There's been a lot of buzz around Pulse Arc Welding on Orchid and
various social media outlets. Metalwerx has just published a blog on
the subject: Pulse Arc Welding for Jewelers: The Revolution is Now!
Read more: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81j3
We're so excited about this new technology that Metalwerx is also
offering a Pulse Arc Welding workshop Sept 19 - 21 and currently
fundraising to get one for our classroom. Our instructor, Sessin
Durgham, technical support agent at Rio, will be a presenter at the
MJSA Jewelers Bench Conference as part of the demonstration based,
Better Bench program that Metalwerx organized for the conference on
Goes to show that the revolution is here with Fusion Welding and
Pulse Arc Technologies and it going mainstream with Rio and Stuller
taking a lead roll in showcasing this new technology in the USA. It
was just a few months ago I predicted this to happen and I got
totally bashed by a small majority of hecklers and haters on this
very forum who said I was wrong and they tried to smear me and my
store to say that I was fabricating and lying about this technology
but I held my ground. They also said I was a hired gun by Orion and
they to defended themselves. Well its happening folks and nobody can
stop it. Let me state what I said before that Fusion Welding or
Pulse Arc Welding is revolutionizing the industry for less time for
repair with stronger welds. We save 15 minutes to 2 and 1/2 hours
per job. We can sizemost rings in 5 to 8 minutes, most items in
seconds with very little clean up. Not only do you use 1/3 of your
traditional tools no longer but youcan do 200% Jewelry repair, but
for the skeptics you will say you only have 100% repair capacity.
The fusion welder allows you to do the impossible repair fromindian
jewelry, soft stone jewelery, classic, vintage, eye glasses,
surgical instruments, dental brides and tools, car part, boart part,
guns and gun part and the list goes on and on. Then comes new
fabrication and manufacturing methods. My store Pro Ice Jewelers in
Scottsbluff does this day end and day out with customers that will
come from far and wide for California, Montana, New Mexico, and most
other states and actually watch while we do the repairs. All
satisfied customers and totally impressed with the quality and
service. This email may sound a little brash but after what I went
through from the small minorities of bashers I just want you to see
me featured in From The Bench from Stuller Julys Edition (Magazine
and Flyer) and look at youtube and see shg gem guard.....modern
jewelry repair, also, go to sandhillsgold.com and see our older
website which showcase 4 generations ago of the fusion welder. We
have been using this for 5 years now and are damn good at this and
as I said before the best probably anywhere. You can see some of our
work on Orions Facebook pagesand Stullers website where we did
impossible jobs that were not going to get done without this
technology. Oh ya for good measure I did invent the SHG Gem Guard
which enables you to weld on top of stones and soft
substanceswithout causing damage and it cleans up with water. This
will be a new item offered by Stuller and it is offered by Orion on
their website. So I hope you don't misunderstand how this is coming
across but I am actually a very nice person and am willing to help
any and everone to get a grasp on thenew technology and already had
quite a number of jewelers who came and visited the store just to
see how good this really is and will continue to have more. Just
another resource for the jewelry industry.
Terry R. Reichert
Pro Ice Jewelers
Yet again Terry, you were not smashed on this forum. You were
challenged only our claims that this technology will replace all
others. I own the Orion and use it every day. In my experience welds
are often more brittle than a crazed seam....
As someone who read your first postings about this technology, and
made comments, II find this latest post disturbing. If it was meant
as a marketing tool, you failed as far as my opinion goes. I read as
far as your calling us hecklers and haters. Making your marketing an
Us verses Them ploy turns me off. What ever it is that you would try
to sell me now, I would turn away from. Marketing is to gain trust,
not anger a person.
The old addage of gaining more friends with sugar than with vinegar
is a good one. If you want to call this bashing so be it. What I'm
bashing is your attitude. Be nice,
And Terry, calling those who disagree with your hyperbolic claims
"haters" is ridiculous.
I couldn't agree with you more, Andrew. I have the PUK which I also
use every day I'm in the shop, but I won't be tossing my natural
gas/compressed air or Miniflam torches. Some projects simply need the
capillary action of soldering for strength. Having said this, today
I will be reattaching the vermeil wings of a goose atop a
centerpiece. Brazing would destroy the plating, and replating the
wings may give me a less than desirable appearance, especially since
this is an old German piece.
