Some metal fabrication hobbyists may be quite shocked to see the stainless steel that they used during a DIY project rusting after a short time. Such incidents of corrosion may be due to some errors that were made during the steel fabrication process. This article discusses some suggestions that you should keep in mind so that the stainless steel that you use does not corrode once the DIY project is completed.
Pay Attention to Surface Finishes
Some steel fabrication processes require the fabricator to polish the surface of the metal. For instance, you may wish to use abrasives to polish the edges of the component. In such a case, it is advisable to ensure that the finish is smooth. A rough finish creates depressions within the surface of the stainless steel. Those depressions allow corrosive materials, such as moisture, to accumulate within the metal. Those substances can then attack the stainless steel until it corrodes.
Treat Heat Tints
Stainless steel may develop an oxidised layer at the weld seam. That oxidised layer (heat tint) is usually susceptible to corrosion because the welding process may have destroyed the chromium content there. Such a zone may easily corrode if nothing is done to provide corrosion protection after the welding process has been completed. For instance, you can paint the weld seam so that the metal underneath isn't exposed to agents of corrosion.
Separate Steel Types
Stainless steel may also exhibit signs of corrosion after fabrication has been completed because other types of steel, such as carbon steel, contaminated the stainless steel while you were fabricating a component from the stainless steel. For instance, fragments from carbon steel may have become embedded in the stainless steel as you used the same tool to cut both materials. The embedded carbon steel then corrodes within the stainless steel. Avoid such contamination by keeping the stainless steel separate from other metals. You should also clean any tools thoroughly before using them during the fabrication of stainless steel products.
Poor Maintenance and Cleaning
Some hobbyists may erroneously think that the substances to which stainless steel is exposed cannot damage stainless steel products. This attitude may lead such people to be lax on matters of cleaning or maintaining stainless steel products. Pick a cleaning method that is adequate to deal with the type of dirt to which your products are exposed on a regular basis. For instance, use a mild detergent to get rid of fingerprints before the oils present in the hand of the person who touched the surface have a chance to degrade the stainless steel.
As you can see, stainless steel isn't immune to being damaged during or after the fabrication process. You should therefore seek for guidance from experienced steel fabricators in case you have any doubts about any aspect of your stainless steel fabrication process. This will save you from making a costly mistake that will expose the stainless steel to rapid corrosion.