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Re: [Orchid] TIG versus laser welder
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Judy Hoch Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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    Hi - I have a PUK4 that I'm very happy with. A deciding influence
    for me was Jeffrey Herman's recommendation on pulse arc welding. 

    I put the pieces together and out of the box it worked perfectly. The
    PUK4 is an easy interface with gobs of flexibility. It works really
    well with most varieties of metal although welding stainless steel
    isn't as easy as I'd hoped. I've been pleasantly surprised that the
    electrodes last and the machine isn't picky about having them sharp.
    Not so with the Orion. 

    Before purchasing the PUK4, I had the top of the line Orion but found
    that it was difficult to use. The touch screen was fiddly and the
    save function didn't work. I returned it to Orion. I think the
    difference between the two machines is this: the PUK engineers
    understand goldsmithing. The Orion engineers come at the design from
    an engineering standpoint - how much flexibility can we put in this
    machine. They built a very nice machine for high tech manufacturing
    but not oriented to the needs of a bench jeweler. As I was trying to
    make the Orion machine work, I found that none of their engineers
    had a clue about making jewelry. This is not to say that they build a
    bad machine, just that it's interface and capabilities are more
    suited to a general manufacturing environment. Prior to working as a
    goldsmith, I was an engineer in high tech, and I thought that I could
    make it all work. I could, but the daily agony of thinking like an
    engineer and then translating that to work on my goldsmithing bench
    just wasn't fun. Ergo - return the Orion machine. 

    Using a laser with silver, copper etc is problematic - it likes to
    reflect off the silver. Previously I had an earlier version of PUK
    that simply wasn't high energy enough for silver. Pretty much all of
    them work well with gold. 

    In my opinion, they are all overpriced but since I'd rather make
    jewelry than make a similar machine from a large scale TIG welder, I
    paid and got on with the job. Kevin Lindsey has had success with
    adapting one of the large TIG machines as I remember. 

Judy Hoch

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