How do you Join or Weld your Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh?

In this blog, we introduce a number of methods of joining stainless steel wire as the applications are very diverse;
– Stainless steel mesh to stainless steel mesh
– Stainless steel mesh to stainless steel sheet
– Stainless steel mesh to other steels
– Stainless steel mesh to brass
The list goes on and we advise that you work with a reputable stainless steel fabricator.

For the home handyman I encourage you to search the internet for help with specific applications. Someone out there, somewhere, sometime, has almost invariably done what you want to do and is only too pleased to tell you about it via one of the many stainless steel or welding forums.

Fine stainless steel meshes can be welded or soldered. Larger meshes can be welded, clipped or tied.

“C” Clips
We stock stainless steel “C” clips and closing pliers. The clips are made from 2mm, 316 grade stainless steel wire.

Stainless Steel C Clips and Closing Pliers

Stainless Steel C Clips and Closing Pliers

They can be used for joining;
Stainless steel fencing wire
Stainless steel barbed wire
Stainless steel chainlink fencing
Stainless steel welded rolls from 0.80 – 3.00mm wire diameter
Stainless steel panels from 0.80 – 3.00mm wire diameter

Spot Welding
Fine stainless steel meshes can be tacked using a spot welder, or seam welded using a spot welder with a roller electrode, as shown in this video clip by Sunstone Engineering https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJeLSl2I1oo.
A simple DIY seam spot welder is shown in this video clip by Welding Sciences  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uztiVJxeOVw.

Stainless steel woven mesh being spot welded

Stainless steel woven mesh being spot welded

MIG Welding
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, also known as gas metal arc welding is effective in the joining of stainless steel wire and mesh. The technique uses an electrical arc, as does a spot welder, but also uses a mix of argon and CO2 gases (called a shield) to prevent atmospheric contamination of the weld.

TIG Welding
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas or gas tungsten arc) welding can also be used. This is similar to MIG welding but, whereas MIG welding uses a consumable welding rod, TIG welding uses a non-consumable tungsten rod and a separate, consumable filler rod. TIG welding requires considerably more operator skill than MIG welding but there are TIG welding machines that automatically feed the filler rod, making it easier for the operator to achieve a high quality weld.

Tie Wire
We have a range of stainless steel annealed tie wires which can be used to join stainless steel welded panels and stainless steel welded rolls. The range includes 304 and 316 grade stainless steels between 0.4mm and 4mm diameter. The annealing process makes the steel more pliable so it can be easily twisted.

Stainless steel bright annealed tie wire DIN 200 spool

Stainless steel bright annealed tie wire DIN 200 spool

Stainless steel bright annealed tie wire 5kg coil

Stainless steel bright annealed tie wire 5kg coil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Soldering
Stainless steel meshes can easily be soldered but stainless steel has a very low thermal conductivity so applied heat will not flow out from the gas torch or soldering iron. While this means that more skill is required, it also means that molten solder is less likely to flow onto areas that you do not want it.
This video clip from American Beauty demonstrates  the joining of two pieces of stainless steel mesh using solder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJEFf2Ogy0Y.

A family wire business- really just another member of the family!

Growing up with a family business what was it like? Possibly the best analogy is that it was like another member of the family and still is! At Christmas time work had to be considered just like family- who would answer the phone, respond to faxes now generally emails, water the garden, collect the mail, do the banking etc.

I started reflecting on this- the other day when I found myself making a Christmas tree out of stainless steel hexagonal netting;

Stainless Steel Hexagonal Netting Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree- Stainless Steel Hexagonal Netting

  • A family business has played an integral part of our lives. Considering it is second nature to us and it has been a great vehicle to provide values. Dad has always enjoyed work which has been passed onto us and the importance of hard work.
  • If we didn’t have a family stainless steel wire business I wonder if I would have made a wire Christmas tree? Probably not! Over the years as a family we have used wire for all sorts of things- birthday invitations, many table decorations, doors, endless uses in our garden- last weekend Dad just built a fence to keep the wallabies out of Mum’s newly planted trees and now a Christmas tree!

