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Thread: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

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    Default Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    Hi everyone. I'm having a grand time learning tig on 4130 tubing and I would like to try my hand at tig welding stainless steel. Wondering what stainless material type people use to practice tig welding? I have no plans to make a tig welded stainless frame anytime soon but very interested in the process. There are so many types of stainless, I have no idea where to start.

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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    Quote Originally Posted by FCToronto View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm having a grand time learning tig on 4130 tubing and I would like to try my hand at tig welding stainless steel. Wondering what stainless material type people use to practice tig welding? I have no plans to make a tig welded stainless frame anytime soon but very interested in the process. There are so many types of stainless, I have no idea where to start.
    Welcome.

    Please add a first and last name to all comments here in the Frame Forum.

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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    Quote Originally Posted by FCToronto View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm having a grand time learning tig on 4130 tubing and I would like to try my hand at tig welding stainless steel. Wondering what stainless material type people use to practice tig welding? I have no plans to make a tig welded stainless frame anytime soon but very interested in the process. There are so many types of stainless, I have no idea where to start.
    Same as steel with ss rod and purge for clean joint inside and out.
    Bill Fernance
    Bicycle Shop Owner
    Part Time Framebuilder
    Bicycle Tragic

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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    I’m looking at Aircraft Spruce catalog and they offer a few sizes in 304 Stainless tubing. Is it safe to assume that 304 stainless welds the same as bicycle specific tubing?
    Online metals has 304 and 316 tubing in .035 wall. Seamless 316 is almost double the price of 304.
    Fernando Carcao

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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    Quote Originally Posted by FCToronto View Post
    I’m looking at Aircraft Spruce catalog and they offer a few sizes in 304 Stainless tubing. Is it safe to assume that 304 stainless welds the same as bicycle specific tubing? Online metals has 304 and 316 tubing in .035 wall. Seamless 316 is almost double the price of 304.
    Fernando Carcao
    From my own experience, stainless alloys TIG weld a bit differently than 4130 (Which I'd actually 4130 argue welds more closely to the alloys that bicycle tubing is drawn from). Stainless tends to be a bit more sticky and the filler has a tendency to ball up more. So it shares a bit of feel like Titanium which tends to be on the sticky side when you're pushing filler rod. The big difference between 4130 and stainless alloys is it will need to be purged where as purging 4130 is optional although I'd argue it improves weld integrity in addition to making any facing/chasing operations of key points on a bicycle frame invaluable to prolonging tool life.

    IMO: I'd actually recommend you just stick with 4130 and practice TIG with that but also get into the habit of dialing in your process as that will apply to a lot of different materials. Chiefly prep and cleaning of material. Both stainless and Titanium require meticulous prep and cleaning. So it's good to get into the habit of cleaning your 4130 inside and out to remove any mill finishes. Before welding, use an acetone or denatured alcohol wipe down with a clean rag.
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    I’ll continue to practice on 4130. I have read your Laywire blog over and over again. Thanks for the in-depth explanation, I have become a better welder by following your blog. I still have a long way to go but your process has helped huge.
    The end of the filler balling up and harder to push the filler rod into the weld puddle is something that I struggled to control when I was using ER70S-1. Sean (Vertigo Cycles) recommended that I practice with ER70S-6 or Weldmold 880. That was key in finding a rhythm and learning what it feels like when a bead is going down right

    I am using Weldmold 880 now and it flows much easier and does not ball up so quickly. I struggled to see what is going on in the weld, now I rely more on the sensation or pressure applied to the filler rod.


    I have been self isolating with my torch for too long. My curiosity for welding stainless is simply to change things up a little, trying to challenge myself I guess. I really should take lessons from an instructor. Once things get back to normal, I’ll sit down with a pro. I really appreciate the advice.

    Fernando Carcao

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    Default Re: Tig Practice Stainless Steel Material

    Quote Originally Posted by FCToronto View Post
    I’ll continue to practice on 4130. I have read your Laywire blog over and over again. Thanks for the in-depth explanation, I have become a better welder by following your blog.
    Not a problem. Happy you found it useful.

    TIG can have a steep learning curve until it doesn't. Things build on top of each other but practice and repetition is the best path forward.It just takes time to become proficient. I'm still learning every time I pick up the torch. Just keep at it. You'll get it!
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
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