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Old 10-18-2010, 05:11 PM   #1
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Default High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

I think its a YAG laser and im not sure of the actual output power but A few years ago I got to play with one that was for melting and forming jewelry. It was a 5' tall machine that had a scope on the front with crosshairs and then an open area in the front where you would place your hands and the jewelery. You just aim for a spot on the item, push a foot pedal and then it fires a quick pulse and you see the metal melt instantly! Its very cool to play around with. If the pedal is held down the laser goes fully automatic and pulses rapidly allowing to more melting. I got to spend about 20 min fusing silver links together with it The only downside is that since gold and silver are so reflective some of the laser is redirected at your hands and I even later noticed little black dots on my skin. It does give you a little bit of a sting!

Does anyone know anything more about these types of lasers?
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

Admittedly, I know nothing about this type of laser, but from what you described, it sounds incredibly dangerous. Considering how powerful it must be to melt metals instantaneously, and how reflective silver and gold are, I'm a bit surprised you're not blind and/or fingerless.

That said, it does sound like it could be lots of fun with gloves/goggles
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

It is a professional machine that cost tens of thousands of dollars minimum. It was designed to be simple so that anyone could learn to operate it safely. I would assume that the scope used to aim the laser is designed to protect the user from being flashed. The man who owns it and allowed me to use it is my uncle who uses it daily. I think I was pretty safe. Gloves could have been used but the little beam reflections didnt really hurt.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

it is a Nd:YAG laser. here's an example of one

PulsePoint

Average power is 75 watts on this one however this next one is 30 watts average. keep in mind both have pulse powers in the kW range, meaning not an easy thing to build for yourself.

PulsePoint

You would need a decent binocular microscope, then an IR filter capable of blocking the kw pulses completely without melting. After all if the filter melts any, your optics are gone. Silver is more difficult then gold to melt, so if you are needing to work on silver, higher power is better. Lets not forget that there's seriously high voltages required for this type of laser, as well as an active cooling system. The voltage required is more then enough to kill you easily and certainly if you have an accident making it. Also getting the laser focused well for melting gold and silver for your applications is going to require putting the beam backwards though a beam expander to shrink it instead of expand it. you need a tight beam diameter for this. it would have poor divergence, but that's not really the issue when the beam will only be traveling a few inches to a foot or so.

I've looked a bit into building one myself as I've always wanted a laser welder myself. I do hate the time it takes to solder simple pin findings to a large silver broach etc. However I pretty much talked myself out of it when I got a feel for how advanced it is. Perhaps in a few years...


I am NOT saying that you couldn't build one yourself. Simply stating the logistics involved are advanced enough you would need to really do your homework first.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the laser welders I have seen both have an argon tank that blows on the piece too when welding. It's absolutely critical for some metals when welding.
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Last edited by StridAst; 10-20-2010 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

Yeah it looked alot like the first one you posted. It was a standup unit.

Also I have no intention of building one I just though some people might find it interesting and I wanted to know a bit more about it.

thanks for the info
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

thanks for the links!
forget the 75w average.. those babies, or should i say monsters, do 100 joule pulses! :-)

saw such a welder in action in a documentary about lasers - amazing, would love to have it. not sure how long i would use it for actual silversmithing, before disassembling it.. and melting frequency-doubler-crystals :-)

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Old 10-26-2010, 11:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

Agreed on the love to have on part. though since rather then list a price in the catalogs, Rio Grande has it listed as "call for pricing" makes me more then a little paranoid about the price. I've wondered more then a few times if the SSY1 laserheads could be adapted into putting out that kind of power. Somehow I doubt it. Let alone the logistical nightmare of trying to make one myself. =/ oh well. I can dream can't I?
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90-100mW green module in modified Dorcy
PHR @ 120mA
GGW @ 200mA in a labby style "wax pen"
12X 545mW in a sterling silver host.

445 in a steampunk gun setting @ 1600ma
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: High Power Jewelers Laser for Melting Gold and Silver

Heh, doing some searching on the web, the smaller one (30 joule) goes for about $20,000-$22,000.
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