Professional Jeweler Archive: Common Pulse-Arc Welding Applications

February 2003

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies


Common Pulse-Arc Welding Applications

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


Pulse-Arc Welding: A method of permanently and/or temporarily welding parts using a brief surge of electrical amperage/voltage. The process allows welding of all metals, including gold, platinum, silver, copper, brass, aluminum and titanium. Use of pulse-arc welding significantly reduces working, prefinishing and polishing time.

Pulse-arc welding applications at the bench are endless using ABI’s Tack III Pulse-Arc Welder. Bench jeweler generalists and specialists use it for permanent welds when:

  • Welding rivets on in-line or other bracelets.
  • Repairing porosity on unfinished or finished cast jewelry with heat-sensitive gemstones.
  • Welding jump rings on chain ends or charm bracelets.
  • Repairing prongs with heat-sensitive gemstones in place.
  • Repairing chains and reconstructing box catches on clasps.

They also use it to create temporary working welds for common jobs – such as tack welding parts into position – that may require minor shifting or alignment while the parts remain joined.

Pulse-arc welding can be done adjacent to heat-sensitive gems and parts that cannot be annealed. To master the process, you first should practice on similar materials of equal volume. Following are some everyday applications you can accomplish more proficiently by using pulse-arc welding procedures.

Permanently Welding the Hinge Rivet on a Superfit Shank

14k yellow gold ring installed on a Superfit shank. The final step in the installation process is to weld the hinge rivet on both sides of the shank. Here, Steece Hermanson uses a ball bur to open the joint a bit.
Hermanson places the ring on the contact pad and uses the welding pencil (A) and 29 gauge 14k yellow gold wire (B) to fill the void and weld the joint.
He completes the weld joint by holding the weld pencil about 2mm above the surface and depressing the foot pedal. He repeats this procedure several times. The ABI Tack III Pulse Arc Welder is set to 35 volts on the high-energy setting.

Installing a Karat Gold Peg Head into a Karat Gold Shank

Jim Rogers inserts the peg head into the shank and aligns it. He performs a temporary working weld with the ABI Tack III Pulse Arc Welder set to the high-energy setting and on 40 volts.
Using the Pulse-Arc welder to perform a temporary weld allows him to change the alignment while the weld joint remains together. Next, using the ABI Tack II welder with the vacuum attachment, he tacks easy flowing
solder (A) at the base of the peg head (B).
Rogers prefers to torch-solder this joint. He says there’s good metal-to-metal contact from the base of the peg post up through the shank and around the base of the peg head.

Repairing Porosity

14k yellow gold pendant has two areas of porosity to repair. One is a single hole that Hermanson opened with a small ball bur. The other has a few minute pits.
Hermanson makes a karat gold bead and fits it into the area opened with the ball bur. He uses the ABI Tack III Pulse Arc Welder on the high energy setting at 40 volts to weld the bead into the joint.
The weld-joint with the bead (A). He uses 29-gauge karat gold wire (D) as filler for the small pits (B). The ceramic tip of the weld pencil (C). All pits have been filled and he’s ready to finish.

This educational series on tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc welding technologies is sponsored by ABI of Cranston, RI. For general information on ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

– by Mark B. Mann

Technical contributions by JA® Certified Masters Steece Hermanson of Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC, and Jim Rogers of Gold N’ Carats, Irving, TX, using ABI’s Pulse-Arc Tack III Welder

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

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