FAQ & Micro-Welding Explained

Defining Micro

“Micro” is different for everyone. We specialize in “micro” welding, as I am sure you have read. We have many types of welding systems the range from pulse arc welders to laser welders, to capacitive discharge welders. How about we tell you the smallest and largest applications we’ve welded, then you give us a call and tell us what you would like to weld. We’ll give you our recommendations form our various line of welding systems that we offer.

Smallest: Around .2mm

Largest: 4mm on most metals

Welding vs. Soldering

Pulse arc welding performs metal to metal fusion and provides stronger weld joints. No flux or prep work is needed when pulse arc welding. Users can simply weld the two workpieces together (even when they are dissimilar metals) and then buff and polish them. No pickling or acid baths required when pulse arc or laser welding.

Pulse arc and laser welders provide a very small and localized heat affected zone, giving users the ability to weld areas without removing precious stones, rubies, pearls, etc.

Pulse arc and laser welders will weld all metals, including Titanium.

Pulse arc and laser welders require no flames or flammable gases.

Can the Orion weld silver?

Yes, the Orion has been specifically designed with the more difficult-to-weld materials in mind. Silver requires appreciable energy for a sustained period of time. The Orion has enough energy and capacity to make quick work of your silver applications.

Which welder is right for me?

This answer comes down to two main questions that you need to ask yourself:

1. What are my main uses for the machine? and 2. What is my budget? Here are some example scenarios – (1. I am only working with silver and only doing repairs and I have a very strict budget.

2. I will be using this for all metals and all types of repairs and maybe do some sculpting and random jewelry design on the side and I do have a pretty strict budget.

3. I will be using this for all metals and all types of repairs and maybe do some sculpting and random jewelry design on the side and I do not have a strict budget). If you are the first person then we recommend starting with a basic pulse arc welder like a 100c or an mPulse.

Let these machine pay for themselves through the work you are able to do and then decide if you need one of our more advanced machines that will provide greater precision and efficiency. If you decide you want a more advanced machine trade your old one in for a credit to one of our more advanced systems.

If you are person 2 then we would recommend you do the same thing but start with a 150s or a 200i2 and allow yourself to have me versatility and precision now. You can also trade your unit in for a credit to a more advanced system if you decide to in the future.

If you are person 3 then we would suggest that you get a laser and a pulse arc welder. It’s kind of like how you diversify your financial portfolio. Its good to have stocks, mutual funds, real-estate, etc because you never know what is going to come up and by having everything you need in your portfolio, you are always ready for any situation.

By having a laser and a pulse arc welder you are also ready for any situation, you will literally have a complete workshop with a solution to every application, design, repair, creation, invention, you name it!

Pulse Arc (Micro Tig) vs. Laser

Pulse arc and Laser welders produce very similar results. However, the way the pieces are fused together is very different. Lasers use a light beam and pulse arc welders use electricity and an arc to fuse the metal together. Lasers can control their weld spot size and the amount of energy that is discharged into the weld independently while pulse arc welders can only control the energy. More energy equals a larger spot size on a pulse arc welder and less energy equals a smaller weld spot size.

Pulse arc welding systems allow users to achieve deeper penetration, especially on silver. Sometimes the light beam on a laser will reflect off of silver and not penetrate the metal as well as a pulse arc system. Pulse arc systems are known for being the welder of choice when working with silver.

Lasers can be used to smooth out and polish areas that have been welded together that are rough by widening the laser beam and turning the energy down. Pulse arc welders can be used to smooth weld areas as well but can take a bit more time then on a laser. The only exception being on silver.

Pulse arc welders will only weld conductive materials. This can be nice when diamonds, rubies, or pearls are close to the welding area. If a laser beam accidentally touches one of these items it will weld it. If the tungsten electrode of a pulse arc welder touches a diamond, ruby, or pearls a weld will not occur. Both systems can control their energy to lower levels in order to work close to diamonds, rubies, and pearls without damaging them.

Pulse arc welding systems require that the user attaches a grounding clip to the workpiece and must touch the work piece to the tungsten welding electrode in order for a weld to occur. Lasers do not require a grounding clip and will weld anytime the user presses the foot pedal.

What is Small Scale Laser Welding?

Small Scale Laser Welding:

Sunstone Machining Laser Welding Spec Box

Laser Welding

Laser welding is an amazing welding process that uses collimated light to melt and fuse metals.  This means that laser welding is ideal for automation and difficult to reach joints.  Just like pulse arc welding, laser welding is typically used as an edge welding process.  It can be used to add material via fill wire or to melt and join material from the parts to be welded without the need for additional material.  Lasers (and laser welders) can also be used for deep drilling of holes in parts, and even to push material from one part to another during the welding process.
Like pulse arc welding, during laser welding, the energy into the weld joint is extremely low.  This means that even heat sensitive parts can be welded with very low chance of damage.  It also helps reduce any distortion that would typically happen with other welding processes.
Laser welding is a versatile and economical welding process for a variety of applications.  Sunstone is happy to help you weld your application or to help you bring Laser welding in-house to your facility.  Contact us to see which solution will be the best for your business.

What is Pulsed Micro TIG Welding?

Pulsed Micro TIG welding:

Sunstone Machining Pulsed Micro TIG Welding Spec Box

Pulse Arc Welding

Pulse arc welding is a high precision, TIG type, plasma discharge, welding process.  Sunstone Engineering’s pulse arc welders are capable of extremely precise energy discharge.  Each plasma discharge creates small laser-like welds.  Pulse arc welding, like laser welding, is typically an edge welding process.  The weld spot is created as the tungsten electrode is withdrawn from the weld surface and the melting process starts from the outside and penetrates inwardly.  Like traditional TIG welding, pulse arc welding can be used to add additional material, like fill wire.  This is useful in many applications where additional material is needed for additional strength.  Additionally, pulse arc welding can also be used to melt and fuse to parts together without the need for fill wire.  Unlike traditional large-scale TIG welding, pulse arc welding can create welds that bridge gaps between parts. This is due in part to the high peak weld currents and liquid metal dynamics that occur during the short welding process.

An additional advantage of pulse arc welding is the extremely low energy input to create the weld.  This welding property means that even heat sensitive parts or pieces can be welded with very low chance of thermal damage.  Pulse arc welding also helps reduce any distortion that would typically happen during other welding processes.
Pulse arc welding is a versatile and economical welding process for a variety of applications.  Sunstone is happy to help you weld your application or to help you bring pulse arc welding in-house to your facility.  Contact us to see which solution will be the best for your business.

What is Fine Spot Resistance Welding?

FINE SPOT RESISTANCE WELDING:

Fine Spot Resistance Welding Spec Box

RESISTANCE WELDING

Resistance welding, sometimes called spot welding, is an economical and proven welding process.  In spot welding, a positive and a negative electrode make contact with the work piece-usually the parts to be welded are pinched between the electrodes.  After the pressure has been applied a pulse of electrical current is released which causes the metal to melt between the welding electrodes.  The result is a weld spot – hence the term “spot weld”.
When resistance welding small parts, careful consideration must be given to part geometry, proper part fixture composition, contact resistance and other important variables, to ensure consistent weld results. Sunstone is an expert in this process and is happy to take care of all of the details for you.
As with laser or pulse arc welding, the energy into the weld joint can be extremely low.  This means that even heat sensitive parts can be welded with a low chance of damage.  Spot welding also helps reduce any distortion that would typically happen during other welding processes.
Resistance welding is an economical welding process for many applications.  High volume production is possible and Sunstone welders can help control process parameters to produce perfect welds. At Sunstone, we are happy to help you weld your application or help you bring your welding in-house to your own facility.  Contact us to see which solution will be the best for your business.

How deep can my pulse-arc welder penetrate?

Depends on the material being welded, however, spot depth of down to 2 mm can be achieved.

Can I build-up or add material to a weld location?

Yes, Orion systems are very versatile. Filler wire can be used to add metal to a weld location. In Tack Mode, filler wire or sheet filler can be permanently affixed to a location. Wire sizes up to and greater than 1mm in diameter can be added.

However, the user should select wire diameters that match the size of the feature being welded. Users should also select wire with similar material to that of their workpiece.

For example: when re-tipping a gold ring, 0.25mm gold filler wire is an excellent choice. If filling a large gap in a steel workpiece, 1mm steel wire may be more suitable. Orion systems have the energy and versatility to weld both of these, and many more applications with ease.

