TIG Welding Page

This page is for those individuals and organizations that would like to know more about TIG welding precious metal.  Two good in depth introductions to this solution are available. The 2006 volume of the Santa Fe Symposium includes a paper I wrote. It contains basic information about TIG and how it can be applied to jewelry manufacturing. Also The Goldsmiths Company in the UK has a paper by Hector Miller available in their technical library. Hector is a master silversmith and his site has examples of how he put TIG welding to use.

TIG has the ability for greater penetration of the weld.  Additionally, this process has far greater capacity to fill and build. This is particularly an advantage in sizing a thick platinum ring, as few as two passes can weld a 3mm thick shank.

Recently palladium alloys have become popular due to the metal's natural whiteness and competitive cost.  The problems related to joining palladium successfully with traditional gas/oxy torch can be overcome using TIG as the solution. The weld contains no brazing filler (solder) so there is no detectable solder seam.  It has been my experience after repairing numerous cracked laser welds that TIG is a far less sensitive method of fusing palladium. At the 2006 Santa Fe Symposium, a paper was delivered by Dr. Paolo Battaini that shows his scanning electron microscope studies of a palladium gallium alloy that give some insight to the differences between laser, TIG, and traditional bonding of this material. The paper illustrates the manufacturing of palladium gallium tubing, which uses TIG welding to create a seamless product. In a final image the tubing is presented under work-hardened condition with neither cracks nor material ruptures present. In a section of the paper that deals with laser welding palladium gallium alloy, an example of hot cracking due to excessive thermal shrinkage strains is illustrated. Dr. Battaini emphasized the need for appropriate welding parameters. Dr. Battaini studies of the weld specimens from my technical paper had similar conclusions as the tubing studies.

The equipment I use is common to TIG welding around the world. I have a Miller Dynasty 200 DX, a Weldcraft WP-9 and WP- 50, and an Elga Optimator regulator. Information about these products can be found at millerwelds.com.  I have found these tools capable of my required tasks.  I enjoy the various advantages that welding brings to jewelry making and TIG gives me the control of the molten metal that is necessary.

Ladies Pd ringAfter cutting and squeezing togetherAfter weldingReset narrower
This job required cutting a piece out of the shank to reduce the width of the shank prior to resetting the mounting. Welding made this task possible with no pits, cracking, or metal discoloration.
Click here to see a sterling silver TIG welded charm  and  here to see a weld made with the turquoise remaining in the mount.