Professional Jeweler Archive: Manufacturing a Domed Pendant

December 2004

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies


Manufacturing a Domed Pendant

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


This article presents techniques to make the 18k domed yellow gold pendant illustrated below. The front features a bezel-set round brilliant tsavorite garnet. The back is open and pierced. I used tack- and pulse-arc welding technology to make the finished piece.

1. I pierced the two discs from 1mm 18k yellow gold sheet using a standard jeweler’s saw frame and a 4/0 blade. Then I used sanding boards to remove flashes of metal created while sawing using sanding boards.
2 Next I shaped and formed the discs into partial domes using a dapping block and punches. I used coarse abrasive paper to sand the bottoms of each dome flat. The sharp, flat edges shown in this illustration will provide excess metal to melt into the joint during the pulse-arc-welding process.
3. After I fitted the two pieces, I welded the joint with the ABI Pulse-Arc Welder. The welder was set on 35 volts and the high energy setting.

With the #2 weld pencil tip, I spot-welded in four locations around the dome and checked the alignment. Then I set the unit for 45 volts and pulse-arced around the entire diameter of the joint between the two domes.

4. I used an overlapping pulse technique to obtain a thick, even and full joint, not one with gaps, spaces or irregularities.
5. To weld, I used the contact pad with the graphite overlay on the negative lead and the #2 weld pencil on the positive lead. I used the ABI Opti-Saver with two lenses: one for magnification, the other for eye protection from the bright flashes of energy.

The instant auto-darkening lens (indicated by red arrow) protected my eyes from the constant flashes of energy.

6. After welding, I raised the hinged auto-darkening lens to view the joint (indicated by red arrow).
7. I filed the weld joint and inspected it for pits or other irregularities and filled them as necessary. After filing, I used a sanding sponge that conformed to the surface of the dome.
8. Using the Tack II, I tacked the bezel onto the domed pendant. The unit was set on the high energy setting and 40 volts. Because the bezel was tacked, it didn’t shift during soldering and required no special holding devices.
9. The matte finish was achieved in a magnetic tumbler. The top of the bezel is bright polished.

Important: Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc equipment settings will differ and are based on the volume, amount of contact and alloy of the material you work with. Practicing using like materials will give you a parameter for the settings required for your application. Keep a record of settings and tasks for future reference.

If you have questions on this process, contact Mark B. Mann at mark@visualcominc.com or (406) 961-4426. To view related welding procedures, visit www.visualcominc.com.

This installment is sponsored by ABI, 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

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Photographs by Mark B. Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications