choosing steel for a project
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  1. #1
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    Default choosing steel for a project

    Happy New Year -

    I'm intending to fabricate a luggage rack for my motorcycle, and have some choices as to material and processes. Ideally I'd like it to be shiny, so either polished stainless or chromed steel would work. Chrome would be outrageously expensive, and I have no experience choosing stainless alloys or with welding stainless (I use MIG).

    My criteria would be something that doesn't rust, can be polished to high luster, and welds easily. Looking at Online Metals site, they list 304 and 316 at close to the same price. Is one better than the other? Strength is not critical, as this will be a light duty application.

    Also, looking for SS MIG wire, I see mostly 308 & 309 listed. Can you mix alloys, or should the wire be the same as the base metal?

    And finally, my shielding gas is argon/co2 mix for mild steel - is that OK for stainless?

    Thanks.

    Dave

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    Default Material Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by maylar View Post
    Happy New Year -

    I'm intending to fabricate a luggage rack for my motorcycle, and have some choices as to material and processes. Ideally I'd like it to be shiny, so either polished stainless or chromed steel would work. Chrome would be outrageously expensive, and I have no experience choosing stainless alloys or with welding stainless (I use MIG).

    My criteria would be something that doesn't rust, can be polished to high luster, and welds easily. Looking at Online Metals site, they list 304 and 316 at close to the same price. Is one better than the other? Strength is not critical, as this will be a light duty application.

    Also, looking for SS MIG wire, I see mostly 308 & 309 listed. Can you mix alloys, or should the wire be the same as the base metal?

    And finally, my shielding gas is argon/co2 mix for mild steel - is that OK for stainless?

    Thanks.

    Dave
    You have already decided to use Stainless steel. So use 304 SS Tubing for welding your luggage rack. 316 SS is used were contact with chemicals is a consideration. There are members here that are better qualified than I to advise on your welding concerns of stainless steel.

    Roger

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by maylar View Post
    Happy New Year -

    I'm intending to fabricate a luggage rack for my motorcycle, and have some choices as to material and processes. Ideally I'd like it to be shiny, so either polished stainless or chromed steel would work. Chrome would be outrageously expensive, and I have no experience choosing stainless alloys or with welding stainless (I use MIG).

    My criteria would be something that doesn't rust, can be polished to high luster, and welds easily. Looking at Online Metals site, they list 304 and 316 at close to the same price. Is one better than the other? Strength is not critical, as this will be a light duty application.

    Also, looking for SS MIG wire, I see mostly 308 & 309 listed. Can you mix alloys, or should the wire be the same as the base metal?

    And finally, my shielding gas is argon/co2 mix for mild steel - is that OK for stainless?

    Thanks.

    Dave
    If you would like to keep it simple you can use 304 Stainless along with 308 filler wire. Just for general knowledge. 316 Stainless is a much better material Which is a lot more corrosion resistant than 304 So if the cost is going to be negligible to you I would go with 316.

    Keep in mind that stainless steel will sugar on the backside if you don't purge the tubing. Sugaring will cause the loss of stainless properties and weakness in your part. In your case it should not make that much of a difference since it is light duty. So my recommendation would be to use a thicker material if you're not going to back purge and weld hot and fast and you should be happy with the outcome.

    As far as shielding gas you want to go with tri-mix for MIG. And when I say thicker material I am referring to something around 1/8".

    Hope this helps.

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    Default

    If you want it to look nice, consider fillet braze like on custom bicycle frames. I have no experience with fillet braze beyond admiring the work.

    I think MIG will be kind of ugly depending on your execution. TIG would be nicer looking.

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    Highly suggest tig welding for your project. I think I’d be easier for a beginner to butcher stainless mig welding vs tig as long as you tig weld steel decent. That is of course you don’t mind blending and sanding your welds down. In that case though, you should use thicker material.

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    Thanks guys. The material will be .125 flat stock and 1/4 x 1/2 bar stock, no tubing. I'm thinking that I'll tack weld it together and have my son TIG it afterward. He's a much better welder than I am. Grinding and polishing is well within my skill set though. I'll opt for the 316.

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    I have made ones like this for several of my bikes from aluminum with no welding ( they could be stainless just about as easy ). They are easy to take apart and polish as they are bolted together.

    s-l500.jpg


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