Professional Jeweler Archive: Manufacturing Custom Earrings Using Tack-Welding Technology

June 2004

Professional Bench/Welding Technology


Manufacturing Custom Earrings Using Tack-Welding Technology

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


Creating these 14k yellow gold earrings with diamonds and pink tourmalines is easy with tack-welding technology. Tacking the pieces before soldering ensures proper alignment and soldering procedures without excessive and cumbersome holding devices. The soldering steps are minimized, reducing the potential for prong failure.

1. These earrings call for multiple findings to be assembled in a small area. To prepare for the tack-welding, the cast pieces were prefinished. I make a notch in the upper part of the S-shaped earring for the 14k white gold settings that will hold the diamonds.
2. For a good fit and better contact for tack-welding, I file the base of each prong on one side and make it even with the base of the setting (A). I use the pliers lead to hold the earrings and the tweezers lead to hold the settings. Firm and even contact that’s free of debris is essential. The ABI Tack II is set to 40 volts on the high energy setting. A single pulse of energy tacks the setting to the S-shaped earring mounting.
3. The same procedure and equipment settings are used to tack the white gold setting for the diamond. Tool Note: The tweezers points have been rounded, and there are no sharp corners in contact with the white gold setting.
4. I shut off the Tack Welder and lower the energy setting to low and the voltage to 30. Tool Note: Energy from the previous settings is stored in the welder’s two capacitors. With the machine turned off, I touch the positive and negative leads together and depress the foot pedal to drain excess energy from the capacitors. Next I turn on the welder and change to the vacuum attachment lead. With it, I pick up 14k easy yellow gold bead solder and tack at the solder joints (B). Supplier Note: Easy and hard bead solder is available from Stuller, Lafayette, LA.
5. For soldering, I submerge the tacked pieces into firecoating solution and mildly preheat them. I apply a small amount of flux at each joint and solder the unit, holding it with cross-locking tweezers. Nothing shifts during the soldering procedure because the findings are tacked in position.
6. I prefinish the bottom and tack the earring post with the machine on the high energy setting and at 30 volts. I use two pliers’ leads to hold the post and earring assembly, then tack on a bead of 14k easy yellow solder and torch-solder the assembly.
7. I finish and polish the assembly, set the gemstones and perform the final finishing.

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 are working 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 related to 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

Photographs by Mark B. Mann

© 2004 Visual Communications, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications