I have been told lazers do not work well with silver as the silver
reflects the lazer beam. A puk welder might be better though I am
Silver is the most reflective of the metals in the visible range.
pure gold is actually more reflective in the infra red, and pure
copper not far behind. All three of these are hard to weld with a
laser as a result. Silver, in addition, is also much more thermally
conductive, so it wicks the heat away (just like it does with a
The result is that laser welding silver takes considerably higher
power settings than do most of the other metals (very high karat gold
is almost as hard to weld, for the same reason.)
What that means is that in general, those older laser welders that
were lower in maximum power settings, had trouble welding silver. As
the technology has improved, even the cheaper table top welders are
being supplied with maximum power levels sufficient to weld silver.
Silver has one other problem in welding, which is shared by some of
the other metals too, and that is a tendancy for the welds to crack.
Some lasers deal with this more effectively than others. Those with
variable pulse shaping are better able to optimize their settings to
the needs of such problems, but all of the current lasers are
generally better at this than the machines of five or ten years ago.
Also, silver is not all silver. Standard sterling silver is harder
to weld well than fine silver. Fine silver takes more power, but
doesn’t have the cracking problems. Argentium silver laser welds
fairly easily, much more easily than standard sterling.
As to PUK welders, while they don’t have quite the sensativity to
the reflectivity of the metal, they’re certainly just as affected by
the thermal conductivity of the metal, so silver can take higher
power settings with a PUK too. And PUK welds on sterling might have
the same potential problems with weld cracks.