Tig welding stainless steel help...
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  1. #1
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    Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Hello,
    I'm currently in the process of trying to get a good looking weld on stanless steel. My problem is that my welds turn out grey/dark grey as apposed to the blue/purple/yellow collors. Here are some examples of what I am talking about with the colors staying on the welds:





    So here are some more details: I'm using a Miller dynasty 200dx, 100% argon (welding in DC), its either a 1/16 or 3/32 size tungsten, whatever it is its pretty small. The tungsten is poking out of the cup maybe 0.1" to 0.2". A gas lense with a #6 cup (also pretty small diameter). The filler I'm using is 308. The material I'm welding is 304 stainless steel, around 0.065" thick I believe.

    I just can't quite understand what I'm doing wrong. I had someone mention that I'm probably not moving fast enough and that its overheating, causing the ugly color to appear, so I tried moving faster and I still get the same effect. (the metal nearby the weld is the rainbow colors, just the weld itself is always dark grey). The meterial pretty much instantly turns this dark grey, even if I'm just going to throw down a tack weld. Granted I believe I was using around 80amps to try and weld this tube together (which I also heard you should use 10% less amps than mild steel, so theoretically I should be using 58amps. But I have a peddle control and can only press it down half way to get less amps.

    Anyways if anyone can give me some advice on what I'm doing wrong I would be very appreaciative!

    Oh one last part, my gas guage reads in CFH I believe, and just double checking with the peddle down, what should it be reading? Thanks again!

  2. #2
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Set your gas about 15 to 20 cfh. Are you keeping the filler rod in the gas flow or removing it and then dipping it?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    I'd try a bigger cup to, for that type of weld I would have thought the 80 amps would be sweet. Bang the gas flow right up and you'll get the golden look with the bigger cup.
    I'd rather be hunting........
    USE ENOUGH HEAT.......

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  4. #4
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    not to whore but how do you like your dynasty i am getting ready to purchase one

  5. #5
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    kburd,

    Probably not the right guy to ask right now.

    Mahonroy,

    All have been menitoned. You're overheating the weld.

    Reduce amps.

    Keep filler in the gas coverage.

    Gas lens, larger cup, 1/16" red tungsten.

    15-20 CFH Argon flow.

    MOVE FASTER.

    Let us know the results.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Too Hot

    I've been welding 25x25x1.5mm (1"x1"x.06) 306 all day today.

    Kemppi
    40amps
    20cfh (Pure Argon)
    1.6mm Red (.06")
    1.6mm 316l rod (.06")
    WP20
    Gas Lens with 6# Cup


    Colour was spot on, sorry no pics

  7. #7
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Ok thanks again for all the help!
    I had a couple pieces of scrap stainless steel 304L, 1/8" thick.
    I was using a 3/32 red tungstin, #8 gas lense cup, tungstin sticking out about 1/8". Gas regulator set to 18, and when running it drops down to about 15. I was trying all kinds of different methods (e.g. trying different amps, different torch angles, speeds, torch heights, etc.) And I could never acheive it, the most I got was the end of a weld had nice colors and didn't look burnt, but everything else the welds are grey. I was under the impression that for steel you do an amp per 1/1000 of a thickness, and for stainless steel, you want roughly 30% less amps? So if I'm welding this 1/8" thick, for steel I would want to weld with 125 amps, and for stainless steel I want 93 amps? Here are a couple pics (sorry for the poor quality, girlfriend took the camera so I had to use my cell phone):
    Can anyone give me some pointers? Thanks again I appreciate it!
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  8. #8
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    That 1 amp per thousandth is a gross overestimate unless you are trying to get a full pen, single pass with no bevel.

    What diameter filler is that? You should be using no thicker than 1/16th.

    I'd double check your shielding gas as well. Turn your amps down and run a stringer with no filler. You should not get that grey oxidation.

  9. #9
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    The filler is 1/16". I will try that, what is a stringer though? Just moving a puddle along with no filler? Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    your overheating the material plain and simple. What your doing is getting carbide precipitation of the material. Chromium is one of the key elements in stainless to prevent oxidization "rusting" when you get stainless to the point where your welds are turning black/grey more often than not your burning that chromium and taking away the corrosion resistance characteristics of the stainless. You are using far to much amperage to weld that material, it is extremely thin to begin with. If i were you id turn my amperage way down or use a pulse setting, small diameter filler wire, and as stated your gas flow is also key.

  11. #11
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Ok, I tried using less amperage (I'll try using less this next time to practice). And made more sure that the filler rod is in the gas flow. Speaking of filler rods I'm using 308, I also have 309 but I thought thats only needed for stainless to mild welds? As you can see in the pics, when I stop the weld, I hold the gas there for 5 seconds and I can see the colors start changing and they change to the blue/purpleish color. I can even move the torch back to the middle of the weld and hold the gas there for 5 seconds and that part will turn blue/purplish color while the end of the weld turns grey. Though the welds behind don't have this 5 seconds of gas coverage so they turn grey. Is it possible I am maybe moving too fast or have somekind of a gas flow issue or something? Or a different cup size or something? Seems when I turn the amps down too much I don't get good penetration. I'll try even less though and experiment, though I'm a little confused at the same time lol.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    thats because the material is so thin. While your welding along, the HAZ is very large "heat effected zone" because its such thin material, i can only assume that it is glowing orange and while in this state the stainless needs gas coverage, the HAZ is just too large to maintain a constant gas flow over the whole piece.

  13. #13
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Ok thanks for all of the advice, I think I am getting it down pretty good. Basically I'm just moving along, but stop about every inch or so and let it cool down, then continue for another inch, etc. Also, I tried welding this collector, and I think since there is a lot more material its disapaiting heat a lot better than those small pieces I was trying to practice on, here are some pics, what do you think so far? Much better?
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  14. #14
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahonroy View Post
    Ok thanks for all of the advice, I think I am getting it down pretty good. Basically I'm just moving along, but stop about every inch or so and let it cool down, then continue for another inch, etc. Also, I tried welding this collector, and I think since there is a lot more material its disapaiting heat a lot better than those small pieces I was trying to practice on, here are some pics, what do you think so far? Much better?
    It looks fine. You are way too hung up on the color of the weld. Believe me; pretty soon, you'll make beautiful wleds, tiny little cute rainbow colored beads...that will crack all over the place, and the repairs are going to REALLY suck, because you will have to pull headers or do them under the hood, and the soot in the exhaust will give you fits. Headers are definitely an item that sees a typre of stress most objects do not see; wildly fluctuating heat cycles. There are lots of great loking headers that have a reputation for needing crack repair very often. I have fixed quite a few. The culprit in most cases?? Weld beads with too little filler, and low fusion in places where the cracks start.
    Just weld them well, and then polish them.
    The headers you are using for reference are electro polished SS to start with, and done in a sanitary setup. Very likely welded down in a purge box, where the argon can pool; thus giving really good gas coverage.
    Last edited by Rojodiablo; 09-22-2009 at 03:16 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    If your making a SS manifold and you want it to last, then you need to be purgeing the welds with argon. Especially when you make the runners. And dont try to weld beads on flat SS, it never works out that great, do some t-joints and other pipe pieces and you'll learn how to control the heat better.

    And you should try to do a weld longer than 1", just control the heat better.

    Another thing to try, is weld on plain steel, if your welds are grey and dull then your using too much heat. I can get a really shiny nice bead on mild and ss. just something to try instead of buying stainless.
    Last edited by rennat; 09-22-2009 at 05:04 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    I my self am a beginner at tig welding i have done steel and stainless steel.. One thing i can tell you to try is very your arc length and less heat.. weld on thin stuff first and ounce you get that figured out go to the thicker stuff.. Your welds should be a really nice gold color it looks very pretty when done right... Yes I have done it on my 3rd pass i figured out how to do it.. Go to http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...brary/tig.html watch the videos their also YouTube.com has some good ones..I did a lot of research before i started tig welding watched many hours and talked to some tig welders and got a lot of pointers..

  17. #17
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    He figured it out too much heat.. Try doing this. Crank the machine up run a weld that is wayyyyyyy to hot dont pay so much attention to the fill just watch the freeze line of the weld (everything behind the cup you have already welded). Run one that is way too cold like 55 amps. Watch the freeze line. Half of stainless welding is learning what your looking at, and learning when you need more or less heat. IE: your not going to be able to set your machine on 85 amps smash the foot pedal al the way down and get a great weld. You have to learn to regulate the heat with your foot, or thumb, the only way to learn that is by learning when you have too much heat and not enough. Dont worry, it was the hardest thing I had trouble with when learning how to weld 304 pipe many years ago.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Clipped for reference. Experiencing same dark grey discoloration on 16 gauge SS. Run'n waaay too hot @ 70A, although modulating input via pedal. Will pull her back to a baseline of 50A, set flow between 15-20 CFH, and check freeze line real-time. Goin'n in with 3/32 2% Lanth, #7 cup, and gas lense.

