Professional Jeweler Archive: Manufacturing a Crown Using Tack- & Pulse-Arc Welding Technology

November 2004

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies

Manufacturing a Crown Using Tack- & Pulse-Arc 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

David and Diana Howard, owners of My Jeweler Inc., Albuquerque, NM, recently worked with a local church to design and manufacture a crown to be placed on a popular church icon painting. The church’s parishioners donated jewelry to the cause. David Howard sent the old gold out for refining and received over 4 ounces of fine gold in return. He alloyed the gold to 14k yellow, poured ingots and rolled wire for the crown. The crown has over 600 contact joints, so he used tack- and pulse-arc-welding technology. Here’s an overview of the procedures he used:

After preparing and forming the wire, Howard shaped the components of the crown. He used the ABI Tack II tack welder to tack the parts temporarily. For this portion of the project, his Tack II was set on the high energy setting at 35 volts. He used the alligator and pliers leads as shown.
With the parts tacked, he permanently joined them using ABI’s Pulse-Arc-Welder on the high energy setting at 45 volts using the #2 tip on the weld pencil.

He simultaneously used the tweezers and contact pad leads on the negative terminal to ensure a good flow of energy. The weld pencil is always attached to the positive lead.

After the components were preassembled, he permanently joined them using the alligator clip and contact pad leads attached to the negative terminal and the weld pencil with the #2 tip on the positive terminal.

He had the welder set on the high energy setting at 45 and 50 volts. A dark surface residue that built up during the welding was removed by pickling, ultrasonic and steam cleaning.

Howard then used 3M Radial Bristle Discs on his Foredom Bench Lathe at this bench to smooth and prepolish the weld joints.
With the crown now ready for the settings, he burred and filed notches in the wires so there would be good contact between the settings and the crown. Then he tacked them with the Tack Welder. He arc-welded some of the joints between the settings and the crown, while others were joined more proficiently by soldering.
He polished the crown, set all the gemstones and did the finish work. The crown has multiple colored gemstones and more than 4 carats of diamonds. The tack- and pulse-arc-welding saved time over traditional soldering methods.
The church was elated with the crown and has asked the Howards to make a second one. The crown is now mounted directly on the painting on permanent display at the church.

– By Mark B. Mann

Technical Contributions by David Howard, My Jeweler Inc., Albuquerque, NM

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 on this process, contact David Howard at (505) 889-8601. To view related welding procedures, visit

This installment on welding technologies 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.

Photographs by David Howard

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Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications