Laser welders

I would like some help from other Orchidites on the subject of laser
welders. I have seen them from $24K to $35K, 85 Joules to 120
Joules, microscope eyepieces to video screens. Made in the good ole
USA and abroad. Has anyone sorted this out to find the best value?
Does one need 120 Joules(whaterver that is)? Who can help old JB out

Jeff (JB) Kaiser, CGA

JB, You’re asking the right questions. Your best bet is to go to a
major show and check out each manufacturer and/or get literature from
all the laser companies. Compare features. Compare prices for
comparable models. My laser is rated at 95 joules. More than enough
power for my work. (I’ve spoken with laser experts not in the jewelry
industry who think 95 joules is a powerful laser-they were a bit
surprised). Ask about tech support and inquire about ease of
maintence( can you service the machine yourself when/if necessary?).
Personally, I don’t care for the “easy viewing” monitors. I like the
microscope. My experience has been that the ‘easy viewing’ monitors
feel “smothery” (my word) and you lose some light in the viewing
chamber. Also, since you put your face in the viewer it feels hot and
if mulitple people use it, well…(ahhhhh…chew!). The biggest
issue for me was not which company or how much ( I paid 36K 2 1/2
years ago), but would it pay for itself. Lasers are generally
maintence free, but if you have a problem, it IS expensive. You have
to determine if the pay back is worth the investment. It does save
time at the bench. You can do things with the laser you cannot do
with a torch. It is not a panacea, though. Doing laser work for
other jewelers and antique dealers is what makes my laser worth it
(plus I get to use it on my own work). I probably could not justify
the expense if I depended on paying for it just doing the work that
comes in my shop alone, even though I have a very busy shop. Bob Staley
B.Staley, Goldsmiths Precision Laser Welding 469 East Main St P.O.Box
2103 Cartersville,GA 30120 @B_Staley_Goldsmiths

Bob: Thanks for the info. I went to Vegas and saw two machines and got
literature and spoke to the reps. Of course THEIRS was the best!
Which machine do you have and how does it rank on the questions you
posed on maintainence and serviceability? How much and what kind of
outside work do you get and how did/do you promote it? If you have a
minute, e mail me with your phone number, I’d like to pick your pea.
@jbkjewel JB

Another question to laser welder owners; How much business is there
outside our trade industry for these machines? In example, is there
work available from dental labs, small machine shops etc…? I take it
from the small number of responses to the various posts that there
are not a lot of owners on this forum. Is there a group on the web?
Anyone with info, please contact me as I may be in the market and
want to get the best value for my money.

Jeff (JB) Kaiser, CGA

JB, I’ve got about 2200hrs and 2 1/2 years experience with my laser
and have done an considerable amount of laser welding for optical
repair shops on Titanium eyeglass frames. Though Ti alloys cannot be
laser welded, pure Ti can. Since Ti welding cannot easily be done
sucessfully with a torch, these shops need someone who has a laser
welder. As you probably know, Ti eyeglass frames are expensive and
worth the expense of laser welding. I’ve done limited work for dental
labs on retainers and partials because most of these can be repaired
by the lab tech. I haven’t pursued other fields/industries for work,
but then my plate is full! Use your imagination, get some experience
and promote yourself and your service. Best Regards

Bob Staley
B.Staley, Goldsmiths
Precision Laser Welding

I am considering purching a laser welder. I am a bench jewler and I
do a ton of eyeglass repair. I have started seeing some titanium
frames that cannot be soldered with my equipment. Is is me or has the
price on these really come down? I am not looking for suppliers to
write me back to sell me one, I am looking for those of you that
already have one and I want to know if this is something that you
couldn’t live without or a waste of money. Thanks Scott Isaacs Goldsmith