I'll be using palladium/silver wire for strength and topping off the
welds with sterling. If I didn't have a pulse arc welder, I would
have no choice but to braze.
If you're a jeweler creating most of your pieces that would make
better use of Pulse arc technology, then it may very well replace
your torch. But be aware - there will be the occasional piece where
brazing would probably be the preferred method of joining.
Thanks for writing Andy (and Jeff/Linda too)! Lindsay here --- Andy
makes agreat point and we never intended to mislead anyone. We don't
think Pulse Arc Welding will replace a torch, but completely agree
it's another tool that can really improve studio processes. I also
asked Sessin about this, since I'm not an expert at using it yet :)
Here is what he wrote me today. I think he brings up some valuable
"I would never imply that we give up our torch and do not propose
anyone does. A weld is a compromise just as a solder joint is a
compromise. Each hasits own strengths and weaknesses.
Weld vs solder joint is something we will constantly discuss at
class. In some cases a weld IS better or easier and in some cases a
solder joint IS stronger and easier and what are we giving up in
each case. Having both soldering and welding skill is a huge
advantage as Andy stated. Also the longer you work with a welder the
better you get the more applications you will find. The learning
curve is long and can be creative or at least create widerlanes for
The Bonny Doon Press in your classroom is all welded and can take 20
tons PSI. The press was designed to be welded and the welds are
re-enforced seamsand are a series of bumps that are not ground or
finished but painted. this is accepted as a welded product. As
jewelers we don't accept that lumpy seam as finished so a weld may
take more finishing on the back end but giveus some great advantage
on the front end; Such as 1) now I can enamel on the item as there
is no solder. 2) I have a perfect color match. 3) my item is not
annealed so it's stronger. 4) I have no fire-scale to clean up. 5)
Iwas able to weld next to plastic. 6) I don't have to flux and
pickle. But I do have some clean up that will take some time. As
jewelers we will have to think like welders and all of these
considerations will start to line up."
New technologies and materials are emerging every year and the Orion
and the PUK seem to be improving to the point where they have earned
a significant place in the studio. That being said pulse arc welding
is not, at this point and in my opinion, the revolution that Terry
has portrayed it to be. I'm not sure when and even if the pulse arc
revolution has begun. The learning curve is steep on these machines
and, while I use my Orion 150s every day, I have most likely
scratched only just below the surface. But I'll offer my experience,
since some have asked.
I looked at these machines for some time before I laid my money
down. The technology appealed to me not so much for what existing
technology it replaced but more for what new possibilities it
opened. Let me say that my studio practice does not include a lot of
re-tipping or even very much ring sizing and repair. I do make a lot
of wedding rings and one of a kind work. Much of the latter includes
non-metallic materials such as bone, wood and plastic (such as ping
pong balls) and I thought that this type of welding would help me
open new doors, which it has to some degree. I also liked the idea
of being able to make "seamless" band for instance. Let's start
I should say that I often torch weld yellow gold, rose gold and
palladium white with good results. When I torch weld, I try to forge
the seams (leaving rings a bit small with this in mind) which seems
(no pun intended) to refine the larger grain structure left by the
melting and re- solidifying of the metal from welding. I have welded
seams with the Orion in both nickel and palladium white golds, rose
gold, yellow gold, silicon bronze and lots of sterling. Most golds
seem to weld well with the Orion, bronze and sterling fairly well.
But I notice a big difference in the character of the welds. It
seems that pulse arc welds benefit from being compacted with a
rotary burnisher and without that followup can contain a certain
amount of porosity (although to be fair, torch welds can have the
same problem, depending on the metal, which is mitigated by forging
or burnish compacting). But in my experience these welds do not
respond well to any significant forging: welds want to split. And
these welds seem more brittle than their torch welded or brazed
As I said, I like the idea of welding because it leaves no
difference in color since a different alloy is not involved as in
brazing. (For this reason I make my own wire for filling since
alloys can vary so much.) One way I have found around the
brittleness is to pulse arc weld the outside or more visible side of
the seam. the outside of a ring shank, for instance-- and braze the
inside. In this way I gain both flexibility and color match.
Pulse arc welding is also great for filling pits or casting flaws.
It can save a less than great casting, allowing me to weld the same
metal as that of the casting into the flaw for a truly seamless
repair. The casting is healed. Jeffrey Herman is doing amazing
things filling in engravings in vintage sterling objects with his
PUK 4 welder (The Lambert analog to Sunstone Engineering's Orion).
He is truly giving them a new life. Torch welding doesn't really
For something like attaching a post to an earring--at least during
initial manufacture. I am going to braze (solder). The attachment is
strong and the coincidental annealing is easily dealt with by twist
hardening. The point of contact is also clean. I'm not sure how you
would get a similarly strong, clean and durable attachment with the
revolution of pulse arc technology in this instance. I have heard
that some people are getting great results by drilling through the
earring and welding the post from the front. plug welding. but this
involves altering the front, which is not always feasible.
On the other hand, for a repair, pulse arc welding can save the day.
I was able to replace the broken sterling shepherd hook wire on the
back of a pair sterling earrings bezel set with large oval amber
cabs. The wires were sweat-soldered (brazed) to the back of the
earrings and then bent up so that there was a long seam where the
wire contacted the flat back of the earring. I ground off that
remaining wire and replaced it with 20guage stainless wire, welding
that right to the sterling and filling in a bit with sterling wire.
Because the seam was so long, brittleness was not really an issue in
this scenario. The repair was awesome and the springy stainless wire
was actually better than the original.
For a clean sweat seam, say a flat applique of gold on a sterling
plate, pulse arc welding is not a great choice. unless you can weld
through access holes from the other side.
I have tried welding long seams on tubes and spiculums but the
flexing involved in drawing the tube down or rounding the spiculum
by bouging can pop or crack a seam. If I really needed a seamless
speculum or tube (for appearance rather than strength) I might braze
the seam for the manufacturing and then grind through that seam with
a separating disc and pulse arc weld it. But that can take a long
time on a long seam. The capillary action of brazing. especially
around a bezel or setting. is hard to replicate or beat.
Not all metals weld as well as others. Stainless and gold are great
(I have not used it on platinum), palladium less so with welds being
very brittle. Sterling can be tough because it is so conductive.
Same with bronze. I have found that blunting the tip of the anode is
helpful since it spreads the energy of the weld out a bit.
But for some things my Orion has sped things up. Lets say that I
have a thick plastic disc, like a button, with three holes drilled
in it. I want to braze a sterling tube in each hole to a sterling
back sheet so that, when I am finished, the plastic button will slip
over the tubes and rest on the sterling back sheet. Before, I would
braze the first tube in place then slip the button on (after
pickling), mark where the next tube will go by either scribing
through the hole in the button or crazy gluing the tube on and
carefully removing the button and then brazing. Then I would test
fit before moving on to the third seam. More often than not, I would
have to adjust one of the tubes by re-flowing the solder, testing,
etc. It could take a while.
Now, I can tack weld each tube in place with the button in place so
that each tube is just where it needs to be. Then the button is
removed and the tubes brazed. Very cool. I have also been able to
build some of my plastic chicken or my pingpong ball jewelry with
the Orion, objects that I am not sure that I could have built
When I was getting close to buying a machine, I had some people
lobbying me (heavily) to either the Orion or the PUK brands. They
both had their reasons. The PUK folk said that the machine was great
in argon management. I went with the Orion and I must say that I go
through a lot of argon which, at $50 a bottle, is a concern. My PUK
friends say that their argon use is much less. The folks at Orion
have been very attentive, sending me new regulators several times.
But in then end, it may just be the machine...
One more thing. Lasers and pulse arc welders are not necessarily
interchangeable. I have very limited experience on the former. But I
know that you are not dragging along a lead or wire in a laser
welder. Also, there are interior corners and areas that a
line-of-sight laser may be better at. I have also heard that pulse
arc welders have a deeper penetration. But that's out of my
I want you to understand that I am not heckling you Terry, or
"hating" any practitioner invested in pulse arc welding technology.
And let me say again that characterizing those who challenge or
question you is offensive and ridiculous. If I were the people at
Orion I would thank you for your enthusiasm and ask you to stop
using the Orion name since your inability to deal with disagreement
reflects poorly on the company.
My Orion (and the PUK) is a great tool that belongs along side the
others in our shops and studios. I just don't see it as a
revolution. I won't throw away my torch any time soon. After all, I
can't anneal with my Orion.
Thanks Andy, for that thorough and enlightening post on welding.
As usual, you Rock,
Andrew Cooperman, based on your experience with this new technology
and your last post it is obvious you are not at our level in using
the Pulse ArcWelder. I agree that there is a steep learning curve
but that separates the good from the not so good. For example all
basketball players use the same equipment but there is only one
Micheal Jordon and he revolutionized the game of basketball which
created a new awareness of the sport or we also have Tiger Woods in
golf. In the sports field revolutions come from individuals and new
equipment, well, we are at that level in the jewelry industry. Why?
Because we believe in it, use it everyday, and paid our duesto learn
it. All the things you said you couldn't do, well, we do this
everyday. You are more than welcome to come and watch us do it.
Dear Andrew and all,
Thank you for being the voice of reason on the discussion of pulse
arc technology! I really appreciated your observations on using the
Orion and the PUK welders. My introduction to welding was my Sparkie
fusion welder from years ago. We have had an older PUK (II) model
first, and have now owned and operated the Orion 150i for the past 3
years. Again, I agree- the torch is not banished from the studio
once a welder rolls in the door. The Orion has opened up our eyes to
possibilities, that has been the mind bender here. My husband has
been a welder on a much larger scale for over 30 years so his short
learning curve was not surprising. I on the other hand, have been a
legal pyromaniac (torch lover) since 1983 so my learning curve is
steeper. Just like 3D printers, matrix, and other innovations, new
vocabulary and concepts seem to be the hardest part of the learning
curve. I laugh when I remember building my first website, struggling
over the concept of "what is an attribute?" We're jewelers first, not
Like you, we are not "repair jewelers". We either fabricate or cast
jewelry in our studio. What we have found is that the Orion has
become an integral part of the fabrication or construction aspect of
creating jewelry. I keep calling David a smart ass when he welds
titanium sheet that is.005 thick. His titanium work is outstanding.
I was also impressed when he had to rebuild a hollow ring in 14k
gold that was the same thickness as the titanium. Now that's
welding! It is good for taking care of imperfections in castings,
great for creating chains, and tack welding things together before
soldering. No, it doesn't do everything like others have claimed,
but it sure does a lot!
Making the decision to invest in the welder was a big one for us.
There's no way we could justify a laser for our studio as we work in
more silver than gold, but the pulse arc technology gets us up to a
level of proficiency that we can afford and justify. I look forward
to seeing the evolution of this technology as more jewelers get
comfortable with it.
The Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary
I feel the need to thank Andy for his exhaustive, thoughtful, and
very well put together tract on the uses to which he's put his new
I can give a bit of perspective, as I was repping the KC line in
Rio's booth at SNAG Toronto a couple of years back when Andy was
making the decision about which welder to buy. He came by so many
times, and spent so much time asking detailed questions of the Orion
rep that I was about to put his name one of our chairs.
Having watched him do it, I can testify that it was not a decision
he came to quickly, lightly or without exhaustive research. (Really.
It was exhausting just watching him.)
Andy ended up with an Orion, I've got a PUK 3+ that I've had since
2008. I've been quite happy with it, but I've found the same
embrittlement issue that Andy mentioned, especially with silver.
Since I largely use mine for reactive metals, I managed to alleviate
some of that by building a flood argon system for the backs of the
welds. However, since I'm doing reactives, I have to use ultra-high
purity argon, which is $200 for a knee-high bottle, rather than
Andy's $50. (Bastard!) Flooding argon just to get a solid weld is
just a *tad* expensive that way. But it lets me make things that
were simply impossible previously. (Like the prototypes for the KC
titanium birdcage saws. They came out of me getting frustrated one
night and nailing a prototype together with the PUK.)
My experience with owning a PUK, and using Orions says to me that
Lampert (PUK) has a slight edge in argon efficiency, and their
low-flow regulator is damned nice.
(Nice enough that I went out and picked up theirs, after I
discovered that the for-real, lab-grade argon regulator I already
owned just wasn'tgood enough for that level of flow. I already *had*
a good Harris reg, and got theirs anyway. Take that as about $150
worth of a vote on my part.)
As far as the newer machines go, that's a Mac/PC sort of argument
that I'm trying to stay out of. Both of them are good, solid
machines, built by people who know the field, and care about making
a quality product.
I also have to agree with Andy that welders are nice, and damned
useful, but they are not the one-true-tool for all things. They're a
tool, like any other. Better for some things than others.
It serves no useful purpose to belittle those who disagree with the
pronouncement that "the torch is dead'. This has gone on long enough.
Disagreement is simply that: disagreement. Assuming it to be
personal is immature. Making it personal is offensive. At best.
What you should stop to consider is that the people who are
disagreeing with you are largely people who already *own* a welder,
and are quite skilled with them. We didn't get to the point where we
could drop $5K on a tool by being lightweights.
Okay Terry. Let's do it. Let's set up a series of tasks, like the
ones that I outlined and let's video. Let 's test the strengths of
One more question Terry. Do you maintain that this revolution applies
to all Pulse Arc Welders? Including the Lambert PUK? Or solely the
Almost exactly ten years ago I bought a laser. It changed my work
I love it.
But it has its limitations. The biggest disappointment being the
tendency for silver welds to be brittle. Gold welds also are not as
ductile as soldered joints. And it is slow.
Several months ago I bought an Orion 150s Pulse Arc Welder. Silver
joints are quicker, strong and ductile. For mundane jobs like closing
jump rings it is wonderful. The learning curve didn't seem to be all
that bad. I made it a point to thoroughly read the instructions. I do
think the training manual could be much better. But we figured it
out. My co-workers have figured out how to use it for many jobs like
building up prongs, joining dissimilar metals and learning more all
the time. But they are still lining up for the laser. Torches are
also used everyday as well.
Typically there are four craftsmen working in my shop. The laser
became a bottleneck. That was one reason we bought the Orion. It cost
25% of what a second laser would be. It covers a lot of the same
functions, but by covering some of them differently we have more and
I have only the briefest experience with the PUK, trying it at MJSA
in NY in March. So I cannot comment on which is the better value.
If I was closer to Boston I would certainly sign up for the workshop
Sessin is teaching next month. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81j3
A suggestion for those who are in the business of making and selling
these is one of the biggest obstacles to selling these machines. I
don't think anyone doubts that they are good tools. Jewelers are just
worried that they might not be user-friendly enough or intuitive to
operate. I am confident that if more training was available that more
jewelers would buy them. When I bought my laser, the price included 3
days of training for 3 craftsmen. That did a lot towards closing the
Good point about educating jewelers on using the welders to reassure
them welders are good tools for the studio or shop. Right after we
bought our Orion 150i three years ago from Stuller, we requested
that they run workshops like the ones for lasers. Our request was
So, in a vacuum you create your own..... Last year our school in
conjunctionwith the Southern Highland Craft Guild hosted the first
National Orion Welders Workshop which was a huge success. Our school
(Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry and Lapidary) has since run
two more Orion workshops in our classroom/studio, and are hosting
another workshop next month. At long last, we were notified that
Stuller is now offering an extra class on the Orion Welders at an
additional fee above the Bench Jeweler Workshop registration cost.
Our school is offering workshops at a discounted fee throughout the
year to enable jewelers to become familiar with the three different
models of the Orion Welders. Even though the cost of owning a welder
is one fourth the price of a laser, it is still a hefty purchase for
the average jeweler. We are thrilled to hear that other schools are
beginning to offer the same opportunity as we are. My wish is that
the educational aspect could be offered by both PUK and the Orion
folks as part of the sales process; not just demonstrating at trade
On a technical note, we have discovered that using pure argon is
much cleaner than the 75/25 mix. When we bought an 80 lb bottle, we
also upgraded our regulator from one that came with the welder
originally. We use our welder all the time and realized the
advantages of upgrading the regulator. Yes, sterling silver is
problematic for the welders. It is a white metal after all. However,
we are working through those issues and are constantly devising
settings and procedures to get the job done. My suggestion is to
network our explorations with others so that more of us "old timers"
can get the hang of this "newfangled technology".David has welded
with both the PUK and the Orion and has had success on each machine.
