Pulse Arc Welding Workbook

Orion Welders
Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Introduction
Thank you for choosing Orion and congratulations on your purchase!
You are now the proud owner of an Orion system. Please read and follow all safety precautions and before proceeding with
setup.
Sunstone Engineering is the parent company of Orion Welders. At Sunstone & Orion we are committed to producing quality
products and ensuring complete owner satisfaction. If you require assistance after reading this manual please contact us
with the information provided below.
Orion Welders, a Subsidiary of
Sunstone Engineering R&D Corp.
1693 American Way Suite #5
Payson, UT 84651
Email: sales@orionwelders.com
Voice: 801-658-0015
Fax: 866-701-1209
Go to - http://orionwelders.com/resources/ for additional product specific resources.
Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Warranty Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Welding safety Precautions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Chapter 1: Pulse Arc Welding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 2: Resistance Welding (Tack Mode) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Chapter 3: Tungsten Electrodes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Chapter 4: Techniques, Tips, & Tricks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 5: Metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Chapter 6: FAQ / Troubleshooting / Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Chapter 7: Cleaning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Warranty
RETURNS:
Orion offers a 30-day return policy on all products. Before sending a product back please contact Orion to receive an RMA
number. The RMA number should appear clearly on the outside of the package. Customers are refunded via check. Please
note that a 10% restocking fee will apply to all returns. A 30% restocking fee will apply to all 3rd party products. Additionally,
all 3rd party products must be insured when sent back to Orion at the buyers expense. In some cases, a merchant fee may
apply. Equipment damaged by improper use or insufficient shipping precautions will be charged additional fees.
REPAIRS:
All Orion LZR series, c series, s series, and i series welders come with a 2 year repair warranty. The Orion mPulse welders
carry a 90 day warranty. Orion Welders will repair all defects in craftsmanship without charge during this time period
(excluding the cost of shipping). This warranty does not cover damage caused by improper use of Orion products. This
warranty does not include consumable items, such as welding electrodes or flash lamps. Orion Welders is dedicated to
keeping our products operating at peak performance for years to come. Any repairs needed after the warranty period are
performed at cost.
INTERNATIONAL ORDERS:
Orion Welders is happy to ship products internationally. International customers should be prepared to pay their country’s
customs, duties, and taxes. Also, international customers should be prepared to pay all shipping costs on any returns and
repairs.
Welding Safety Precautions
READ BEFORE WELDING
The following safety advice is generalized advice for the arc-welding industry. These safety precautions are not all
inclusive. All users should exercise reasonable caution while using this device. The following group of symbols are warning
symbols:
CAUTION, ELECTRIC SHOCK HAZARD, EYE PROTECTION REQUIRED
Consult these symbols and the related instructions listed next to the symbols for proper action when dealing with these
hazards.
READ INSTRUCTIONS
• Read the owner’s manual before using the Orion.
• Only personnel trained and certified by the manufacturer should service the unit.
• Use only genuine replacement parts from the manufacturer.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR FIRE OR EXPLOSION
Sparks can fly off from the welding arc. The flying sparks, hot workpiece, and hot equipment can cause fires and burns.
Ensure that your work area is clean and safe for welding before starting any weld job.
• Do not install or operate unit near combustible surfaces.
• Do not install or operate unit near flammables.
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• Do not overload your building’s electrical wiring – be sure the power distribution system is properly sized, rated,
and protected to handle this unit.
• Remove all flammable materials from the welding area. If this is not possible, tightly cover them with approved
covers.
• Do not weld where flying sparks can strike flammable material.
• Protect yourself and others from flying sparks and hot metal.
• Watch for fire and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
• Do not weld where the atmosphere may contain flammable dust, gas, or liquid vapors.
• Remove any combustibles, such as butane lighters or matches, from your person before doing any welding.
• Do not exceed the equipment’s rated capacity.
• Use only correct fuses or circuit breakers. Do not oversize or bypass them.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR ELECTRICAL SHOCK
Touching live electrical parts can cause fatal shocks or severe burns. The input power circuit and the internal circuits of the
Orion welder are live when the power switch is turned on. Additionally the internal capacitors remain charged for a period
of time after the Orion is turned off and/or power is disconnected. Incorrectly installed or improperly grounded equipment
is a hazard. This device was designed to operate indoors only. Do not operate welder in a wet/damp environment. Holding
the hand pieces connected to the front of the welder is okay and will not generate an electrical shock.
• Remove personal jewelry before welding (i.e. rings, watches, bracelets, etc).
• Do not touch live electrical parts.
• Wear dry, hole-free insulating gloves and body protection.
• Properly install and ground this equipment according to this manual and national, state, and local codes.
• Do not weld with wet hands or wet clothing.
• Always verify the supply ground – check and be sure that the input power cord ground wire is properly
connected to a ground terminal in the disconnect box or that the input power cord plug is connected to a
properly grounded receptacle outlet. Do not remove or bypass the ground prong.
• Keep cords dry, free of oil and grease, and protected from hot metal and sparks.
• Frequently inspect the input power cord and ground conductor for damage or bare wiring – replace immediately
if damaged – bare wiring can kill. Check ground conductor for continuity.
• Turn off all equipment when not in use.
• Use only well-maintained equipment and repair or replace damaged parts at once.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FLYING SPARKS AND ARC RAYS
It is essential for every person in the immediate work area to wear/utilize proper Personal Protection Equipment. Often
sparks fly off from the weld joint area; therefore, take the necessary precautions to avoid trapping a spark within your own
clothing. Also arc welding gives off infrared and UV rays that can burn the retinal tissues within the eyes and cause surface
burns to exposed skin, similar to a sun burn.
• The stereo microscope provides proper eye protection when pulse arc welding. No additional protection is
necessary.
• Wear protective garments such as oil-free, flame-resistant leather gloves, heavy shirt, cuff-less trousers, high
shoes, and a cap. Avoid synthetic fibers as they melt easily.
• Use an approved face shield or safety goggles with side shields when tack welding or when observing others
performing pulse arc and tack welds.
• Use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or high if welding for extended periods of time.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR HOT METAL
• Welding material that has a high thermal conductivity will cause metal to heat rapidly.
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• Repetitive welds in the same location can cause metal to become hot.
• Do not touch hot weld areas bare-handed.
• Allow sufficient cooling time before handling welded pieces.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR FUMES AND GASES
Welding produces fumes and gases. Breathing these fumes and gases can be hazardous to your health. The Orion
produces minimal fumes and gases when compared to large-scale arc welders. Though not required, some form of
ventilation is recommended.
• Keep your head out of the fumes. Do not breathe the fumes.
• Ventilate the area and/or use local forced ventilation at the arc to remove welding fumes and gases.
• If ventilation is poor, wear an approved air-supplied respirator.
• Read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and the manufacturer’s instructions for metals,
consumables, coatings, cleaners, and degreasers.
• Welding in confined spaces requires good ventilation or an air-supplied respirator. Always have a trained watch
person nearby. Welding fumes and gases can displace air and lower the oxygen level causing injury or death. Be
sure the breathing air is safe.
• Do not weld in locations near degreasing, cleaning, or spraying operations. The heat and rays of the arc can react
with vapors to form highly toxic and irritating gases.
• Do not weld on coated metals, such as galvanized, lead, or cadmium plated steel, unless the coating is removed
from the weld area, the area is well ventilated, and while wearing an air-supplied respirator. The coatings and
any metals containing these elements can give off toxic fumes if welded.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR FALLING EQUIPMENT
• Use a working surface of adequate physical strength to support the welding unit during operation or storage.
• Secure welding unit during transport so that it cannot tip or fall.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR HIGH FREQUENCY PITCH AND VOLUME
• Welding with high frequency pulse agitation can produce loud, high pitched sounds. It is recommended to use
hearing protection when welding with agitation turned on.
MAGNETIC FIELDS CAN AFFECT IMPLANTED MEDICAL DEVICES
• Wearers of pacemakers and other implanted medical devices should keep away.
• Implanted medical device wearers should consult their doctor and the device manufacturer before going near
arc welding, spot welding, gouging, plasma arc cutting, or induction heating operations.
OVERUSE CAN CAUSE OVERHEATING
• Allow a cooling period between strenuous welding schedules; follow rated duty cycle.
• If overheating occurs often, reduce duty cycle before starting to weld again.
OBSERVE ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH COMPRESSED GASES
• Use only compressed gas cylinders containing the correct shielding gas for the process used.
• Always keep cylinders in an upright position and secured to a fixed support.
• Cylinders should be located:
- Away from areas where they may be struck or subjected to physical damage.
- A safe distance from arc welding or cutting operations and any other source of heat, sparks, or flame.
PRINCIPAL SAFETY STANDARDS
Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes, ANSI Standard Z49.1,from Global Engineering Documents (phone: 1-877-
4
413-5184, website:www.global.ihs.com).
OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry, Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part
1910, Subpart Q, and Part 1926, Subpart J, from U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box
371954, Pittsburgh, PA 5250-7954 (phone: 1-866-512-1800) (there are 10 Regional Offices—phone for Region 5, Chicago,
is 312-353-2220, website: www.osha.gov).
National Electrical Code, NFPA Standard 70, from National Fire Protection Association, P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 022699101 (phone: 617-770-3000, website: www.nfpa.org and www.sparky.org).
Canadian Electrical Code Part 1, CSA Standard C22.1, from Canadian Standards Association, Standards Sales, 5060
Mississauga, Ontario,
Canada L4W 5NS (phone: 800-463-6727 or in Toronto 416-747-4044, website: www.csa-international.org).
Safe Practice For Occupational And Educational Eye And Face Protection, ANSI Standard Z87.1, from American National
Standards Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036–8002 (phone: 212-642-4900, website: www.ansi.org).
CE TESTED AND CERTIFIED
Welder tested for electrostatic discharge immunity up to 2kV for CE compliance
Chapter 1: Pulse Arc Welding
Welding Basics
The Orion is a pulse-arc welder and a capacitive discharge resistance welder in one. This combination of abilities allows
for infinite creative possibilities. In its Resistance Welder Mode (Tack) the Orion can be used to temporarily position parts
before welding or soldering. By increasing the energy output in Tack Mode it can also be used as a permanent fusion welder
(resistance welder, spot welder). In its Pulse Arc Mode (Arc), the Orion can be used to perform permanent welds, add metal,
and do a variety of other time-saving metal fusing applications.
WHAT IS A PULSE-ARC WELDER?
A pulse-arc welder is a specialized type of a Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welder. In TIG welding, a sharpened tungsten
electrode is used in combination with electrical energy to start and sustain a high temperature plasma stream - an arc. This
plasma arc is used as a heat source to melt the workpiece metal. Filler metal can also be added to build up joints and create
strong and reliable weld “beads”, or weld seams.
TIG welders can use AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) energy to initiate the pulse-arc-weld. The Orion uses
industrial capacitive discharge technology to produce the pulse-arc weld. Because AC wall voltage can vary up to 20%
during the day, capacitive welders have the advantage over AC technologies of precisely storing energy before the welding
process. This means that the Orion will produce a repeatable weld independent of AC power fluctuations.
PULSE ARC WELDING FUNDAMENTALS
Pulse Arc welding uses electrical energy to create a plasma discharge. The high temperature plasma in turn melts metal
in a small spot. This process takes place in milliseconds. The process is clean, and very controllable – perfect for intricate
and minute welding applications.
The Orion’s welding process:
1. The user touches the electrode to the surface with very
light pressure. 2. The Orion turns on the shielding gas (argon).
3. The Orion retracts the electrode and sends a burst of
electrical energy – forming a plasma arc. Please note that the
weld is only made after the electrode lifts from the workpiece surface – therefore it is important to use very light pressure.
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*Remember that the weld is created only when the electrode lifts from the workpiece surface. This means that using too much
pressure will prevent a weld from taking place and will also damage your electrode.
The penetration of your weld spot depends on many different factors. However, as a rule
of thumb you can expect the penetration of the weld spot to be approximately ¼ of the
diameter of the weld spot. Factors like electrode shape and condition also effect the weld
penetration and will be discussed in more detail later.
PULSE ARC VS. LASER
Laser welding and pulse arc welding technologies are designed to create high quality welds in precious and non precious
metals. Laser welding uses collimated or focused light to add energy to the metal and melt it at a single location. Pulse Arc
welding uses electricity (specifically electrons) to add energy to the workpiece and melt the metal in a spot. Although laser
welding devices are good welding tools, the Orion can perform many of the same functions of a laser and in some cases
can even perform actions that lasers cannot. For example, welding silver is difficult for laser light because of silver’s highly
reflective properties. However, the Orion does not have this limitation because electrons are electrically attracted to the
surface of silver. The Orion also has the advantage of only welding on metal. Lasers can strike precious stones or other
nonmetals and can even crack or evaporate the target. Because the Orion is electrically driven it requires a conductor, such as
a metal, to allow the welding process to take place.
The Orion welder uses the same high temperature plasma that can be found on the surface
of the sun. The sun creates this plasma via internal fusion reactions and the plasma
temperature measures about 5,500 deg C at the sun’s surface. The Orion creates it’s plasma
via electrical discharge and can generate temperatures of 5,500 – 8,000 deg C in very
controlled, small bursts.
START WELDING
To become an expert and to really learn how to maximize the capabilities of the Orion, we recommend that you dedicate time
for real hands on experience. We recommend that you read and complete the following sections while you are in front of your
Orion. Your Orion is very easy-to-use and you will be making quality welds within minutes. The purpose of this section is to
help you to better understand some of the fundamental welding principles, to utilize all of the functions of your Orion, and to
adapt this knowledge to specific applications.
As you can see from this example, Orion welding machines offer a lot of energy. Higher energies are perfect for larger/thicker
pieces, deeper weld penetration and for welding highly conductive metals like silver.
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Hands On: Try welding on a flat plate with 30, 50, 75, 100, and 150 Ws of energy. Stay at max
length, and make sure you have a sharp welding electrode. (Orion 150s was used here)
Lower energy settings allow for welds on small parts and delicate features. Having both power and precision allows users
to have maximum versatility. Selecting the proper weld setting is a matter of user preference and application necessity.
Hands On: Try welding at 3, 10, 25 Ws of energy. Stay at max length, and make sure you have a
sharp welding electrode. (Orion 150s was used here)
WELD ENERGY VS. WELD LENGTH (OR TIME)
What happens if the length (time/duration) of the weld is adjusted? As can be seen in the figures below, the weld time
controls the size of the pulse to a smaller extent then the energy. It also controls the smoothness of the weld puddle.
Because the smoothness of the weld spot is also related to the internal stress of the weld joint – a smoother weld will have
less stress. It is recommended that the user keep the weld length at the max time for most applications. The left image
was welded at 25 Ws with 3, 7, 11, and 15ms weld length. The right image was welded at 75 Ws with 20, 40, and 60ms weld
length.
The two weld parameters (energy and length) can be understood with the following analogies. Consider your Orion welder
to be like a water tower. The amount of water in the tower is like the energy stored in the welder. Firing the welder is like
opening a large valve to let water out. The length parameter in the welder can be thought of as how long the valve is left
open. You can discharge a very small amount of water by only having the valve open a short time, or you can allow all of the
water out of the tower by leaving the valve open for a longer period of time.
The actual weld puddle can be understood better using the following analogy. Think of the metal surface as a pool of
water in its frozen state. Your welder’s arc discharge impacts the “water” causing it to melt. The arc discharge also causes
the now liquid “water” to ripple – similar to when a stone has been thrown into a body of tranquil water. If the arc energy
is removed quickly the “water” freezes instantly and the ripples remain frozen into the water’s surface. If the arc heat
is removed slowly, the ripples have a chance to dissipate and go away completely before the water’s surface refreezes.
This is why short weld length causes the weld spot to look rippled. Keeping the weld length at its max will leave the weld
looking smooth and clean.
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Using a more technical description – during the welding process the weld spot becomes a liquid
pool of metal. The impact of the welding plasma causes vibrations on the molten pool’s surface,
much like a stone causes ripples on the surface of a still body of water. When in the arc screen,
your Orion gives you the freedom to ramp down the weld energy at the length you desire. We
recommend that when you are starting out that you keep the length at its max time for most
welding applications. This gives the molten metal vibrations time to smooth out before the
metal re-solidifies. After you feel comfortable welding we suggest you experiment welding
some applications with different length settings.
In addition, a longer weld length will also help prevent cracking in some metals as the extended time and longer
discharge curve allows the molten pool to cool slower. When the energy is cut off suddenly (by shortening the time
setting) the liquid metal “freezes” in place. This rapid freezing can cause micro stresses in the weld spot and may make
the metal more prone to cracks under additional stress such as hammering.
In most cases it is recommended to leave the weld length at max time with one important exception. If welding a very
small part at less than 5 Ws of energy, it is very helpful to turn down the length. By turning down the length the arc will
still ignite easily but the energy that the welder allows out during the weld is limited by the shorter amount of time. The
larger weld in this image was done at 5 Ws for energy and 15ms for length. The smaller weld on the right was done at 5
Ws and 3ms.
Alternatively, you can sharpen the welding tip to a very fine point to help ignite the welding arc at very low energy
levels.
HANDS ON: Try making a small weld spot using 5 Ws of energy and maximum length, and then 5 Ws of energy and
minimum length. Now, with a very sharp electrode, try making a weld spot at 1-3 Ws of energy and maximum length.
You will see different results with each method. Take note of the results in order to help you when you begin work on
your own applications.
Chapter 2: Resistance Welding (Tack Mode)
This section applies to Orion welders that have the Tack welding feature. If you do not have the Tack feature this is still good
welding knowledge to have.
What is Resistance Welding (Tack Welding)?
Resistance welding, often called tack or fusion welding , takes place using a very different
process from that of Pulse Arc (TIG) welding. In resistance welding a large electrical current
is passed through two workpieces to join them together. At the contact point between the
two materials there is a resistance to the flow of the electrical current. As electrical current
is passed through this contact point, resistive heating takes place. When enough current
passes through the workpieces, the temperature (especially at the interface between
the two pieces) can become hot enough to melt the metal in a spot. The terms resistance
welder and spot welder are descriptive of this process.
If you limit the amount of energy and electrical current going into the weld you can create a temporary or weak weld called
a “tack” weld. It provides the ability to temporarily position a part before permanent welding. This ability opens a multitude
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of creative possibilities. It also helps eliminate the need for complicated binding or clamping of parts before permanent
welding or soldering.
Because the heart of the Orion is an industrial capacitive resistance welder, everything from one time custom pieces to
production welding is possible.
LEFT: A typical (industrial) welding configuration. Right: A closeup zoom of the weld showing the electrical resistances that are
used to create the weld spot.
As shown in the figure above, a typical weld configuration requires a positive and negative electrode with pressure
applied to the workpiece parts. As we zoom in on a cross sectional view of the workpiece parts, we can identify the
electrical resistance locations where heat is generated. For fine spot, or small scale resistance welding, most of the
heat is generated at the contact point between the two workpieces. This has been identified on the figure as the largest
resistance point. During the weld a large pulse of electrical current is dumped quickly through the workpiece causing rapid
heating and melting at the electrode location.
Left: On the micro scale all surfaces have a degree of surface roughness. This roughness causes the workpieces to only
contact in a limited number of locations. Middle: Applying more pressure will cause more surface contact, less resistance
and less resistive heating. Right: Applying less pressure will cause less surface contact, more resistance for better
resistive heating.
A resistance welder uses the resistance to the flow of electricity to heat and melt the part via a large electrical current. This
contact point is where the highest heat is generated. Light pressure between the parts means less contact between the
two surfaces, more resistance, and hence more heating and melting. Heavy pressure between the parts translates to more
contact between the two surfaces, less resistance, and less heating.
Sometimes it can be helpful to focus the energy of a resistance weld for larger parts. This can be done by using
a weldment, or bump between the parts to be welded. This bump forces the electrical current to pass through a
concentrated point (especially important for thicker parts). The smaller the bump tip diameter the more heat that can
be generated at that point. This technique is also very helpful for welding dissimilar, conductive metals. For example,
resistance welding silver to gold can be difficult, however, if I place a gold weldment on the silver part the gold to gold
resistance weld become very simple.
To aid in resistance welding difficult thicknesses or material combinations.
1.) Place a weldment or bump on one side to focus the energy.
2.) Use an electrode configuration that is simple and has as
much contact area as possible on the outside of the parts.
3.) The weldment or bump will fuse into the other part
making a resistance weld that cannot be seen on an edge.
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TIPS WHEN RESISTANCE WELDING
With the above in mind there are several different helpful recommendations to use when resistance (Tack) welding.
• The pressure between the two parts is the most important variable in resistance welding; even the amount of energy
being used for the weld plays (to a degree) a lesser role.
• High pressure will create a cool weld.
• Light pressure will create a hot weld.
• No pressure will produce an arc!!
• Placing a small bump or weldment between difficult to weld parts can simplify the welding process.
If using tools to hold the workpieces remember that firm pressure between the tool and the workpiece is important to
prevent welding the tool to the workpiece (e.g. brass lined pliers). Then apply the correct pressure between the workpieces
to achieve your weld.
HANDS ON: Try turning the Tack Mode energy to a middle setting and make a weld:
1. First weld with very firm pressure between the parts. The result may be little or no weld.
2. Next clamp the parts firmly in the tool but apply virtually no pressure between the parts (make sure these are parts
you no longer need). The result will be a very large spark, or at least a much better weld.
3. Practice at different energies and pressures until you feel comfortable with the process and results.
The pressure between the tool holding the part is also very important. If insufficient pressure
is applied between the tool and the part the weld may take place between the tool and the part.
Always grip the part firmly in the tool to reduce the contact resistance between the tool and
workpiece. Doing this will reduce the amount of heat created where the tool and part meet.
RESISTANCE WELDING TOOLS
It is always a good idea to have the resistance welding tool made from a material like copper (when welding more resistive
parts such as steels). If using a tool to hold the workpiece together remember that firm pressure between the tool and
the workpiece is important to prevent welding the tool to the workpiece (e.g. brass lined pliers). Then apply the correct
pressure between the workpieces to achieve your weld. This will help to ensure the resistance between the tool and the
part is very low and no weld is made at this location.
Typically, steel is not used for resistance welding because of steel’s high internal resistance. This high resistance means
that a great deal of energy is dropped in the tool before even making it to the weld location. The tool can easily fuse to the
workpiece. The exception to making a resistance welding tool from steel is when only a small amount of energy is needed.
This may happen when only a light tack weld is needed before pulse arc welding.
CABLES FOR RESISTANCE WELDING
A true resistance welding hand piece should transfer as much energy to the weld location as possible. The Orion is capable
of transferring over 3000 amperes to the weld location.
TO ENABLE THIS FULL ENERGY TRANSFER:
1. The welding attachment should use 3.5ft (~1m) of 10AWG cable.
2. IMPORTANT the cable should be no larger than 10 AWG or damage to the welder may occur (e.g. 8AWG is a larger
cable).
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*Not all tack welds require this amount of energy. Smaller cabled pulse arc attachments can be used for simple tack welds
that require lower energy.
CUSTOM RESISTANCE WELDING TOOLS
It may be helpful to shape the tool for the application. Tools that clamp the parts (e.g. brass lined pliers) should have as
much surface as possible in contact with the part to allow more energy to transfer to the weld location. Remember that
the area between the workpieces should be small to focus the energy if a strong weld is desired. A weldment or bump can
be used to help focus the energy if desired. If you are shaping an electrode to actually perform the weld then the tip should
be as small as is reasonable for the desired weld size (e.g. 1mm spot size or less is typical). Remember that when using an
electrode to perform the welding process, the pressure applied by the electrode tip determines the weld pressure and the
heat generated. A weldment or bump between the two parts to be welded can still be used to focus the energy. Place the
electrode directly over the weldment location (remember the weldment is actually between the two sheets etc, not on the
electrode).
Chapter 3: Tungsten Electrodes
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN THE WELDING PROCESS IS THE ELECTRODE. The Orion welder comes
standard with (5) 0.5mm and (5) 1.0mm electrodes. The 1.0mm electrodes are a good all around electrode while the 0.5mm
electrode is excellent for very small projects. The larger 1mm electrode allows more energy to come out at one time. The
smaller 0.5mm electrode is better for applications where less energy is being used.
HANDS ON: Make a weld using 10 Ws and a sharp 1.0mm electrode. Now make a weld using the same settings with a
sharp 0.5mm electrode.
In the ‘HANDS ON’ examples above, more energy was transferred from the Orion into the workpiece for the same setting
using the 1mm electrode. For very small parts, using the small electrode is sufficient. This option reduces the peak weld
current versus using the large electrode and can also allow for a smaller weld spot. For larger parts use the 1mm electrode.
The 1mm electrode is used when needing additional
weld current (more melting for same energy). The larger
electrode is recommended for metals such as silver, due
to higher welding energy requirements of such metals.
*Note: The 0.5mm electrode will “burn” or oxidize at
higher energy settings. As a general suggestion, the 1mm
electrode is a good choice for most applications, even very
small ones
Left: Using too much energy with the 0.5mm electrode will cause it to overheat and reduce its life.
Right: A 1.0mm electrode can weld at a variety of energies without overheating.
Why Use Tungsten Electrodes?
1. Hardness – tungsten is extremely hard and is therefore able to hold its shape during the welding process.
2. Tungsten’s melting temperature is much higher than most other metals. This means the metals being welded will
melt before the tungsten.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Material
Zinc
Aluminum
Silver
Gold
Copper
Stainless 304
Carbon Steel
Titanium
Platinum
Niobium
Tungsten
Melting Point (deg C)
420
660
962
1064
1083
1450
1500
1660
1772
2468
3410
MELTING TEMPERATURES OF SELECTED METALS:
The table shows a variety of metals and their corresponding melting
temperatures. Note that tungsten has a significantly higher melting
temperature than the other metals. This is an important attribute of
tungsten that aids the welding process. While welding, electrons from
the weld plasma impact the workpiece and form a weld spot. At the
same time, positively charged gas atoms impact the electrode. Both
of these processes create heat. However, more heat is generated by
the electrons impacting the workpiece than the atoms striking the
electrode.
ELECTRODE SHAPE
The electrode shape is a very important aspect to consider and has a significant impact when welding various metals.
The shape of the electrode will greatly affect the welding plasma created during the arc. Poor electrode shape will lead to
plasma arcs that are not repeatable while good electrode shape will help the plasma arc to discharge smoothly from the
welding tip.
The grinding direction to sharpen the electrode is very important. Top Image:
When grinding, make sure that grind marks run parallel to the electrode shaft.
Parallel grind marks will allow the plasma to discharge uniformly and smoothly
from the electrode. Bottom image: Grinding the electrode such that circular
rings or marks show up will lead to a poor plasma arc, affecting weld quality. The
plasma will discharge inconsistently from the electrode ridges and may become
unstable, oscillating in time. The weld spot will not be repeatable.
As a rule of thumb the electrode should be ground so that the taper is approximately
2.5x the diameter. The resulting electrode shape is a good general shape for easy arc
ignition and excellent weld spots.
Always grind the welding electrode so that grind
marks run parallel to the electrode shaft. Placing
the electrode incorrectly on the diamond wheel
will produce circular grind marks and poor weld
results.
HANDS ON: Grind your electrode so that grind marks run parallel to the electrode shaft. Verify by looking under the
microscope. Try to produce a taper that is approximately 2.5x the electrode diameter.
ELECTRODE SHAPING EFFECTS
There are two main electrode shape configurations that you should consider when preparing for a new project. The first is
the sharp electrode, which is the best for most applications and metals. A sharp electrode is also the easiest to ignite and
12
typically produces a good weld spot. A sharp electrode is especially important for small parts
where fine control is essential.
The second electrode shape is a flat ended tip. This tip helps spread the energy more uniformly
and is better suited for difficult metals like silver. A combination of a pointed electrode with a
small flat tip can also be useful for a variety of metals. This configuration will help improve arc
properties for silver (and like metals) while still allowing smaller parts to be welded.
As a general rule of thumb you can think of a sharp tip as a weld
focuser while a blunted or truncated tip is a weld un-focuser.
The tip shape changes the energy focus and weld penetration.
The weld spot on the left was formed with a blunt electrode,
while the spot on the right was made using a sharp electrode.
The shape of the electrode
will influence the shape
and penetration of the weld
spot. There are advantages
and disadvantages to each
electrode shape.
As shown in the illustration above, the electrode shape greatly influences the weld spot’s shape and penetration. By
looking at the figure, one might assume that the 180 degree shape is the best electrode configuration to achieve an
optimal weld spot. However, the 15 degree electrode shape has the advantage of easy weld ignition at lower energy levels.
In some situations it is advantageous to place a small flat on the end of the sharper tip – or truncate the weld tip. This has a
stabilizing effect on the arc and also allows deeper weld penetration. Even a small flat on an otherwise sharp electrode can
be helpful in making repeatable welds while still allowing easy arc ignition. For the smaller energy settings an extremely
sharp electrode is essential. Remember the size of the truncation flat is related to the energy setting. Use smaller flats for
lower energy – larger flats for high energy.
There are several considerations that can be helpful when selecting electrode shape (e.g. sharp, blunt, or a sharp tip with
a small flatted end). The most helpful of these is to spend time on your Orion and get to know how it responds to different
electrode shapes and metals.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR ELECTRODE SHAPE:
• When welding very small features, under about 1mm, the electrode should be sharp to help focus the weld energy.
• When welding with less than 20-30 Ws the electrode will typically be sharp.
• Some materials weld better with a sharp electrode (e.g. Stainless Steel).
• When welding at very low energy settings a sharp electrode will help ignite the arc more easily.
• Flattened tips provide arc stability at higher energies
• At high energies a sharp tip may melt off during the welding process and contaminate the workpiece.
• A large flat or completely blunt electrode tip for some metals is desirable (e.g. silver, aluminum at energies >16 Ws).
• A large flat can be helpful on all metals depending on the desired weld puddle and the workpiece geometry.
• Truncating the electrode helps to un-focus the weld energy and prevents “burrowing” in mobile metals like silver.
• How large you make the tip flat (e.g. a very small flat vs. a completely blunt electrode) is determined by the amount of
energy the Orion will deliver. At low energies no flat is needed, where at maximum energy the tip can (if desired) be
completely blunt. Remember, the smaller the flat the easier the weld ignition.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Left Image: A blunt electrode tip can be helpful when making more
powerful welds in silver to help overcome silver’s high liquid mobility by
“un-focusing” the plasma over the entire flattened area.
Right Image: A sharp electrode will help place the weld into tight
geometries, a blunt electrode can spread the energy and prevent weld
formation.
As discussed above, silver is really the major exception to having a sharp tip. Because of silver’s high liquid mobility, a sharp
electrode with a focused arc (at the very tip) will actually burrow a hole in the center of the weld spot at higher energies.
However, for small spots a sharp tip is still recommended in silver. By using a blunted or truncated tip the energy is
effectively spread over the weld area and both the burrowing hole and the thin silver blow-through can be largely avoided.
TROUBLESHOOTING THE ELECTRODE
Poor weld results are most often traced back to electrode condition and shape. Because the electrode condition is very
important, the following information will help troubleshoot problems quickly.
• During the ignition process the electrode is touching the workpiece surface when the weld current begins to flow.
The metal contaminate may form a liquid metal electrical conduction bridge. During the weld ignition process the
electrode will retract and this may lead to the vaporization of the liquid metal bridge as it is necked down during
the electrode retraction process. This vaporization process can be explosive (on a very small scale) and leaves a
crater in the metal’s surface. The result will be a small “pock” mark in the metal’s surface. The electrode must be
reground before reliable welding can continue at this setting. At lower energies this resurfacing/re-tipping may
be very important to get the welder to ignite reliably. At higher energies the welding process may proceed virtually
unhindered even with a metal contaminated electrode. To remove the small crater, weld over the crater with a newly
ground electrode.
• The electrode may stick to the metal’s surface. This happens as the liquid metal bridge cools before the electrode tip
has retracted sufficiently to leave the surface of the workpiece. A now solid metal to metal weld has taken place at the
electrode tip preventing retraction and arc ignition. This is often referred to as electrode “sticking”.
• What can be done if the weld spot doesn’t look good, asymmetric for example? This may mean the electrode may
be damaged (sharp tips or jagged edges or strange shape due to contamination). Poor tip condition can also lead to
porosity (small holes in the workpiece).
In the table below we see that trouble igniting the arc can be caused by several different reasons. The most common is a
contaminated electrode. If the workpiece’s metal contaminates the welding electrode the following may occur:
Symptom
1
Possible Problem
Trouble igniting the arc Contaminated electrode
Electrode shape not conducive
to ignition at low energy
Broken electrode, jagged edges
2 Cratering of the weld
Electrode contamination leading
spot
to a metal bridge explosion (see
discussion)
Sharp electrode in a mobile
metal such as silver
3 Weld spot not symDamaged or jagged electrode
metric
14
Possible Solution
Re-grind the electrode to remove contamination
Shape the electrode to a very sharp tip
Re-grind electrode to desired shape
Re-grind the electrode
Truncate the end of the electrode to help “unfocus” the weld energy
Re-grind electrode
Symptom
4 Porosity in the workpiece
Possible Problem
Possible Solution
Damaged electrode with jagged
tips
Metal may contain zinc and “boil”
during the welding process. (e.g.
white gold)
Sharp electrode in a mobile
metal such as silver
Re-grind electrode
Often welding over the same location two or
three times will smooth the weld spot
Truncate the end of the electrode to help “unfocus” the weld energy
As electrodes wear, they will become dull and result in lower quality and less attractive welds. Sharpening or changing
them out periodically is important to maintain weld consistency.
The Orion’s electrodes are made of lanthanated tungsten. The small amounts of lanthinum found in the electrodes help
the tips stay sharp and help improve weld performance. The electrodes are also double ended, meaning that either end
can be used for welding.
When swapping electrodes, use caution when touching any part internal to the stylus. With extensive use, the internal
parts and especially the electrode WILL BE HOT. Allow them to cool before attempting to change electrodes. As an added
safety precaution, it is recommended to put the Orion in Stop Mode.
Electrode condition greatly affects energy transfer and also weld properties
(see above discussions). Left: A perfect electrode. Right: An electrode in
poor condition with metal contamination.
Electrode contamination can lead to small “explosions” that create craters in the workpiece. All
four welds were made at the same setting. Metal contamination on the electrode caused one
weld to create a crater.
It is recommended that you pay close attention to the electrode condition (see additional discussion). A contaminated
electrode can lead to inconsistent welds and poor arc starting. Only light pressure is needed to start the welding process,
too much pressure will interfere with the welding process, leading to electrode metal contamination and will shorten the
amount of time you can weld before re-sharpening or replacing the electrode.
Chapter 4: Techniques, Tips, & Tricks
Pulse Arc Welding: Adding Material
Typically material is added with a small “laser” wire, one weld at a time. However, there are many additional options to add
material. One for example is, instead of using small “laser wire” the Orion can weld a much larger wire or rod to fill in more
metal in a single weld.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
There are several methods to aid in the addition of fill wire, which are mentioned below. The placement of the electrode
relative to the wire is very important and will influence how the material behaves during the addition process.
SIDE PLACEMENT: Placing the electrode on the side of the wire is generally the best method of adding fill wire. As shown
below, place the electrode at an approximate 45 degree angle between the wire and the base material. As the electrode
pulls away from the base material and the arc ignition happens, the base material will melt first and then the wire will be
melted and pushed or pulled (by surface tension) into the base material. This is an excellent method to produce a uniform
molten pool of metal and ensure the proper mixing of the base material and the fill wire. The electrode may also be placed
at a 45 degree angle in front of the wire.
However, less material will be added with
every weld, and a portion of the wire will
typically ball-up n the process.
Remember that for a larger fill wire the
energy must be increased to completely
melt the wire. If there is insufficient energy
there may only be partial melting of the
wire. However, in some situations this may
be advantageous.
HANDS ON: Try adding fill wire using the
side placement method. Build up a small
mound of material.
TOP PLACEMENT: With top placement the material addition process will depend a great deal on the wire size and the weld
energy. If the wire is very small, the results will be similar to the side placement discussed above. For a small wire welded
with high weld energy (relative to the wire size) the weld plasma powers through the wire. This technique melts the base
metal and joins the melted wire to the base plane. However, if the wire is larger or the energy is set to produce only a small
spot size, the wire will typically fail to be added to the base material. Instead the wire will ball and some melting of the base
material will occur, which is insufficient to add the wire.
Placing the weld electrode on top of the fill wire at
a 90deg angle from the base material surface is
typically not the preferred method of adding material.
If the wire is large compared to the energy setting,
the wire will ball due to surface tension and will not be
added to the base material.
A top electrode placement can work if the wire
diameter is small compared to the energy setting. In
this case there is enough plasma pressure to force the
molten wire onto the base material. Placement of the
electrode directly on top of the fill wire can melt the
wire into the base if the energy is sufficient, or the wire
is very small. Alternatively, it may only melt the wire
causing it to ball as shown here.
16
A final scenario can occur when the electrode is placed on top of
large wire being welded to a base material at a high weld energy setting. In this
case the plasma can push the wire metal down to the base metal surface but there
may be no penetration into the base material.
a
HANDS ON: Try adding fill wire using the top placement method. Build up a small
mound of material.
As a rule of thumb it is always best to use the side electrode placement.
This is especially true of larger fill wire diameters. If it is essential for a
top placement weld, the process will be improved by using very fine laser
wire to ensure full wire melting. Choosing the correct wire gauge for your
application is very important. For example, on micro-scale applications,
it is important to select the smallest fill wire available. If a wire is selected
that is similar in size to the base metal, there is a good chance that the
energy setting required to melt the wire will also melt the base metal.
Alternatively, if the wire is small relative to the base metal, the wire can be
melted adding material to the base metal without any damage or warping
to the base metal. For larger features, select a wire size that will allow you
to perform your task efficiently. For example, filling a large pore should not be done with ultra-fine wire, but instead with
wire of approximately the same diameter as the pore. In this case the repair can be accomplished in literally one weld. In
comparison, with the ultra-fine wire, the repair would take many welds.
Pulse Arc Welding: Pushing Metal
There are two competing forces at work during the pulse arc welding process. The first is the surface tension of the molten
metal. Surface tension is a force between the metal atoms that is pulling the molten pool of metal flat during the metal’s
liquid phase. The Second is the electrons from the plasma pushing the molten metal in the direction the electrode tip
points. The plasma tries to push the molten metal, while the surface tension tries to keep it in place.
THIS MEANS:
1. Some metals with lower surface tension (e.g. silver) are easier to “push” around than metals with high surface tension
(e.g. Stainless).
2. Surface tension itself can be used to move metals around. By placing the electrode between a high and low spot, the
melting process will try and “flatten” the two –stealing material from the high and moving it toward the low.
Pushing Metal is accomplished by placing the electrode at a 90 deg angle from the workpiece surface with the electrode
tip on the edge or slightly interior to the edge of the metal mound. The welding process will then take material from the
mound and spread it into the surrounding material. One should repeat this process until the proper spread of material is
achieved.
By placing the electrode between a high and low spot, the melting
process will try and “flatten” the two – taking material from the high
area and moving it toward the low area.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Placing the weld electrode on the edge of a bump will
smooth away the bump as surface tension spreads the
metal over the molten base material.
HANDS ON: Use your electrode with several different
materials to push metal around, or to use surface
tension to smooth a metal mound out.
Please note that various metals will react differently to pushing and surface tension smoothing. For example, silver has
a relatively low surface tension while in a liquid state. This means that the plasma push method may be more successful
than it would be with stainless steel (with a much higher surface tension). On the other hand, because of the high surface
tension of stainless steel, the surface tension smoothing method will proceed quickly.
Pushing metal is especially helpful if one of the
parts to be joined is heat sensitive. In this example
the horizontal member is more heat sensitive
or is thinner than the vertical member. Material
is pushed from the vertical member onto the
horizontal member to prevent part damage.
In this example the vertical member is more heat
sensitive or is thinner than the horizontal member.
Material is pushed from the horizontal member
onto the vertical member to prevent part damage.
Pulse Arc Welding: Weld Cracking
Some materials are prone to crack because of their metal properties. For example, High Carbon steel, Palladium (Pd), and
some silver alloys. Why does the cracking take place? With some metals it is the new crystal structure created during the
welding process e.g. palladium and high carbon steel. However, another cracking process often called “hot cracking” can
occur when the cooling process and the resulting thermal shrinkage create high stresses in the workpiece. Hot cracking is
very geometry dependent and can be avoided by carefully considering the weld joint before welding.
IDEAS TO OVERCOME HOT CRACKING:
1. Keep joint gaps as small as possible.
2. Keep the weld length/time at its max length setting to help ramp down the heat more gradually.
Improper joint preparation or geometry can
lead to uneven weld puddle cooling. If the
puddle cools in such a way to create a hot
center section the hot section will be pulled
apart by the stresses from the cooling out
metal.
18
A proper weld joint will help the weld puddle cool
uniformly. This will allow even stresses within the weld
puddle and prevent weld cracking.
Palladium and high carbon steel cracking is a special case and is difficult to overcome when laser or Pulse Arc welding.
If only one weld spot is made, cracking will typically not occur unless the weld joint is stressed by hammering etc. This
means that welding over porosity in a Pd piece can be accomplished with the Orion (or laser) to help clean up a ring during
the finishing process. However, welding more than one overlapping weld will inevitably lead to cracking (laser or Pulse Arc
welder).
Palladium cracking can be thought of as a combination of hot cracking and a new weld puddle crystal structure problem.
After a weld the molten Pd re-crystallizes, typically forming a large and weak metal grain structure. When welds overlap
the new crystal structure in the previous weld, the new puddle will be weak compared to the original metal. The result is
a crack will start at the edge of the new weld where it overlaps with the old weld joint. The crack will then run along the
middle of the weld puddle in the direction of the overlapping joints. This is due to the stresses created during the weld
puddle cooling process as described above with hot cracking. However, this time, instead of geometry causing cracking,
a rip starts in the old crystal structure and propagates during the cooling process, much like ripping a piece of paper. The
result – Pd is difficult to weld successfully without breakage. Typically, with Pd, single spots of porosity can be welded and
fixed but overlapping welds will crack.
Pulse Arc Welding: Joint Preparation
Your Orion can be adjusted to a weld penetration of up to approximately 0.66 mm in depth (depending on the material).
However, deeper penetration usually also means large spot size around 1.5 to 2 mm. When deep penetration is desired but
the weld spot size needs to remain small or the workpiece thickness is very thick, additional weld joint preparation may be
necessary.
The Y joint is the simplest joint to prepare. Use
fill wire of an appropriate diameter to build up
material in the joint. Weld with no fill material for
the first pass to increase the weld penetration
into the joint. Then add fill wire to build up
material in the top of the Y until the material is
flush with the top surface.
Other joint preparations like X, V, etc. are possible and the welding procedure
is similar.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Pulse Arc Welding: Warping
In some specialized applications, precise positioning of the workpiece relative to a model is very important. However,
during the melting process the weld pool will expand and shrink asymmetrically, meaning that the expansion during
melting is less than the shrinkage during cooling. This asymmetric expansion can warp the workpiece.
The warping can be used to one’s advantage if done correctly. Often the user can simply observe the natural warp in the
workpiece and place welds to warp the part back into proper alignment. Even if warping is not desired there are steps to
avoid this problem.
To do this, start with lower Energy settings. This will minimize the initial warping as you stabilize the workpiece. Always
alternate sides during the welding process – several welds in a row on one side can exaggerate the warping, while
alternating welds will pull the part back and forth eliminating most warping. After the smaller stabilizing welds have been
placed you can turn up the energy and make the larger welds - alternating sides as done with the lower Energy welds.
Pulse Arc Welding: Weld Cleaning
For many applications the weld joint will require very little preparation. Keep the weld area clean and free from debris.
Remember that finger oils, etc. will cause blackening around the weld spot. This blackening can easily be wiped away with a
clean rag or taken off with a glass brush (one is included with your Orion system), sand blaster or steam cleaner.
During the welding process small amounts of metal will be vaporized from the weld joint and can be deposited elsewhere
on the workpiece. Typically, this thin film of metal will look black and can easily be cleaned off with a glass brush, ultrasonic
cleaner, etc. If the welds themselves look black or discolored, it may be an indication of oxidation and can come as a result
of too little or too much argon gas flow. If the part is too hot, some metals will readily react with oxygen to form oxide
layers. If gas flow is insufficient the weld spot may be poorly covered and oxygen may be present during the weld. On the
other hand, if the protective gas flow is too high, the gas may exit the stylus nozzle in a turbulent state. When the gas flow
is turbulent it will “grab” oxygen and other atmospheric gases and bring them inside the protective argon gas shield. This
will also lead to the molten weld puddle being exposed to oxygen.
PROTECTIVE GAS RULES OF THUMB
1. 5 - 10 PSI is a good shielding gas rate
2. The shorter the electrode is, the less gas flow is necessary
3. Gas flow may need to be increased if the electrode is lengthened.
Any discolorations that shows in titanium is an indication of poor shield gas coverage. For this reason it may be helpful to
practice on titanium to make sure your gas flow is correct. Adjust your gas to ensure no discoloration in a small titanium
weld spot. This will give you confidence of proper argon shielding for other materials.
Chapter 5: Metals
Weldability of Common Metals
One very important aspect of Pulse Arc welding is a working knowledge of material properties. This knowledge will help
you understand why various metals will react differently during the welding process. Shown below is a table of properties
20
Zinc
Aluminum
Silver
Gold
Copper
Palladium*
Cobalt
Chrome*
Stainless
304*
Carbon
Steel
Titanium
Platinum
Niobium
Tungsten
of some common metals. These metals have been arranged by melting temperature for convenience. Each of the
properties listed below will have an effect of the weldability of the metals.
Melting Point
420
660
962
1064
1083
1200
1300
1450
1500
1660
1772
2468
3410
Boiling Point
607
2467
2212
3080
2567
3100
2800
3000
3000
3287
3827
4742
5660
Specific Heat
388
900
237
129
385
244
10
500
500
523
129
268
133
Electrical Resistivity
6
2.7
1.6
2.2
10.6
10.8
475
70
60
54
10.6
16
5.4
Density
7.1
2.7
10.5
19.3
9
11
8.3
7.9
7.8
4.5
21.5
8.6
19.3
Thermal Expansion
31
23.5
19.1
14.1
17
11
10
18
12
8.9
9
7.2
4.5
Thermal Conductivity
116
237
429
318
401
71
100
16.3
50
22
71.6
54
173
*Some Values may be approximate
DEFINITIONS:
Melting Point: The temperature at which the metal will begin to melt. The molten metal of the weld pool will be at this
temperature during the welding process.
Boiling Point: If enough energy is added to the weld joint (and heat is removed slowly by the surrounding solid metal)
the weld puddle can begin to boil. Liquid metal will be turned into gaseous metal.
Specific Heat: The energy required to raise the temperature of the metal (per unit mass). Think of this number as how
much metal will melt for a given weld energy (melting point also is important). A larger specific heat means more
energy is required to melt the metal.
Electrical Resistivity: This number represents the resistance to the flow of electrons in a metal. This property
is especially important during a resistance or “tack” weld. The more resistive the metal is the more easily it will
resistance weld (e.g. stainless steels), the smaller this number is the more difficult it will be to weld the material (e.g.
silver), especially in “tack” mode.
Density: how much of the metal (atoms / mass) is in a given volume of space. This property will also influence how
large the weld spot is for a given metal. All other things being equal, a lower density metal will have a larger weld spot
than a higher density metal for the same weld energy.
Thermal Expansion: When a metal is heated it will expand, or elongate slightly. In some situations, especially during
resistance welding, metal can expand quickly and spill out of the weld joint.
Thermal Conductivity: This is a measure of how fast the metal conducts heat. Metals that are good conductors
of heat (e.g. copper) will dispel the heat away from the weld location quickly during the welding process. This action
reduces the size of the weld spot. Metals that are poor conductors of heat (e.g. titanium) are slow to conduct heat
away from the weld location and the weld energy has a greater affect on the weld size, etc.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
This measure of weldability comes from
properties of the metal like melting point,
thermal conductivity, density etc., and is
intended as a relative reference between
the different metals. It can be thought of
as how much spot size and penetration a
given amount of weld energy will have on
the metal. Please note that some metals
may have properties not accounted for in
this chart that may make welding more
difficult than indicated (e.g. palladium).
TITANIUM AND NIOBIUM
Some metals may react easily with oxygen and even other gases like nitrogen. Titanium (Ti) reacts with both oxygen
and nitrogen at elevated temperatures. (Ti) burns to form (TiO2) in air at 1200deg C. (Ti) will also burn in pure (N2) gas at
800deg C to form (TiN). Titanium nitride (TiN) is inherently brittle, which will result in a weak weld joint. Very light reaction
(mostly shielded) may just include slight discoloration. However, a heavy reaction will cause absorption of gas and will
cause a dark gray and porous result. If the reaction is too heavy the weld location will become very weak and porous.
Niobium (Nb) reacts with both oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) gas. Niobium will oxidize (react with oxygen) at 200deg
C. The reaction with (N2) starts at 400deg C. As you can see, niobium is even more reactive than titanium. This means
that greater care must be taken when welding (Nb) to ensure proper gas shielding and clean welds. For thin parts this is
particularly difficult as heat is easily conducted to the opposite weld side (the underside of the sheet for example). This
heat on the underside causes the (Nb) to absorb (O2) and (N2) gases resulting in brittle welds.
For both (Ti) and (Nb) the level of oxidation can be observed visually. Heavy oxidation will cause a gray porous
surface, however, oxidation (or nitrogen absorption) in smaller degrees will cause the surface of the metal to color.
This principle can be used to actually “paint” on oxide in different colors on (Ti) and (Nb) parts.
Titanium and Niobium metals will oxidize readily at elevated
temperatures and voltages. The charts show (Ti) and (Nb)
“painting” with electricity (showing the voltage at which the
color will appear). However, similar colors will appear due
to heat if welding without sufficient shield gas. These colors
during welding need to be avoided. (Picture courtesy of
Reactive Metals)
How to avoid oxide and nitride formation (these will work for other metals as well): In many situations this is not an issue
because the argon (Ar) coming from the welding stylus completely covers the molten weld pool. However, in some
situations this is not the case. For example, welding on a thin material, the back of the material is unshielded from oxygen
and the exposed metal will react with oxygen.
22
Using the following can help reduce oxide formation on the back of the workpiece:
1. Argon flood on both sides of the workpiece during the welding process. This is the best method but can use a lot of
gas and requires additional setup.
2. Solder flux: A thick layer of solder flux can help reduce oxide formation. Place the flux on the back side of the
workpiece. The flux should be as viscous and thick as possible. Some fluxes may work better than others.
After saying all of the above, it should be noted that titanium is very simple to weld. With proper gas shielding, the weld
looks bright and clean. Titanium to titanium welds are simple to perform and are strong. Titanium welded to other metals
can have a variety of results. For example (Ti) to Gold (Au) results in a clean looking but brittle weld. Copper to (Ti) has
similar results. Silver to (Ti) is relatively strong. When welding (Ti) to other materials remember to test the weld strength
with scrap pieces before welding the final workpiece.
One important consideration when welding (Nb) is it’s high boiling temperature (4742 deg C) relative to tungsten’s melting
temperature (3410 deg C). What this means: if the tungsten electrode is contaminated with (Nb) metal the (Nb) metal may
superheat and start to boil right on the electrode. This boiling of the (Nb) will in turn melt the tungsten electrode causing it
to lose its sharp shape.
YELLOW / WHITE GOLD (AU)
Yellow gold is a relatively simple material to weld. Typically, it will produce a strong and symmetric weld spot and resulting
welds are smooth and require little cleanup. This is true for even lower Karat golds; however, please note that weld
results will improve with higher gold content. Typically, the different metals added to gold are used to change its wear
characteristics and color. The more additional metal added (not gold) the lower the karat value. Lower karat golds that
contain copper and silver, etc. can produce a black coating around the weld’s surface. This can easily be steam cleaned,
wiped off with a clean rag, or taken off with a glass brush.
Please also note that sometimes during the welding process a small amount of the welded metal will evaporate. Different
metals will evaporate at different rates from the weld pool. The evaporated metal can deposit around the weld location in
a very thin layer that can look black. This type of deposit can typically be removed by steam cleaning, wiping with a clean
rag or with a glass brush.
Please also note that some gold alloys can contain small amounts of zinc (0.5-1.0%). This zinc addition is used as a
deoxidizer during casting, and can improve the fluidity of the molten metal. As discussed above, zinc can cause porosity
and will contribute to a black film that must be removed via glass brush or clean rag.
Yellow gold physical properties and composition (one possible):
58-75% gold, 12-27% silver, 9-15% copper and some zinc
WHITE GOLD:
White gold is also a relatively simple metal to work with. There are two main types of white golds – palladium-white gold
and nickel-white gold.
Palladium – white gold composition (one possible):
58.5% gold, 10% palladium, 28.5% silver, 2.5% (copper, nickel, zinc)
Nickel – white gold composition 14k (one possible):
58.5% gold, 25.8 % copper, 15.3% nickel, 0.4% zinc
Gold color can be changed with the following alloying (show alloy chart by composition and color)
Note the zinc content of white gold. High zinc content can lead to weld defects like porosity, etc. as the zinc boils out of the
weld joint. Please see the previous discussion on overcoming porosity. In short, welding over the location with porosity
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
again will help remove the porosity. A fresh, sharp electrode will help with this process. Sometimes adding pure laser wire
will also help in removing porosity.
In general, gold welds easily. Here are some tips when working with gold:
1. Typically a sharp electrode is preferred when welding gold.
2. Gold can easily accept small or large weld spots
3. It is often typical that gold will look black surrounding the weld location. This black layer is easily removed with steam
cleaning, clean rag, or a small glass brush.
4. Gold can easily be added to almost any other metal.
5. Very interesting welding combinations are possible.
PLATINUM (PT)
Platinum (Pt) has a melting temperature that is similar to stainless steel, but a density that is 3 times higher. In addition,
the specific heat of (Pt) is lower by a factor of 4 than stainless steel. This means that it takes less energy to raise the
temperature of (Pt) to its melting temperature. The end result is that (Pt) is a little more difficult than stainless steel to
weld but very similar in overall behavior.
One important consideration when welding (Pt) is its high boiling temperature (3827 deg C) relative to tungsten’s melting
temperature (3410 deg C). What this means: if the tungsten electrode is contaminated with (Pt) metal the (Pt) metal may
superheat and start to boil right on the electrode. This boiling of the (Pt) will in turn melt the tungsten electrode causing it
to lose its sharp shape.
PALLADIUM (PD)
Palladium (Pd) is a white lustrous metal that is typically a much lower cost than platinum. Palladium is also much lighter,
having a density ½ that of platinum. It would seem that (Pd) is the perfect metal. Unfortunately, (Pd) is generally difficult to
work with and is somewhat difficult to weld. This is mainly due to palladium cracking during the welding process.
Palladium can be welded using the Orion welder, however, cracking can occur.
Palladium cracking is an especially difficult phenomenon to overcome with laser or pulse arc welding. If only one weld
spot is made, cracking will typically not occur unless the weld joint is stressed by hammering, etc. This means that welding
over porosity in a (Pd) piece can be accomplished with the Orion to help clean up the metal during the finishing process.
However, welding more than one overlapping weld will inevitably lead to cracking (laser or pulse arc welder).
Palladium cracking can be thought of as a combination of hot cracking and new weld puddle crystal structure problems.
After a weld, the molten (Pd) re-crystallizes, typically forming a large and weak metal grain structure. When welds overlap,
the new crystal structure in the last weld puddle is weak compared to the original metal. The result - a crack will start at
the edge of the new weld where it overlaps with the old weld joint as the new weld cools and is stressed. The crack will
then run along the middle of the weld puddle in the direction of the overlapping joints. This cracking is due to the stresses
created during the weld puddle cooling process as described above with hot cracking. However, this time instead of
geometry causing the cracking, a rip starts in the old crystal structure and propagates during the cooling process, much
like ripping a piece of paper. The result – (Pd) is difficult to weld successfully without breakage. Typically, single spots of
porosity can be welded and fixed but overlapping welds will crack.
There is a welding solution that can stop this cracking process. The addition of gold fill wire to the weld joint creates a new
alloy and stronger crystal structure. The gold can discolor the weld joint. However, by welding over the joint several times
the gold will diffuse into the (Pd). Another possible solution is to use a high gold content white-gold (Pd) alloy laser wire.
SILVER (AG)
Silver is an interesting metal with several properties that must be considered during the welding process. First, silver is
24
highly reflective over a large range of light wavelengths. This metal characteristic makes welding silver difficult for a laser,
but poses no problems for a Pulse Arc welder. Second, silver is a very mobile metal when in a liquid state and has low
surface tension when compared to other metals. Because of these properties, how the weld energy is applied to silver is
important.
When welding silver it is important to understand the concentration of your weld energy relative to the size of the silver
being welded. For very small welds, a sharp electrode poses no problem. This means that in the Orion’s arc mode, silver
will typically behave well even with a concentrated, focused beam of energy (i.e. a very sharp electrode tip point). However,
as the desired spot size gets larger (bigger arc mode welds and almost all pulse arc mode welds) the liquid silver is easily
pushed around by the welding pulse. This will lead to large blobs of material being displaced from the weld site resulting
in a noticeable hole. To avoid this problem, simply un-focus the weld energy by creating a truncated electrode tip flat. The
size of the flat depends on the size of the weld. For relatively small welds a small flat is all that is required. For very high
energy welds the electrode may be completely flat (1mm diameter).
Resistance welding silver in tack mode is very difficult because of silver’s high electrical conductivity. Sterling silver has a
high electrical conductivity very similar to that of copper. However, Argentium silver is approximately 30% less conductive.
This means that more heat can be generated during the spot welding process due to the additional material resistance.
Use Argentium silver if your application requires spot welding as opposed to pulse arc welding. Even while pulse arc
welding it may be desirable to use Argentium silver because of its superior tarnish resistance. Thin Argentium silver parts
can be welded directly using copper electrodes. Thicker silver parts may require a weld projection or “bump” to focus the
weld current. This welding strategy is discussed in detail in Chapter 4 - Tack Welding.
ALUMINUM (AL)
Aluminum behaves very much like silver during the pulse arc welding process. Aluminum has a very low melting
temperature (660 deg C) and is very mobile when in a liquid phase. This means that the same principles that apply to
welding silver also apply to Aluminum. Aluminum also has one additional complication that may make it difficult to work
with in some situations. This metal is very susceptible to hot cracking. On occasion the weld parameters or geometry may
be such that a crack may appear in the weld. Always perform test welds for strength verification. In general, pulse arc
welding in aluminum will produce a weaker weld than with other metals.
