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Thread: sparkle welder

  1. #1
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    Default sparkle welder

    There are a lot of cheap capacitive discharge welders on ebay
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Pulse-Sp...oAAOSwi8VZU2Rr
    I think these will take a bit of learning to use because its all very basic and manual. There are more expensive ones like orion, where you look through a microscope and it "blinks" for you, plus it retracts the needle so you just touch the piece and pull the trigger. The charge is controlled by a computer so you have less learning with the orion.

    With the cheap ones, you have to hold the piece about 0.5~1mm away and press the trigger and the needle stays put. Also, you need to close your eyes. My $300 welding helmet is too slow to cut out the flash (Its a newish well speced helmet and I don't think its faulty and works great with normal welding), but I wear it anyway to filter the IR and UV. If anyone is looking at these, I wouldn't go for one with the yellow TIG torch, which costs more. The torch is micky mouse and has no means of fitting argon to it without modifying. I've bought connectors and stuff to allow me to use my standard TIG torch, but haven't tried it yet. Without argon, things do get oxidation but it does weld.

    Anyway, I was wondering if there are any jewellers here that use these (more probably the orion one) that could tell me if its possible to use this with gold solder to repair a deep scratch in gold fill? Also, could you spot weld all round a bit of wear on an edge using the gold solder to build up new gold fill and polish it flat as a repair? The gold solder is quite expensive so I thought I'd ask before trying to experiment with this. I know this isn't soldering, but they seem to call the gold wire, gold solder.

  2. #2
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    If the piece is suitably sized you could always try an Ar flood method to help prevent oxidation. This involves just putting the piece inside a shallow sided box and slowly leaking Ar into the side of the box. The Ar is heavier than air so it displaces the air and protects the piece - this methods works really well but it can consume a lot of argon so the workpiece has to be valuable enough to warrant this.

    I doubt it will work to fill your scratch. These welders rely on a very local high temp flash to weld small areas at a depth of around 10 microns. It won't heat the piece around the scratch to a high enough temperature to allow the solder to flow into the scratch so its more likely you will end up with a whole lot of little dots that will look worse than the scratch.

    The reason your helmet is not cutting out the flash may be more like the sensors are not working correctly. Maybe the light is not intense enough, have you tried adjusting the sensor sensitivity?

  3. #3
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    Good idea with the argon flood, although I have now got connectors so i can use my normal tig torch and just sharpen the tungsten to a needle. i can use a gas lens (saves gas) and easy to find consumables that way. I'll just use a bit of pvc tubing and fold it over to stop the argon when I'm not welding. I've got quick change connectors for the gas line so i can reconfigure the plumbing of my welder set up.

    I can see what you are getting at with the spot weld looking bad. I didn't expect to weld this like a large scale weld would, but the spots can be quite big depending on the charge you use. In one video I saw someone weld 0.8mm stainless steel loops together at about 75% penetration through the wire, using a cheap chinese pulse welder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4G9zT9-gME I've also seen videos of the professional spot welders where they just to a series of spot welds and it looks just like a tiny stack of dimes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du38DBUd4DM - jump to 3:03. This is just autogenous welding but using lay wire technique with 0.4mm wire on top of a scratch, well I'd like to try it. Being gold, it might be possible to work smooth even by sanding if necessary. I've been using my milling machine to take off as little as 0.01mm off a flat surface reasonably successfully to refinish watch cases. Its gold filled watch cases I'm interested in and it would be worth the time and money if GF can be repaired.

    I can't find any info on anyone trying this however. You would not do it with an old school torch, because that heats the base metal too much and the gold will mix with the brass, making expensive brass. These chinese welders are relatively new though, although professional expensive ones have been used by professionals for quite a few years of course. There are videos of people repairing lugs on gold fill items and the like without the brass coming through, I can see that works. The pulse welders don't have the same problems with the gold alloying with the base metal as using a torch would, probably for the very reason you say. The wire I was looking at was 0.4mm so should be easy to melt without overheating the case. I don't know if you could build up gold fill by using as series of spot welds. You could be right, and it would just look like a small gold hedgehog. I'll need to practice with stainless steel. I have now got some 0.5mm stainless steel very cheap - dentist supplies from china.

    I tig weld down to 10 amps quite often and my helmet has the "X" thing in where it detects the rf and switches the helmet for that reason and not just on light brightness. I'm not sure whats going on but I'm fairly sure its not the sensor being shaded either. With a normal weld, you must actually get flashed for a fraction of a millisecond, but it just doesn't register because its too fast. I was thinking maybe because the pulse is so short, even if the screen does darken, because you see the same scene before and after, that my brain is registering a flash and not the darkening? I used to work with MPEG coding techniques and i remember your brain is constantly fooling you about whats really there. Most people don't seem to use a helmet with these but I thought that was a bit heroic. With the helmet, its not that bright and even at shade 3, ie unswitched, its not uncomfortable if you forget to close your eyes.

  4. #4
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    They are not suitable for filling scratches and to my knowledge are not suitable for use with solder and the are a low quality compromise to the "Orion" type unit

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by China View Post
    They are not suitable for filling scratches and to my knowledge are not suitable for use with solder and the are a low quality compromise to the "Orion" type unit
    Are you saying an orion welder would not be able to lay gold over a scratch, or are you saying the cheap welders can't? Is this based on experience? Not meaning to be confrontational, and to be honest I'll probably try anyway unless someone can tell me the difference between the heat from the cheap welders and the $10k orion welder. I've found a 4" piece of gold solder for $25.

  6. #6
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    For the naysayers, here is a video showing an orion welder laying down gold between the gap in two rings. https://sunstonewelders.com/videos/gold-ring-repairs/ this is more or less what I want to do (goto 3:13). He's using gold solder, which as I said before is not solder, there is no lead in it. Although the welder has all sorts of settings, at the end of the day its still just a capacitor discharge welder and I think it will be possible to do this with the cheap welders once I add the argon. It will require a bit more skill and learning for sure. The video is quite clear and you can see how it melts the gold very nicely. I'm a bit surprised at the black oxidation, does that mean he's not using enough argon?

    I still don't know if I can do this over gold fill. I'm not talking about gold plate which can be as thin as 0.2microns. I could be wrong but I think gold fill can be as much as 0.2mm. I think the gold should make up 1/20th the weight of the item. By filling dents and deep scores with fine gold wire, I think I would just be doing an autogenous weld and if the wire is fine enough (gold is very malleable, so easy to make finer, yes?) then I would be looking to set the penetration less than the GF depth.

    Because I found I can buy gold solder cheaper than I thought, albeit very short, I think I will give it a go, unless someone can tell me they've tried it, and no way.

  7. #7
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    At no point in the Video is Gold solder used and at no point are there any scratches be filled, all the operations in the video are welding procedures.
    I have not used one of these machines myself, although I have spoken with several who have are I have not heard one satisfactory comment as yet

  8. #8
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    Thanks, China, you are very helpful

  9. #9
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    I see the difference now, I thought gold solder was just the alloy they use for whatever kt gold. I want to get solid gold wire like I presume you are saying the video uses. Thanks, that saved me some money.

  10. #10
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    Traditionally GF couldn't be repaired because a torch would disperse heat too much and alloy the gold into the base metal. This advert says it is possible to repair gold fill, but is only possible in recent years. WatchRepair.cc | Wrist Watch and Pocket Watch Case Repair Services | Antique Watch Repair Services In his first example he shows a repair to what I would call scratches, you can call it what you want. Also he does cover worn through sections, so it is possible. His prices to do the work seem quite reasonable at first but I suspect a final price would be quite a bit. He is using a laser welder, which is a factor of 5 more expensive than an orion capacitor discharge. I've read a lot more about the orion welder now and Orion claim to be able to do pretty much the same as what a laser welder can do. Prices for the Orion are $4k~ $10k. how soon before we get cheap laser welders from china?

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