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Arc welding silver ear posts


#1

Hi all,

I just purchased an Orion MPulse 30 arc welder, and I’m finding it very difficult to create lasting welds.

In particular, I’ve not been able to weld any ear posts, the welds end up being very brittle, and break with ease.

I’m trying to weld silver ear posts, to casted silver pieces, without using argon gas.

Does anybody have any advice?

Thanks,
Ally


#2

Hi Ally,
Argon gas is a must. Orion has a lot of videos on welding and a great customer service.
They will walk you thru the problem your having.

John


#3

I use a lot of argon in several ways, its a must for any inert gas shielded welding process.
To help you further, you do need to say

  1. If you bought it new?
  2. or s/hand?
  3. If new, didnt you ask for a proper demonstration of it in use for your specific requirements?
  4. What lead you to believe it would do your task?
  5. Because in the industry theres been for at least 20 yrs the flash butt capacitive discharge
    welder for ear posts for similar and dissimilar metals. Why didnt you buy one of these?
  6. They are the jewellery world equivalent of the industrial stud welders designed to weld up to
    1/2in dia steel studs to structural steel work.
    As an aside i devoted considerable time a couple of yrs ago to investigating the European equivalent to the Orion, the PUK made in Germany.
    I found for 999 silver it was quite useless much to my disappointment. For higher resistance metals its fine.
    i had to find another way to join 999 silver on a micro scale to meet my temperature enamelling limits. I needed to operate withing 200 deg c of 999’s melting point.
    Also how to fix titanium ear studs to 999 silver enamelled ear items, like small leaves? without using the aforementioned FBW?
    It can be done by my results are proprietory to my workshop.
    You need to get back to where or whom you bought it from.
    Ted.

#4

Thank you for your reply.
I’ll definitely get in touch with Orion’s customer service. I was wondering if I can get around not using the argon, but I had a feeling it’s a must for silver welding.

Best,
Ally


#5

I bought it online, new from Rio Grande, and they do not offer demonstrations. They also carry the flash welder that you mentioned, but I decided to purchase this one and use it for more jobs than just welding posts.

There are a bunch of Youtube videos out there (including from Orion), that use the Orion welder to weld posts, but they don’t give a lot of details on the settings used.

I’m enameling sterling silver earrings and I found only one type of solder that can withstand the temperature, but it’s quite difficult to work with and I wanted to find a better solution when it comes to connecting different parts.

Are you suggesting there might be something wrong with the machine? I’ll definetly reach out to Orion based on your suggestions.

Should I consider buying a flash welder for ear posts? Or you think I should find a way of getting this to work in the end?

Thanks,
Ally


#6

Ally,

  1. you MUST use argon
  2. As its new, its under warranty, tho Id be surprised if it was faulty.
    3.as mentioned silver is the most difficult metal to fuse with the Orion/Puk welders.
  3. Call Orion and get THEM to weld the samples you are to send to them. There the specialists. If they can do it then its not the machine.
    5.The flash welder is the industry way of doing what you want. Then you could use s/steel, titanium, gold, and sterling posts to your silver fronts.
  4. I used the 18ct white gold solder to join my ear posts to the 999 fronts to start with, it was too expensive so found another way.
    Here in the UK, weve the distance selling act, so if it wont do what it says on the tin we can send it back for a full refund.
  5. Many yrs ago on one of my enameling products I used both 999 Ag for the pendant loop as well as the cup for the enamel riveted it together, no solder. It worked fine.
    so you could go down that path if you formed the the ear post in the appropriate way.
    This would need to be in the dumbell shape where it went through the enamel front. A tricky thing to do on such a small scale.
    Ted.

#7

Try lowering the temperature setting and increasing the time setting so you get a cooler weld. You are boiling the metal.


#8

I have found trying to use the pulse mode with silver posts can be difficult because the silver is such a mobile metal and if you come at it from the wrong angle you will blow a large chunk of the post away. You need enough power to melt the post to the earring and get good depth. If you don’t use enough power, your weld will be weak.

I’ve had some good success using the tack mode of my Orion 150s. It can be a little finicky as you try to find the right settings to get a good tack, then follow up with some laser wire and the pulse function.

Everyone told you about the argon already - it is important to keep the oxides out while the metal solidifies or you end up with the brittle weak welds you have seen already. A bottle of argon lasts a very long time based on my use patterns. You just have to stomach the additional expense for the regulator and the gas bottle.

Good luck!
Ron


#9

Hello Ally
I also have the MPulse 30.
If your intended main use for this machine is attaching sterling earring posts, even with the argon setup you may well be very disappointed - unfortunately with this model we can only set the power - not the time or adgitation . Please find somewhere with one to try before you decide whether to spend the extra on all the argon setup or return it.
However, if you like making lightweight chains as I do - it works just fine.
Sally


#10

Hi Ron, I recently purchased a orion 150s2. Would you mind sharing the
settings you used to tack post. I end up with a silver ball at the end of
my post with no tacking. Thanks, Vince LaRochelle, Oakridge, Or


#11

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I don’t have this option with the Orion mpulse 30. I can only control the power.

