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Modifying small TIG welder

I want to weld silver and gold (not tack weld requiring additional
soldering, but permanent welds similar to a laser welder). I can not
afford a laser welder.

Other types of jewelry welders cost $2000 - $4000 (Puk III, ABI,
Tack, etc.).

Is is possible to use or modify a small TIG welder to weld gold and
silver? These can be had to $400-500.

Any DC TIG welder can weld gold or silver. The question is how small
a torch you can get and how precisely can you control the current. I
have not seen any $400-$500 welders with any kind of precision
control, for $1500-$2000 you can get a nice small inverter welder
that has adequate control but fro real precision you are talking
$3000-$4000. A Weldcraft micro torch will cost another $250 then you
should be set to weld on jewelry scale items. I have found gold to
be fairly easy to TIG weld but silver is tricky. There is a paper in
the 2006 Santa Fe Symposium by Kevin Lindsey

on TIG welding jewelry. He has some good tips. You can get the
proceedings of the symposium from Rio Grande


James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts