The versatility of stainless steel fabricating techniques is such, that there is a wide range of it.
Although it has quite high strength and work hardening rates, stainless steel is malleable enough to be bent, folded, machined, welded, deep drawn, or spun.
Work hardening with stainless steel
Work hardening is a term used for the process of strengthening material through deforming it.
When working with stainless steel, depending on the grade of alloy, the work will harden pretty fast.
It’s quite helpful to match the steel grade with a work hardening treatment that is most suitable for the steel.
Tips on how to machine stainless steel
Machining stainless steel can be a tricky process because of the possibility of chipping the steel.
There are ways of preventing chipping happening when machining stainless steel:
– Apply coolants or lubricants to the equipment
– Use large tools to help dissipate heat
– Maintain light cuts and constant feeds
– Use chip breakers to deflect debris
– Select a machine tool that reduces vibration
– Keep the cutting edge sharp, at all times
Welding stainless steel
A majority of stainless steel products can be welded, but the efficiency does depend on the grade:
Austenitic – Most of the austenitic grades are suitable for welding, however this particular group can suffer from inter-granular corrosion on its thicker products.
When welding thick materials for projects, something to consider would be using low carbon content grades.
Martensitic – These types of grades are good options for welding, though they’re prone to cracking.
To reduce the possibility of fractures occurring, heat the material prior to welding, and afterwards.
Ferritic stainless steel – It isn’t really a suitable grade for welding but some may be appropriate for certain projects.
Issues presented may be sensitisation, low ductility and high grain growth can be overcome with the help of austenitic stainless steel fillers, or by heating the welded material, after it’s been welded.
Duplex – Low thermal expansion is more suitable for this grade.
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