We would like to wish you all a wonderful and safe festive season and a happy new year.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to supplying your stainless steel wire and mesh needs in 2016.

Bushfire Mesh- Explained and where to find Information?

Many areas of Australia are subject to summer bushfires which cause loss of life, livestock, homes, farm buildings and infrastructure, and cost the country millions of dollars every year.

In Victoria in 2009, what became known as the Black Saturday bush fires, prompted the development of Australian Standard 3959-2009 (Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas) which gives people who are building, re-building, retrofitting or renovating their homes, a clear direction on how to better protect their homes against bushfires.

Stainless steel bushfire mesh

Stainless steel bushfire mesh- roll of 1.64 aperture, 0.90mm wire diameter stocked in grade 304 & 316 in varying width

There are four ways that a bushfire can destroy a home
Ember Attack – Embers are carried by strong, hot winds, many kilometres ahead of the fire front, and can enter a home through gaps as small as 1.8mm, igniting flammable materials, particularly leaf litter.
Radiant Heat – The intense heat from a close proximity bushfire dries out vegetation ahead of the fire, cracks and breaks windows, and melts and distorts plastic, again allowing gaps for ember ingress.
Direct Flame Contact – The fire actually touches the building and sets it alight.
Flame Driven Wind – During a bushfire, winds far in excess of normal are generated by the fire itself and can cause trees to fall on buildings, break windows, and loosen roof tiles (allowing embers to enter the roof space).

Ember attacks cause 80% of home loss during a bushfire, so anything that can be done to stop ember ingress, is going to be very effective in reducing the risk to your home. AS3959-2009 specifies the use of a corrosion resistant steel mesh with an aperture of less than 2mm. This can be used to protect windows, skylights, doors, decks, patios, evaporative cooling units, gable and roof vents, gutters, eaves and downpipes. A radiant heat bushfire mesh not only prevents ember ingress, but also reduces the intensity of radiant flux by approximately 50%.

Ember Attack Vs Radiant Heat- this is a great video. Jack Cohen, Fire Sciences Researcher, Fire Sciences Lab.

At Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh we have several stainless steel woven meshes that meet the AS3959 specification. These can be found on our website- Bushfire Mesh along with data sheets like the one below.

Bushfire mesh data sheet

Stainless steel bushfire mesh data sheet

AS3959 specifies six bushfire risk categories. The BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) system is based on the potential danger of the site and construction materials, which considers the Fire Danger Index (FDI), vegetation type, distance of the site from vegetation, and the slope of the ground under the vegetation. Further information can be found on our website- Bushfire Mesh- More Information.

The Victorian Building Authority website has very useful information, including “A Guide to Retrofit Your Home for Better Protection from a Bushfire”.

General Bushfire Resources
Fire Protection Association Australia
Bushfire Building Council of Australia

State and Territory Bushfire Resources
VIC – Country Fire Authority
NSW – Rural Fire Service
QLD – Fire & Emergency Services
WA – Dept of Fire & Emergency Services
TAS – Tasmania Fire Service
SA – Country Fire Service
ACT – Rural Fire Service
NT – Fire and Rescue Service

How to cut your Stainless Steel Welded Mesh & Woven Mesh?

We are often asked how to cut stainless steel welded mesh & woven mesh and the answer very much depends on the wire diameter.

The smallest wire gauge that we stock is 0.025mm diameter which is thinner than the finest human hair and obviously doesn’t need to be cut with an angle grinder. In fact, the finest meshes are easily cut using a pair of household scissors.

Cutting-stainless-steel-woven-mesh-scissors
Scissors are used to cut very fine stainless steel woven mesh up to mesh with a wire diameter of 0.20mm

At the other end of the scale, our largest wire diameter (6mm) does require an angle grinder.

Cutting-stainless-steel-welded-mesh-grinder
An angle grinder cutting stainless steel welded mesh off a roll

In between, there are mesh sizes that are best cut using tin snips.

Cutting-stainless-steel-woven-mesh-tin-snips
Tin Snips cutting stainless steel woven mesh

A Guide for what Cutting Tools to cut Stainless Steel Welded Mesh & Woven Mesh

Product Wire Diameter Cutting Tool
Welded Panels 2.50mm – 8.00mm Grinder
Welded Rolls 0.63mm – 1.00mm Tin Snips
1.20mm Tin Snips / Grinder
1.60mm – 2.00mm Grinder
 Woven Mesh Up to 0.20mm Scissors
0.22mm – 1.20mm Tin Snips
1.60mm and greater Grinder

When using an angle grinder, the cutting disc should be 0.9mm thick and of a type suitable for cutting stainless steel. Remember that an angle grinder typically operates at a speed of 10,000 RPM so take appropriate safety precautions. Wear gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection, and keep other people out of the vicinity when you are cutting.

What Instruments do we use to Identify Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh?

Not only are we often asked to identify wire and mesh but also how we do it and what instruments we use.

Stainless Steel Wire diameter
To accurately measure the diameter of a wire, a micrometer or vernier calliper is used. These days, most micrometers and verniers have a digital read out, making them much easier to read than earlier instruments. A digital vernier calliper is often called a digital calliper.

vernier caliper measuring stainless steel wire diamater
Vernier calliper also known as a digital calliper used to measure stainless steel wire diameter

A typical small vernier calliper has a measurement resolution of 0.01mm, a measurement accuracy of ±0.03mm, and a measurement range of 150mm.

micrometer measuring stainless steel wire diameter
A micrometer used to measure stainless steel wire with a diameter of 1mm or less

A small micrometer typically has a 10 times better measurement resolution of 0.001mm, a measurement accuracy of ±0.004mm and a measurement range of 25mm.

Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh supplies stainless steel wire in diameters from 0.4mm to 8mm.
Stainless Steel Bright Annealed Wire
0.40mm – 4.00mm wire diameter

Stainless Steel Wire/Workers Crimp
1.25mm – 8.00mm wire diameter

Both the micrometer and the vernier are suitable instruments with which to measure these diameters, although a micrometer would be preferable for diameters smaller than about 1mm.

When it comes to fine wire mesh, the vernier is not up to the job. Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh supplies mesh with wire diameters from 0.025mm diameter to 3.15mm diameter. Clearly, a measuring instrument with a resolution of 0.01mm is not suitable for measuring a wire diameter of 0.025mm, and a micrometer must be used.

We suggest that a micrometer should be used for wire diameters of 1mm or less.

Stainless Steel Woven Mesh
Mesh is defined by a number of parameters:

  • Mesh – the number of openings per lineal inch (25.4mm)
  • SWG – standard wire gauge
  • Aperture – the distance between two adjacent wires (opening)
  • Wire Diameter – the thickness of the wire before weaving
  • Pitch – the centre to centre distance between two adjacent wires (= aperture + wire diameter)
  • % Open Area – the ratio of the aperture area to the total mesh area (calculated from the aperture and the wire diameter).

Two measurements are necessary to define the mesh – Mesh and Wire Diameter. All other parameters can be calculated from these two.

ruler counting stainless steel wires per incch of mesh
There are 4 stainless steel wires per inch of 4 mesh by 1.60mm wire diameter

We have already discussed the measurement of wire diameter. Now we need to count the wires per inch of mesh.

Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh supplies meshes ranging from 1 to 500.
Stainless Steel Woven Wire

 

It is easy to count the wires per inch of meshes up to about 10 but more difficult for meshes above this. At the extreme is mesh 500 which has 500 wires of diameter about half that of a human hair! For these higher meshes we use an instrument called a Counting Glass which greatly magnifies the view. If you count the wires between the ½ inch you multiply the number of wires by 2 and if you count the wires between the ¼ inch you multiply the wires by 4.

counting glass stainless steel mesh
A counting glass magnifies the view- if you count between the ½ inch you multiply it by 2 and if you count between the ¼ inch you multiply it by 4
counting glass stainless steel mesh magnified
A counting glass showing the magnified view of the stainless steel woven mesh

Now that you have got your head around the above! In an earlier post The ‘Ins and Outs’ of stainless steel woven mesh- Part 2 we discuss formulas used for identifying mesh!

Wire Wanders…have you seen any?

A family wire business has always been part of our lives- almost like another member of the family! Growing up we would often go out to work with Dad on weekends, enjoyed calling in to see customers and we have very fond and interesting memories of accompanying Dad on overseas work trips

Chianlink mesh urban art in Melbourne
Chainlink mesh urban art in Melbourne. One of the many benefits of stainless steel chainlink mesh is that it wont rust like this.

Since 2002 Tory, James and I have worked with Dad- Andy and Mum- Lea in Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh. Prior to that Tory and I worked with Andy in Greer Industries- a wire manufacturing company. Dad has always been incredibly passionate about stainless steel wire- sometimes I wonder if it runs through his blood, probably not far off as he has now being working in the industry for at least 45 years. I think it’s fair to say he loves it and we can’t imagine him ever retiring! So it’s not surprising that it has rubbed off on Tory, James and I. We often find ourselves drawn to different uses of stainless steel wire and mesh that we find in our wanders.

I recently noticed this Chainlink Mesh urban art popping up around Melbourne- it may not be stainless but is an interesting use of Chainlink Mesh- we do stock Stainless Steel Chainlink Mesh.

chainlink mesh street art melbourne
Chainlink Mesh- street art in Melbourne

 

I pointed it out to my three year old son who suggested I take some photos to show Andy. Over the years we have supplied many artists and sculptures with stainless steel wire & mesh- stay posted.

How to Test if your Stainless Steel is Grade 304 or 316 Wire?

Generally speaking, it is not possible to determine the composition of a stainless steel by simple visual inspection, although colour can be a guide to separating austenitic grades (300 series) which have a yellow tinge, and ferritic grades (400 series) which have a blue metallic tinge).

So, how do you know what your sample is? Or how do you know that you are getting what you ordered?

Firstly, the mill which produces our stainless steel wire and mesh is required to provide a certificate which shows the chemical composition. An example Mill Certificate is shown below.

stainless steel wire & mesh mill certificate
Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh Mill Certificate

Hand held Analyser
As part of our quality control, at Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh we use a Niton XL2 analyser to confirm the composition. This instrument is a non-destructive tester which has a 98.7% alloy grade identification accuracy.

stainless-steel-wire-mesh-niton-xl2-analyser
Analysing stainless steel wire mesh with Niton XL2 analyser- if grade 304 or 316?

 

The Niton XL2 analyser gives us the ability to test and identify customer’s samples when required for ordering.

We can also supply a Test Certificate for your stainless steel wire and mesh, when required.

 

Other tests that can be used to identify the grade of stainless steel
For example, magnetic testing, spark testing and hardness testing can distinguish between certain grades of stainless steel. They cannot however, distinguish between 304 and 316 grades because both are non-magnetic, produce the same short, reddish sparks, and have similar hardness.

Acid testing is one test that will separate 304 and 316 grades of stainless steel.

  • Sulphuric acid strongly attacks 304 grade, producing green crystals and a dark surface, but its attack on 316 grade is slow and produces a brown surface
  • Hydrochloric acid attacks 304 grade very rapidly and produces gas, but attacks 316 grade only very slowly.

There are also proprietary test chemicals, such as Decapoli and Avesta 960 which detect the presence of molybdenum, a component of 316 grade, but not of 304 grade.