Air Line Couplers Difference Between High Flow And Regular Stainless Steel Pipe Welding

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Stainless Steel Pipe Welding

Stainless steel pipe welding is gravy work. Always has. always will be.

If you can do it and do it well, you are human and you will never go hungry. But doing it right requires some attention to detail.

The main thing that separates the men from the boys or should I say, the real welders in rod burners is the willingness to follow the stainless steel welding process. Processes such as waiting for the pipe to cool between passes, shielding the hot tip of the rod with argon, cutting the tip of the tig welding rod when it hardens, keeping the tungsten sharp.

One of the main processes I’m talking about is PURGE. Stainless steel must be thoroughly purged with argon gas to prevent sugar build-up. Sugaring is also called granulation but it is intense oxidation no matter what you call it.

You can’t get away with tack welding without an argon purge protecting the back or inside of the pipe. So how do you do it? How to protect the rear with argon?

Usually it is done with aluminum duct tape. The ends of the stainless steel pipe are sealed with tape and the entire interior is purged with argon gas. The opening in the pipe joint is also taped so that argon can fill the entire pipe and drive out any oxygen. Once the pipe has been sufficiently wiped, the tape is peeled off.

What is enough? The only way to tell for sure is with an oxygen analyzer. A bic lighter won’t do the trick. Even 2% oxygen content will blow out a bic lighter. And 2% oxygen will result in a black root pass.

There are other down-and-dirty ways to check purification, but an oxygen analyzer is the surest way.

Here are some tips that will help you clean stainless steel pipes well.

  • Make sure there is no water in the pipe…not even a drop. A monkey wrench will be thrown into your purifier until a single drop of water evaporates. Remember what’s in the water? hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Make a vent hole at the highest point you can find. Think of argon as if it were water. Because it is heavier than air, it will fill any space like water, displacing air as it fills every nook and cranny.
  • A purer gas stream is not always better. A high and turbulent flow of argon will not necessarily clean the pipe faster than a low flow rate. And a diffuser at the end of your argon hose usually allows you to use higher flow rates. A homemade diffuser can be made using some stainless steel wool, some perforated stainless sheet and a bit of sheet metal.

Once you’ve verified good purification, you’re ready to tackle. Peel the tape back and let cool a bit and tape again. Then tack again 180 degrees apart. Continue until all taxes are in place.

More Tips for Welding Stainless Pipe…

  • Basically 1/8 inch wire works better than sinking 3/32 inch rod.
  • Use a feather edge bevel. No need for land
  • You can fix areas that won’t penetrate by rewelding
  • Use only stainless steel wire brushes and files designed for use on stainless steel only.
  • Use only adequate amperage. Using too much amperage will overheat the stainless steel and things will go south quickly.

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