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Choosing tack welder


#1

I am interested in getting more about Tack Welders. I
have looked into both tack and spot welders and I think I understand
the main differences. I want to use this to create temporary holds
before soldering to keep from needing several hands and the ability
to hold tiny items really steady and still. Can anyone provide any
insight into these machines and which one might be the best to
consider purchasing? I would love to get something like a PUK spot
welder but I cannot afford it. I work mostly insterling with
semi-precious beads and freshwater pearls so I have to be really
careful with connections. I have been looking at a machine that can
be found at

http://www.ajstools.com/products/new/intellitack.html

Any input or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Tracy Arrington


#2

Tack welders work ok on gold but are not very reliable on silver or
copper. So if you mostly work in silver or copper it will not be a
good investment but if you work mostly in gold they can be quite
handy.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#3

Tracy, you may want to look at a Miller MaxStar 150STL or STH. I’ve
seen complete kits for less than a PUK at online auction. This
Miller machine is capable of everything a capacitor discharge machine
can do and then some things more. The down side is you don’t get a
microscope. Who knows you might end up doing without solder all
together.


#4

The ABI family of welders has some options for you. I am not familiar
with their “tack” welders but I am very familiar with their larger
welders the new Minipulse III and lightning type welders. The
Minipulse III in the cheaper $1700 configuration would work well for
tacking silver WHEN IT WORKS. We were a distributor for a custom
Minipulse III and we stopped selling them because 60% of welders
needed to be returned to the factory for repairs. On the plus side
ABI took care of making sure all welders eventually worked on no
cost but if you order a minipulse III expect to need to send it back
for repairs. Once they work they seem to keep working. The lightning
welders from ABI are real work horses - I have 4 and some are 15
years old and going strong. They are pricy though. In addition to
tacking copper, and silver the pulse welders can also weld
stainless, titanium, bronze, fine silver and fine gold (and I will
note here that by weld I mean that the welder gives you a very strong
connection where no further soldering is required). It really
depends what you are welding - we mostly weld jumprings closed and
they work great, I wanted to use them to weld multiple jumprings
together and its very difficult to get a good weld - you end up with
a tack (i.e. soldering required). FYI tacking silver work just as
well without gas shielding - the welders plumbed for gas cost quite a
bit more and its not needed for most applications. Should you want to
risk a Minipulse send me an email and I’ll give you all the inside
info.

One of the week point of ABI welders for production work if the
consumables costs are a bit too high. The electrode and ceramic
shields are expensive and don’t last. We did fix these problems for
the welders we sold and the welders we use. Too much info here runs
the risk of high jacking the thread

  • I’ll be brief and if anyone want further discussion please start a
    new thread and I’ll share. I have designed a replacement weld pencil
    for the ABI welder. Its meant to be a stationary pencil that you
    bring the work too. It uses standard TIG electrodes (that cost about
    1/20 of the ABI electrodes) and a standard sand blasting ceramic tip
    that lasts about 100 times as long as the thin walled ceramic tube
    ABI uses (but does sacrifice some manoeuvrability). If anyone has
    any interest I’d be happy to share the design. I did give ABI one of
    these and permission to use the design but I don’t think they ever
    did anything with it. We’ve made about 50 for welders we sold and
    use them in house every day. We also supply quality weld pliers.

Jon Daniels
The Ring Lord Chainmail
http://theringlord.com