Stainless Steel Pipe Welding

Stainless metal pipe welding is gravy work. Always has been. Always will be.

If you are able to do it and do it well, you’re the man and you will by no means go hungry. But it takes some consideration to element to do it right.

The main thing that separates the lads from the boys or should I say, the real welders from the rod burners is the willingness to observe procedures for welding stainless steel. Procedures like waiting for the pipe to chill in between passes, keeping the new tip of the rod shielded with argon, snipping the tip of the tig welding rod when it gets crapped up, keeping your tungsten sharp.

One of many principal procedures I am talking about is PURGE. Stainless metal absolutely has to be purged with argon gas so as to prevent sugaring. Sugaring can be called granulation but it is severe oxidation no matter what you call it.

You cant even get away with tack welding without an argon purge that shield the back side or inside of the pipe. So how do you do it? How do you protect the back side with argon?

Often it is done with aluminum duct tape. The ends of a stainless metal pipe are taped shut and the entire inside is purged with argon gas. Even the opening within the pipe joint itself is taped in order that argon can fill the entire pipe and push out any oxygen. The tape is peeled back just sufficient to get a tack as soon as the pipe is purge enough.

What’s sufficient? The only way to tell for positive is with an oxygen analyzer. A bic lighter will not do the trick. Even 2% oxygen content will blow out a bic lighter. And 2% oxygen will end in a black root pass.

There are some other down and dirty ways to check the purge however an oxygen analyzer is the sure way.

Listed below are a couple of suggestions that will show you how to get a good purge on the stainless steel pipe you weld.

Make certain there is no water inside the pipe…not even a drop. One single drop of water will throw a monkey wrench in your purging till it evaporates. Bear in mind what is in water? Hydrogen and oxygen.

Poke a vent gap within the uppermost place you may find. Think of argon as if it was water. Because it is heavier than air, it will fill up any house like water, displacing the air as it fills each nook and cranny.

More purge gas flow shouldn’t be always better. A high and turbulent flow of argon will not necessarily purge a pipe quicker than a decrease flow rate. And a diffuser on the tip of the tip of your argon hose often means that you can use a higher flow rate. A homemade diffuser might be made with some stainless metal wool , some perforated stainless sheet, and a bit of sheet metal.

Once you confirm a superb purge, you are ready to tack. Peel the tape back just sufficient to tack and let cool a bit and re tape. Then tack again 180 degrees apart. Proceed till all tacks are in place.

More tips for welding stainless pipe…

Laying an 1/8 inch wire in the root works better than dipping a 3/32 inch rod.

Use a feather edge bevel. No land wanted

You’ll be able to fix areas that don’t penetrate by re welding

Use only stainless steel wire brushes and only use files that have only been used on stainless steel.

Use just sufficient amperage. Utilizing an excessive amount of amperage will overheat the stainless metal and make things go south quick.

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