This custom job of 14 karat yellow gold earrings with diamonds and pink tourmaline is made easy using tack-welding technology. Tacking the pieces prior to soldering enabled me to ensure proper alignment and soldering procedures without the need for excessive and cumbersome holding devices. The soldering steps were minimized, reducing the potential for prong failure.
Manufacturing Custom Earrings Using
| ||These 14 karat yellow gold, diamond and tourmaline earrings call for multiple findings to be assembled in a small tight area. To prepare for the tack-welding, the cast pieces were pre-finished. A notch was made in the upper portion of the “S” shaped earring for the 14 karat white gold settings for the diamonds. |
| ||For a good fit and better contact for tack-welding, the base of the prongs were filed on one side and made even with the base of the setting. I used the pliers lead to hold the earrings and the tweezers lead to hold the settings. Firm and even contact free of debris between the parts is essential. The ABI Tack II was set to 40 volts on the high energy setting. A single pulse of energy was discharged and the setting tacked to the “S” shaped earring mounting. |
| ||The same procedure and equipment settings were used for tacking 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. |
| ||I shut the Tack Welder off and lowered the energy setting to the low position 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 the welder on and changed to the vacuum pump lead. With it, I picked up 14 karat easy yellow gold bead solder and tacked them at the solder joints. |
| ||For soldering, I submerged the tacked pieces into firecoating solution and then mildly preheated them. I applied a small amount of flux at each joint and soldered the unit holding it with cross locking tweezers. Nothing shifted during the soldering procedure because the findings were tacked in position. |
| ||After checking the assembly, I pre-finished the bottom portion and tacked the earring post with the machine on the high energy setting and at 30 volts. I used two pliers’ leads to hold and tack the post and earring assembly. Next I tacked on a bead of 14 karat easy yellow solder and torch soldered the assembly. |
| ||I finished and polished the assembly, set the gemstones and did the final finishing. |
Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc equipment settings will differ and are based upon 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.
By Mark B. Mann – Copyright © Mark Mann 2004
Photographs: Mark B. Mann
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