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Laser Welders


#1

Hello,

I’ve noticed people mentioning laser welders. Are they better
for silver and gold? How much do they cost and what are some
good sources for purchasing them? Is specific training
necessary? If so, are there any schools in southern California?

Many thanks,

Pauline


#2

Pauline, Laser welders are great for gold,platinum, and titanium.
Lasers are good for silver, but since silver is so reflective,
you have to mask the area to be welded with a magic marker to
keep the laser pulse from “bouncing off.” Also, since silver is
such a good conductor of heat, it will also get hot when you
pulse with the laser repeatedly w/o letting it cool down. There
is no need for school. Lasers are very user friendly. Takes a
few minutes to get used to the positioning of the pieces under
the microscope and then O.J.T. is the best way to learn. They
cost @ 35k depending on the model you have and where you purchase
it. Contact Crafford Precision Products in Rhode Island or
www.crafford.com to check them out. Good Luck! Bob
Staley- B.Staley, Goldsmiths @bstaley


#3

Tim, Didn’t have your email, so I’ll respond here. I have a YAG
laser. It is rated @95 joules (it will punch a hole @ 3mm into
stainless steel). It has variable settings pertaining to
voltage, duration of pulse(milliseconds), number of pulses per
second, and diameter of the beam pulse(.025mm to 2.5mm in
width). It is a class 4 laser–it has built-in safety features.
The laser will weld all types of metal, even dissimilar metals
together. No solder is used. No boric acid/alcohol, therefore
no pickling is necessary and very little clean up. Imagine
holding, for example, a platinum piece with your finger tips in
a halogen lit chamber while looking through a 15x Leica
microscope with sighted cross-hairs. Push the foot petal and in
milliseconds, you weld the platinum together in that spot!!
Because the heat is localized, there is no damage to sensitive
stones or materials like enamels. I recently welded a circa 1870
Guiliano bloom bangle bracelet that had pearls and enamel about
2mm from the hinge I welded. Neither the pearls nor the enamel
were damaged. I put omega clips and posts on the back of a pair
of $10,000 opal and pariaba(sp?)tourmaline earrings that were
bezel set in 18k and didn’t remove the stones! There are many
things that you can do with the laser that I would not dare do
with a torch and solder. Also, titanium eyeglass frames are
easily welded with the laser. When welding titanium we use
argon as an inert gas to flood the piece before welding to insure
the weld is not brittle. The key to using the laser is good
penetration and then follow with surface blending. I use it to
tack heads to shanks for perfect placement, then solder the head
on so that it can be removed at a later date as the head wears
out. I have a Crafford Precision Products Laserstar Workstation.
It costs @ the price of an Expediton or Beamer, but doesn’t
depreciate like one!!! Learning curve? It takes about 30
mins to get used to positioning the piece in focus and getting
used to the setting toggle switches. Then you are off to the
races! I’ve had mine @ 9 months and I’m still learning and
experimenting with it’s capabilities. My laser has about
1200hrs of use on it so far. Technology is wonderful! Bet
you didn’t expect to get all of that…Any more
questions?

Bob Staley

B.Staley, Goldsmiths

@bstaley
Original MessageFrom: Tpdooley@aol.com
Sent: Friday, August 06, 1999 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Orchid] Bloom technique

Hello Bob!

Just finished a 14k rope and pearl bracelet repair today. Could
have used your laser welder. Could you list a few tips on your
setup? Which machine you have? Price? Did you try other
machines? What is the learning curve like?
Several years ago I knew a craftsman who used to "zap"
fabrication projects together and solder them later to clean up
the zap blemishes. Technology has come along since then. Fill us
in.

Thanks Tim


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