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Laser welder


#1

just got back from some great training from laserstar, and this week
the argon should arrived, and we will be ready to go!!! any one have
any good hints, suggestions. I am not sold on retipping with laser
welding, any one haveing good luck doing it Rick


#2

Rick I just bought the LASERSTAR 7000 and absolutely love it. The
training was fun and the people were great. The more I use the laser
the more daring I get . I practiced on a little marquise diamond ring
and retipped it perfectly and then I thought I would just touch up a
prong ( shaping ) and WHAM!!! , I barely touched the marquise and
it broke in half , and my setting was fairly low. Since then I have
been using " KOOL JOOL " and have no problem. The machine is Great
!!If you have the 7000 and work on silver I suggest you connect the
compressed air option for cooling down the pieces you work on. As far
as suggestions and tips (start on low settings and increase your
power as needed ) another thing is a reflective surface. Be careful
with reflective surfaces , you can be working a piece and as the
surface becomes shiney the beam bounces and you have a little result
and you think well increase the power then you hit a dull spot and
OOPS . ( just keep a marker near by to dullen the shing spots ).

Hope this helps. Tony Cecena contact me if you have any questions
@Tony_Cecena www.cecenasjewelry.com
GOD BLESS ARE TROOPS !!!


#3
 I am not sold on retipping with laser welding, any one haveing
good luck doing it Rick 

In white golds, with argon, or with platinum, you can retip white to
near white diamonds with the laser. use the lowest power settings
that will let you build up the metal, and try to aim the laser at the
metal, not the stone, being aware of where the beam will reflect from
the metal, as well as where it will directly hit. I use a filler
wire, either platinum or white golds, of about .25mm for retipping.
The key is that diamond, if clean, will transmit most of the energy
that hits it, rather than absorbing it at the surface, and with the
thermal conductivity of diamond, the whole stone heats up, again
absorbing the energy instead of burning. But this isn’t completely
risk free. Avoid working on highly included stones, and know that an
inclusion right where the laser energy hits or reflects, will
increase the chance of damage. At higher powers, you CAN very
certainly burn or shatter a diamond. The girdle, too, if
unpolished, will be affected if you hit it. As with torch retipping,
the stones should be clean before you work on it, though it’s a
little less critical. If you’re building metal out over the stone,
rather than just increasing the thickness of what’s there, lay the
wire against the stone, up against what’s there, and try to "shoot"
the metal of the wire, at the junction, up into the existing metal.
The idea is to find a setting where the penetration acheieved in
this is almost to the stone, but not quite. Sometimes it’s best to
remove the existing tip, lay a piece of flattened wire the dimensions
of a prong tip down, and weld it to the stub of the remaining prong
just above the girdle, in much the same way you might put a new tip
on with solder. Advantages of laser retipping, especially when
building up a merely worn tip that one might otherwise be tempted to
do with just solder, is that the work hardening effect of the laser
means your new tips will be really wear resistant, over and above
just the fact that this isn’t solder, but is solid good metal. If
these are diamonds that can in any case take torch heating, then I
sometimes lightly anneal the tips after building them up with the
laser, since sometimes laser welds are a bit too brittle for safety.
Of course the normal cleaning and coating with boric acid is needed
for this, but then I only heat the tips briefly to just barely
glowing for a moment, or sometimes just enough to glaze over the
boric acid. not a full annealing process, just enough to stress
relieve them. This process is also useful in those cases where the
welding has left a bit of black “smoke” on the piece, since the boric
acid coating will take it off more effectively than even the steamer
or ultrasonic, from recessed areas.

Try it with some broken/chipped diamonds for practice, first.

As to retipping on anything other than diamond, well, sometimes you
can get away with it, especially on lighter colored stones, but in
general, most of the colored stones will be damaged if the laser
energy hits the stone, either directly or by reflection. If you
really hit a colored stone directly, you’ll usually shatter it.
Slight amounts of reflected energy cause the more common canage, a
small melted/glazed over area, with or without a bit of crazing of
the surface there. When this happens, sometimes the stones can be
saved with a bit or repolishing or minor recutting. The darker the
color, the riskier it is. I usually agree to try it only when the
owner takes the responsibility for damage, and understands there’s a
good chance of that occuring.

Sometimes, with a prong, you can bend the prong away from the stone,
build up the tip, and then return it to the stone, with the stone
being protected during this process with either a layer of fimo clay
(we use a dark blue, but I’d imagine any opaque color should work) or
with a heavy coating of white out. White out isn’t as reliable, but
it can help a lot in at least partially protecting a stone you’re
welding near to, if the distance isn’t enough for a bit of fimo to be
packed into the gap.

Hope that helps.
Peter


#4

thanks so much for a very informative note on tipping with the laser
welder, could you tell me about how you anneal “I sometimes lightly
anneal the tips after building them up with the laser, since
sometimes laser welds are a bit too brittle for safety.”

I am with you on silver heating up, I had a small container of water
to quench the braclet I was working on and the water turned to
steam!!! and splattered on me…ouch! we have the same model, 125
jules and we get argon this week, our local supplier had to order
the 4-9’s, might look into hooking up air, what do you have for a
compressor??? or do you use a tank?? RIck


#5

I’m using a air compressor tank regulated at about 50 psi , this
seems to provide enough cooling to keep your hands in the chamber.
As far as annealing goes I do this only if replacing a complete
prong but haven’t on retipping. I will anneal almost a pieces (
shanks and such ) so it goes smoothly. Argon is a great to have , I
have heard it is good to use on white gold but haven’t really seen
any advantages to using it. But on titanium WOW !!

Tony


#6
 thanks so much for a very informative note on tipping with the
laser welder, could you tell me about how you anneal "I sometimes
lightly anneal the tips after building them up with the laser,
since sometimes laser welds are a bit too brittle for safety." 

Annealing laser welds is done the old fashioned way. Clean the work
perfectly, coat with boric acid/alcohol slurry, burn the alcohol off,
and proceed to heat with a fine torch flame. You only need to heat
the laser welds, not the whole piece (unless you want to). And since
this is only to stress relieve the welds, or perhaps soften the metal
just a bit, rather than a full anneal, you don’t need the metal as
hot, or for as long. With white golds, just barely glowing will do
it, or even often just enough to get the boric acid to completely
glaze over will be enough. With platinum, it’s much easier to heat
just the tips or prongs you’ve worked on, using a tight sharp flame
on just the platinum. With a tip on a diamond, it’s not hard to get
the tip to briefly glow for a moment without overheating the diamond.
Note that it only needs to be slightly glowing. This won’t really
soften the platinum all that much, but it will prevent stress
cracking. Prong tips aren’t the only type of weld that benefits
from annealing. If you use your laser to weld ring sizing joints,
you may find the joints prone to cracking if you then need to round
out the ring, for example. Once annealed, they won’t. for such
joints, I often anneal a little more fully than I would a prong, but
it still doesn’t need to be completely soft. By the way, the usual
way to weld a seam like this is a V joint, which you then have to
backfill with succesive passes with filler wire. you can shorten the
process some, if your laser has decent power levels. Set it to a
quite long pulse length, something like 8 or ten milliseconds, a
fairly tight focus setting, and a quite high voltage. On our laser,
I often use as much as 420 volts with a platinum seam. Normally, a
tightly focused beam at this power level would just burn a hole. But
with that long pulse length, what results a very deep penetration and
a wide weld, quite depressed at the top. It’s enough to go as much as
two millimeters or more into a platinum seam. do that from both
sides, and with a couple pulses, you’ve welded all the way through a
ring shank seam. then you have to drop the voltage way down, and
back fill with the filler wire, the depressed and distorted surface
of the prior weld, but it’s adding a lot less metal than the "V"
joint method does. Note that at these power levels, the work heats
up FAST. watch your fingers…

Cheers
Peter


#7

Does anyone have or know where to buy a refurbished laser welder? I
tried the tack 3 which was advertised to do everything the laser
welder does and guess what… It doesnt. the thing was miserable.

Micky


#8
   Does anyone have or know where to buy a refurbished laser
welder? I tried the tack 3 which was advertised to do everything
the laser welder does and guess what... It doesnt.  the thing was
miserable 

Talk to Tom, or Mayur, at Alpha Supply in Bremerton WA. Phone is
(800) 257-4211, or (360) 377-9235. They’ve been supplying new CPP
lasers to a number of factories in India, where they also have a
major tool supply business, and they are taking back in trade, the
used ones, which are generally older Siro Alphalasers, commonly the
ALS-35 series. (These are the same machines sold by B&D in the
states) Do be aware that these are older models, with varying
degrees of refurbished parts or upgraded parts, and perhaps varying
degrees of maintenance prior to being traded in. This means that
features found on newer lasers, especially things like pulse shaping,
won’t be there. And they’ll likely be slower than the newer up to
date models. But the ones I’ve seen from them, including the one I
bought, still work well enough, and cost you about half what a new
one would run. You DO get what you pay for, meaning that if you buy a
new up to date model, you’ll be getting a lot more laser, for a lot
more money. Whether this is worth the difference to you depends on
your budget, and your needs for the laser. If you’re like the shop
I work for, you may find you’ve underestimated how useful it will be.
Before buying a laser three years ago, we of course made everything
the old way, and envisioned needing the laser on only a portion of the
work. It quickly proved itself, though, and lots of things we did
the old way are now done on the laser, so the machine is seldom idle
for more than a few minutes at a time, and more often, we’re “lined
up and waiting” for the thing. That’s with just three goldsmiths and
one diamond setter sharing the thing. An older machine would very
clearly not have been as much worth the money to us than the one we
got (which is already getting older, compared to the newest and
latest machines).

Peter


#9

Micky

There’s nothing like the Laser. Try Crafford-Laserstar , I know they
have pre-owned lasers machines. Ask for Louise Pichierri The phone #
401-438-1500

Louise can give you all the you need.

Tony
http://www.cecenasjewelry.com


#10

Hello out there! I’m about to add a Laser Star laser welder to my
toolchest. After checking out the array of welders at the MJSA
show I decided on the bench model with 80 joules. Does anyone
have any experience with not enough power with these units? We work
with mainly with silver/14k and various colored 14k. Anything I
should know about dealing with Crafford? All commentory good and
bad is highly valued. Any comments that you feel may be negative can
be e-mailed to me at: @Rona_Fisher1.

Thanks so much!
Rona


#11
   After  checking out the array of  welders at the MJSA show  I
decided on the bench model with 80 joules.  Does anyone have any
experience with not enough power with these units?  We work with
mainly with silver/14k and various colored 14k. Anything I should
know about dealing with Crafford 

Rona, I don’t have a Crafford unit so I can’t comment on it. I have
the Rofin Starweld unit. I would think 80 joules would be more than
enough power to handle whatever comes along. I have never used more
than about 25 joules on my welder (with silver), however I would
make sure the laser you are looking into has pulse shaping
capabilities. It is a very important feature when working with
precious metals. Also, you may want to see if that laser has “sweet
spot” technology. Just my two cents. Ken


#12

If you deal with primarily silver the more power the better. Also
there new wave pulse is good for silver. We have the Med power
crafford and are very pleased. Jeff


#13

80 joules is pretty wimpy for use on silver. We have a 126 joule
laser and silver is commonly done at about 60 - 75% of max power.
That would equate to 100% max and more on an 80 joule unit. Silver is
a PITA to do much more than tacking on a laser. Interesting in that
when I talked to Crawford about a year ago they advised that the 80
was not suitable for silver work. Ended up with a Zahntech LDW4 HD as
they seemed to be the most honest about the capabilities and offered
more usable features for the money.

I just started using a PUK-111 Tig tack welder and it seems much
better suited to silver work. I only have about 15 minutes use on the
PUK so I am far from an authority, I can see where it could easily
replace a portion of the work done with a laser. You may want to take
a look before committing to a low power laser.

Tim
A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc
5151 S Federal Blvd Unit I-9
Littleton CO 80123
720 283-7200 Phone
720 385-2118 Fax
www.A2ZMetalsmithSupply.com


#14
 I'm about to add a Laser Star  laser welder to my toolchest. 
After  checking out the array of  welders at the MJSA show  I
decided on the bench model with 80 joules.  Does anyone have any
experience with not enough power with these units?  We work with
mainly with silver/14k 

Rona, While I don’t know that particular model, and can’t speak to
it’s power ratings, your mention of silver is worth addressing.
Welding silver takes more power than most other welds (very high
karat gold does too), much more than you’ll need for 14k or platinum.
Don’t buy a lower powered welder if you’re planning to get useful
welding with silver. Also, you’ll likely find it useful to choose a
model that allows some control over pulse shape. I don’t know if the
CPP pulse optimizing thing works well or not, but I’d prefer a laser
like the Rofin, and others, where you can actually define a pulse
shape. That can be very helpful in addressing problems with weld
cracking, which sometimes show up with silver, as well as some other
metals. In general, I’d say silver of the most difficult metal to
weld, and you’ll be grateful for all the power you can afford. the
key figures are not overall power, which might relate not to just the
power of an individual pulse, but it’s repeat rate too. That’s
nice, but what you need to compare is the actual maximum power of a
single pulse. That can be specified in joules, or you can compare
maximum voltage settings for an idea, as well. it can be difficult
to compare lasers from different manufacturers since they don’t rate
their machines according to any uniform standard. One can, for
example, rate the power delivered in a laser pulse, or one can
specify the power the machine draws from the electrical outlet.
Both might be given in watts or kilowatts, but the two are wildly
different measurements. You might wish to actually get a salesperson
to let you sit down at one of the lasers you’re contemplating, and
try a typical weld in silver. Use the heaviest type of thing you
expect to be able to weld, and see if you and the salesperson can get
it to give you an acceptable weld. then repeat this with the other
potential candidates. With the cost of these things, it’s worth your
while to do this sort of homework. Were you doing only 14K gold,
or platinum, then I’d say almost any laser out there would do what
you want. But your specifying a difficult to weld metal when you
mention silver. Not all of the machines out there will be powerful
enough for that.

Peter


#15

we have had excellent support with Crafford, the hands on training
is most helpful. my advice is when working with silver you need
more power and the use of argon is important. I am not familiar
with the bench model. but if it were me more power is good along
with argon if doing very much silver at all. funny platinum, was
the most unforgiving of the metals we worked with before, now I
would say it is the easiest and silver has become the hard spot. my
only problem with the laser is the reflective beams burning my
fingers hahaha

ringdoc