We have a LaserStar that we purchased 3 years ago. It took a while to
learn how to use this thing. The training we received did not allow
us to just start working immediately. Much of what we were told just
wasn't correct, or we found that it was still easier or better to do
with a touch. After we figured out how to get consistently good
welds, we began to use it a lot, and it paid for itself in only 18
How what kinds of designs are you making that you would not
have been able to do without the laser
I think we use the laser mostly as a tacking tool prior to soldering.
We do mostly 18k and platinum fabrication in a small custom shop.
Other tools will also tack things together, but not with the
precision of the laser. It will also fully weld dissimilar metals,
such as platinum and 18k, so it is very useful for multi metal
Has it changed how you approach design?
A little. We are doing complicated fabrication projects in far less
time, so we are able to incorporate them more freely and still
maintain the budget. Because the laser can weld without contact, we
are designing things that can only be welded internally. We weld
through a small "porthole" that often is covered by a stone. We have
also welded solder into a piece, then "set" another component over it
and soldered with a torch (a platinum plate into an 18k bezel, for
example). No possibility of solder on the platinum to clean up later.
I am also using the laser as a texturing tool.....
Has your design work changed? My design work is
Have you used metals you would not have previously used in
We are working with titanium, stainless steel, and cobalt
Has your designs changed dramatically?
More of a personal choice that driven by technology.
Have you chosen to use more fragile stones?
No. I still feel that it is risky to weld near stones that may be
damaged. Accidents happen (ask Murphy). A laser burst can damage any
stone, and the beam can be reflected off the metal, or the metal
could spray onto the stone.
Have you designed items which would otherwise be too risky to
I simply don't take risks with expensive stones, customer's jewelry,
or exotic cars....
We are doing all of our platinum sizing with the laser, as well as
casting repair. I like to use it on the outside of seams, like
bezels in 18k and platinum, since it makes the seam invisible. I
still torch solder the seam, or at least anneal the work after
soldering ( the joint can be somewhat brittle). Less risky than
fusing. It is very useful for repair work.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like