    Stainless is my fav! Need to get this dialed in before the keg-to-crab steamer project in the worx for a buddy. Hood time...hood time....
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  19. #19
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by ManoKai View Post
    Clipped for reference. Experiencing same dark grey discoloration on 16 gauge SS. Run'n waaay too hot @ 70A, although modulating input via pedal. Will pull her back to a baseline of 50A, set flow between 15-20 CFH, and check freeze line real-time. Goin'n in with 3/32 2% Lanth, #7 cup, and gas lense.

    Stainless is my fav! Need to get this dialed in before the keg-to-crab steamer project in the worx for a buddy. Hood time...hood time....
    #8 or #10 cup minimum if I were you. Use the smallest arc length you can manage without dipping the tungsten to minimize the amperage needed.

    This is one that helps me out tremendously. 15/16" large gas lens

    Last edited by Oscar; 08-19-2013 at 10:13 PM.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    #8 or #10 cup minimum if I were you. Use the smallest arc length you can manage without dipping the tungsten to minimize the amperage needed.
    Don't need a cup that size, #4-7 is all I ever use. Usually use #6-7 but can get nice colored welds with a #4.
    Here are some pictures I posted a while ago, used a #6 cup.
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    Last edited by SquirmyPug; 08-19-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Pretty welds on the front but I want to know about penetration on the back. I have welded quite a bit of SS between .010" and .125" and I have never been able to get full penetration and be able to run a long bead with good color. I use a large lense and weld short hot welds then let the post flow purge the part.
    So for all the people saying to turn the temp down are you getting full penetration with a nice molten puddle on the back side?

    Oh and for the people saying you need to purge the back side. Solar flux works great for this kind of thing as long as you can get a good coating everywhere.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    @ SquirmyPlug - Awesome welds bro! Thanks for the quick response.

    Glad to hear on the right track. Ran another few beads tonight with the aforementioned parameters. Still get'n the grey color, and a bit of blue n gold at the weld termination. 50A seemed tough to get the puddle formed. Not even sure if the matl is 304SS. Scrap coupons that were freebies from a bud. Re-mic'd the samples. They're 14 gauge (5/64").

    Ran a bit of SS in the past and did "ok". Something's off. Going back to the basics (eg. minimal heat, adequate shielding, razor tip tungsten, tight arc, filler volume per dip, and move with a purpose) without beer this time. Ha!

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    Last edited by ManoKai; 08-19-2013 at 11:09 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by SquirmyPug View Post
    I Don't need a cup that size, #4-7 is all I ever use. Usually use #6-7 but can get nice colored welds with a #4.
    Here are some pictures I posted a while ago, used a #6 cup.
    Fixed it for you.
    For an inside corner joint of thick SS like that, one can get a way with a smaller cup since the argon tends to flood the area longer before dissipating, thus helping keep oxidation at bay. But say on a small diameter 16ga SS tube that likely stays hotter longer?? I know it's not needed, only that it helps me out.

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  24. #24
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by ManoKai View Post
    @ SquirmyPlug - Awesome welds bro! Thanks for the quick response.

    Glad to hear on the right track. Ran another few beads tonight with the aforementioned parameters. Still get'n the grey color, and a bit of blue n gold at the weld termination. 50A seemed tough to get the puddle formed. Not even sure if the matl is 304SS. Scrap coupons that were freebies from a bud.

    Ran a bit of SS in the past and did "ok". Something's off. Going back to the basics (eg. minimal heat, adequate shielding, razor tip tungsten, tight arc, filler volume per dip, and move with a purpose) without beer this time. Ha!

    Mahalo
    If its tough to get a puddle formed 50 amps is too low, that will just cause you to weld slow (too much heat) and get gray welds. Turn the amps up a little more and try again. Since you are getting some color at the end of the weld is doesn't sound like a problem with leaks or anything. Another thing that helps is keeping the torch pointed almost 90deg to the steel. Allot of guys tilt the torch back too far and the argon won't stay on the hot steel long enough.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Tig welding stainless steel help...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Fixed it for you.
    For an inside corner joint of thick SS like that, one can get a way with a smaller cup since the argon tends to flood the area longer before dissipating, thus helping keep oxidation at bay. But say on a small diameter 16ga SS tube that likely stays hotter longer?? I know it's not needed, only that it helps me out.
    The pictures I posted are 16G stainless, its not a problem getting color on butt joints either, sometimes it can be tricky with outside corners though.
    ManoKai, just noticed you edited your post. 50amps is too low for 14G try 60-75 amps and see if you can get the puddle going better.
    Last edited by SquirmyPug; 08-19-2013 at 11:19 PM.
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