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Thinking of buying a puk 4 welder


#1

Hi there,

I’m thinking if buying a PUK 4. I hope to use it for many things
after watching many videos and researching it. It would be good to
hear reviews.

Thanks,
Helen.


#2

Hi Helen,

I like using the one at work. I’m still a noob, and have a bit more
experimenting to do, it’s cheaper than a laser.

What do you really want to know?

Regards Charles A.


#3

Helen, Have you by chance checked out the Orion welder? It is a great
machine as well has some different functions. Check out their
web-site.

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold


#4

Hey Helen, I am interested to hear too. I have gone back and forth
considering the Puk 4or an Orion unit. All thoughts are welcome.
-Carrie


#5
Helen, Have you by chance checked out the Orion welder? It is a
great machine as well has some different functions. Check out their
web-site. 

Hey Andy,

Here’s a third party review from the American Silversmiths :-

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zra

Is there something similar for Orion?

Regards Charles A.

P. S. I like the tip sharpener for the PUK :wink:


#6
Hey Helen, I am interested to hear too. I have gone back and forth
considering the Puk 4or an Orion unit. All thoughts are welcome. 

The best thing you can do is go to a store that sells either the PUK
or the Orion, and try them out.

Personally I have no experience with an Orion, neither do I have an
agenda to sell a PUK to anyone outside of Australia.

I am interested to find out how an Orion compares to a PUK, and to
that end would love a review comparing the top of the line Orion,
against the PUK 4.

Kindest regards Charles A.


#7

Helen, if you live within driving distance of Oklahoma City, next
weekend Sunday, August 4th the Oklahoma Jewelers Association is
having a hands on Bench Seminar featuring 4 different Orion Micro
Welders. Jason Davis a factory rep will bring 4 of the machines to
OKC for a HANDS ON EXPERIENCE! We encourage all who attend to bring a
piece or two of something you want to try the machines on.

This workshop is conveniently located at the Oklahoma City Marriott
Hotel, 3233 Northwest Expressway. Your & $75 registration fee will
enclude breakfast, lunch and breaks.

For more info & registration go to
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep80es

Thanks Mike


#8

After setup and focusing on working under a microscope, you will
appreciate quality equipment.

No going back now! PS. I did invest in buying a large Tank of
Argon, cheaper in the long run.


#9

Helen - I have a PUK 4. I’ve had other small tig welders. This is
most satisfactory. It has an easy learning curve and is also easy to
modify to handle special situations. In terms of being a goldsmith,
that’s who it was made for. In my experience, the Orion 150i is for
engineers.

I am trained as an engineer and having had the engineers ideal - the
Orion, I will say flatly, the PUK 4 is much better for bench work.
The best review in terms of capability is from Jeff Herman on his
silversmithing website.

The one thing that I will change is the stand for the microscope. I
especially love how long the tungsten points last. You don’t have to
clean them and they work, no matter how badly you beat them up.

Judy Hoch


#10

Hi Helen,

I’ve got a PUK 3+, and am quite fond of it.

I did a review of it when I first got it, you can find it here:

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep80fg

I keep meaning to update that review, but haven’t found the time.

Short form on the updates: you can’t get the aux shutter any more
(not that you would have wanted it in the first place) and I loved
mine so much I eventually bought their microscope to replace it.
VAST improvement. Silver is possible, but a PITA with a 3. (I use
mine mostly for reactives, and am very happy with it for that use.)

I’ve chatted with the Lampert tech guys (from Germany) at a couple
of shows, and apparently the difference between the 3+ (mine) and
the 3S was that they broke the hi-freq start out from the high power
mode on the 3S. You want Hi-Freq start for silver, so having it
loose from the high power mode is a good thing. Don’t know for sure
what the further differences are between the 3S and the current 4.

What I can tell you is that the Lampert guys are very good with tech
support. If you have a problem, they really will go out of their way
to help you. They even custom built a power unit so that I could add
a ‘current’ model microscope with LED lights onto my 3+ when I
finally broke down and bought the scope that I should have gotten in
the first place.

OTOH, I have worked a booth with Scott, the Orion guy, and he’s good
people too. Didn’t get much time to play with the Orion, but it does
have the handy ‘sparky’ mode, for doing fusion findings, which could
be most handy, depending on what you do. It does have a touch
screen, and appears to have a bit more on the display,
certainly than the PUK 3. I think one of the changes with the PUK 4
was that they added a better display, so that could be a wash.

Actually, I just looked at the specs on the PUK 4: it looks like
they’ve added a touch screen, and the ability to ‘spark’ fusion
findings, so the two machines are pretty well matched there.

The build quality on both of them is very good. I’ve held both of
them in my hands, and owned one. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re
built like it.

