Welding stainless with flux core
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2012
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    Welding stainless with flux core

    HI all, I'm a newbie here(and to welding) and this is my first post. Please excuse my ignorance to much of this.

    I bought a lincoln MIG welder from home depot(or maybe lowes) about a year ago and have only been using it to weld mild steel with the provided mild steel flux core wire. I'm learning a lot and have a ton to learn.

    At this point I'm only interested in using flux core, can't buy the tanks to do MIG currently.

    My question is: I bought a 304 SS muffler and I believe the stock exhaust pipe on my truck is 409 SS, and I'm wondering if it's possible to weld this together with flux core. I've been searching for a SS flux core wire but can't find any. I was told by some friends who weld TIG to use 309 wire for dissimilar materials, but again can't find that in flux core wire.

    Is this possible and is what wire do I need?

    If it is NOT possible, my friend can TIG weld it, but I'd like to do it myself to learn and for practice. He is new to welding as well but knows how to do this. He just doesn't know much about flux core or MIG I guess.

    Also, I don't care how the welds look or anything(as I'm often told is a downside to flux core), as long as they hold and don't break/rust.

  2. #2
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Im researching the same thing, what lincoln do you have? From what ive gathered you need 308LSi for welding stainless but everything ive seen says you need to be using a tri mix gas as well.

  3. #3
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    i know that i have welded my SS tip on my truck and just used mild steel wire. it just wont be stainless any more. i assume that FC will work the same.
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  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    We run 309L flux cored wire in a dual shield process. One of the biggest issues is cost. We buy 45lb spools and they run upwards of $300 if I remember correctly.

  5. #5
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    If you dont care that its no longer stainless AND its just a slip fit joint and not a but joint you can probably get away with flux core. Its not RIGHT and it wont be pretty but it should stick one to the other.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    jblackwell, I don't know the exact model off hand, but it is a 120v lincoln MIG from either home depot or lowes. I think it's like ~125 amp. It was about $300-$400. It's pretty nice for the price and for my use at my skill level(or lack there of ) IMO. I've found the same as you I think, flux core wire for SS that says to also use gas. If that's the case then why use flux core wire....?

    grindel, thanks, I have found on google that I could do this, but I want it to all be stainless. If I can't do it myself I can have my friend TIG it.

    76gmc1500, sorry for my ignorance and lack of knowledge, but do you mean that you run flux core wire with additional shielding gas?

    So basically it is not possible to weld SS with flux core wire without additional sheilding gas and keep it stainless? That's what it seems like. Doesn't make sense to me but that's why I came here for advice...

  7. #7
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Time to tig it... or find someone that has a bottle to loan you
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  8. #8
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    Jul 2012
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Ok well that kind of sucks, I'm a little shocked that there's no way to weld SS with just flux core. But then again I don't know much about this.

    I guess I'll mock it up and tack it together, then bring it to my friend and have it TIG welded. Thanks for the help everyone. I really like this welder, it's extremely easy to use and quick, and being 120v I can plug it in pretty much anywhere.

  9. #9
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    depending on the model you should be able to run gas and you will love welding with gas.

  10. #10
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Oh yeah sorry it is a MIG welder and can run gas. I just am not currently set up for it, and at this time don't want to get into it because I have a lot of things on my plate.

  11. #11
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Hello snrusnak, ESAB makes a self-shielded wire that goes by the trade name "Core-Bright", there are a number of alloys that would work for your application. The down-side to all of this is that the diameters available appear to be limited. As I have been able to determine, their smallest diameter is .045, too large for use in your 110 machine. You may still wish to check with your local welding supplier(s) to see if they know of any small diameter self-shielded stainless wires (.030 or .035), if either of these diameters are available they might work for your 110V machine. The other downside to this for you could certainly be wire cost, as others have eluded to. Self-shielded wires are already expensive when compared to other wire types, SS wire of a self-shielded type can be really expensive, so brace yourself and don't rule out having your friend Tig this up for you. Good luck and best regards, Allan
    aevald

  12. #12
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Thanks for the info!

  13. #13
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    The 409 will rust anyhow, I would just weld it with what you have already.

  14. #14
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Well from what I understand the 409 forms a thin layer of rust but this actually protects the rest of the pipe. It won't continue to rust further and this is what makes it great for exhaust pipe(it won't continue to corrode and appearance doesn't matter for most applications).

  15. #15
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Your 110v machine could handle it IF you can find the SS flux core wire in the correct wire size and IF you can find it in a small spool (so you dont have $250 of wire left over). Or you could get a small spool of SS solid wire and a bottle of argon mix gas...$$$. Or your friend can TIG it for you (I'm guessing) at the cost of a case of beer, with correct filler. Not considering skills or equipment or if it will rust, but how much do you want to spend welding a muffler on? And you can probably help drink the beer!
    Good luck!

  16. #16
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    I understand all of this about cost and time vs what it's worth. But if it was possible to find that proper wire to use for flux core with my machine, I'd buy it as I will have other SS welding projects in the future. If not, then I'll have to get gas(and most likely will at some point anyway).

    Looks like for this job though, if I can't easily find that wire I'll just break down and buy that case of beer

  17. #17
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Quote Originally Posted by snrusnak View Post
    76gmc1500, sorry for my ignorance and lack of knowledge, but do you mean that you run flux core wire with additional shielding gas?
    No worries. We're all ignorant and lack knowledge which is why this forum exists. Everything I deal with is the marine industry and we use 309L "dual shield" (flux core with CO2 gas shield) for clad welding on mild steel.

  18. #18
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    your flux core will weld it. it wont be stainless anymore, but if thats all you have weld it together clean the flux off ( it doesnt like moisture) and paint it with galvinizing paint or something similar. it will hold just fine.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    You should consider the upgrade to gas, even for mild steel. You will be amazed with bead appearance.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Thanks all. I found out there's a welding supply store(praxair) right next door to my office so going to see how much it would be to set up for shielding gas. If I don't do it right away I will eventually.

    Does it matter what gas I use for mild steel vs SS?

  21. #21
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Yes. Very much so.

    Mild steel in short circuit transfer is most commonly Ar 75% with CO2 25% (AKA C25). You can use 100% CO2, it's cheaper, but most say you get more splatter. 100% CO2 does make for a hotter weld with better penetration though. On your 110v MIG, it might be best for you. There are other mixes of COand Argon that people prefer.

    SS in MIG is welded with other gases. Some are proprietary blends. Mostly Argon, with a mix of Helium, CO2, Oxygen, and or Nitrogen in varying amounts.

    I tig SS, one only needs 100% Argon for that.
    Last edited by Drf255; 07-19-2012 at 06:36 AM.
    TA Arcmaster 300
    CM3
    XMT 304
    S22P12 suitcase feeder
    X-Treme 12VS
    Optima pulser
    TA161S
    Maxstar 150STL
    Hypertherm PM45
    OP setup
    Stihl 020AVP, 039, 066 Magnum

  22. #22
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    Jul 2012
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Ok, so I could probably get away with a CO2 tank and an Argon tank to weld both mild and SS with my welder? CO2 for mild, and mostly Argon mixed with CO2 for SS?

    Thanks for the info.

  23. #23
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Maybe I read that wrong. Yes to needing two tanks.
    Tank #1 - CO2 or argon/CO2 for mild steel MIG
    Tank #2 - Helium/Argon/CO2 mix for stainless steel MIG
    Straight Argon is for SS TIG
    You will not get good results if you try to mix a tank of CO2 and a tank of Argon to make your own stainless steel "gas mix". To mix your own and do it repeatably and accurately you need more gases than that and alot of $$ in equipment.
    For home/hobby or small shop use, just buy/rent the tank with the gas premixed in the bottle. If your going to need alot of unique blends and can justify the cost then look into a mixer.

  24. #24
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    Jul 2012
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    Ok I didn't realize you buy them premixed. I thought you would have two tanks and mix them. I'll take it to praxair and see what they recommend, maybe I can get two tanks, one for mild steel and one for SS.

  25. #25
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    Re: Welding stainless with flux core

    About a year ago, I came across a company that claims to have a self-shielding flux core wire that does not require any gas. If I recall, it cost somewhere around 70-80 bucks for a 2 lb spool. I can't remember the name of the place, or the name of the wire because after seeing the price, I dismissed it as a viable option. I figured if the project was small enough that buying $40/lb wire was cheaper than a tank of argon, you could probably find someone to do it the right way for that kind of money.
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