If you have repairs to do around the home, and you are working with metal that needs to be reattached or re-fitted, a welder is always a go-to tool.
Whether you need to repair a BBQ, fix farm equipment, or anything in between, you may very well turn to your welder.
That said, there are different types of welders and there are also many types of metal. As you can probably guess, not all welders are suitable for all types of metal.
Certain welders are suited for certain types of metal, and if you expect good results, you need to make sure you have the right welder for the right metal.
One type of welder is the MIG welder, and if you have one of these, you may be tempted to use it to weld stainless steel. Will it work? Can you weld stainless steel with a MIG welder? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a MIG Welder?
The first thing that you need to be clear on is what a MIG welder is and what MIG welding is. MIG stands for metal inert gas, and the technical term for MIG welding is GMAW, or gas metal arc welding.
GMAW or MIG welding is a type of arc welding where a solid wire electrode is fed through the front of a welding gun and into a welding pool, joining two metal base materials together.
A constant stream of electricity is then used to produce an extreme amount of heat that effectively bonds the base metals together.
Special shielding gas is used, hence the name gas metal arc welding, which shields the welding pool from contamination.
MIG welding tends to be popular because it is by far the easiest type of welding to learn and master. For this reason, many farmers, ranchers, hobbyists, DIYers, and repair people use this type of welder for various jobs.
Can I MIG Weld Stainless Steel – What Can I MIG Weld?
One of the reasons why MIG welding is popular is because it is quite easy, with some saying that it is not much harder than using a glue gun. What you might be wondering is what types of metal can be welded with a MIG welder.
A MIG welder is ideal for use with various metals, and this high level of versatility is another reason the MIG welder is so popular.
Metal inert gas welding can bond various metals including carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, silicon bronze, and other alloys. So, the short answer is yes, you can weld stainless steel with a MIG welder.
The Benefits of MIG Welding
When compared to other types of welding, MIG welding has overall benefits.
- This type of welding can join various metals of varying thicknesses
- MIG welding is easy because it can be done from most, if not all positions
- This type of welding creates a good weld bead
- Of course, it is also very easy to learn and is rather perfect for beginners
- MIG welding produces minimal weld spatter
MIG Welding Stainless Steel – Some Facts
Before you get started MIG welding stainless steel, here are a few important facts to keep in mind.
- Always pay attention to the thickness of the stainless steel you are looking to weld compared to the advertised thickness of materials that can be welded with your specific welder. The reason we say this is because MIG welding is ideal for thin and medium thick materials. If you have a very thick piece of stainless steel, MIG welding may not be ideal for it.
- You will want to use solid wire with a MIG welder, and if you have a dual function model, stay away from flux core. MIG welding uses a shielding gas, whereas flux core does not, and the shielding gas is very important when welding stainless steel.
- MIG welding is not super clean or good looking; it gets the job done, but often results in a somewhat sloppy finish. If you are doing a lot of MIG welding, you may want to consider switching to a TIG welder.
As long as the stainless steel is not too thick, there is no reason you couldn’t weld it using a MIG welder. Just be careful, and remember – safety first!