Last year, I told the group that our store was considering
purchasing a laser welder, and asked for input on different models.
Ours arrived December 24th and I couldn’t be happier with it. First
of all, we got it on a 4-year lease-to-own setup. Basically, the
payment is tax deductible, so it practically breaks even before ever
charging for a repair.
Second, once customers understand that I am actually welding their
piece with the same metal that results in a much stronger join than
bridging a gap with a solder alloy, most are willing to pay the
extra for it.
Third, It makes soldering during fabrication much easier in many
cases. Never has soldering a bezel to a backing plate been as easy
when the bezel is tacked ion place before soldering.
Fourth, being a techno geek myself, I have a blast operating the
Fifth, we have been able to take on more varied work, such as
antique costume jewelry and eyeglasses. The local LensCrafters sends
us work from time to time. I couldn’t be happier with it.
As for maintenance, there are a few simple weekly, monthly,
semi-annual and annual things to do, but they are quite simple.
Mostly, they are minor cleaning of the welding well and the laser
lens cover, replacing the de-ionized water coolant, etc… The flash
lamp may seem to be expensive at around $350, but we have used over
35,000 hits with it already, and it’s predicted life is at a mere 4%.
Many other owners have told me their flash lamps work for over 400%
of their predicted life. This seems very cost-effective to me.
In the second part of this post, I would like to thank David Geller
for his Blue Book of Jewelry Repair. Although we don’t adhere
strictly to his advice on every job (long-time customers are usually
discounted heavily), the book has done wonders for us. Besides a
comprehensive listing of what to charge for particular torch repair
work for the most popular metals, he also lists part numbers for most
repair findings from different popular manufacturers. He provides
great info about why customers should have their jewelry repaired by
laser, and without his advice on what to charge for laser repairs, we
probably would be hard-pressed to make the machine worth our while.
James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL