Welding question: Rolled steel to stainless?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by radio, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I can weld OK, but have no experience welding dissimilar metals.  I have a chance to pick up an unfinished stainless smoker for free.  Only the CC has been started and there is no extra material with it for the build.  Can rolled steel be welded to stainless without great difficulty?  Not sure where I could come up with stainless to make a FB.  I would likely paint the whole thing Black anyway, so appearance wouldn't be an issue
  2. You will have to use stainless rod. or stainless wire and 100% argon.

    Post some pics of what your working with when you get a chance.

    Happy smoken.

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You may find, later in time, because of the expansion coefficient being so much different, it will crack and separate.....   Especially due to the extreme temp differences in the FB   CC when cold and hot...    

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  4. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Mule and Dave[​IMG]

    I'm not sure it will be worth pursuing as I only have access to a stick welder.
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    stick welder is fine... stainless rods are a little pricey though...
  6. [​IMG]  He ask about [​IMG]........[​IMG]  Hot cold[​IMG]

    Happy smoken.

  7. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    I am definitely not a welding guru but when I asked the local welding supply folks the same question I was told that 309L rod or wire will get the job done.

  8. eight433

    eight433 Fire Starter

    It doesn't matter if you use stainless rods or regular. You are still welding dissimilar metals, and the steel side will rust weather your weld bead is stainless or not, if left bare, copy? I've done it before, welding regular steel bumpers to the back of stainless steel refrigerated semi- trailers. They weld together rather easily, no big deal. However I believe Dave could be right about the eventuality of it cracking at the seam. If you plan on making any cuts in the stainless, be sure to pick up 3-4 more blades than you think you need! 
  9. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks all.

    Rust isn't an issue any more so than on any steel smoker as I will paint the whole thing black anyway.  Kind of a shame to do that to stainless, but I'm trying to do this on the cheap and not buy stainless to make the FB.  If I can find something at the local scrap yard I would definitely use stainless though.  Going to be a winter project and will put up some pics when I get the CC here
  10. eight433

    eight433 Fire Starter

    If it were me, I would just paint up to the weld line and leave the stainless bare. Two tone looks great on more than just cars you know!
  11. I have welded stainless to mild steel a bunch.....i have never planned on building a fire in it after I welded it.......With no hot to cold issues It will work all day long.....mild steel will rust all day long after heat and ash......so that is a non issue!  i wouldn't paint the stainless.

    Happy smoken.

  12. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    That might be a possibility.  I'll have to see what transpires when I start getting all the materials together.  Who knows, might even put twice pipes and mag wheels on it [​IMG]
  13. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Mule.  If this was to be used in a commercial application where it was fired every day I could see rapid failure between the two metals.  You think two or three times a month on average is going to lead to a short life for the dissimilar metal? 
  14. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Radio, I'm not sure how big your chamber is, but I've always been parshal to building things out of beer kegs, most of them made out of stainless steel. I can usually pick one up fairly cheap on Craig's LIst, depending on your cooking chamber size it may be a cheap way to go........Just a thought ShoneyBoy
  15. Depending on size......It  could last a life time...........[​IMG]  heat kills mild steal....when you attach it to stainless[​IMG][​IMG].....like I said............I can weld it all day long...........never done it in this envirement......How thick is the steel?

  16. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If accessible , use a TIG welder. If you can weld with Gas , you will likely be able to succeed. The bond will be greater. Rust will still be a factor, however there are solutions for that too.[​IMG]

    Have fun and . . .
  17. I've welded mild steel to stainless on many applications with no problems, and I too acquired a stainless steel ( octagon) cooking chamber at one time and welded a mild steel firebox to the side of it along with mild steel legs, handles, etc. then sandblasted and painted it black. I had it for over 10 years and not one sign of cracking.  I have also used stainless wire and rods welding mild steel and have never had any problems there as well.    Now.... I have never had them x-rayed or anything like that, but I have a load leveler on a boat hoist that lifts three tons out of salt water on a regular basis since 2004 I built with mild steel tubing and welded with stainless rods, then blasted and epoxy coated. I think if there was a problem , it would have shown up by now.

    Id disregard the fact that its stainless and base your decision on whether or not it is the right size for your needs, ...if it is and the price is right, go for it.
  18. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Oldschool:  No access to a TIG [​IMG]

    Ribwizzard:  Thanks for the input.  The future CC is 18X36 or maybe 48, but definitely 18" in diameter. The price is FREE[​IMG]

    From the lousy cell phone pic he sent, it appears to be cut at or near the centerline length ways all the way around to open like a clam shell.  Any opinions on whether to try and work with the CC opening like that, or weld it up and make a traditional CC door?
  19. Well, it would be easy to weld it up and re-cut,  so once you get it in hand you could see how you want it. The octagon one I acquired was sliced like that as well,  and I really didn't care for it, it made for a very heavy lid.
  20. One thing to concider. You can't drill without stainless bits. Also Need a plasma cutter or will have to saw cut it and will go through a lot of blades.

    I'd still use it.

    Happy smoken.


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