Professional Jeweler Archive: Common Tack-Welding Applications

December 2002

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies

Common Tack-Welding Applications

Knowing how to tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-weld at the bench saves time, increases the quality of craftsmanship and drives profits up for your shop department

As new equipment and procedures for bench jewelers emerge, their potential is often unrealized. This is first in a series of articles on new welding technologies designed to help manufacturing retailers and related personnel understand the benefits of incorporating new equipment and new procedures.

Tack Welding: A method of accomplishing temporary or working welds for positioning parts and/or solder on jewelry. These temporary welds become permanent joints through soldering or welding.

Tack welding allows users to quickly and easily position parts temporarily before soldering or welding. After tack welding, if the alignment for final soldering or welding isn’t properly established, the part can be removed easily from the assembly and retacked. Once an assembly is tack-welded, soldering or welding becomes easier because:

  • For soldering, cumbersome heat sinks such as cross-locking tweezers, binding wire, soldering investment or other holding devices are not needed.
  • The technician can focus on soldering or welding rather than the alignment of parts and components. Tack-welded parts will not move during soldering or welding.

Tack-welding is followed by a method of permanent joining such as:

  • Torch soldering.
  • Pulse-arc welding.
  • Laser welding.

Tack-welding applications at the bench and in the shop are seemingly endless. Following are some everyday tasks for a bench jeweler generalist that can be accomplished more proficiently with tack-welding procedures.

Tack Welding a Pendant Bail to a Cast Prong Assembly

14k yellow bail to 14k yellow prong assembly.
Tack welding bail to a head. Arrows indicate leads from ABI Tack II tack welder. The welder is set to 50 volts on the low energy setting.
Arrow indicates a 14k easy solder bead (from Stuller) picked up by the vacuum attachment lead from the tack welder. The welder is set to 30 volts on low energy.
The piece is preassembled and ready for soldering. No holding devices are required for soldering because the solder and the item are tack-welded.

Tack Welding Karat Gold Rings Together and Tack Welding Solder

14k yellow solitaire and
Lightly file the point of contact on each band. Tack pieces together using 50 volts and the high-energy setting.
Tack a solder bead to the assembly using the vacuum and tweezers leads with the equipment set at 30 volts at the low energy setting.
The finished tacked assembly requires no binding wire or other holding devices before soldering.

Tack Welding Redi-Prongs® for Retipping

Arrows indicate worn prongs on the ring.
Vacuum lead attachment picks up a Redi-Prong.
The Redi-Prong has a 14k cap and preapplied solder where the base is tacked to the prong.
The Redi-Prong has a 14k cap and preapplied solder where the base is tacked to the prong.

Tack Welding Heads and Pearl Posts onto a Remount Ring

Selected remount and findings are ready for the customer’s gemstones.
Heads are tacked into position. The tack welder was set at 45 volts on the low energy setting.
Pearl posts are tacked into position. The tack welder is set at 45 volts on the low energy setting.
All components are tacked into place. No holding devices are required because the pieces won’t move during soldering.

In addition to tack welding, the ABI Tack II welder is capable of performing fusion welding. See next month’s article, “Fusion-Welding Applications,” for specific information related to this process.

This tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-welding technology educational series is sponsored by ABI, Cranston, RI.

For general information related to ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk of ABI at (888) 494-2663.

– By Mark B. Mann

Technical Contributions by Steece Hermanson, Shop Manager of Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

All Photographs BY Mark B. Mann

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Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications