Professional Jeweler Archive: Installing and Repairing Hinge Rivets Using Pulse-Arc Welding

January 2004

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies

Installing & Repairing Hinge Rivets Using Pulse-Arc Welding

Knowing this technology saves time, increases quality and drives up profits

Installing or repairing hinge rivets can be difficult with a torch and solder. Among the risks: flooding a hinge with solder and permanently joining adjacent links.

With the following pulse-arc welding technique, you’ll eliminate potential problems and speed up the overall procedure.

For this example, I use 14k yellow gold bracelet links and 14k yellow gold 21 gauge round wire.
I prefinish the cast links and true up the hinge joints using a drill the same diameter as the wire to be used. I slightly recess the outer side of the joint with a small cone bur.
To join two links, I insert a length of wire through both, leaving about 1mm extended on each side. I flush-cut the hinge wire on each end.
With the pulse-arc welder set at 45 volts on the high energy setting using the #2 tip, I weld each joint with two ro three pulses on each side. The tip of the weld pencil is off-center over the exposed hinge-pin wire, slightly off the surface of the link. The electrode is recessed about 1.5mm in the ceramic collar.
This is a view after each weld joint has been completed on both sides of the link.
I clean the assembly in the ultrasonic to remove surface residue. The melted and welded end of each hinge rivet is raised less than 1/2mm above the surface of the link.
I use abrasive wheels to remove the excess hinge rivet wire and to smooth the link, then inspect for pits or incomplete joints.
After finial finishing, the seams where the hinge pin joints were welded should not be visible.

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.

For questions on this process, contact Mark B. Mann at mark@ or (406) 961-4426. For related welding procedures, visit

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

Photographs by Mark B. Mann

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications