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Old 01-14-2022, 01:25 AM
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Default First Stainless Since 1974

My project car has some stamped stainless taillight brackets, and the design of them is in serious need of reinforcement. Tomorrow I am going to cut them up and weld them back together, and hopefully they won’t flap in the wind when I get done.

I’m going to do some TIG welding with my new machine. Last time I welded stainless steel I was in college and somebody else had set up the machine.

This time I’m going to have to figure that out on my own and I don’t have a lot of spare material to play with, so I would appreciate any important hintsi you guys can give me.

Basically I am welding 1mm 304 stainless. I have some 1 mm gray tungsten and some .030 stainless filler rod and pure argon. I’m not sure if I should be trying to pulse weld and if I should be doing it at a high frequency or at it more of a heartbeat frequency. I wish I had a lot more of this parent material to practice with as I’m just gonna have to make very small fillet welds and get it right the first time.

I don’t have any big copper blocks to use as chillers behind my welds so I’m worried that I might burn things up.

Perhaps I will figure out a way to just do a few hidden plug welds and avoid continuous seam welding.
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Old 01-14-2022, 03:29 AM
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I only Tiged SS once as a test, worked good but on the blue side.
person said my gas flow was too low and I should be using as large a cup as I can.

As for stick welding SS, stainless seems to flow more so consider keeping the heat on the low end that of steel.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:15 AM
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If it were me in that situation, I'd look up some of Jody C's demos on tig welding thin stainless on his "Welding tips and tricks" YouTube channel. Jody has done several videos on that subject.
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:43 AM
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For that thin of material, and not much time to learn, probably fast pulse of pedal will work for you.

Set your amps on Tig machine to about 45 amps. ( just over 1 amp per thousand of metal thickness, rule of thumb is usually 1 amp for Steel, same or bit less for SS, and a bit more for aluminum is general rule of thumb. I am suggesting a bit high in order to just pulse the pedal.)

Since you are welding so thin of material, you will want to do pulses. Have the tungsten sticking out from the cup about 1/8”. I would hit the pedal on and off to start the argon gas( hopefully it will stay on for a couple of seconds with post flow to help cool tungsten and weld) . Position torch where you want a tack weld, you can steady the cup against the SS, if you don’t have steady hands, as long as the tungsten is about 1/8” to 3/16” away. You can put the filler right next to the tip, so when you start the weld, it will melt a piece into the weld. Pull it away just after it melts.

Floor the pedal, and release as soon as you can. Leave the torch in place to let argon post flow to cool the weld.

If this was not enough to melt the base metals, then hold the pedal down a bit more, or turn the welder amps up a bit.

Move the torch a bit to where you want next tack, wash, rinse, repeat.

If you have real steady hands, and want to do it the slow and steady way, set your machine amps to 30 to start and see if you can get the SS to melt. Add filler as needed to make the weld.

Being so thin though, is more difficult and needs more hand, eye skills ( or practice) than welding 1/2” plate. It is a delicate balance between getting the metal to just melt to add filler, and just melting away.

Getting in and out really quick and letting cool down will help to keep SS shiny and warpage down too. But expect it to pull and warp though. If you did have a piece of aluminum to use as fixture clamp and gear sink, you would need to set machine amps up a tad bit more.

Hopefully you do have a bit that you can practice on before the actual piece.


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Old 01-14-2022, 02:12 PM
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Stainless actually welds pretty nice but it needs to be set up just right. If you're doing butt welds without a back purge or some kind of backup the back side of your weld can get pretty ugly.

The solution is to take the time to find some more material and practice till you know what you're doing. Charging in like a bull in a china shop greatly increases your chance of screwing up...
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:17 AM
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I haven’t actually set up the weldment yet so there is some flexibility in the joint design. I have the ability to hide all the welds if I want to.

Since I don’t have any more of this exact material, to get any practice in, what I will actually be doing is cutting small pieces off of the existing metal In the reshaping process, and using them to practice on. There won’t be much trimming though so I will have a limited amount of practicing. I don’t have any spare parts, so if I don’t get them right the first time it will be a pain.
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaddmannQ View Post
I haven’t actually set up the weldment yet so there is some flexibility in the joint design. I have the ability to hide all the welds if I want to.

Since I don’t have any more of this exact material, to get any practice in, what I will actually be doing is cutting small pieces off of the existing metal In the reshaping process, and using them to practice on. There won’t be much trimming though so I will have a limited amount of practicing. I don’t have any spare parts, so if I don’t get them right the first time it will be a pain.

Just remember, if you are using really small pieces, it will not take as much heat to melt, vs a bigger piece. So if the test pieces are not as big as your part, you will not experience the same results. But you are welding Stainless, which is a fairly easy metal to tig weld, at least it will puddle quickly and easy, compared to aluminum.

I still suggest quick pulses on the foot pedal to basically do small tacks.


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Old 01-15-2022, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
...I still suggest quick pulses on the foot pedal to basically do small tacks...
Yup, it's easier to grind out a cold weld and redo it than to try and fill a gaping hole.

What material are you using? I still don't understand why it's that difficult to get more to practice on. Or are you just cheap?
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Old 01-15-2022, 03:27 AM
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What is the smallest W you have? Smaller dia. starts easier but will also burn off into the weld if you use too much amps.
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Old 01-15-2022, 03:37 PM
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I haven't tigged ss since trade school, but don a bit of stainless stick, and really liked how it turned out, I welded a 1 inch square tube mirror bracket, .065 wall, with 3/32 rod. blunt, no grove but weld, it turned out really well, I know trying to make the same weld on mild steel tube with 3/32 would have been a wreck. that is my 2 cents. I do know really sharp tungsten and lots of gas but beyond that??, the weld should come out salmon color if all is correct.
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