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> Tig welder for Gold jewellery
post Jul 17 2007, 10:09 PM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

Hi all this is my first post and need tons of advice.

I've been a jeweller for some 20 years and do lots of repairs in gold/silver.
The main thing i use to repair jewellery although called a micro weld is far from it. It's a "box of tricks' that has distilled water and MEK(solvent?) which produces a tiny flame,which we use to solder repairs with gold/silver solder.
The process will usually heat some or all of the surrounding area and cause oxidization ,which will then need to be left in acid and then may need buffing(light sanding) and then two grades of polishing,then cleaning in an ultrasonic tank.

I've been looking recently at purpose built laser welders for jewellery.
They start from around 10 grand!!!
I have read that tig welding is used in manufacturing of jewellery,but haven't seen any hand operated ones apart from one used for medical equipment,but when i emailed the company that was even more expensive than the laser!!.

As far as i can tell so far a tig welder produces a really hot arc,which acts like a flame,thats surrounded,by inert gas,that acts as flux(oh yeah we have to flux the gold as well).
I've almost went and bought a tig from ( no advertising allowed ) that says it goes down to 1 amp for an experiment,but rather than waste my money and blow holes in some silver i thought i'd ask you guys instead?

Now here's the start of my million questions:
Do you think it's possible to get a tig welder relatively cheap that will do what i want.
I make my own gold/silver wire.I this what i would need as a "welding rod" instead of gold solder.
I think i better not ask any more questions before i get the first one answered.
I'm always looking for a cheaper alternative,but i'm willing to spend a bit if it will do what i want.
Thanks in advance..... Be gentle with me please ;)
Stupid Welder
post Jul 18 2007, 05:58 PM
Joined: 3-Oct 05

Hi Shaun 750,
There i another post on the home page about,Most compact welder,or something.Check it out,could answer some of your questions.
There is an interesting machine,a dual arc.Which you can weld with tig or plasma,plasma is generaly for fine work and i think would be better suited for your intended use.
I would also getin touch with some suppliers of different makes,and get a sales rep to come round,explain what you want to do,and let them sort things out,go to shop with silver/gold,wire.and have a play.
Hope this helps

SW biggrin.gif
nigel 42
post Jul 18 2007, 06:28 PM
Joined: 1-Mar 05

micro plasma is probably the way to go
post Jul 18 2007, 06:35 PM
Joined: 4-Jan 06

can i have the spatter please?
post Jul 18 2007, 07:21 PM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

Nope you can't have the splatter.
I get what you mean. You know we even have the bag from the vacuum cleaner and the polishing motor refined and get paid for it. They give a detailed graph of the gold silver and platinum contained in it,but you never know if they are giving you the full whack,so i mostly use my scrap for hand made production work.

Thanks for the advice,in the little bit of googleing i did i thought plasma might be the best bet because it looks like a nicer looking flame.
Hey anyone local to me with equipment that would like to experiment for me is welcome, i'll supply the silver sheet for a test weld and wee can go from there.
This is a vast money making opportunity and fun at the same time.
I'll let all know what the outcome is as i think all you's would like to know.
Hey anyone who helps out would get a lifetime discount for the rest of their life.
I was looking at a 6 carat diamond that would be included??
6 milli Billi
post Jul 18 2007, 09:13 PM
Joined: 13-Jan 06

Hi Shaun
Micro-plasma is the way to go for your application, i can send you details of a machine which will go down to 0.1 amps, up to either 20 or 50 amps max, in increments of 0.1, be aware that the equipment and torch consumables are considerably more costly than TIG welding, but the investment will be worthwhile as the result should be what you are looking for.
In the first instance i can arrange for some samples to be completed in our factory in Germany, so if you can send about 20kg of material that would be great biggrin.gif (seriously, if you send some we can show you the possibilities)
Let me know if you are interested.
6 Milli.
post Jul 18 2007, 10:09 PM
Joined: 18-Nov 03

Hi Shaun, I had a couple of guys enroll on my tig evening class course who are in the same business as you, obvious reasons were to ply their trade using TIG process, although tig/plasma are the same in principle, they both opted for stand alone tig units only, I have know idea whether cost was the main reason for their decision? One guy did mail me a report from Guild of gold silver smiths confederation (I think I have the title correct?) was very interesting to read how a long established process as tig was now being looked at as a means for repairs/manu within your industry. I did recommend a particular manufacturer machine and, to best of my knowledge at least one guy made a purchase after contacting rep.

I suppose what I am trying to say is, try both before making a decision.


post Jul 19 2007, 01:53 AM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

Thanks guys,
really worth while me asking the question and answers much more detailed than i could ever expect.
Subsea, where abouts are you based,i was thinking about just buying a cheap unit and experimenting,but a course sounds a good idea as it would give me an idea of how much to fork and what i need out to begin with.
I'm in 2 minds what i need? I see relatively cheap tig/plasma stuff on ( no advertising allowed ) and although i would be using it every day and have it switched on i dont suppose i would be working it as hard as you's guys do on the stuff you likely do?
In my gooling,i've seen the 'flame' of the tig and plasma and like the look of the plasma much better,also i'd be interested in seeing how it would cut and maybe even think about adapting it to a cnc mill(thats my latest project)
Probably running away with myself now,but got to start somewhere .
Cheers all................
post Jul 19 2007, 08:23 AM
Joined: 20-Aug 04

