Welding stainless steel can be done using a variety of methods, including TIG, MIG, and spot and stick welding. As with any welding job, the materials and tools required will depend on the type of stainless steel you’re working with. Be sure to check the unique requirements for your stainless steel weld based on the thickness and composition of your metal and the specifications of the job. Make sure you’ve correctly identified the grade of the stainless steel you’re working with.
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas)
TIG welding is arguably the best choice for welding stainless steel as it is a lower heat weld, offering better control and precision, and a finished look to the job. TIG welding uses a tungsten electrode combined with a shielding gas to produce a beautiful weld finish sometimes known as “stacking” or “laying dimes.” TIG welding is done by hand and requires a high degree of skill. Because it can’t be automated, it’s a slower option for welding stainless steel. TIG welding’s clean, polished finish making it perfect for decorative or aesthetic stainless steel welding projects.
MIG (Metal Inert Gas)
MIG welding, or gas metal arc welding, uses a wire electrode to run an electrical current onto a metal surface, producing strong welds. MIG welding also requires the use of a shielding gas. MIG welding is a good choice for welding stainless steel because it doesn’t produce spatters and is a faster option than TIG welding. It works well on particularly thick pieces—creating solid, robust welds.
Resistance or spot welding is another good option for welding stainless steel. This method involves using two electrodes to pass an electric current through two connected pieces of metal to melt and join them. Spot welding can be automated for manufacturing for fast-moving assembly lines and doesn’t require the use of filler. Because of its electrical resistance and heat retention properties, spot welding stainless steel can be completed very quickly.
Stick welding , or shielded metal arc welding, is a good choice if the appearance of the weld isn’t a concern. Stick welding is one of the oldest and most cost-effective forms of welding, and is a good choice for welding stainless steel outdoors or in bad weather because there’s no gas shielding required. Stick welding relies on an electrode with an electric current to melt metal and filler for the weld joint. Unfortunately, stick welding does produce a lot of spatter.