For whatever that’s worth.

Brian


#11

Helen it is well worth the time to personally work with the unit.
Jason is excellent we have him work show with Stuller.


#12

Helen,

consider an Orion unit as it does heavier weight metals/ pulse-arc
welds , micro-size welds for filigree and intricate and thin metal
joins, and has a tack fusion mode (like Puk’s) for tacking things to
set up a job or position a finding to a ring shank for instance and
can fill in pourous castings really fast. It is by far is heavier
duty than Lampert’s spot welder line (the Puk’s). On the other hand
Harbour Freight sells a right decent spot welder for a fraction of
the cost if all you need is the capacity to tack and fuse thin
metals. Puks or Orion’s aren’t laser welders - both are modified arc
welders with different capabilities, the Orion far exceeding what a
Puk can do. If you do a lot of earring posts or prong replacements or
small items then the Puk line is set up for jewellery and very easy
to use. I notice someone posted a 3rd party comparison - READ IT, I
was going to post the same one! However if money isn’t a concern
there are lasers that can also cut, sinter, do while-they-wait
engraving, and does other things too (the so called future generation
of fabrication techniques but that requires some CAD/CAM training to
use with 2D design renderings translated into actual work pieces) the
cheapest of which is in the 5-7K range although if in business can be
recouped in under a year given all the services for walk-in customers
it is capable of and doesn’t require an extra employee to attend to
it as even on site engraving does) If you are at all interested feel
free to contact me off list and I’ll give you a link to a few of the
models I’ve tried and my recommendations that depend on whether you
are a retailer also or not…

If you do consider or decide on the Orion - or something similar,
shop around as the prices vary a good bit from vendor to vendor. and
there are already used ones on the market that are “obsolete” to
their former owners yet still under warranty. don’t settle for a
price 500 or more higher than another’s because you’ve dealt with the
same vendor consistently. With this type of equipment buying outside
the Jewellery industry can save a good amount of money, and the
hand-pieces (so to speak) are available as replacement parts if you
find ordinary pulse arc welder’s electrodes are too large. rer


#13
Orion far exceeding what a Puk can do. 

Seriously have you ever used either one? From you posting it is
clear you have not a clue about what a PUK 4 can do. The PUK and
Orion welders are very similar and the difference between them is
one of personal preference more than capability.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#14

I think price point may come into it.

If price point wasn’t a factor I suppose the conversation would be
"Thinking of buy a laser".

Regards Charles


#15

I’ve owned both an Orion 150i and a PUK4. Prior to both, I had a
PUKIII.

Ms. Rourke is correct that the old PUK welders didn’t have enough
power to handle larger jobs. The current version, the PUK4 is a
behemoth in terms of power. The other day, I blew right through a
piece of iron with the PUK4.

Both welders have good power, as I said before, the Orion is built
by engineers whose business is large industrial welders. The utility
of the Orion is excellent, its useability is poor in my opinion. I
worked as an engineer for 20+ years prior to taking up metalsmithing,
jewelry sized. If you want to spend your time fooling around to get
the weld you need, the Orion is the machine for you - and good luck
getting it to store that setting. The memory function didn’t work on
my machine. In the past year, Orion has had to change models twice,
the 150i is gone, replaced by the 200i and the 250i. Good luck with
long term value for your machine. I notice that the old Orion models
are for sale cheaply compared to new - so that might be a
consideration. Fair warning - customer support from Orion was poor a
year ago. They might have fixed it by now.

On the other hand, the PUK4 is a dream to use. You can select what
metal you are working and the general kind of weld you want to do
with the touch screen, and then you can change duration and power to
fine tune your settings. I have yet to find a need for more power.

The real useability for me came to the maintenance of the electrode.
The Orion is picky and required constant cleaning and resharpening.
The PUK4 doesn’t care - whether dirty, blunt or whatever. I can use
it all day with no fuss and it just keeps going.

FWIW
Judy Hoch, G.G.


#16

Hi All;

I haven’t been following this, but here’s my 2 cents. I have a PUK 3,
and it’s been really handy. I can fix eyeglass frames, make $35-45,
but there’s a trick to fixing the titanium ones. We use it
continuously for welding silver and gold jump rings closed on
lobster claw clasps and charms on bracelets. So fast and easy. You
don’t have nearly the control as with a laser, but it’s a lot less
money. It’s great for plugging pits in castings. You just have to
spend a lot of time with it finding out what you can and can’t do.
One thing I love it for is fixing bayonet clasps where the tongue
part is broken. Again, a perticular way to accomplish this. As for
welding on prongs, you still have to protect the stones, sometimes it
works like a charm, other times it’s a waste of time.

David L. Huffman


#17

Hi Judy,

Since I don’t have the same amount of time on the Orion you’ve had,
I can’t comment on the longevity of the electrodes. I agree that you
can use the PUK electrode when they’re dull, but it will give a
slightly different weld as the power is spread over a larger area of
the electrode tip. I find that a dull electrode does a great job
flattening the welds, giving a nice smooth surface. A small
adjustment with the milliseconds and power can dramatically change
the outcome. It will still be a successful weld, but the reaction of
the electrode tip to the weld area will be modeled differently. If
you’re a jeweler or silversmith, do you really need a machine that
will weld steel that is thicker than 1/4"? I have yet to use a PUK
setting that will accomplish that. With sterling I rarely go above 5
milliseconds at 60% power. I have found that with the PUK4, lower
power settings give me much better control of the resulting weld. All
this talk about high power is bunk.

I use the PUK on a daily basis and go through an amazing 1200 cubic
liters per year!

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com


#18

I have to agree with Jim. I’m not sure where RER gets his or her
from but in this case, it seems fairly baseless.

I was weighing the pros and cons of the two machines myself and
settled on the Orion 150 S which I received in June. I spoke with
SERIOUS fans of both machines and had the opportunity to try both at
the Toronto SNAG conference. There are differences in the two to be
sure but not, I believe, in what the two can ultimately do.

The learning curve was described to me as steep with either one and
I have found that to be true --but enjoyable. I have already used the
Orion to perform tasks that saved a job or two and allowed me to
build something that I could not have built the way I did or as
easily or successfully with the torch.

A fan and booster of the Lambert PUK 4 held that the argon regulator
on the Orion was not the best and would not meter argon consistently
at low pressures. Alas I have found that to be somewhat true. But the
Orion folks sent me out a replacement which is somewhat better.

The Orion was a bit less expensive than its counterpart. After
trying the two, pretty much side by side, I found the Orion more
comfortable for me to use. The Orion has a Tack mode which is
resistance welding rather than pulse arc. Basically, it allows you to
tack two pieces of metal together by touching them. I have
successfully used this feature to tack stainless, sterling and gold
prior to soldering. The PUK 4 does not offer this.

I also like the shutter system on the Orion which totally blacks out
the microscope view while the arc is struck. The PUK has an
auto-darkening feature instead, which some really like. I find the
shutter very comfortable.

I don’t know about the directions that come with the PUK. Those that
accompany the Orion were not the best, in my experience. But the
Orion tech people were really patient and helpful during set up. The
PUK people that I spoke with while weighing my options were very nice
as well and were generous with their time.

The PUK 4 has a three year warranty, the Orion offers two.

I am not sure which is the better built machine but the PUK is
German manufacture and the I think that the Orion is assembled in the
US possibly with imported parts.

I have heard the PUK described as a more jeweler-friendly machine
and the Orion built with engineers in mind. Maybe. But I think that
the learning curve is a steep one and everyone approaches the climb
from a different place and with a different set of experiences.

Hope that helps,

Andy


#19

More to this Andy was kind enough to share a PDF with me comparing
the Orion models with the PUK3s Pro Plus.

Of course that’s an old model, and as promised to Andy I’ve got some
specs from the PUK 4

As promised here are some updated specs.

PUK04
Welding speed
up to 1.5 Hz
Inert gas consumption (e. g. argon 4.6)
ca. 2 l/min
Memory slots
40
Dimensions PUK04 (L x W x H)
330 x 200 x 205 mm
Weight PUK04 / SM04
8.9 kg / 3.6 kg
Power consumption during "stand-by"
6 W

Welding microscope SM04
Magnification
10x
Light- /dark shade of the LCD shutter
DIN 3 / DIN 11
UV protection / IR protection

UV 15 / >IR 14

Optional PIN04
Power consuption
50 W
Dimensions (L x W x H)
170 x 110 x 345 mm
Weight
2.54 kg

Regards Charles A.


#20

That came out like rubbish, I guess table formatting doesn’t work :slight_smile:

PUK04

Welding speed: up to 1.5 Hz
Inert gas consumption (e. g. argon 4.6): ca. 2 l/min
Memory slots: 40
Dimensions PUK04 (L x W x H): 330 x 200 x 205 mm
Weight PUK04 / SM04: 8.9 kg / 3.6 kg
Power consumption during “stand-by”: 6 W

Welding microscope SM04

Magnification: 10x
Light- /dark shade of the LCD shutter: DIN 3 / DIN 11
UV protection / IR protection: UV 15 / IR 14

Optional PIN04

Power consuption: 50 W
Dimensions (L x W x H): 170 x 110 x 345 mm
Weight: 2.54 kg