Model making material alternate?

Traditionally we use silver for model making, works close to gold,
cheaper. I use the laser to join parts, for example I’m working on a
shared prong eternity band for emerald cuts, each prong welded in
place after hours of azuring. I like the laser for this because its
neat, very controllable, precision alignment blah blah. But when you
have to do oh I dunno about 300 shots on a piece (no Dave, not THAT
kind of shots) the darn doober gets HOT.

Plus laser is not eminently suitable for silver. Too many shots for
black marker. My machine overheated and the project was on hold til
it cooled down. Twice.

So, any suggestions for another material would be welcome. It needs
to be laserable and sort of inexpensive (at least less expensive than
10K, my only other thought). I have almost zero luck lasering brass
and its too hard for quick model making.

Hmmm. this just occurs to me…has anyone ever tried lasering LOS’d

What about the gold substitutes from H&S or Cobb? I used to make
sample lines with Hoover’s alloy (Nugold? Trugold? something like
that) and CZs. Of course I didn’t have a laser then (NASA and JPL
were pretty much the only people that did), but if I remember right,
it worked really similar to 14K as far as casting and fabricating. I
don’t remember how it rolled and drew (is that a real word?), but it
must have been alright as I don’t remember it being bad, and I made
quite a few pieces with it. It did tarnish after a while but for
model making, so what? Silver does too.

You’re right about lasering silver. It just doesn’t seem to work
very well for anybody. I have found that using silver solder wire
instead of sterling wire works a little better. The marker helps
marginally, but you have to be careful you don’t start a fire with a
stray beam. Those Sharpies burn hot and make a huge mess if you blow
a hole in one and set it afire. It’s enough to drive one to drink.
Not me though. I’m already within walking distance.


it worked really similar to 14K as far as casting and fabricating.
I don't remember how it rolled and drew 

Hmmm, that might mean I’d have to obtain a mill and all and thereby
forswear my previous stance in another thread? Self humiliation I
can deal with but I’m not up for the inve$tment right now. Nor do I
have the space.

Maybe some Orchidian would take on the paying job of milling some
stuff for me in an assortment of sizes? Anyone interested give me a

Did you hold your silver piece in a wet paper towel while laser
welding it? Liver of Sulfured Sterling will laser weld.