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SMAW Stainless

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  • SMAW Stainless

    I've got a job coming up on Monday and looking for some tips on doing some stainless with a stick. Just about all my experience with stainless has been either with TIG or MIG; Did a little stick welding on stainless 10-15 years ago but was less than happy with the results so I thought I'd turn to you guys for some advice.
    The job is cutting off a leg of 2" x 2" x 1/4" steel angle and welding a 2" x 1/4" flat strip of stainless to replace the leg that is removed. (Not my choice to do the job that way but that is what the customer wants )

    I've got a choice of 308 electrode in 3/32" or 1/8" dia. (I know 309 would be a better choice but there is not a real condern with strength with this project) I'm thinking of going with the 3/32" as the lower amps/heat would probably be better to control any warpage. What amps should I be starting with?

    Any suggestions out there as to sequence to control any warpage? As you can see by the pic I will only be able to get to one side to do the weld. The replacement piece/weldbead will be about 3' in length. I'm thinking do the verts first. Next backstep from 5-6" from each end toward the ends. Bead in the middle. Then divide the remaining sections and backstitch again toward the ends. I guessing 9-10 beads to complete the weld

    Any advice suggestions would be appreciated
    Last edited by Aeroweld; 09-18-2008, 04:58 PM. Reason: content

  • #2

    Last SMAW I did with SS was tacking up a barbecue pit cover for a friend of mine. Used 1/16" 316SS.

    Man, that stuff ran hot and fast. Stuck more rods than I have in the last couple years. SMAW was not my first choice. I would have tacked it with 309 wire and tri-gas had he brought it to my shop. He didn't. Had to do it in his garage. Had a big party planned and wanted it done right now so he could use it. Now we've got to clean it up and tig it for the finished product.

    Heat IS going to be a problem as far as I can tell from your photo. All that mortar that close to the bead would bother me. Make sure you wear good eye protection because I wouldn't be surprized if you don't get some popping.

    Best advice I think I can give is to run it fast in small beads, allowing time in between to cool. Too much heat (as I see the application) could cause real problems with mortar/concrete exploding.

    Good Luck.

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    • #3
      This doesn't make sense to remove a leg from the angle and replace it with the same thing??? How do you plan to remove it, without doing damage to the concrete, as Sundown suggests? I'm thinking plasma cutter. 3/32" electrode will work, since strength is not an issue. You'd just be sealing up the joint. Backstep in 3" beads and jump around...still I think you're gonna have some warpage...prolly enough that will make the grate fit real tight. Stainless moves real easy with a hammer, should you need to adjust after. Stainless takes a tad more heat than mild steel, but it welds nice.
      The concrete doesn't always explode right takes a few seconds for it to heat up to explosive temperature, so be careful...liquid stainless on your body parts could ruin your whole day! Oh, I just remembered...that angle has fingers of rebar welded to the back side to hold it in the's not just laying there! This job may be a mess! The fingers are usually two feet varies.
      Last edited by Rocky D; 09-19-2008, 10:21 AM.


      • #4
        Like I mentioned, doesn't make a lot of sense to do it like they want it done, but then again they are "paying the freight" so to speak. As the old saying goes...the customer is always right. I've rebuilt a few floor drains like this in the past and yes, they usually have some re-bar or flatstock welded to the angle to anchor them in to the concrete. Apparently that is what the customer is concerned about so they only want to replace the one leg. This is going to be just a test section. I am presuming if the results are what the customer is looking for then the drains will be torn out and replaced completely with stainless. This is a section of an automotive test track; a skid pad. Apparently the customer is not happy that the frame is made of iron and displays rust on the adjacent tiles.

        Before I arrive the contractor is going to pull the first row of tiles. Since the frame is steel I plan on torching the verticals. Probably a #5 tip so I can get it cut quick and hopefully not blow out too much concrete. As to the horizontal cut I will determine that once I see the job with my own eyes. I will either use the torch or split it with 6" cut-off wheels in my grinder. Right now I 'm leaning toward the cut-off wheels since that will leave a relatively weld ready joint.
        I was thinking today that I am going to take a couple extra lengths of angle iron with me and cut them as a temp crossmember between the opposite side of the frame and the new leg I am welding in. Still using a series of stitch welds of course. Once the weld cools take them out and hopefully the grates won't be too tight.

        What do you guys think as to starting amps with the 3/32; 90?


        • #5
          ss stick will run as slick as anything flat or horizontal.

          It's more difficult to run slick vertical.

          But a solid LoHi stick welder will be able to make workman like welds with ss stick after a bit of practice.



          • #6
            3/32 308 or 316 ss rods at around 60 amps to start[DC - Electrode +]
            I stick weld Stainless at least twice a week doing little small stuff.Even stick weld some socket weld ss pipe.It welds pretty smooth,except when you go up.turn heat down to 50 to 55 when going up.Watch out for the slag ,it will pop off and it heads straight for your eyes,like a tornado after a house trailor.


            • #7
              As a rule of thumb, when running ss if the rod is red when you burn down to the last 2" you're running it too hot.


              • #8
                Just a couple observations.

                If the contractor is removing the first row of tiles, I'd just stay with a small tip; the only place you'll need to preheat will be at the top, (not near concrete), and once you start cutting, it's almost as fast and much less total heat will go into the material.

                Cutting the angle lengthwise ,,,, cut paralell to the bottom leg, then weld on 1 3/4" strips (shear or cut from plate if necessary). You can then get to both sides of the joint to weld, and thus be able to control warpage. Since I see grout next to the angle, shouldn't be a problem leaving welds on the back side????
                *** Disclaimer ***

                As I have no wish to toy with anybody's life, I suggest you take this and all other posts with a certain amount of skepticism. Carefully evaluate, and if necessary, research on your own any suggestions or advice you might pick up here, especially those from my posts, as I obviously haven't the skill and experience exhibited by some of the more illustrious and more successful members of this forum. I'm not responsible for anything I say, as I drank toxic water when young.


                • #9
                  Die grinder with fiber cut off wheel
                  Cut through the cement and re-bar.....Pull the leg out and weld the new STRAP to the existing re-bar through holes drilled in the STRAP...( Rosette welds) No heat on CEMENT...
                  NO BOOM
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                  • #10
                    If you are welding both edges of the flat it shouldn't warp too bad, obviously small as bead in one pass as possible and go slow. Like the man said, you are just sealing it up. Could one leg be cut with a sawzall? I would space and backstep with welds maybe half a rod long. Neatness might count here?
                    Last edited by Sberry; 09-27-2008, 04:32 PM.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the replies and the info guys. Unfortunatly the job was postponed and maybe it will be canceled. The contractor has a log splitter for me to repair on Tuesday so I'll find out more info on the drain repair when she drops off the splitter.

                      I had considered the sawzall but when they said the tile was going to be removed the torch and a cut-off wheel seemed like the fastest and neatest way to do the vertical and horizontal cuts.

                      If the job happens, I'll post an update on how it turns out.