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Laser welder used


#1

I’ve become increasingly sensitive to fumes from soldering, even
though I use a fresh-air mask and work under a vent, so I was
wondering if a laser welding setup would be practical. I can’t
afford a new one, at the prices I’ve seen, but it occurs to me that
used machines should be available from time to time.

So, several questions come to mind. Does laser-welding of silver,
gold, and platinum demand the use of flux (which may be what is
giving my lungs fits), and are they constructed in such a way as to
conduct any resulting fumes away from the operator?

How much should I budget for something that would be expected to do
butt welds on wire between 0.010" and 0.040" – in other words, no
big jobs, just an endless stream of wire-ends needing to be secured?

Is it possible that someone within a reasonable travelling distance
of Florida would be willing to let me rent time on a machine to find
out if it would actually be suitable for my purposes?

My current projects involve a lot of joints, what I call “knotted
chain mail”, and though I’m becoming adept at the use of a solder
pick and a very small flame, I feel like an asthmatic after even very
short sessions. Sometimes all I have to do is look at the solder
station and my throat starts to close up. :frowning:

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/


#2

Loren, You need a better ventilation system. It will be much easier
to afford than a used laser ($14,000-$15,000 for used lasers right
now). If you are getting any fumes from your soldering then your
ventilation is not done right. Get a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air
Conditioning) contractor to help you design a system that will work
right. Jim


#3

Loren

The laser would definitely work well for you. Welding wire that
small is not a problem with the laser and as far Gold , Silver and
platinum it would do that with no fumes at all because you are fusing
metal . And you can also work on costume jewelry,stainless steel ,
steel, titanium,brass aluminum and etc. etc. with no fumes. And since
you a working on such fine pieces you don’t have to battle with
oxidation , the clean up is usually done with the steamer.

I would let try mine but im in Illinois. Contact me if you have any
questions or

Contact:

Crafford-laserstar
sales@crafford.com
401-438-1500
Ask for Louise

#4
    I've become increasingly sensitive to fumes from soldering,
even though I use a fresh-air mask and work under a vent, so I was
wondering if a laser welding setup would be practical.  

Have you thought about a resistance solderer? I’m collecting parts
to build my own, since my equipment budget is limited (well, okay,
non-existent), but even a unit from Rio Grande is much less than a
laser. I’m a new-comer, haven’t checked out the archives on this
yet.

    So, several questions come to mind.  Does laser-welding of
silver, gold, and platinum demand the use of flux (which may be
what is giving my lungs fits), and are they constructed in such a
way as to conduct any resulting fumes away from the operator? 

Resistance soldering does require flux, AFAIK, but it is VERY quick
– better ventilation might be enough to limit exposure to fumes.

    butt welds on wire between 0.010" and 0.040" -- in other
words, no big jobs, just an endless stream of wire-ends needing to
be secured? My current projects involve a lot of joints, what I
call "knotted chain mail" 

Sounds like the exact set-up to most benefit from a
resistance-solderer – once you get your settings right for a
certain ring size, just dial it in, and pop them off one after the
other. In fact, I think it was at a chain-maille site that I first
read about how wonderful they are, which started my part-collecting.

– Harriet


#5
I've become increasingly sensitive to fumes from soldering, even
though I use a fresh-air mask and work under a vent

I don’t know anything about laser welders but I did have a
suggestion on your ventilation.

Your ventilation should be at the back of your worktable so you are
pulling the fumes away from the area before they get to your face.
If the vent is above your head, it pulls the fumes right past your
nose, mouth and eyes - right where you don’t want it to be! If you
light a match on your work area and then turn your fan on, you can
see the direction the fumes would go. I see this alot in pictures of
people’s studios - the vent is above the station. In fact that is
what the hardware store man was trying to sell me. Kitchen hood
vents are made to keep moisture from settling in the house, not to
protect the cook from cooking fumes. I settled on an exhaust fan at
worktable height, it exhausts out the window.

If anyone is interested, a good overall safety book is The Artist’s
Complete Health and Safety Guide by Monona Rossol. It gives a great
overview of lots of hazards and what you need to do to combat them
and then you can decide what risks you are willing to take. Reading
it can be scary and you won’t want to go into your shop, but then
you are educated to make good choices for yourself. For example, I
won’t use fluoride found in some fluxes or paste solder - I use
boric based instead which work just fine for me. It isn’t a
ventilation book, but covers all kinds of artists’ materials,
enamel, metal, stones, leather, fabric, dyes, plastics, solvents -
all stuff we use in our jewelry creation.

Laurie


#6
 So, several questions come to mind.  Does laser-welding of
silver, gold, and platinum demand the use of flux (which may be
what is giving my lungs fits) 

No. You don’t use flux. For some metals, you’ll get better welds
if you use an inert gas shield, usually Argon.

    and are they constructed in such a way as to conduct any
resulting fumes away from the operator? 

Yes. They have vent fans that draw welding fumes out the back
through a fine filter which traps the metallic fumes.

The main danger is to your wallet, and occasionally annoying small
burns to the fingers when you miss. They sting, but do no real
damage.

Note that welding platinum is the easiest, and 18K yellow gold is
also easy, with lower karats of gold, or white golds, being
increasingly trickier, and more benefited by the use of Argon
shielding. Silver looks better with argon, but it it’s necessary
usually. However, silver is so reflective, and such a good heat
conductor, that it takes considerably more energy to laser weld than
most other metals (very high karat yellow gold, like 22K or 24K, is
also difficult), so if you’re doing lots of silver, in heavier gauges
of metal, you may need more than the lowest power lasers to get
decent results in a decent amount of time. But for mostly wire
construction, even the basic units should be fine.

Alpha Supply in Bremerton WA is a tools dealer who also sells, among
other things, new laser welders (I think mostly the current latest
model CPP machines) to jewelry factories in India. They take back,
in trade, the old units, which are usually Siro Alphalasers, either
the ALS-35 or ALS-35S, or similar units. Depending on the degree of
refurbishment needed to get them running, and which model (the
ALS-35S is higher power) and it’s age, etc, they’ve been selling
them here in the U.S. for prices between 13K and 17K or so. The
Siro lasers are the same ones that B&D sales sell (and also the one
pictured in the Rio Grande tools catalog. I don’t know how much the
currently new versions differ from these older lasers, but it’s my
impression that the design isn’t being modified a whole lot. they’re
fairly simple in terms of a lack of lots of bells and whistles, but
seem reasonably sturdy lasers. Like used cars, don’t expect them to
run like new, and some may need replacement parts sooner rather than
later. these things are NOT like a rolling mill, which if cared for
will last almost forever. They’re high powered electronics. Power
supplies can fail, optics can need replacement, computer control
boards can go bad, and all that jazz. and if you use it a lot, then
expect to replace the flash lamp (400-600) yearly or near to it. But
with that said, these lasers are a generally well accepted design,
have been working for a number of years, and likely can be expected
to work well for more of them too.

Peter


#7

Thanks everyone, for the suggestions and comments on laser and other
sorts of welders. I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably won’t
be able to afford even a used laser welder at this point, but Rio
Grande has a jump ring welding system that might do what I want with
not too much difficulty – it’s got an electrified pair of needle
nose pliers and a carbon rod; you hold the ring or link in the
pliers, touch the rod to the joint, and when you stomp on a foot
switch it zaps it with the amount of heat you dial in on the
controls.

I’ll probably ask them more about it in Tucson next February, if I
don’t just bite the bullet and buy one before then – but that
depends on finances. :wink:

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com