requirements in one tool. The flux produces a gas to protect the metals and creates a slag to cover them while cooling. It is ideal for large metal pieces and those on a budget, but not suitable for intricate fabrication work or all types of metals.
MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
Similar to Stick Welding, MIG welding uses an electrode that melts to accomplish the same role as the filler metal.
The MIG welding process uses a machine to automatically feed a coated steel wire into the welding gun, melting it into the base metals as filler, instead of using consumable electrode sticks.
MIG welding shields itself with an inert gas ejected from the gun, eliminating the need for a flux. The MIG welding method is the easiest and fastest way to arc weld, but operators need a power supply and gas tanks, and it is not recommended for outdoor use as wind can blow away the protective gas.
Flux Core Welding is a type of Gas Metal Arc Welding that uses a wire electrode with a flux core inside, which shields the welding process and generates slag, similar to stick welding.
TIG Welding (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding)
TIG Welding differs from the two methods above because it doesn’t use a consumable electrode that melts into the weld. As the name suggests, it uses an electrode made of tungsten. Filler metal is applied to the weld by hand, while the gun produces the gas shield similar to MIG welding. TIG welding gives you more control over the weld, but this also means that this process is much more challenging, requiring more precision and patience. The greater control is perfect for welding non-ferrous metals and alloys. That is why our shop in Griffith uses TIG welding for aluminum fabrication. If you are working with thin and delicate materials, we highly recommend it.
There are plenty of variables you have to consider if you’re planning to work with stainless steel. Technology advancements made DIY metal fabrication easier with various welding methods available. For professional results, rely on Topweld’s expertise in metal fabrication and welding, available beyond Griffith, NSW to areas like Leeton, Orange, Narrandera, Hay, Hillston, and all Murrumbidgee areas.Just reach out to us using the contact information on our website, and we’ll be right on it.