TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    41

    TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    hi

    I'm looking for some advice on a project I have coming up. I will be making a SS planter box roughly 10"x10" 36"tall out of 16gauge. Went to a sheet metal shop and they said that they can bend me 2 10" L's to weld together and that's how they would do it if it was them. They can't bend it in 1piece since it would hit on the back of their break. I plan on welding it with my miller diversion165 with 1/16" 2% ceriated tungsten, #6 cup, 15-20cfm argon, .035 SS mig wire, and set the amperage at 70ish and using my foot pedal. Any tips when welding the 2 pieces of "angle" together and a plate to the bottom that can help me keep it all from warping?
    few questions:
    How often should I stop and allow the metal to cool? every inch to inch and a half?
    I read about using compressed air to cool the metal after I finish a section, is it ok to do this?
    I attached a picture of a practice piece I did today on 1/8" since I was told it's a little more forgiving than thinner material. I started out on it then I'll move to 16ga. I have had very little experience with SS so let me know what you think of the color of it.

    Andy
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  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    San Luis Obispo, CA
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    Your weld on the 16 ga will be much different than the 1/8". Have your sheet metal guy cut some strips to practice with.

    I would probably try to do it with no filler rod (to make finishing easier), if you find you can't keep from burning holes, use filler, I'd recomend 1/16" er308, the mig wire will burn away to quickly. Sharpen your tungsten to a sharp point at about 30 degrees. I'm assuming you'll be indoors with no source of wind around, so turn the gas down to about 10 cfm. When you use a small cup you need to lower the gas flow or it rushes out too fast.

    You will need lots of tacks to prevent warping. First tack the thing together at the ends, then the middle, then half again, and half again untill you have tacks spaced no more than 1 inch apart then start to weld it up, one space at at a time. Compressed air is fine, but water will cool it faster.
    Ian Tanner

    Kawasaki KX450f and many other fine tools

  3. #3
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    Nov 2007
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    I would use 1/16 filler or even .045, as using .035 will burn away super quick. I would also recomend back purging with argon or using solar flux so you won't get sugar on the backside,and clamping your joints to a copper or alu angle to act as a heat sink to draw the heat away. You don't want to get stainless too hott.
    Ya gotta spend money to make money!

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    If it were me, with the machine you are using I would just run a fusion bead (no filler) very quickly across each joint, I would also do it with as few starts as possible, probably doing the whole thing in one shot so as to put as little heat into the material as possible.

    With such thin material and no filler an outside corner joint will warp very little if any if you weld it right. Weld it wrong and it will look like a pretzel. Remember the longer it takes to weld and the more filler you have to add the more it will warp, consistency is key with thin stuff like this.

    If I had it in my shop I would make sure to use the pulser but it can be done pretty easily without.
    Have we all gone mad?

  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
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    41

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    I have a few rods of SS 1/16" wire probably enough to weld it, but my thought was the .035 would work out better for me since the 1/16" wire I'd be trying to turn up the heat just to melt the wire. Already got $25 in that .035 so I'm hoping for not buying anymore wire plus I don't think my weld store sells SS wire in small packages(under 10lbs).

    Considering fusing it but I plan on grinding polishing my corners that i weld and with out any filler in the joints would mean leaving my welds(not too sure how pretty they will be) and probably noticeable since 2 corners would be bent and 2 would be a little sharper. Any thoughts on this? Is there a brake that can bend this piece so I only have one seam?

    As for a backing I do have a piece of 2x2 1/4" alu angle about 4' that i try save for things like this and a few pieces of thick copper flat bar. This area is one I have some trouble with. For example would clamping each end be sufficient enough? don't have any of those big F clamps but have been looking at getting some. If I bought 1 or 2 would that be sufficient enough when clamping the middle?

