When it comes to welding stainless steel, it gets more complicated when you have to do it with MIG welding. With MIG welding, there are strict rules that you have to follow to weld stainless steel. Making the right selection for the gas and the right setting for the machine will surely have a tool on your head. However, once you understand how the method works, you’ll find it pretty straightforward.
If you’re trying to know the process of welding stainless steel with MIG welding only, there will be steps to follow. I’ll help you understand it from blending the inert gas to cleaning the joint after doing the weld. Stick to the article to how can you mig weld stainless steel with the best bead quality and weld finish.
Can you mig weld stainless steel?
Usually, professionals use the TIG method for welding stainless steel, which is a great option to go with. However, using the MIG welding method for welding stainless steel is steel a good option to go with. You have to know the right composition of the inert gases you’re going to use for protecting the molten poodle from oxidation.
With the right blend of protecting gas and the right setup for the current, you can achieve a professional-grade result with MIG welding. There are two types of MIG welding method, gas-shielded and flux core welding. With some MIG welding machines, you can even use a flux core steel wire to weld stainless-steel; but, you shouldn’t go gasless.
What gas is needed to MIG weld stainless steel?
As I mentioned earlier, you have to use a blend of gasses to protect the mold from oxidation while welding stainless steel. Make sure you have the right MIG welder that’s compatible with stainless steel and has the right current setup. For the gas mixture, you will need three types of gasses to make the best protection of the mold.
First, the main gas that protects stainless steel is Helium; you have to use 90% of Helium in the mixture. Next, you have to ensure the mixture has 7.5% Argon Gas and 2.5% Carbon Dioxide to make the perfect blend. The combination of this tri-mix will be far better than using only flux core wire; pair the blend with a solid stainless steel wire.
How to MIG Weld Stainless Steel?
Using the MIG welding method for welding stainless steel requires you to have in-depth knowledge about the steps. Here is how can you mig weld stainless steel using the proper procedure:
Put your protective equipments on
The first thing you must not overlook before starting working with your welding machine is taking protective measures. You must put on a pair of steel-toe shoes, a pair of leather gloves, full-length pants, and a jacket. All of them should be sturdy enough to protect you from fumes and heat. Don’t forget to put a good welding helmet on before you start welding; it will both help you keep your eyes safe. Try to have a mask as well because there will be very toxic fumes while welding stainless steel.
Prepare the working area and the steel
If you’re welding stainless steel with dust, heavy paint, or other materials between the gun and the metal, chip it off. You must weld the steels on a clean welding area to get the best bead quality and the best travel experience. Before starting the welding, make some test welds to make sure the welder is doing as you’re expecting it to do.
Prepare the primary gas shielding blend
You have to use a gas shield to protect the molten puddle on the stainless steel bead. It’s necessary to make a tri-blend shield with three glasses, Helium, Argon, and Carbon dioxide. The best mixture of these three is 90% of Helium, 7.5% Argon Gas and 2.5% of Carbon Dioxide. It will make the best protection for the molten puddle while welding on the stainless steel and give the bead a nice look.
Know the alternative blends as well
You don’t always have to use the mixture of the three gasses I’ve mentioned; you can try alternatives too. The first alternative is to go with 98% of Argon Gas and 2% of Carbon dioxide. It will make a versatile mixture if you’re welding stainless steel, carbon, and some low-alloy. It’s a versatile mix because you can cover a wide range of thicknesses and types of materials with it. The second alternative is to go with 98% of Argon and 2% of Oxygen, which works well with stainless steel. It works better than a 1% oxygen option and great for welding medical properties.
Welding wire and the right voltage
Once you have the right gas blend for protecting the welded bead, you have to select the right welding weird. Getting a 045-inch welding wire can be a standard measure. But you will use 308 or 309 most of the time. You’ll use about 21 Volts with most of the stainless steel and most of the thicknesses for the voltage setting. It will make good penetration and produce enough heat for the bead.
Weld the stainless steel properly
After setting everything in, it’s time to start welding, and you have to determine how you want to do it. You can go forward in a stitching motion, or go straight, going in a stitching motion will give you better control over the bead. It’s also the best option if you’re a beginner, you will be able to go forward in a straight motion once you get more control over the gun. Consider the HAZ (Heat affected zone) and keep your hand consistent to avoid overheat. Know when and how to stop welding, don’t go to the far edge of the weld as it could leave a void off the edge.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about welding stainless steel with the MIG welding method. You should know about them so that you can get to know what people are facing around the world:
Is it safe to weld stainless steel?
Welding stainless steel produces toxic fumes containing hexavalent chromium, which can be dangerous. You must ensure adequate ventilation and proper safety measures to safe-weld stainless steel.
Can you weld stainless steel with a MIG welder without gas?
Technically, yes, you can weld stainless steel with a gasless MIG welder, but you shouldn’t. You should use solid steel wire with the tri-blend mixture of gas protection while welding stainless steel.
Do you need a special welder to weld stainless steel?
Welders rated with the right voltage for welding stainless steel can weld stainless steel just fine. It can be a TIG welder or a MIG welder; with MIG, you have to use the proper shielding gas.
When you’re using the MIG welding method for welding stainless steel, you’ll find it super handy. If you can use the welder correctly, it will give you a solid joint between two pieces of stainless steel. You can easily weld hard-reaching spots with a MIG welder on stainless steel because of the pulsed current supply. The tri-blend of gases, including Helium and carbon dioxide, will not only protect the mold but also stabilize the arc.
You have a great way to improve the quality of welding stainless steel if you’re working with MIG. For that, when it comes to the question, can you mig weld stainless steel, I hope the step by step guide helped you out. Good luck with your welding journey with stainless steel using the MIG welding method.