A company called PUK manufacture a welding type machine which will weld 0.5mm -1.0mm and this was demonstrated at the recent jewellery conferrence in the jewellery quarter i the midlands, This retailed at approx.4k
post Jul 19 2007, 10:35 AM
Joined: 18-Nov 03

Hi Shaun,

Personaly I wouldn't purchase a cheapo unit, do your research, make some contacts with company reps, who I am sure will only be too happy to demonstrate their equipment, then make a sound purchase on a piece of kit that should give you years of service! As for plasma welding unit being able to cut, I do not think this is possible (unless there have been major advances for plasma unit to be duel purpose?) There are single phase plasma cutters with built in compressor available on the market, I would imagine pretty pricey though? If dapting plasma cutter to cut to work on a milling machine, I would think an add on to raise work from main machine base table would have be looked at, also machine would have to be protected from molten material being cut, interesting idea though, don't see why it can't be achieved.

There is also a very good "knowledge" section (top left menu) you will find loads of info there.

I'm Edinburgh based.


6 milli Billi
post Jul 19 2007, 08:50 PM
Joined: 13-Jan 06

Subsea is right, not possible to plasma cut and plasma weld from the same machine. Plasma Welding involves a controllable jet of hot gas (the plasma gas) enabling the operator to weld at approx 1/3 of the current used in TIG process. Shielding gas, usually Argon/ hydrogen (2-5%) mix is also used. The plasma gas pressure, nozzle size and current must all be absolutely correct to give the optimum results. Fine foils, and mesh materials, fialments, medical instruments, thermocouples are some of the applications we have provided equipment for. PM me if interested in a plasma welding technical handbook.

6 Milli
post Jul 20 2007, 08:09 AM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

I had a few bids on ( no advertising allowed ) on this:
Weldmax 150 Microwelder by gesswein. only discovered it last night and it had 2 hours to go. Wasn't sure if it would work so didnt go to high and got out bid : (
Notice that there is a need for ac or dc for welding certain types of metal? Do i need to take this into account for welding gold??
Thanks for all the help from all you guys.
It was well worth me asking ,but i think i will try a few welders out first and see what is best for me.
post Jul 20 2007, 08:57 AM
Joined: 3-Mar 05

get in touch with Frankie Bavin to see how he welded the Golden handrails on Onnassis,s yacht.He might have some rod-ends left over.
nigel 42
post Jul 20 2007, 10:17 AM
Joined: 1-Mar 05

shaun 750
i think you would need dc current

as ac is generaly used on metals with a thick oxide film Ie alluminium and magnesium
post Jul 20 2007, 10:55 AM
Joined: 18-Nov 03

Nigel is correct Shaun, you will require a DC unit for your purpose, however, if you are thinking about expanding manufacturing alloys AC/DC unit is what you will require. I should also add, whether you purchase AC/DC or DC only, either machine will give you MMA capabilities.


post Jul 21 2007, 02:12 AM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

Hi all,
still reading everything i can and now downloading videos and pdf,even got diagrams to make tig welders from alternators and microwave ovens??(i suppose thats the sparks when the tinfoil is in there?) .Don't fancy that much.
Looks to me what i need is basically an adjustable low amp unit with a small torch? The ones that can be bought seem to be over kill?? and big bucks!!
Would it be possible to get a decent unit and lower the amps?? Like open the sucker up and change something in there??
I'd ask my brother(he's an electrical engineer) but it would take him a year to do it!
Family is always the last to get served!
Meister maly
post Jul 21 2007, 08:32 AM
Joined: 26-Dec 04

Hi shaun 750,

I know a chap that for a few years now started a project to build his own motorbike....... he now has the biggest collection of scrap this side of china!! save yourself the time and hassle and simply by the machine that does the job, beleive me you won't regret it!!

post Jul 21 2007, 07:35 PM
Joined: 17-Jul 07

Yeah suppose your right kinda knew it was what i should do,but seems like there are big tough welding units out there that are much cheaper than what i want so why are the light ones so expensive.
I'm gonna have to keep my eye out for a second hand one as it's still an experiment.
I missed a nice one from the states a few days back as didnt know enough to know what i should pay for it.
I got a little spot welder from fleabay for a start,and will learn a bit more and go from there.
Thanks all!
post Jul 21 2007, 08:16 PM
Joined: 18-Nov 03

Hi Shaun,

You'll probably find "big tough welding units" and I assume 2nd hand ones at that, are from a vintage era, for example: the old BOC ADR300 seem to go for ever, I have visited a few shops where they are still putting out a decent job. However, smaller units with the same punch (sometimes more) are made up with new invertor technology, basically crammed with electronics that give a smoother arc stream, very quiet when worked, HF is electronic, also cheaper to run ie: cheapo lekkie bills. But there are guys on here who can offer more info on invertor technology than I can.

I would suggest to sound out your local tech college, see if they have a TIG evening course available, then take things from there, I wouldn't make a new or old purchase until I have at least had some basic training from us experts, less frustrating I can assure you! My thoughts only.


Meister maly
post Jul 23 2007, 12:21 AM
Joined: 26-Dec 04

Hi shaun750,

Had my head in a few books and I've come up with what would probably be ideel for you:-

An EWM microplasma 20, currently retailing in Germany for around 5000euros
extensivley used in the dental and jewelry industry have a look round your stockists over there.
Check out there website:- EWM welding

Cheers M.M.
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