Stainless Steel Welding Guidance

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Stainless Steel Welding Guidance
SMAW/shielded metal arc welding, GMAW/Gas Manual Arc welding and GTAW/Gas Tungsten arc welding are commonly ways use for stainless steel welding.

SMAW/shielded metal arc welding or Stick welding or Arc welding.
The SMAW methods to welding stainless using an arc welder differ little to that of welding mild steel. Generally a small arc gauge stainless steel electrode is used for arc welding stainless steel metals. A welding safety note of caution, like mild steel material there is a coating of slag left on a completed welding bead, with mild steel material the slag needs chipping off, however stainless welding slag has a propensity to 'ping' off as it cools. This can cause serious eye damage so always safety equipment (wear eye protection) using stainless electrodes. Using an arc welding machine is a relatively easy way to learn how to weld stainless steel

GMAW/Gas Manual Arc welding /Mig welding stainless steel.
Again a same process used on mild steel material. Obviously you will need to exchange the GMAW/Gas Manual Arc welding /mig welding wire for stainless steel wire. Stainless steel wire is usually available in 304 and 316 grades. Use 316 grade stainless steel wires in high corrosion areas and for marine applications. You also need to use pure argon gas instead of c02 that is used for mild steel material. GMAW/Mig welding is common in metal fabrication shops.

GTAW/Gas Tungsten arc welding /Tig Stainless.
GTAW/Gas Tungsten arc welding /Tig method is the most difficult to welding stainless steel material, however in my opinion TIG is the most satisfying and offers a pure joint between base metal material and filler metal/electrode.

Using a GTAW/Gas Tungsten arc welding /Tig requires more welder skill but in a way is similar to using the Oxy-Acetylene gas process. GTAW/Gas Tungsten arc welding /Tig welders use a small hand held torch that carries a tungsten electrode to create the arc welding. Tungsten used as it has an extremely high melting point. The tungsten tip, when struck to the metal creates the arc welding and begins the fusion process; at this point a filler rod is introduced to add substance to the joint. This is where the welding operator needs a steady hand.

Learning and practice how to weld stainless steel material comes down to using the correct equipment and choosing the best process for the construction job. For basic welding of stainless steel the arc welding or GMAW/MIG process will suffice, however if you require a best quality finish or are constructing an item that requires a clean finish such as a commercial food mixing component the GTAW/TIG welder is the way to go.