This article offers some laser welding tips that might make your life as a laser welder a bit easier. Read on for some interesting tips and tricks!
1. Keep your laser welder clean, especially the protective lens inside the laser chamber where the beam comes out.
2. Check the cross-hair alignment regularly.
3. Never program your settings with the laser in a multi-pulse mode.
4. Always wipe “soot” off the item you are welding.
5. If you are practicing a new technique or experimenting with laser welding, be sure to use a scrap item or something of your own before trying it on a customer’s piece. Like the old adage, “if you’re going to learn to cook, you’ve got to break some eggs.” Best if the eggs come from your own chicken.
6. Try to keep objects away from the “background” of what you are welding. Remember: the laser pulse is a “light bullet,” it can ricochet.
7. A good rule of thumb for changing laser settings to enhance performance is to increase/decrease the milliseconds (duration of the beam) first, and then the beam size, and the voltage last.
8. Think of laser welding settings like water coming from a garden hose. Turning on the water (whether all the way or partially) is the voltage. The nozzle is the beam diameter. How long you hold the water in one place is the equivalent of the millisecond setting.
9. Silver can be welded easily if you use sterling silver solder instead of sterling wire.
10. You can pulse the laser at the weld zone at different angles to achieve various results.
11. You don’t have to hit a weld zone with the whole beam. Sometimes hitting it with % a beam will produce good results. (Note that only half of the red circle, representing the laser pulse, actually hits the worn jump ring on top of this enameled piece.)
14. White gold seems to weld better and with less micro-porosity if you use a palladium alloy with white gold. E.g. 14k palladium white 30-gauge wire.
15. Be sure to cut a groove in the weld zone of a thicker piece. Then “landslide” the side walls of the host metal into the bottom of the trough you created. Fill to the top with similar filler metal.
16. RediProng tips are convenient, great shapes, come with/without solder, and have good welding properties.
17. Sometimes it IS better to remove stones prior to laser welding, and then reset them.
18. If you have the capability photo document your work. Experiment & Document.
Remember: Laser welding is as much an Art form as it is a Science. Create you own style, experiment, adapt, and learn from you successes as well as your failures-and build upon them. Experience is an asset, but experience is something you don’t get until after you need it!