Mobile or Portable Stainless Steel Welder


The images collage shows welding stainless steel with multiple techniques of mobile stainless steel welder

JW Portable Welding & Repairs is a designated Tig and/or Mig stainless steel welder in Ontario for many companies. We offer solutions to stainless steel equipment’s problems such as leaks, cracks, and pitting. And, re-fabrication of stainless steel equipment is our specialty.

We we weld different stainless alloys in different thicknesses with following techniques:

  1. SMAW (Stick) welding stainless,
  2. GTAW (Tig) welding stainless, and
  3. GMAW (Mig)welding stainless.

So far, we have welded stainless steel in construction industry and in restaurants. We have used “stick” welding technique for welding stainless  well liners in construction of new wells. And in restaurants, we have used “Tig” and “Mig” welding stainless sheet metal.

“Stick” SMAW stainless steel welder

Stick welding stainless steel is the only choice in many construction projects that involve welding stainless in the open air. The tent setup would allow for preferable heavy “Mig” stainless steel welding. But, in many situations the tent setup is impractical or simply impossible. The only option left welding stainless is “Stick” technology.

Stainless steel welding (SMAW) large diameter 18 inches sleeves for well drillers by JW Portable Welding & Repairs, London, Ontario, 2020
Stainless steel welding (SMAW) large diameter 18 inches sleeves for well drillers. SMAW stainless steel weld by JW Portable Welding & Repairs, London, Ontario, 2018

Preheating process is crucial prior stainless steel welder strikes an arc and it must be done thoroughly. Even in areas at some distance from the welding spot preheating must eliminate moisture. The temperature must reach certain level that will not allow this moisture to come back during the welding process on large elements.

In fact. the unfinished welds could cool down and then be exposed to the coming moisture. The moisture accumulation on unfinished welds will prohibit finishing them properly. That is why planning the welding pattern according to the welding’s heat distribution is very important. The welder must follow this pattern in order to increase efficiency. That is why the continues monitoring of the welded piece’s temperature is very important for the overall welding success.

A working portable oven for stainless welding rods is necessary since it keeps them dry. I would not remove more than 2 – 3 welding rods from the oven in high humidity weather conditions.

Root penetration when “Stick” welding stainless

Welding stainless pipes according to TSSA procedure recommends “Tig” welding stainless that provides strong root penetration. When we must weld stainless structural elements or stainless well liners the “Tig” welding  for root penetration is not within the budget.

The first welding pass done with “Stick” is always a little challenging for every stainless steel welder due to slightly open root. In such circumstances the following conditions impact the quality of stainless welding:

  1. preheating temperature,
  2. amperage setup on the machine,
  3. speed of moving along the groove, and
  4. angle how you run the rod

These factors make the difference between a clean weld and a weld with embedded slug.

Embedded slug

Embedded slug is difficult to remove and removal of embedded slug decreases the welder’s efficiency. Remember, nobody wants to keep removing the embedded slug from the groove since it takes all the fun from the whole day. That is why preparation is the key for any stainless steel welder’s success. Needless to say, if you are attempting to do a root penetration with 1/8 stainless rod, you are probably setting yourself for a failure.

The experience plays a major role here. The first weld even after preheating must be done on the hot side. Then removal of slug with a stainless wire wheel or a grinding wheel is absolutely necessary. The question is if you can really provide a complete root penetration with stick welding stainless  in the absence of stainless penetrating rod and without using “Tig”?  The answer is that you will never achieve the quality of penetration comparable to “Tig”, but experienced stainless steel welders achieve consistent penetration without loosing much of weld’s strength.

Experienced welders pay also attention to the spread of the V shaped groove. The more spread you get when “Stick” welding stainless than is easier. The J shape grooves are much more difficult to do.

Warpage when welding stainless steel

Warpage of thick stainless-steel elements is a factor when welding thick elements and overheating of the one spot will cause warpage. Properly positioned tacking and than continues rotation of welded spots with temperature monitoring allows to minimize the problem. Taking a break allows the piece to cool down, therefore taking breaks when welding complicated, multi-element stainless structures is a good idea. Rushing when “Stick” welding stainless is generally a very bad idea that leads to failures.

Vertical welds accentuate skills

The amperage control is absolutely necessary when doing vertical welds when “Stick” welding stainless steel. The welder must have a welding machine at a very close distance or he must have an amperage regulator on him. The amperage difference of about 3A makes a difference when welding vertical welds with stainless rod. In longer vertical welds the scattering technique would help to control temperature but even then, the reduction of amperage at the end of a long vertical stainless weld is necessary to avoid formation of so called “grapes”. Welder must stay very focused when welding vertical welds therefore any distractions are definitely not helping.

“Tig” stainless welder – stainless  welding in Ontario’s restaurants

We offer (Tig) welding stainless steel in the portable setup therefore we must connect our stainless welder to at least 110v 20A or 30A. Preferably we would like to connect to 220V single faze for more power if possible.  We have more common plugs in the industry and therefore we can accommodate to variety of reciprocators available in many restaurants.

The “Tig” welding stainless in restaurants is a very popular welding service and we travel up to Toronto doing these complicated welds. When using “Tig” welding stainless, all the vertical welds are fairly easy to do and the control of “Tig” technique has allowed to weld stainless sheet metal without any problem.

The only restriction is the access to the welding spot. Additionally, it is a well know fact that “Tig” stainless welds are flexible therefore it is a preferable technique when repairing cracked stainless parts or welding in parts that are exposed to vibration. With “Tig” welding stainless the stress line has much more difficulty to be formed and the vibration is spread on much bigger surface.

Mig welding stainless steel – welding stainless sinks

We  successfully repair  with “Mig” welding stainless sinks and other equipment that leaks. Usually we can repair any professional kitchen equipment containing water (steam) or oil. Although. we repair stainless sinks on site, we repair the kitchen equipment in our shop. In shop, your equipment goes through cleaning and extensive testing prior and after welding.

On site, we connect our portable stainless Mig machine to 220 single faze in order to provide this welding service. A welding machine setup that takes into consideration the thickness of the wire and the thickness of the material being welded takes place prior welding.

Mig welding stainless steel to seal the crack in stainless sink. By JW Portable Welding & Repair, London, Ontario, 2019 Mig welding stainless steel with our modified Mig welder to seal the crack in stainless sink. By JW Portable Welding & Repair, London, Ontario, 2019

We travel up to Toronto with our Mig welding stainless portable machine when a seal weld is needed. In most cases, we weld repair leaking stainless steel sinks. For instance, we also weld partitions in the sink that have never been welded properly. Recently, we have received many orders for welding cracks on stainless sinks that has formed on top of the damaged sink. Occasionally, we also weld exhausts made from  stainless sheet metal with our seal weld using “Mig”.