If your shop offers welding and machining services, you may get requests for metals besides carbon steel. Stainless steel is a popular material for welding and metal fabrication, but it can be difficult to weld and machine. Here are some helpful things to remember when you need to work with stainless steel. They may help you avoid some of the most common problems.
Welding Filler Material
When it comes to welding stainless steel, more filler is not always better. Make sure to use just the right amount for the job. If you try to use more than needed, you’ll have to increase the heat, and this can lead to problems. Try to use as thin a welding rod as possible. Also, make sure you use the proper filler for the kind of stainless steel you plan to weld. If you’re not sure, check with the manufacturer literature on welding and metal fabrication.
Machining Stainless Steel
The most popular stainless steel grades to machine are 316 and 304. However, if you are not careful these metals will easily work harden, and you can have a problem with chip buildup.
It’s important to limit vibrations when you machine stainless steel. You may need to adjust machine speed to keep vibrating to a minimum. Vibrations can affect the integrity of your machining process.
Sharp Cutting Tools
You should check your cutting tools frequently to make sure they stay as sharp as possible. Even though you can use HSS (high-speed steel) for cutting, if you use carbide cutting tools you’ll need to sharpen them less frequently, and they’ll do a better job of machining. This is especially true for high-speed machining.