I am using the Orion mPulse 30 Micro welder, but any of the Sunstone micro welders, and welders that have low power setting capabilities, will work. Any metal wire that conducts electricity can be welded with these welders. However, plated metal is not recommended because the plating finish can get distorted with welding.
You will need a flush cutter to cut wire so that one edge is completely flush; round nose pliers are recommended, but not absolutely necessary.
Wire that is 20 to 22 gauge is the easiest to weld. As you get thinner, it is slightly trickier to weld, but not impossible. Here I am using 24 gauge half hard wire.
The technique that needs to be practised is to cut the wire (after making the loop) in such a way that the wire ends on top of itself by just a little bit (almost mid point over the other side of the wire). So that, when you press down on it, the end is rubbing tightly against itself as it settles into a loop, with no spacing/gap. When welding, position the electrode over the seam, with a slight favouring towards the end, so that when it is fused, it jumps onto the shaft. In other words, do not point onto the shaft, rather point from the wire end. In this way, you will not thin out the shaft as the metal is being fused.
In the video, I made the mistake of pulling on the beads when I was doing my final weld. In this way, I broke it and discovered that it was caused by the force of pulling things apart, while the metal was hot. If you hold the bar simply supported against the electrode, this will not happen.
Being able to weld loops with fine wires is an excellent skill to master. Micro welding makes this possible, and much more efficiently than soldering with flame and flux. With traditional soldering, you risk the flame’s heat cracking the stone beads and melting the fine wires. With welding, it takes seconds, and with the use of argon gas, there is little to no fire scale to clean.
I hope you find my video interesting, and not too slow in tempo. In reviewing the video, I noticed that I’m repeating myself quite a bit about the loop and pressing the wire, but I wanted to emphasize that this is 90% of the trick. Please let me know your thoughts and whether or not this is too slow for you, and what you think of this video.
Materials used in this video: