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Platinum Workshop + Laser Welders


This past Saturday, Etienne Perret presented a Platinum workshop with
laser welder and Triads Sparkie.

Although I was unable to attend, (we recently rented Etienne’s retail
space and have been quite busy cleaning, painting, building etc…) I
sent my assistant Naomi Dorr to take copious notes and ask a million
questions. I was able to slip in at the end of the day and “play” with
the laser welder for about 20 minutes - It was incredible ! In no time
I was able to add prong material to an opal ring within 2mm of the
stone - The B+D machine seems the way to go - does anyone have
thoughts concerning this machine vs its competitors ?? Thanks, R
Russell’s of Camden 20 Main St. Camden, Maine 04843


I would check out all before I buy. I looked at both the B+D and the
Crafford Laser. For several reasons I chose the Crafford. 1) The
machine seemed a little less confusing in it’s setup (this may be
only a personal preference) 2) the company I bought it from (IJS) is
a member of an organization called RJO (which offer discounts and
rebates on purchases) 3) I was very happy with the Crafford and the
Crafford team. 4) All parts are modular (I don’t know if this is true
with B+D) but I like the fact that I can fix my expensive machine
with ease.

Either choice, I think you made a great one. I have had my laser for
about a month and I love it. I am constantly thinking up new things
to do on it. I do understand there are other lasers out there, but
in my research to buy my laser I could only find on
Crafford and B+D. I looked at both at the Javitz in NY and I chose
mine for the reasons above. good luck and if you have questions in the
future I could try to help… -julia


I have had a laser welder from B&D for almost a year and it has
worked flawlessly. I think the tech support is excellent. I have
spoken to people who have both the B&D laser and the Crawford laser
and they perfer the B&D unit. I have eight people using it every day,
it is on all day and never a problem. We had a tech visit last week
because he was in the area and everything was perfect. It is so
unusual in the jewelry business to buy a tool that works so well and lasts so long.
I just love this thing. Mark WI

   The B+D machine seems the way to go - does anyone have thoughts
concerning this machine vs its competitors ?? 

At work we just got one of the Baasel lasertech machines. We’ve had
it a week. And I’m in love… Friday I built three rings, completely
from scratch, all in platinum and/or platinum and 18K gold, entirely
without solder. I love this machine. Would also like to know what
the differences are between the various machines. The
sales/demo/setup guy who came out to show us how to use our new toy
implied that the baasel lasertech machine was the pioneer in the
field, and that a certain american made machine had started out with
the company only selling the Baasel machine, and that their current
model is simply a copy, made in Mexico or something, of Baasel’s last
generation machine. Sounds to me like we bought the right one. Or it
sounds like a great sales pitch. I’ve no idea which is true. And I’m
not quite sure that competitors name. Sounded like something with two
initials, but I’d thought one of them was a C, not a B or D. I DO know
that in showing us the various, though minimal, maintenance tasks
that might be required, with the covers off, I have to say this puppy
looks inside like it was built like a fine swiss watch. Beautifully
engineered and assembled. They don’t seem to have missed any bets I
could think of, other than the fact that the place on the case
designed for an argon cylender is shaped for the type of cylander you
can get in germany. Won’t quite fit what we’ll have here, so the gas
tank will have to sit next to the welder, not enclosed in the case’s
holder. No biggie…

I DO have one question, though, for those of you who’ve become
experienced with laser welders. I trying to see various types of
tasks that this machine would do, I took a couple scrapped castings,
18K yellow and 18K white gold, both of which had been rejected because
of severe porosity. Not just isolated pits, but the kind of truly
atrocious sponge gold that just is not normally salveabable. These
were both bad enough that hammering or burnishing the surface with my
normal favorite tool for this, the “bent burr burnisher” tipped with
carbide, had little effect, with the porosity just showing right back
after even minimal polishing. I wondered if I could fix this with the
laser. I know it wouldn’t be a true repair, or deep into the metal,
but I thought I might be able to weld overlapping spots all over the
surface to create a cosmetically acceptable skin. this isn’t what I
experienced, though. Instead, in some places the laser would produce
a good weld, in others it would punch a hole, apparently where the
pits were too extensive, maybe altering the thermal conductivity of
the metal? Anyway, About all I could do was chop up the surface.
Could never quite get it to weld smoothly back to a glased over
surface. Actually, I did manage it, somewhat, on the white gold
piece, by repeatedly overlapping welds and going over and over a small
area till it evened out. Looked like it should have worked. But
after light emery work to level it again, and a little tripoli and
rouge, darn but that porosity was right back there again. Almost as
though the melting metal carried along the little pockets and bubbles
to wherever it then solidified. I’ll note that after all this, I
again went over it with the bent burr, and This time, that worked. so
welding apparently isolated the various holes and pits from each other
enough so that the metal could hold together when being burnished
down. Still, this is not what I’d call a success. And I’m quite new
with the laser. Have any of you had better luck repairing this sort
of really severe spongy porosity? If so, how, and with what sort of
welding paramaters? (voltage, pulse length, focus diameter, etc).

Peter Rowe


What is the range of costs for a laser welder? I know that
there are probably quite a few different size machines, but I
would be most interested if somebody could provide on
a bench-top model, that has as few bells and whistles as
possible. Anybody have a link to share about these, one with

Thanks for your time,

Daniel J. Statman, Statman Designs

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I have a crafford laser and this is how I deal with porosity
problems… 1)try holding your piece at different angles and
rather than lasering your piece straight on, laser at an angle
to creat an eliptical weld that may blow over the hole. 2)laser
not directly on your hole, but around it or to one side. This
may also push the gold over into the hole. 3)worse case, if no
matter what that hole won’t close, I put a piece of wire right
into the hole and blast it…this usually closes the hole. I
would suggest that you keep all of your parameters fairly
low…I don’t do alot of 18k, but these are my hollow
parameters…(for 14k which should work well on 18k solid) 165V
1.5MS 2.0Hz at a 25 One thing that I found with the laser (and I
don’t have that much experience on it) is that this takes
experience only to figure out…no book or technician could
possibly teach you all there is to know on these
machines.(unless of course he stood behind ou twelve hours a day
for 6 months) Good luck…You know you saved all that scrap for
something! (since I got my laser I have gotten stuff off of my
bench that was sitting there for a long time that I didn;t know
what to do with!) If I can help…feel free… -julia

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I own a Crafford laser. The machines that are on the market seem
to be similar with slight variations. Recently, I had a shutter
go out on our unit and I must say that Crafford acted quickly and
resolved the problem. They carry a supply of parts on hand which
some companies do not. Extremely important feature in my book.
Most of the lasers are modular built and can easily be worked on
with proper coaching. Each machine from my understanding will
take on its own personality (work efficiency) even though the
parts used to make them are identical. Some work better than
others for no apparent reason. The optimal settings will vary
greatly from machine to machine and the type of piece you are
working on (metal, thickness).

Re: spongy gold porosity - attack the problem from different
angles going towards the hole. Weld using small diameter wire to
fill and build up “metal mound”. Carefully file the "metal mound"
and finish out gingerly to avoid the opening of anymore pits.

We have not found laser welding to work all that well on silver
jewelry. Silver is highly reflective and does not react well,
especially the pieces that have been nickel or copper plated then
with Rhodium or a thick silver plate.

Arthur Gordon

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Hi Peter, I have the laser from B&D, it is actually an AlphaLaser
made in Puchheim Germany. My understanding is that the makers of
the Baasel and the AlphaLaser began together making the machine
you now have. They split and now compete, and seem to do a fair
amount of bad mouthing. I am not sure where the Crafford laser
comes into this relationship. The Baasel and the Alphalaser are
really very similar in design, basically the same machine. I do
love the Alphalaser (B&D). The only problem that we had was that
the machine was designed for use in Europe rather than the good
ol’ US of A, so the machine was set up for 50 Hz. rather that
the 60 Hz. used in the US. We had to change the mother board,
but they were very fast and accommodating. The thing is that it
is made in Germany and it is constantly being upgraded. The
manufacturer never saw the US as its primary market until
recently, so the upgrades favored its European customers, much
like you cylinder problem. After about a year of use I am still
amazed with how well this thing works and how beautifully it is

As far as horrible pitting repairs, we have found that you can
repair anything but some things are easier to just recarve and
recast. Platinum is the exception, it can be repaired on the
laser no matter what because it lasers so beautifully. I think
that doing a fair amount of platinum work is what really
justifies the large purchase of a laser. Parameters for
repairing your 18ky or 18kw would be as follows for me. Go over
the entire spongy are with a fairly broad beam (1.2mm)@ 225 v
and 3-3.5 ms. This would beat the area down and liquefy the
surface enough to create a nearly pit free depression (the
settings will vary, with gold I try to avoid creating a lot of
carbon, the cleaner it is the better it works). You then have to
weld new material in. Use 30 ga. wire but move your beam
diameter down to 1 mm and fill the depression. Go back over it
with a wider beam to smooth it out. You will have to go back
after you clean it up but you will have gotten most of it. My
theory is to encapsulate the bad pits below the surface of the
piece. Mark

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