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How to TIG Weld Stainless Steel – Tips for Improvements

Last updated on June 6th, 2022

Many guys think it’s a tough challenge and terrifying scenario to weld stainless steel with tig welding. Most probably you are missing something and have not set welder settings as the experts do and this is the only reason behind your ugly welds.

We’ve used gas tungsten arc welding to generate great welds, however, stainless steel welding is problematic because it absorbs heat quickly, causing problems like warping, rusting, and metal embrittlement. With a few tips and the right strategy, you will quickly learn how to TIG weld stainless steel? You can get more information about What is TIG Welding. 


Tips for TIG Welding on Stainless Steel

Clean the Material

clean the stainless steel

Clean the metal and all welding joints before starting the welding. Whether it’s aluminum TIG welding or stainless steel welding, a clean metal piece is essential. Impurities on the material will bubble your weld and these bubbles weaken the workpiece.

The cleaning brush is used for removing dust and other contaminants, but acetone or thinners may work better because of their quick action and evaporation.

Use Accurate Tungsten Rod

A pure tungsten rod or rod with few modifications does not affect the weld quality. The thing which matters the most is the diameter of the tungsten rod according to metal.

Understand the basic principle that when welding heavy stainless steel, the diameter of the rod should be larger. Welding the lightweight metals with the large tungsten rods always results in ugly and inconsistent welds. Another important point is the amperage range, it should be according to the metal thickness and rod diameter.

Tungsten rod size chart
Table shows the tungsten diameter according to amperage range and metal size

Tip Should Be Clean

clean the tunsgten tip

These tips are mostly clean but sometimes the filler rod touches the hot tip during welding and creates a little spot. These spots make the tip dirty and interrupt the arc, hence users lose control of the weld.

The tip point should be clean to get smooth results. If the arc is not stable and precise, one must check the tip’s condition.

Increase Your Weld Speed

Weld speed doesn’t mean that works on a low amperage. It means welding with the required amperage and heat to produce quality welds. The welding with the required heat and current will not cause burning and undercut.

Heat control is key in TIG welding

Remember, putting more heat on stainless steel welding will result in an ugly weld. So, don’t move the torch quickly and weld with fine speed, required heat, and rod diameter, the heat will be automatically minimized.

Use More Gas

Airborne contaminants create impurities in the weld and often change the color of stainless steel. Usage of more gas will definitely assist to produce an excellent weld. For this, you can use the large cup for more gas coverage, but It’s better to use the cup according to surrounding circumstances. You may check the best tig welders for stainless steel to produce best result with steel.

Right Filler Rods

Many types of filler wires exist, and obviously, their material and size have an impact on the weld’s outcome. Take care of a few points before choosing filler wire. It’s not recommended to weld 304 plates with 316 rods. The metal type should be greater or equal in quality, otherwise, you will end up with a weak weld.

tig filler rods and wires

Using thin filler wires with high amperes will quickly melt the wire and heavy wire with low amperage will not create stunning art. Just like the tungsten rod, filler metal should be according to the material. You can judge the accurate filler wire by the practice and skills that are necessary for TIG welding.

Cool Down the Project

It is entirely possible to obtain good welds with good penetration and no color formation on metal. All you have to do is focus on the heat and control it with a foot pedal or a finger switch. Excessive heat is a reason for the appearance of dark colors on the workpiece. To avoid this, the best solution is don’t apply much heat to the same spot. You may also check the procedure for how to mig weld stainless steel?

Many folks ask about the heat issue that disturbs their entire stainless steel weld and our team always suggests them to take a short break during welding. Divide it into the parts and in this way, no color formation or heat issue will arise. After the continuous weld, a short break will cool down the welding machine as well as the metal.

Pro Tip 

Pinch or clamp the piece of brass or copper behind the weld joint. It will act as a cooling system to avoid warping by absorbing the extra heat. That’s what we have found according to our observation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do dark colors appear during the welding?

The blue, red, and black colors appear during the weld, but if they are very dark, it’s due to a large amount of heat. To prevent this, follow the last point in the article.

Q. Is TIG welder recommended for aluminum and steel welding?

For aluminum welding, tig welder is fully suggested because of its precise and high-quality weld. For the steel welding, you can also use mig welder because of quick welding on steel.

Q. Which is the best chemical for cleaning the stainless steel after tig welding?

Some users prefer thinners, while others prefer to clean the metal with a chemical pickling mixture. Apply the paste to the desired areas and wait a few minutes for its results.

Last Words

Stainless steel welding with tig is a little bit tricky, but very easy if you follow the right measures. There is no quick way to weld steel and without patience, it’s nearly impossible. We hope that your question, how to tig weld stainless steel will be cleared.

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Josh Rogers

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