Ok so I finally popped for a laser. Its been awhile since I last
used one and I don't recall what sorts of wire that shop used. My
question is... is there an observable difference between plat/ir
wire and plat/ru? Either cosmetically or structurally.
I find the iridum alloys weld better. cleaner and brighter welds,
less pitting. Pure platinum is also good to have, since it melts a
little below iridium platinum, good for delicate work.
Also, I'm noticing that the wires can be had in.006,.008, and.010"
diameter. Functional differences?
Functionally it’s simple. thinner wire means lower power settings,
so working on delicate features and details is easier with thinner
wire. But larger welds then take corrospondingly longer time and more
passes to fully fill.
by the way, platinum laser wire is among the easiest to make of all
the metals you might need wire for, due to it’s extreme ductility and
slow work hardening. You can get nice carbide drawplates that go from
about 2.2mm down to .25 millimeters or so, and this smallest size is
a good all around size for much welding. I’ve got a small carbide
plate that goes down from.24 to.12mm, for when I need really fine
wire. I’ve never gone more than about halfway down that plate…
Given the cost of buying wire, making your own is worth the time. It
takes me perhaps fifteen minutes to turn some scrap platinum into a
coil of laser wire that will last me a month or two. Some metals that
work harden more, including 14K golds, nickle white golds, etc, are
more trouble. (anneal coils of thin wire in a kiln, and it gets easy
again), but still cost effective if you’re set up to do it.