Stainless steel is favored by welders as its features such as excellent corrosion resistance, strength, and durability, but welding stainless steel can be challenging, especially for beginners. You need to choose the right equipment, settings, and techniques to avoid common problems such as distortion, spatter, and porosity.
One of the most effective and easy methods to weld stainless steel is MIG welding. MIG stands for metal inert gas, and it involves feeding a continuous wire electrode through a welding gun and shielding the weld pool with an inert gas. MIG welding can produce high-quality welds on stainless steel with less distortion and spatter than other methods.
But how do you MIG weld stainless steel? What are the best products to use? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and give you some tips on how to MIG weld stainless steel with Megmeet products.
To MIG weld stainless steel, you need the following equipment and materials:
A MIG welder that can handle the amperage and voltage required for stainless steel welding. You also need to adjust the wire feed speed and polarity according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
A suitable wire electrode for stainless steel welding. The most common type is ER308L, which contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is compatible with most grades of stainless steel, such as 304, 310, and 316. You can also use other types of electrodes, such as ER309L or ER316L, depending on the base metal and the desired properties of the weld.
A shielding gas that can protect the weld from oxidation and contamination. The most common gas for stainless steel MIG welding is a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide (C2 or 2% CO2 and 98% Ar). This gas provides good arc stability, penetration, and bead appearance. You can also use other gas mixtures, such as argon and oxygen (O2) or argon and helium (He), depending on the thickness and type of stainless steel.
A welding gun that can deliver the wire electrode and the shielding gas to the weld area. You need to choose a gun that has a suitable nozzle size, contact tip size, and liner length for your wire electrode. You also need to keep the gun clean and free of spatter.
A ground clamp that can connect the workpiece to the negative terminal of the welder. You need to ensure good electrical contact between the clamp and the workpiece to avoid arc instability and poor weld quality.
A pair of welding gloves that can protect your hands from heat, sparks, and spatter. You also need to wear a welding helmet that can shield your eyes from the bright arc light and harmful UV rays. Additionally, you need to wear a welding jacket, pants, boots, and safety glasses that can protect your body from burns and injuries.
Megmeet is a leading manufacturer of welding products that can help you achieve high-quality results on stainless steel MIG welding. Megmeet offers a range of MIG welders that are designed for various applications and industries.
Megmeet Artsen II P(C)M Welder Series: This is a versatile and powerful MIG welder that has a digital display that shows the voltage and current settings, as well as a knob that allows you to adjust them easily. It also has a synergic mode that automatically matches the wire feed speed to the voltage setting. View Megmeet Artsen II P(C)M Welder Series details and specifications.
Megmeet Ehave-2 CM Welder Series: This is a CO₂/MAG/MIG/TIG/MMA/ Carbon Arc Gouging All-in-one Welding Machine. It integrates multiple processes into one machine and has rich functions to meet various application conditions. View Megmeet Ehave-2 CM Welder Series details and specifications.
Prepare the workpiece. Clean the surface of the stainless steel with a wire brush or a grinder to remove any dirt, oil, or rust. Make sure there are no gaps or cracks in the joint. Clamp the workpiece securely to the workbench and attach the ground clamp to it.
Set up the welder. Connect the welding gun and the gas cylinder to the welder. Turn on the welder and select the MIG mode. Set the voltage and current according to the thickness and type of stainless steel. You can use the synergic mode or refer to the chart on the welder for guidance. Set the wire feed speed according to the wire diameter and the current setting. You can also adjust the wire feed speed by pressing the trigger on the gun and observing the arc sound and appearance.
Set up the gas flow. Open the valve on the gas cylinder and adjust the regulator to set the gas flow rate. The recommended gas flow rate for stainless steel MIG welding is 15 to 20 liters per minute (LPM). You can check the gas flow rate by using a flow meter or by listening to the hissing sound from the nozzle.
Test the welder. Feed some wire through the gun and trim it to about 10 mm from the nozzle. Hold the gun about 10 to 15 mm from a scrap piece of metal and press the trigger. Check if the arc is stable, smooth, and consistent. If not, adjust the voltage, current, or wire feed speed until you get a good arc.
Weld the workpiece. Hold the gun at a 10 to 15-degree angle from the workpiece and point it in the direction of travel. Start from one end of the joint and move along it at a steady speed. Keep a constant distance between the nozzle and the workpiece. Maintain a steady arc length of about 5 to 10 mm. Avoid weaving or oscillating too much, as this can cause distortion and porosity. Overlap each weld passes by about one-third of its width.
Inspect and clean the weld. After finishing the weld, let it cool down completely before touching it. Inspect the weld for any defects, such as cracks, holes, or lack of fusion. If you find any, grind them out and re-weld them. Clean the weld with a wire brush or a grinder to remove any spatter, slag, or oxide.
Here are some tips that can help you improve your MIG welding skills on stainless steel:
Use a back purge when welding thin stainless steel sheets or pipes. This means using an inert gas on both sides of the weld to prevent oxidation and contamination.
Use a push technique when welding stainless steel with MIG. This means moving the gun away from the weld pool rather than towards it. This can improve penetration and reduce spatter.
Use a short-circuit transfer mode when welding thin stainless steel with MIG. This means using a low voltage and current setting that causes the wire electrode to touch and detach from the weld pool rapidly. This can reduce heat input and distortion.
Use a spray transfer mode when welding thick stainless steel with MIG. This means using a high voltage and current setting that causes the wire electrode to melt into fine droplets that spray across the arc gap. This can increase the deposition rate and fill large gaps.
Use a pulse transfer mode when welding medium-thick stainless steel with MIG. This means using an alternating high and low current setting that causes the wire electrode to melt into large droplets that detach from the tip at regular intervals. This can reduce spatter and improve bead appearance.
MIG welding is an effective and easy way to weld stainless steel for various applications and industries. By choosing the right equipment, settings, and technique, you can achieve high-quality results on stainless steel MIG welding.
Megmeet is a reliable partner that can provide you with quality products for stainless steel MIG welding, such as MIG welders, wire electrodes, and accessories. Megmeet products are designed for performance, durability, and ease of use.
If you want to learn more about Megmeet products or order them online, please visit their website at https://www.megmeet-welding.com/en. You can also contact them by phone or email for any inquiries or feedback.