Ally


#12

Hi Ron,

Thank you for your reply. I’ll give it a try with the argon and hopefully, I’ll get different results. I used the laser wire like you mention and it helped a bit. Do you know if it works better for 14k gold posts and base?

Thanks,
Ally


#13

Hi Sally,

Thanks for your response. I use the welder for jumprings too and it works just fine without the argon. I was really hoping to get more uses out of the machine other than welding jumprings. Do you use it for anything else but making lightweight chains? I’m going to order and argon tank soon and I’ll post my findings. Fingers crossed.

Thanks,
Ally


#14

Hi Ally,

I also have the mPulse 30 and I had hoped to use it to weld sterling silver ear posts and jump rings/bails to my lost wax cast designs. I do have argon set up but unfortunately even when using the argon gas I had results similar to yours - weak welds and posts that snapped off easily.

I’ve tried several solutions including using the sterling posts with small pads on the bottom to provide more surface area and material to weld, blunting my electrode tip, adding laser wire at the welded connection point, and varying the power used for the weld (which as you know is the only setting able to be adjusted on the mPulse).

None of these resulted in satisfactory welds on my ear posts, so I went back to soldering on my posts and only use the mPulse 30 for closing jumpring and attaching chain components.

Overall I still find it useful to my workflow as I make a lot of pendants and my torch set up isn’t very sophisticated so soldering delicate chain work was difficult. I am disappointed though because I feel the Orion promotional materials made it sound like welding silver ear posts was very doable, and from everything I’ve read here and on Facebook groups I belong to no one has figured out how to do it reliably with the limitations of the mPulse.

Sorry for the bad news :/:neutral_face:

Rachel


#15

Hi Ally, and all other users of this kit,
Ted here again,
1, I think you should put Rio Grande on notice that the product so far, is unfit for purpose.
2. as mentioned before, you must send samples of what you want to do to Orion for them to process as a test.
Without that your wandering around blind, in the suck it and see wilderness.
Im seriously technical in the 1st instance ,I have to be because im always pushing the boundaries of metal working.
These Co’s will value their reputation, and will do all they can to protect it.
Here as also mentioned previously, I couldnt get the results I needed at the UK dealer of PUK. So I sent samples direct to PUK in Germany for them to prove to me! their kit was able to do the task. Their results were marginal on 999 Ag.
I found a better way myself.
You need to do the same with Orion. youve a lot to lose if you dont.
Ted.
A hard and difficult tech user who doesnt give up.


#16

It truly excels at instantly smoothing and rounding off the other end of the earring post on a 7W setting - much quicker than a cup burr…


#17

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for the message and I’m sorry to hear you had no success welding posts.
I wrote to Orion a couple of days ago and this is what they answered:

"Thank you for contacting Sunstone Engineering and Orion Welders.

Welding silver posts can be tricky at times, but is easily doable with the proper techniques. Below are a few tips to consider:

-keep your energy levels between 10 and 20. These levels are usually the best when welding silver
-Before attaching the post to the base you’ll want to first ball up the end of the post. Do this by performing a small weld on the end of the post that creates a ball of material that is slightly larger than the rest of the post. Next you’ll want to file down half of the post so it sits flat on the base when you make the weld. This will give you some extra material on the post when you start welding – and give you extra strength
-try using some small gauge silver wire as you weld and add it into the joint.

Try these things and let me know what you think and how I can assist."

I just got the argon gas and I will be trying these steps soon. Hopefully, I get some good results.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks,
Ally


#18

Hi Ally,

For silver welding, perhaps you can contact Jeffrey Herman: http://www.hermansilver.com
He uses the Puk for restauration of all kind of silverwork. He’s the best man that can inform you how to use these Puls Arc Welders.
On his site you can already find a lot of information.

Ari


#19

Thank you all for sharing your experience with the mPulse welder.

I tried welding the earring posts according to Orion’s instructions, using argon gas and was surprised that it worked the first time. I set the power at 13Ws and I tried my best to keep the electrode at 45 degrees when touching the piece. I noticed that the angle of the electrode is quite important when welding. So far I didn’t have to add more wire.

I hope this is helpful.

Best,
Ally


#20

That’s great to hear! I got similar information on a Facebook group dedicated to Orion welders as you got from the Orion rep but I can’t say I had much more luck with the balled-end approach than I did previously (I had already been using posts with a 1.5mm pad to increase the surface and material area available to weld). I’ll try your settings with the strict 45 degree tilt to the electrode and see if I have better luck! Thanks for sharing the techniques that worked for you! :smile: