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Orion/PUK versus torches

Was: [Orchid] [Workshop] [NC] Welding

Orion/PUK versus torches,
Im going to come in here to post a word of caution.

These new joining machines cannot or are not intended to replace a
gas torch, whatever fuel you use.

They will do things a flame will not do, and a flame will do things
these wont do. So, all you dear folks who are getting excited by
this little Orion, dont bin your torches yet.

To give you an example of what they wont do, despite trying
everything to get the results wanted, heres the spec.

.5mm 999 silver ivy leaves some 15mm by 15mm stamped in high relief.
6 off to be set in a circle joined where the leaf ends touch.

Then on the rear 2 concentric rings of 1.5mm 999 sq wire. again
joined where these touch the leaf backs.

Then the argentium brooch fittings fixed to these.

Then the whole piece is vitreous enamelled several times at 800 deg
C. using a clear transparent varigated green colour both on the
front and back. With no chance/risk of any joints coming apart.

We spent a day with a PUK trying to get the results, no success,
then we sent the samples to PUK head office Germany for them to have
a go. I took the all morning to assemble just half of one. not

So what to do? Back to torch joining. Jig the whole assy in 3 stages
on a carbon block. Solder up using the 18ct white gold paste by
Cookson Gold B’ham, melting point 820/ 850 deg C. A proper fillet
joint in each case everywhere, no oxidation on enamelling, 45 mins to

Another example, a minted reike rectangle also in 999 ag, to have
999 silver shanks both 1.75mm thick, joined to the long sides to make
a ring. PUK just wouldnt touch it after 30 mins of trying at highest
heat setting. waste of time. Same solder as 1 above less than 60 secs
to assemble. Again perfect filleted joints. Has to stand forming
after soldering into a circle.

Hope you all follow.


Hell Ted,

It sounds like your problem is in using settings on the PUK that are
much too high. I have settings that might help you on my PUK review

Good luck,

Jeff Herman

Good points, Ted. They both have their place.

Another part of the conversation is cost of fuel. Argon, while not a
fuel, is consumed in pulse arc welding. In my experience, at a faster
rate then the oxygen or propane that fuels my torches.

But at this point, I would be hard pressed to give up either my
torch or my welder.

Annealing, torch welding, melting and long stable seams (such as
butt seams or even tubing) are the realm of a torch, in my studio.

Joining without general heating, jigging prior to brazing/soldering,
building up metal, repairing casting defects, thickening edges, spot
heating next to wood, plastics, etc. and joining materials such as
stainless (fabricating or making brooch backs) are where the Orion or
PUK excel.


Other then repairing simple costume pieces or for small items like
reattaching an ear wire, I never see a PUK as a replacement for a
torch. The instructions for my machine states that it is for spot
welding as a way to increase productivity. It says nothing about
replacing a torch.

I have a PUK 111 and for me, it is a big time saver. It allows me to
attach a head to a ring with just a little play so I can position it
for soldering without having to worry about it floating on the
solder to a new position or having to use tweezers.

I find it great for when I am making bezels for irregular shaped
stones as well.

Before I had my PUK 111 I would make my bezel and when soldering it
to my backing, many times I would have to makes adjustments or start
over because the bezel moved ever so slightly. Now I make the bezel
the right size, hard solder my seam, lay it over my stone on the
backing and tack it in a few spots.

I would say that my PUK 111 makes my life much easier.

Do I use it to replace soldering with a torch? Nope. Never thought
of that.

Gerald A. Livings
Livingston Jewelers

Hi Ted,

Would like to see a picture of the piece your are explaining. Sounds
like a wonderful piece.

If all one is doing is “gluing” cast or die struck 14K or 18K
components together then the pulse arc welders may be all you need.
For stainless or titanium work they are damn near a necessity.
However if you are working with silver, palladium or copper or actual
goldsmithing you still need your torch. The weld microstructure is
prone to cracking from the strain of the molten metal contracting as
it solidifies and those cracks can be virtually invisible and the
weld is always going to be a stressed area. This may or may not be an
issue but is driven by the physics of the melting and cooling of the
metal you can relive the stress by annealing the metal after welding
but this is often not possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love my PUK3
Professional Plus and would buy one of the newer Orion units if I
decided I needed another unit or to replace the PUK. But they cannot
replace a torch and have limitations in where and how they can be

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

My experience with a pulse arc welder is quite minimal (but I just
had @ anhour on one at last years Bench Jewelers Stuller show),
convinced me that it could do almost everything that I can do with
the laser, with a few notable expectations.

What I do have is quite a bit of experience on lasers (all Laser
Star products), and at the bench.

I can see no way that either the laser or the pulse arc is a
complete replacement for the torch. Some jobs, such as annealing, or
pulling solder into a deep joint, can only be done with the torch. I
have my laser and mytorch on opposite sides of my work station, and
use whichever tool is best suited for a particular job, often using
both tools on the same piece of jewelry when one suits the current
portion of that job better than the other, in my opinion and

Watching the Orion/PUK versus torches debate going on was
thought-provoking. I’m a diehard laser welder user and very limited
experience on a PUK (all on Jeffrey Herman’s PUK welder). I can see
the pros and cons. However, as a torch fanatic, not one piece of
technology can replace an entire way of joining metal. As I look at
it, the PUK, the Orion, the laser welders are simply new tools to add
to the metal shop. Each onehas its pros and cons, each one has it’s
strength and weakness. I simply see it as a tool for certain jobs.

For repairs, for intricate jobs, a laser welder is perfect for that.
One thing I love about the laser is that, I can tack things together
with the laser in the way I want it, and then later, I can flow
solder through the joint or seam, strengthening it. I’ll tack things
together with the laser that would have been very challenging to
solder together, using tweezers, 3rd hands and not losing your
temper with a torch. If I’m doing some production jobs, I can tack
things together with the laser, then bring them over to the
soldering bench, and I can finishing soldering them, in less time,
less hassle.

As someone said, PUK, Orion and laser welders are just fancy tools,
thatdo certain things. Yes, you can make everything with the torch,
but I find the laser welder cut down on prep, and lets me fix things
that I can’t with a torch. When it comes to jewelry repair, or
repairing silverware (Jeffrey Herman’s speciality), laser welder or
PUK or Orion can letyou do things that you couldn’t do with a torch,
or risk great damage.

I spend part of my time as a jewelry repairer and I can say the
laser has saved my ass countless times. However, nothing can
substitute the humble, trusty torch. I will not give up my multiple
torches and they are needed for 90% of my work.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks everyone for your replies. My joints HAVE to be homogenus
with the parts to be joined and ductile enough to be bent double if
required, so the use of the 18ct white paste has the right temp and
gives the correct fillet joint I must have.

Furthermore I dont have to invest in a PAW when I also have here its
predecessor, the BOC micro plasma for joining the refractory and
stainless metals. These will come later.

Geff H, If you were nearer and where a signed for and insured post
service applies I send you some samples for you to try. Regret the
USA does not have this from the UK. Ive lost 2 items sending to your
side of the water from here. DHL or UPS are too costly.

As for photos, they will come later.

Regards to everyone

Hello everyone!

We’ve enjoyed reading through all the recent comments regarding
pulse-arc welders. Like many of the recent comments, we also agree
that these weldersare a complementary technology to go along with
torches and lasers. Ask anyone here at Orion, and we’ll tell you the
ideal setup would be to have a torch, a pulse-arc, and a laser
welder. Having two of the three provides significant advantages.
Diversifying your technology and tools will open doors and create
opportunities. As in all things, having the right tool for the job
makes everything easier, and having multiple joining technologies is
the perfect way to save time and money.

In regards to the newly announced mPulse welder, I want to mention
just a few things. This new product was originally developed
specifically for someof our smaller 3rd-world markets where
financial capital and buying power isn’t as easy to come by. As
we’ve slowly launched in a few of these countries we have seen a lot
of interest and potential for this product. Because of this, we have
decided to make this product available to everyone. It is designed
to be simple, basic, and limited in ways. It is not the ideal,
do-all welder, but if you understand what it can and can’t do, and
you utilize it for what it can do, you can benefit greatly.

The new mPulse is now available through ALL of our distributors-
both in the USA and internationally- and we recommend you contact
your preferred distributor when ordering. The interest and demand
for this product has been bigger than we anticipated, so please know
that you may need to wait a few weeks to get your welder. We are now
busy getting caught up, and within thenext 4 weeks the back-order
situation should be completely resolved.

Additional about the mPulse, Orion Welders, and the LZR
laser welders can be found at

Thanks for all the great that gets shared here on the
forum. We hope our contribution to the forum and the industry is
equally helpful.

Best regards,
Dave Holloway
Orion Welders