How to weld stainless steel with a MIG welder

Welding stainless steel has many advantages. It’s solid and durable and won’t rust or corrode like cast iron. But there are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to weld stainless steel: stickier than you think successfully, mill scale causes problems (and causes them again), and so on. If you follow these tips, your chances of success will be much higher!

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a metal alloy, meaning it is made of a combination of metals. The most common types of stainless steel include 304 and 316 series alloys. These alloys contain chromium, nickel, and other elements such as molybdenum, manganese, or silicon carbide. They are resistant to corrosion by seawater and withstand high pressures without cracking or failure. They also have excellent resistance to wear due to their hardness (compared to other metals).

There are many different types of stainless steel:

  • Type 304/304L – This type has good chemical resistance but lacks toughness; therefore, it’s used for applications where chemical resistance isn’t required but corrosion resistance is desired. One example would be in the food industry, where high acidity levels can occur during processing or storage; if your product requires long shelf life, then this may not be suitable for you because it will degrade quickly over time due to its low hardness compared with that found within Type 304L.

Weld stainless steel with a MIG welder.

To weld stainless steel with a MIG welder, you’ll need to use a wire that has been pre-ground and can be used for welding. This will help ensure the weld is clean and free from impurities or foreign material.

Next, you’ll want to ensure that your workspace is clean and organized so that it’s easy for you to work efficiently. You should also wear protective goggles (or glasses) when working with metals, in general, to avoid getting hurt by accidental sparks or debris coming off those materials while melting together at high temperatures.

Stickier than you think.

Stick-slip is a term used to describe the tendency of a weld bead to shift or move with its current position, often due to the unevenness of your welder’s job.

It’s common for stick-slip to occur when you’re welding stainless steel with a MIG welder. The reason is simple: stainless steel has a higher melting point than mild steel—thus, it takes longer to melt away and cool down before being solidified again. As such, any imperfections or impurities in your metal will stay molten longer than they would in mild steels (think about how hot an iron can get without melting). This means that if there’s something wrong with your setup (maybe there’s too much slag on top), this could cause issues when trying to create an even bead between pieces of different metals because some areas will stay liquid longer than others!

You can reduce stick-slip by using better quality equipment like argon/heliarc shielding gas instead of carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide gases or argon/heliarc shielding gas with bare aluminum electrodes instead of carbon electrodes, which may cause more problems since both those gases to tend not only to clog up but also corrode over time causing damage inside parts like bearings etcetera.”

Why mill scale causes problems.

Mill scale is a layer of iron oxide that forms on the surface of stainless steel when exposed to oxygen. It can be removed by running an acid bath or using a mild acid such as vinegar. However, if you do not remove the mill scale when welding stainless steel, this will cause problems for your welds because it prevents the filler metal from bonding to the base metal.

I am getting back to the basics.

Mig welding stainless steel is easier than it may seem. You’ll indeed be using a different technique than mild steel, but you can still do some things to help make your job easier and safer. The first step is understanding how mig welders work and what kinds of materials they can weld:

  • MIG Welding – This type of welding uses an electric arc between two electrodes (one positive, one negative) through which current flows through metal objects placed in front of them at very high temperatures—much higher than those used in gas welding or oxy-fuel applications; varying between 1,800° F (982° C) and 2,000° F (1,932° C). This results in different deposition patterns depending on whether the material being welded is ferrous or nonferrous; both metals require different settings depending on their characteristics so as not to produce excessive heat where it shouldn’t be!

Don’t let things get too hot.

Welding stainless steel can be tricky, but if you follow the steps below, you’ll be well on your way.

  • Don’t let things get too hot. This is important for two reasons: firstly, steel is not easy to weld; it’s harsh and brittle, so any little mistake can cause problems down the road (like cracking or breaking). Secondly—and more importantly—if your welder gets too hot while welding stainless steel, it will damage itself. This means that if anything goes wrong with your machine at all during this process (even something as simple as running out of gas), then there won’t be enough time before everything catches fire! So don’t worry about how hot the metal gets during welding; make sure not too far into melting point territory either way–that way, neither side has been affected by overheating issues.”

Try a tri-mix if argon doesn’t work.

If your MIG welder doesn’t produce the results you want, try a tri-mix. A tri-mix is a mixture of argon, helium, and carbon dioxide that doesn’t require air to work. It’s used for welding stainless steel because it helps prevent spatter from coming out of the weld and affects how quickly the metal cools.

Always scrape the slag off before you weld the next pass.

Slag is a byproduct of welding that can be removed by brushing or scraping. It should be removed before the next pass, as it will weaken your weld. See also 7 Best Portable Spot Welders – A Comprehensive Guide, 8 Best Welding Inverter Machines – Complete Guide & Reviews

Welding stainless steel is easier than it seems, but you need to pay attention to your workpiece (especially if it has mill scale).

Stainless steel is a common material used in the manufacturing industry, and it’s strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant. It can be welded with a MIG welder—but if you want to do so without worrying too much about your workpiece (especially if it has mill scale), you’ll want to ensure that the welds are smooth.

  • Make sure your welder has enough power: The more power your welder offers upfront will help ensure that you get good results when welding stainless steel. Some models even have built-in Mig shields that shield their spools from stray sparks during arc creation.
  • Use filler wire: Filler wires help cover gaps between parts because they fill those spaces with solid metal instead of leaving them exposed like aluminum does when used alone, so these gaps don’t cause any problems later on down the road.


This article has been helpful to you in learning how to weld stainless steel with a MIG welder. Remember that welding stainless steel is not like welding any other metal, so you should take these tips seriously and make sure they are followed closely. We recommend using tri-mix argon and then adding flux cored wire if needed (or just by switching out your standard electrode), but this is up to you! Do what works best for your situation and keep at it until you’ve mastered the art.

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