If you work in a fabrication shop at your factory, you may find yourself having to use stainless steel for your next project. However, before you start working with the metal, make sure you avoid the following mistakes that could make working with the steel harder, as well as adversely affecting the finished product.
Neglecting to Clean the Surface
If you are in a hurry, you may decide to forego the important step of cleaning the surface of the stainless steel. You may think that the heat during welding will burn off any particulates or residue on the metal.
However, if you leave any oils, iron filings, or even dust on the steel's surface, you will run into a couple of potential problems. First, any flammable particulates may cause the areas on which they are laying to heat up more than the rest of the metal. You would then end up with a softer weld and metal integrity once the metal has cooled.
Second, if the particulates include foreign metals such as iron filings, the metal will not be pure stainless steel. Metals such as iron will add carbon to the weld, weakening the connection and possibly causing it to break sooner than if it is pure metal.
Using High Heat During Cutting or Welding
If you are used to working with pure steel, you may be used to using higher heats and amperages to get the job done. However, if you use high heat while cutting or welding stainless steel, you will run into some problems while working with the metal.
Since stainless steel is slightly thinner and weaker than regular steel, it cannot handle the same levels of heat and amps as the latter. Stainless steel also has a lower conductivity rating, which causes high heat to concentrate in one area.
As a result, the area where you are either cutting or welding will become thinner under the strain. The metal will then warp and bend. When this distortion occurs, you either have to work hard to straighten the metal or start over from scratch with a new piece.
Avoiding the above mistakes can help you work with stainless steel without causing problems with the finished project. However, before you use stainless steel for your project, speak with your metal fabrication materials supplier to make sure you are using the correct metal for your intended purpose. If not, they can recommend the type of metal you should be using.
For more information on metal fabrication, contact a company like Tri-State Fabricators Inc.