Hi all. Thanks for reading.
I am working for a small production house as a bench jeweler, finishing a lot of CAD castings and mostly doing a lot of repair work. Their 15-year-old laser welder has apparently finally bit the dust, so we’re exploring options for what to do going forward.
They are reluctant to make the investment in a new laser welder at a cost of 18-20,000USD, so have asked me if I can do what I need to do on an arc welder. I have never used an arc welder for jewelry purposes, so I’m looking for opinions from someone who has enough experience to know the differences, particularly if you are a repair jeweler as that is my primary function in this position.
I have a lot of tasks that I cannot put a torch to because of sensitive stones or enamel, etc, and also do a lot of delicate chain repair, for instance, but also do antique restoration from time to time, for which I have used the laser welder to build up areas worn away by time and retip prongs… all the usual things. Mostly “fine jewelry,” as in, needs to be highly finished. I’ve found a laser welder to be excellent for this as cleanup is nearly nothing for simple things, like closing jump rings. I’m told I may not get such clean welds with an arc welder, but again, I have zero experience with an arc welder.
Another thing I’d love to hear about is if you have experience with the newer (cheaper) DADO laser welder as opposed to a more expensive machine. The 4000USD price tag would be much more palatable, as that’s less than the arc welder they are considering. The inability to change the pulse from 1/sec seems annoying but not a deal-breaker to me. Impressions from anyone who has used one would be appreciated!