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Annealing Stainless Steel?

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  • Annealing Stainless Steel?

    How does one go about annealing stainless steel? I am thinking of making a CHT gauge cover for a motorcycle and I would like to die form it if I can. If I cannot make it out of one piece, then I will make a tube and a bottom and weld them together. In any case, I need to do a bit of hand forming.

    Is welding stainless a problem?

    Thanks, Dennis

  • #2
    Welding Stainless is not a problem. It does warp much more easily than steel, especially for thin stuff like covers. I would use tig for welding, and jump around while welding. Do not just run one complete weld. If it gets too hot to lay your hand on stop and let it cool. Also use back side shielding gas.

    As for forming it, unless it has many odd corners or features, you should be able to form/draw one. Just use a SLOW press for the drawing process. I do not think it needs to be annealed any further than it is from the mill.


    • #3
      I strongly suspect it depends greatly on exactly which "stainless steel" you are talking about, with regard to both annealing and die forming properties. 303? 304? 316? 440? etc.
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      • #4
        300 series stainless is annealed by heating to yellow hot, then quenching in cold water.

        Seems counterintuitive, but it works.

        However, as mentioned above, there are a half dozen common stainless alloys, and another several dozen less common. Tensile strengths, malleability, and weldability varies a lot.

        Most likely, you will use 304. Its the cheapest, and most common. It can be press formed, but it work hardens quickly in cases like that- I tend to emboss and form it hot, rather than cold, for easiest results.

        It is no big deal to weld, as mentioned, tig is the best.