Stainless steel is known to be resistant to corrosion. This is why it is a popular choice to assemble cookware, surgical tools, auto bodies, temporary crowns, bridges, and airport roofs. Stainless steel's versatility is impressive, and yet it is one of the most challenging metals to weld. Luckily, TIG welding stainless steel is workable and makes the job easier.
This article will discuss the five best TIG welders for stainless steel and the basics of welding stainless steel using the TIG welding method.
TIG Welding Stainless Steel Reviews
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i
|Brand: Hobart Model: 500551 EZ-TIG 165iWeight: 60 lbDimensions: 26.8 x 13.7 x 20.8 in.|
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i has an easy-to-use interface perfect for beginners, or those who want to get the job done ASAP. All you have to do is switch it on, select your base metal, and set the material thickness range.
It welds not only stainless steel but also aluminum, titanium, chrome-moly, copper, and steel. Hobart EZ-TIG 165i is perfect for trainee welders, home hobbyists, and auto body technicians. You can also bring it anywhere as it only weighs around 60 lb.
This TIG welding stainless steel machine has a Fan-on-Demand feature where its fan only runs as needed to reduce the debris or dust pulled into the unit. It also has an HF (high frequency) start that allows a non-contact arc to remove tungsten and material contamination.
Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A
|Source: galleon||Brand: Lotos Model: TIG200ACDC 200AWeight: 58 lbDimensions: 28 x 13 x 17 in.|
Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A features an HF start foot pedal and hand-control torch that makes it possible to weld aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel. It can detect voltage in an instant thanks to its automatic dual voltage input.
This welder has a built-in cooling system and can also work on dual frequencies ranging from 50 to 60 Hz. Besides being a TIG welder, it also functions as a Stick welding machine with 15-200 amps that supports a deep welding pool and stable arc welding.
Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A comes with a TIG torch, foot pedal, MMA/Stick clamp, ground clamp, argon regulator, 220V/110V converter pigtail, and consumable set.
Brand: PRIMEWELDModel: TIG225X Weight: 90 lbDimensions: 24 x 19 x 12 in.
PRIMEWELD TIG225X is a power-efficient machine because of its advanced inverter with pulse width modulation. It can work in a home or commercial setting because of its AC/DC unit with 225 amps and dual voltage feature.
This TIG welder boasts a duty cycle of 40% at 140 amps. It also offers both Stick and TIG welding options. PRIMEWELD TIG225X features an IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) technology. The advantage of a welder with IGBT technology is its low ON-resistance, high voltage capability, and ease of drive.
This TIG welding stainless steel machine comes with a torch, flex tubing, Dinse connector, metal foot pedal control, hoses for water and gas supplies, and several cables.
Alpha TIG 200X 200-Amp Welder
Brand: AHPModel: Alpha-TIG200X-2018Weight: 69 lbDimensions: 19 x 23 x 12 in.
Alpha TIG 200X 200-Amp welder is a multifunctional machine that can weld sheet steel, mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The body of the machine itself is made from stainless steel.
This welder has a duty cycle of 60% at 200 amps for TIG that helps you weld a lot without overheating. It also has an advanced inverter technology that makes it easier for you to make a smoother and consistent arc.
Despite its affordable price, Alpha TIG 200X 200-Amp welder is adaptable to any weather condition, even strong winds. This welder has a 9 ft stick holder, 9 ft ground clamp, metal foot pedal, 14 ft WP17 TIG flex hose torch, argon regulator, and a 110v plug adaptor.
Everlast PowerARC 140STi
Brand: Everlast Power EquipmentModel: PowerARC 140STi Weight: 24.8 lbDimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 13.5 in.
If you are looking for a lightweight and cost-efficient welder, then the Everlast PowerARC 140STi is for you. It only weighs 24.8 lb and costs less than 400 bucks.
Everlast PowerARC 140STi is a TIG welding stainless steel machine perfect for field fabrication duties, and farm and ranch work. It can weld with almost any welding rod up to 1/8".
This welder comes with a stick electrode holder and cable, 25 series DINSE-style connector, Consumable Starter Kit, 12 ft Everlast 17V series TIG torch, Work clamp with 10 ft cable, and a high-impact plastic carry case.
TIG welding stainless steel: yay or nay?
You can weld stainless steel through various methods. The most common are Stick welding, MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding, and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. But among the three, TIG welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc welding (GTAW), is the best method for welding stainless steel.
TIG welding works well with thin metals because it produces only a low heat input. This type of welding allows you to control the heat temperature to prevent heat and oxidation effects. It also helps that you can add the filler material separately during TIG welding stainless steel. This way, you can manage the depth and speed of the weld to create perfect arcs.
Surprisingly, despite the low heat a TIG welder discharges, it can make a stronger bond. Lastly, you can achieve a spatter-free weld with TIG welding when you use a filler material. You can even weld without filler material and still achieve the same result.
TIG welding stainless steel best practices
Follow the tips below to have a perfect weld on stainless steel:
- When TIG welding stainless steel pipe, grind the pipe's end to have a flat smooth edge for a better fusion tack and penetration when welding.
- If you are TIG welding duplex stainless steel, make sure to avoid excessive weaving and drawing a long arc when welding.
- Ensure that the base metal and filler metal is chemically compatible and with similar mechanical properties.
- Prevent warping by clamping a piece of copper or brass behind the seam of the weld.
- Clean the base metal thoroughly and ensure that it doesn't have any tape residue, glue, oil, plasma dross, or rust.
- Properly TIG-welded stainless steel has a copper colour.
How to TIG weld stainless steel
It all starts by adjusting the TIG welding stainless steel settings based on the shielding gas, tungsten type, tungsten size, gas flow, and polarity. Here are the basic settings for stainless steel:
- Shielding gas: 100% argon
- Tungsten type: thoriated or ceriated
- Tungsten size: the thinner the base metal, the smaller the tungsten
- Gas flow: 15 to 25 CFH
- Polarity: DCEN (DC Electrode Negative), Straight Polarity or simply DC
As for the technique, it all depends on you and what you are comfortable with. TIG welding is the most challenging welding method because you need to have absolute control of both the tungsten and torch. How to be an ace TIG welder? Do the 3Ps. Practice, practice, and practice. Even if you have the best TIG welding stainless steel machine, it will be all for naught if you don't sharpen your welding skills.