Custom Weld Equipment, Fixtures and Automation

WELD EQUIPMENT, FIXTURES AND AUTOMATION

Sunstone Machining makes custom automation, tooling and fixtures for welding applications. We have over 10 years of experience designing equipment and fixtures for a variety of welding applications.  Put our experience and expertise to work for you!  Use our machine shop services to gear up with all of the fixtures and electrodes you need to make your production process as easy and fast as possible. With our many years of micro welding experience, we have learned what goes into producing superior weld results.
When you use Sunstone Machining to perform your welds we will also quote appropriate weld fixtures and electrode designs to help your project run smoothly and save money.

Sunstone Machining Weld Fixtures

Do you already do your welding in-house, or would like to bring your welding back to your own facility?  Visit Sunstone Engineering for the most affordable and high tech micro welding technologies.  Sunstone Engineering is a world leader in micro welding.  We can find a solution for you.  Sunstone will help you select the best welding technology with our free weld sample evaluation and support.   When you weld in-house, consider using Sunstone to produce professional weld fixtures and setups.  We will help you produce consistent welds while saving you time and money.

www.sunstonewelders.com/custom

 

What is the smallest and largest spot size achievable?

The answer to this question depends greatly on the material being welded. However, spot sizes of down to 0.05 mm and up to 5 mm are typical and simple to implement.

Why is Copper Battery Pack Welding better than Nickel?

Copper Battery Pack Assembly:
Sunstone Machining Copper Battery Spec Box

Copper Battery Pack Welding

Copper is a notoriously difficult metal to weld.  It has a high thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity.  This means that a resistance welding process generally has difficulty producing enough heat at the copper-weld interface to produce a weld.  What little heat that is produced is quickly wicked away by the surrounding metal.    Copper is also difficult for most laser welders.  The typical YAG laser wavelength is at around 1064 nm.  At this wavelength over 90% of the light energy is reflected away from the surface of the copper.  Green wavelength lasers have been developed to help overcome this problem but their cost is highly prohibitive for most businesses.

Sunstone Engineering has developed a welding technology that overcomes the limitations of both resistance and laser welding.  Sunstone’s Orion EV welding system uses pulse arc technology to melt the copper sheet in a spot and gently lay that molten material down on a battery can surface.  As with other pulse arc welds, the weld happens quickly and the energy added in the form of heat to the battery is very low.  The end results is a high conductivity copper sheet can be welded easily to a steel or nickel battery can surface in thicknesses that are much larger than traditional resistance welding of nickel tabs.  This thicker, highly conductive copper can reduce the power drop in the battery pack significantly – especially for high current batteries packs.  This means cooler batteries, longer battery life, more voltage, current, and power from your packs!

Sunstone Machining can weld your copper battery packs.  We have the equipment expertise, and experience to produce great weld results.  Our quote will also include any fixtures necessary to produce your battery pack.   If you would like to do your own copper battery pack welding we are happy to support you. Use Sunstone’s Orion EV welder to bring your copper battery pack production in-house.  Call us to find out the best solution for your company.

Electrodes

Which Electrodes should I use?
Sunstone Welders Welding Electrode Selection Guide

Resistance welding electrode selection is one of the challenges when starting out in Resistance welding. Electrode materials vary and include Copper, Tungsten, and Molybdenum; as well as various alloys of each of the above materials. Electrode size and shape are important factors in achieving the weld spot that you would like.

What Does RWMA Mean?

Resistance Welder Manufacturer’s Association (RWMA). RWMA is an organization that is under the American Welding Society (AWS), that is intended to promote resistance welding and its advancement. The use of the RWMA and number is a reference to their standards and allows for a uniform classification system to define the alloys used in welding electrodes.

RWMA Logo

What Are Welding Electrode Made Of?

RWMA 2 Resistance welding Electrodes
RWMA 2 Electrodes Angled

RWMA 1 Copper

Copper Cadmium  Alloy –
Rockwell Hardness 70B, 90% conductivity. Commonly used welding electrode alloy. Least expensive welding Material.

RWMA 2 Copper

Copper Chromium Alloy
Rockwell Hardness 83B, 85% conductivity. Used when welding steel, Nickel, and resistive materials.

RWMA 3 Copper

Copper Cobalt Beryllium Alloy

Rockwell Hardness100B, 48% conductivity.
The primary purpose is for longer electrode life, and for use with high forces. For welding resistive parts.

GLIDCOP

– Copper mixed primarily with Aluminum Oxide particles – Rockwell Hardness 68B, 92% conductivity. Similar in performance to RWMA 1 & 2, but with great strength and electrode life. Resistant to thermal softening. Used in the EL BATT Battery Electrodes.

RWMA 11 – Copper Tungsten Alloy

Rockwell Hardness 99B, 46% conductivity. Primarily used for welding precious metals & Copper Alloys. Has higher strength than RWMA 1&2, but is still machinable for custom shapes.

RWMA 13 – Tungsten

Rockwell Hardness 70A, 32% conductivity. Cannot be machined to fit a specific shape, but can be ground and sharpened to a point.  Used to
weld metals such as copper and
brass and their alloys. Highest heat resistance, and strength of all electrodes.

RWMA 14 – Molybdenum

Rockwell Hardness 90B, 31% conductivity. Machineable to create custom shaped electrodes. Primarily used for welding Copper, Gold, Silver, as well as Alloys that include them.

What Electrode is Best for my Materials?

The best option is to ensure that the electrode that comes in contact with the metal matches the best material for use in welding this type. For example, you would not want to weld copper, using a copper electrode. This would cause sticking and welding of the electrodes to the base materials. Additionally, if the correct electrodes are used, and properly maintained, then sticking can be eliminated, and electrode maintenance can be nearly eliminated.

Find which material you are looking to weld below. The recommended electrodes are numbered below.

Galvanized Steel:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Inconel:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Kanthal:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Niobium:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Nitinol:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Phosphor Bronze:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 3
  3. RWMA 2

Platinum:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Silver:

  1. Copper Tungsten
  2. GLIDCOP
  3. RWMA 3
  4. RWMA 2

Stainless Steel:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Titanium:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

Tungsten:

  1. GLIDCOP
  2. RWMA 2
  3. RWMA 3

200i2 FAQ

What are Waveforms?

Waveforms control how weld energy is released. Multiple waveforms open the door to faster, easier methods of welding your work pieces. The new wave forms (Triangle and Square) found exclusively on the Orion 200i² allow users to weld difficult metals better than before. Welding silver is now easier with these new options offered by Orion. If users don’t know which waveform to select, don’t worry, we give the best waveform suggestion on the “Metals” screen.

What is Internal Weld Monitoring?

This new feature found exclusively on the Orion 200i² monitors welds as they are happening to ensure they’re consistent with the weld parameters selected. The welder makes slight adjustments as needed during the welding process to assure that welds are guaranteed to be consistent and repeatable every time. With this feature, users can be confident their welder is yielding the best results.

General

Why should I buy a Sunstone Product?

We are the micro welding experts. Sunstone is dedicated to providing innovative and versatile products at affordable prices. We specialize in designing, engineering and manufacturing fine spot micro welding solutions. Our product line includes Capacitive Discharge, AC, Laser, and Pulse Arc/Micro TIG welding systems that are used in a variety of research and manufacturing fields and industries.

Over the years, our areas of expertise have grown substantially. The need for micro welding has steadily grown thanks to product and technology innovations that seem to constantly be pushing the limits of how small we make things. As this trend continues to progress, we will continue to be the micro welding experts.

Metals FAQ

Can I weld different (dissimilar) metals together?

Yes, in many instances different metals can be welded easily together with our micro welding systems. In pulse-arc welding the weld spot location becomes a new alloy of the two primary metals (this new alloy will adopt new properties that may be better or worse than the primary materials). Dissimilar metals can also be joined using our resistance welding and laser welding systems. Again, weld strength and properties will depend on alloy properties.

What materials can you weld with Sunstone products?

Sunstone systems weld a wide variety of materials. Refer to the videos page to see the many different types of materials that Sunstone products can weld. Keep in mind that some materials and alloys will be difficult to weld. If you are not sure about your application give us a call or send in samples for a free weld evaluation.