Let's stop the PUK vs Orion contest andjust get to work welding!
As you are all aware Stuller is having its workshop sept 26-28. We
will have a class on the Orion welder try them and answer any
questions you might have before purchase.
Andy "The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Andrew, I really don't know much about the PUK so I don't know if it
applies as far as being part of the new revolution. I believe that
would be a better question for a PUK user and enthusiast. As far as
having a video challenge I'm in and yes we will test the welds, this
will be a more civilized way to showcase both our skill sets and
maybe we can learn from each other. Maybe PUK should get involved in
this challenge to. Lets figure out a forum where anyone interested
can watch this procees. Thanks for a great idea.
My experience with owning a PUK, and using Orions says to me that
Lampert (PUK) has a slight edge in argon efficiency, and their
low-flow regulator is damned nice.
(Nice enough that I went out and picked up theirs, after I
discovered that the for-real, lab-grade argon regulator I already
owned just wasn'tgood enough for that level of flow.
Good to know, Brian. thanks.
I bought an Orion 150s also at the Toronto conference. Frankly, I
kinda wish I hadn't. Perhaps I've just been spoiled by using a laser
(I wish I'd spent the money the Orion cost, on repairing my currently
out of service old laser welder.
Still saving up. Needs a new power supply, I think...) but frankly,
I've found the Orion to be balky and unpredictable. Not just brittle
welds, but some things I just cannot manage to get to weld without
making a mess. Even just sizing old/estate/antique rings, where there
may be prior solder seams, and what now would by today's
manufacturing standards be unacceptable levels of porosity at the
bottom of the cast shanks. Trying to weld that junky metal often
just blows holes in it one moment, then barely melts the spot right
next to it. Just frustrating and slow.... Not to mention needing to
constantly be regrinding the electrodes. Yeah, I'm spoiled by lasers.
And the argon regulator I got with my welder is, frankly, a hunk of
junk. Try to set it at the desired pressure, and after two welds, the
pressure is much lower.
Reset that sticky regulator, and after the next couple welds, darn
now it's too high. Won't stay where I set it half the time, which
doesn't help with the weld consistency. Perhaps I've just got the
lemon in the batch of regulators, but for what this rig costs, I'd
have expected a little better...
Maybe I just need to keep practicing or something. But until these
"Orion" threads got going on Orchid, I had little to go on other than
the little manual that comes with it, which I found not always so
helpful in trying to figure out what I might be doing wrong...
If someone wants to set up a workshop on using these things out here
in Seattle, I'm all in. (Massachusetts is just a bit too far away on
A suggestion for those who are in the business of making and
selling these is one of the biggest obstacles to selling these
machines. I don't think anyone doubts that they are good tools.
Jewelers are just worried that they might not be user-friendly
enough or intuitive to operate. I am confident that if more
training was available that more jewelers would buy them. When I
bought my laser, the price included 3 days of training for 3
craftsmen. That did a lot towards closing the deal.
I've gotten to be friends with the Lampert guys over the years,
because I keep bumping into them at shows. So we've talked over the
improvements to the newer machines after my 3+.
It turns out that most of the improvements to the PUK line beyond
the 3+ have more to do with the interface than the actual welding
capacity. (There are some differences with Hi-Frequency start, and
ramping, but mostly, they're about improved interfaces, more user
presets, along with a whole slew of canned settings for various
The early PUK's were. Germanic. They had all the controls you
needed, and expected you to know what to do with them. Then the
Orions came out with their touch screen, which could show much more
and the race was on.
So they are getting friendlier, and both companies clearly know that
they need to make the machines as user friendly as possible. I'd
expect them to keep getting better in that regard.
From a business standpoint, given the pricepoint of the unit, I
doubt there's enough money in there to make it feasible to send a
trainer out to your location for a couple of days.
On the other hand, having a 'free if you come to us' training center
does make sense. That's what the company that makes our CNC lathe
does. Buy one new (at $150K) and they'll send someone out for a few
days to get it up and running, and train your A team. Beyond that,
they run monthly 'how to' classes at the factory in LA. Notice the
difference in the price points though.