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Argon Laser Welder for Gold?

I’ve had a laser welder for over five years and have noticed that not
a lot of people use argon on gold. I’ve got argon and don’t always
use it, but wonder if I should. I can understand why I should, but
can also get great results without it. Does anyone out there use it
all the time? Why? Does anyone never use it? Why? I really don’t have
any evidence to confidently suggest either, but thought I would take
advantage of the great amount of amazing people on this amazing forum
to see how everyone else does it.

Thank You,
Michael Wise

I've had a laser welder for over five years and have noticed that
not a lot of people use argon on gold. I've got argon and don't
always use it, but wonder if I should. 

I find that argon makes a big difference when welding nickle white
golds especially. On platinum it’s pointless, and the same on higher
karat yellow golds. with 14K yellow, it seems to improve the surface
finish of the welds some, but doesn’t seem to have much effect on
the actual weld quality, such as issues with pitting or porosity or
weld cracking. With lower karat, like 10K, it does seem to be an
improvement. Silver too, looks better with argon. Whether it makes a
difference depends some on just what you’re using for filler wire. In
general, I usually use it on silver. It’s downside with silver is the
welds are then shinier, whch then means as you work, you need higher
power to continue welding on the more reflective surfaces.

Peter

I use argon pretty much all the time, my guys use it all the time, I
think I’m replacing a large cylinder every 2 to 3 weeks, but it
makes for a much smoother weld, far less porosity, very little
soot, and its essential on white gold, isn’t technology great?

Paul Bensel,

I asked a friend that builds lasers for jewelry, Martin Stuart of
MSI. He has been teaching me to use a laser welder and cutter he has.

Copper and silver react to oxygen. So, bare air can be a problem but
not always. Nitrogen can get involved in a bad way due to the laser
beam temperatures. 25,000 F! You can make nitrides by accident with
nitrogen at those temperatures, which may make the joint brittle.
Argon avoids this. The plasma flash creates pressure. The gas drives
itself onto the molten metal with that pressure. So you have 25,000f
at 300PSI pressure. If that includes oxygen or nitrogen there can be
issues. Argon assures a more consistent hardness and property in the
joint itself.

Some of this is theoretical. It’s hard (expensive) to analyze for
nitrides in such a small area. That’s the theory folks.

Daniel Ballard
www.pmwest.us
800-999-7528