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Uses of Sparkie II Tack welder


Hello Orchidians!

I have the temporary use of a Sparkie II tack welder to try
something out. I know that it is normally used for solderless
attachment of findings such as earposts, pinbacks, etc.; and that it
can be used on items with stones or enamel already present.

Here is my question:

Have any of you ever used it in a non-conventional way to attach
parts together, not just findings? If so, how?

I am working on some pieces that are difficult to solder
conventionally, due to delicacy, flexibility, thinness, three
dimensionallity, and the fact that there are no flat areas on which
to place a solder joint. It’s essentially a pleated hollow (but not
closed) form. Currently I am soldering fine pins to several
locations on the back of the delicate pieces (keeping soldering to a
minimum on the thin parts)with the idea of blind-rivetting them to
the more substantial “back plate” structure that supports it and
bears the earpost, pinback, other attachments, etc. I drill holes in
the back plate to accept the pins, but cannot then set the rivets
due to the fact that there is no way to support/hammer on the
delicate structure. I am sorry if that is not clear. I have no means
of sending a picture, or I would do so.

I am hoping I can figure out how to use the Sparkie to attach these
parts without much pressure. The special findings for the Sparkie
come with a “nib” that is, apparently, what explodes and joins the
metal surfaces together. I could easily just use a Sparkie earpost
in place of the soldered pins/rivets, which would be a help, but
that still doesn’t solve how to set them into the back plate without
hammering. So it looks like I have to find a way to
adapt/trim/adjust these findings to use for my purpose without
altering the “nib” that makes it work. I imagine much alteration
would ruin conductivity or make them not fit in the collet. I
thought of soldering two posts together to make a post with nibs on
both ends, but then it probably would not work in the collet, both
nibs would fire at once, I’d ruin the borrowed Sparkie, etc.

Has anyone tried anything along these lines? I’d appreciate any tips
you can give me. Thanks! Linnea Lahlum

drill holes in the back plate to accept the pins, but cannot then
set the rivets due to the fact that there is no way to
support/hammer on the delicate structure. 

Orange flake shellac, or dop wax, or diamond setters shellac are all
similar products designed to solve this sort of problem. You melt
sufficient shellac onto and into the structure to support it where
needed, and can then hammer away on your rivet. Or the recently
discussed “jet set” low melting plastic products will also do this,
perhaps even easier than shellac, since hot water removes it, while
with shellac, you need alcohol. Alternatively, use slightly
heavier findings, like tie tack backs, and cut screw threads on the
posts with a small tap and die set, then make an appropirate
threaded “nut” part to secure the parts together. this has the
advantage of making dissassembly, in case of a needed repair,
possible. Or, instead of hammering the rivet to set it, bend the ear
wire rivet into a small curl on the back (not just bend it over, but
curl it over, so it’s a small loop in the vertical plane
perpendicular to the back surface. That shape can be tightened quite
well. Simple, but maybe not as elegant a solution. Or, also instead
of hammering, use a sharp small hot torch flame to ball up the end of
the ear wire rivet, letting the heat pull it tight to the back
surface. It should go at least most of the way there, and if not,
slight bending over wouldn’t be obvious, but would tighten the ball to
the back, holding the piece.