    I found 1 piece of 16ga and a few 20ga pieces of SS in my scrap pile. Can I practice on 16ga steel and it be the same or relatively close to welding the SS? I got quite a few more pieces of that. Anyways I'll probably get around to cutting up some pieces and welding them tomorrow night and giving it a shot with and without filler and post some pictures.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2007
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    I still suggest using no filler, I blend and polish 16ga corners all the time and never use filler. With a good hand you dont even need to grind, simply go straight to a rough compound.

    Steel welds slightly different but the general idea is the same so im sure it will help you out.

    Heres what you should shoot for, not the best picture but its all I have at hand.





    Both are 16ga, fused using a pulsed power source.
    Have we all gone mad?

  7. #7
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    Dec 2010
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    41

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    snoborder,

    here are my test pieces.

    1: first piece i welded was 16ga steel with no filler and 10 cfm of argon got a really nice bead in my opinion looks like a machine weld.
    2&3: are my SS weld. did it with 10 cfm of argon, no filler, welder turned to about 50 and a foot pedal. I tried to make my joint to be like and open corner but I had a hard time getting the 2 pieces the flow together so I just went ahead and over lapped them. the short of the 2 welds I did free hand doing a back and forth motion like a Z. The other weld I did trying not to rest my hand on anything so I could see if I could run a 3' bead at one time. I don't remember what exactly I did but I think I angled my torch so I could rest a corner of the cup on the seam and move along steadily that way. It's not to bad but i don't know If I could go 3' feet that way but i still have some time to practice.

    I do have a question my first small steel weld I made had full penetration then the longer one had a little burn through on the back side here and there. My SS weld has not penetration through the back side is that acceptable? guess I find myself trying to use to little if anything so I don't burn up the SS. I have heard from some guys I use to work with that just tacks on SS are so strong that in some cases you'll "tack weld" making the tacks hold it together then just basically "fill" in weld joints.

    As for finishing do you just take a flap wheel on a die grinder/sander paper and put the grain back in on the corners which takes out the discoloration and it ends up blending the weld some?
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  8. #8
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    Those will not be coming apart anytime soon..
    You can weld it with NO filler and it will be just as strong if done correctly..
    As far as grinding down go ahead but don't get too carried away...

    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

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    Do not attempt.

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  9. #9
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    Oct 2007
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    The shop doing the braking can kick a lip (about 3/4" leg) on one edge of each piece, per drwg. attached.
    The laps can then be temporarily fastened by sheet
    metal screws-or just tacked--while clamped up.
    This lapped construction will help
    to mitigate the 'wowing' you will see in the SS sheet sides;
    which is further controlled by not letting the SS sheet get really hot
    during the welding.

    http://weldingweb.com/attachment.php...1&d=1293828379
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    Blackbird

  10. #10
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    Dec 2010
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    41

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    Got one more question.
    I have been considering back purging when I weld the box. Would back purging be effective if i use a backing?

  11. #11
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    Aug 2007
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    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    Yes and no. Yes if the purpose of the backing is to contain the back purge. No if the backing is meant as a heat sink, in which case it would prevent the shielding gas from getting to the back side of the weld.

    However if done right the backing can also prevent the majority of atmosphere from getting to the weld, so as to eliminate the need for a back purge.
    Have we all gone mad?

  12. #12
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    Dec 2010
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    41

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    I would be using the backing as a heat sink. How could I set it up to keep atmosphere out?

    do I need to worry about back purging for something that's really just decoration? The person I'm making it for does live out on the river, it is Florida, and I believe it will be placed outside.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    223

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    if you clamp the backing against the material there will be very little atmosphere there to worry about, certainly since you are going to fill it full of dirt! Make the outside look good and try to keep the inside from looking like a big sugary mess and you will be fine.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    41

    Re: TIG welding 16gauge Stainless Steel

    The box won't actually be filled with dirt that's what the "shelf" at the top is for. To put plants that are already in small plastic pots in there and if they die they can easily be replaced.

    Also my test pieces on SS show no sign of sugaring on the back when using 1/4" 2"x2" aluminum angle as a backing I'm considering back purging when I weld the cap at the bottom and the shelf near the top.

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