STAINLESS STEEL
Stainless steels are relatively simple to weld. The weld puddle looks smooth and joins easily and the resulting weld joint
is strong. Because of the low thermal conductivity of stainless steel, it is easy to hold the workpiece in hand while welding
without weld heat immediately making the workpiece too hot to hold. Use only stainless steel fill wire when welding. If
regular low carbon steel is used, the weld joint will eventually rust over time.
Austenitic stainless steels, (304 for example) weld easily. However, hot cracking is a possibility with this material. To
help avoid any cracking it is helpful to weld using an alloy that will produce a small amount of ferritic crystal structure in
the weld joint. The addition of the ferritic crystal structure will help suppress cracking. For example, when welding 304
stainless, a 308 stainless fill wire can be used. Not all situations will require crack suppression techniques. Smaller parts,
like those typically welded using the Orion, do not require these procedures. (201, 202, 205, 216, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305,
308, 309, 310, 312, 314, 316, 317, 321, 329, 330, 332, 347, 348, 384, 385 stainless steels).
Martensitic stainless steels (410 for example) have a high carbon content. This high carbon content increases the risk of
cracking. To decrease the risk of cracking it may be helpful to increase the workpiece temperature to between 200 – 300
deg C. Often material thinner than 3mm can be welded successfully without heat treatment provided that pure argon is
used during the welding process. (403, 410, 414, 416, 418, 420, 422, 431, 440, 501, 502, 503, 504 stainless steels).
LOW CARBON STEELS (MILD STEEL)
Low carbon steels typically weld easily with no major cautions. Please be advised that low carbon steel will rust and will
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
often come with a coating of zinc. The zinc coating will cause the metal to appear more white or lustrous than typical steel.
As discussed above, welding on zinc will cause many issues to consider. The zinc will evaporate quickly from the weld
area causing a black coat to spread to the surrounding metal (including the welding stylus). The zinc evaporation may also
cause strange weld behavior, etc.
For best results select a low carbon steel without a zinc coating. Make sure the steel is free from other contaminates
such as rust or oil. Remember that if using the Orion to produce welds in very thick pieces the weld joint may need to be
prepared as discussed previously.
HIGH CARBON STEELS (SPRING STEEL / TOOL STEEL)
High carbon steel welds easily but may become brittle after the welding process. To avoid weld failure the part must be
heat treated after the welding process.
COBALT CHROME ALLOYS
Cobalt Chrome is very sensitive to oxygen contamination. If there is insufficient argon coverage or oxygen present in the
argon gas this alloy will crack. Once oxygen embrittlement has occurred the weld area must be removed (via grinding etc)
to prevent future cracking over the same area.
COPPER
Copper is one of the more difficult alloys to weld because of its high heat capacity and high thermal conductivity. These
factors make it even more difficult to weld than silver. Copper also requires more energy than silver for the weld to take
place (about 30% more). Thin copper, however, welds very easily and lower energy is typically sufficient to produce very
strong welds. For thicker copper similar techniques as those employed to weld silver must be used.
BRASS
Brass is a material that contains a large amount of zinc - 30 -37% zinc by composition. The remaining material is copper.
As discussed previously, zinc is a hard metal to pulse arc weld or resistance weld because of its low melting and boiling
temperature (420 deg C, 907 deg C).
During the melting process the low temperature zinc evaporates/boils out of the brass alloy.
For low energies this simply coats the surrounding material in a black zinc film that can easily be removed with a glass
brush.
For larger pulse arc weld energies the black coat can cover larger areas and porosity can develop at the weld location as
zinc boils from the weld.
JOINING DIFFERENT METALS
Welding different metals together will produce a new alloy at the weld location. The new alloy will have different properties
(although in many cases similar properties) to the base metals. Some metals combine well, forming a strong and useful
new alloy. Other metal combinations are weak and brittle.
Helpful Hints for Combining Different Metals
1. Check the new alloy strength with scrap material to ensure the joint will turn out as expected.
2. You may need to weld over the joint location several times to get complete mixing of the weld pool and a uniform new
alloy. In most cases this is not necessary for a strong joint and the first weld will be sufficient.
3. Some material combinations may benefit from a third metal at the joint which forms a better/stronger alloy with the
two primary metals.
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An example of titanium welded to gold and silver. The gold to titanium weld looks
clean but is brittle. The silver to titanium weld also looks good and is strong. The Silver
to gold weld looks good and is strong.
Chapter 6: FAQ / Troubleshooting / Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions
CAN I USE ANY ATTACHMENT WHILE IN TACK MODE?
NO. The pulse-arc welding stylus should never be used while the Orion is in Tack Mode. However, any other attachment can
be used. Attachments sold as “tack” welding attachments have been designed to transfer more energy to the weld. These
attachments help the Orion work as not only a tack welder, but as a permanent fusion resistance welder.
CAN ATTACHMENTS LABELED “TACK” BE USED WITH THE PULSE-ARC WELDING STYLUS?
Yes*. The pulse-arc welding stylus requires an electrical contact to the workpiece. Tack welding attachments can be used
for this purpose.
*Please note that tack welding attachments will also transfer more energy to the arc when used for Pulse Arc Mode. This
means that you should use lower energy settings than you would need with pulse-arc attachments.
I WANT TO GET THE MOST POWER POSSIBLE OUT OF THE ORION. WHAT CAN I DO?
The Orion is designed to deliver a tremendous amount of energy in Tack Mode. You can use up to 10AWG cabling to deliver
more energy to the work area. NOTE: Using larger cabling (ex. 8 AWG or larger) may damage the welder and will void your
warranty.
CAN I MAKE MY OWN WELDING ATTACHMENTS?
Yes, the Orion welder is very versatile. You are welcome to make your own pulse-arc and tack / fusion welding
attachments. NOTE: 10 AWG is the largest cable that should be used with your Orion welder. The 10 AWG cable should not be
shorter than 3.5 feet (1m).
CAN I MAKE PERMANENT WELDS IN TACK MODE?
Yes, the Orion has been designed with Sunstone Engineering’s industrial spot welding (resistance welding) technology.
By turning up the energy, and using tack welding attachments, the Orion is a fully fledged resistance welder, often called
a fusion welder. Alternatively, by using low energy, or small cabling, the Orion will act as a temporary tack welder. This
temporary tacking allows positioning of a weld piece before permanent welding in Pulse Arc Mode.
WHAT MATERIALS CAN YOU WELD WITH THE ORION?
The Orion can weld a wide variety of materials. Some examples include gold, silver, platinum, steel, stainless steel, titanium
and virtually all other precious metals. In addition, cobalt alloys, aluminum, tin, brass, and EVEN copper can be welded
with the Orion. Even with an ideal welder, some materials and alloys will be difficult to weld. Furthermore, some materials
such as zinc should not be welded because they may produce fumes that will make the welding technician sick. Pulse-arc
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
welding of solder is also not advised because of its low melting temperature. Solder will vaporize easily and leave your
workpiece looking blackened or burnt.
CAN I BUILD-UP OR ADD MATERIAL TO A WELD LOCATION?
Yes, the Orion is very versatile. In Pulse Arc Mode, 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. The Orion has the
energy and versatility to weld both of these, and many more applications with ease.
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.
CAN I WELD DIFFERENT (DISSIMILAR) METALS TOGETHER?
Yes, in many instances different metals can be welded easily together with the Orion. 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 in Tack / Fusion Mode. Again, weld strength and properties will depend on alloy
properties.
HOW DO I DETERMINE THE BEST ENERGY SETTINGS FOR MY APPLICATION?
In Arc Mode, metals will weld according to thermal conductivity and melting point. For example, a metal with lower thermal
conductivity (e.g. stainless steel, titanium, cobalt alloys) will weld easily because the weld heat stays concentrated in the
spot. Therefore, less energy is required to weld one of these metals than other metals of the same thickness that have a
higher thermal conductivity.
Metals with higher thermal conductivity (e.g. copper, silver, gold) will require more energy to create the same spot because
much of the heat is conducted away quickly.
The melting temperature of the metal is also very important when determining the necessary energy setting for a weld.
Knowing the approximate, or relative, melting temperature of your working metal will enable you to estimate the amount
of energy required to create a spot. High melting temperature translates to a large amount of energy required. Low melting
temperature translates into a smaller amount of energy required to make the weld.
In Tack Mode, energy is important but there are two other important factors that need to be remembered. These factors
are electrical conductivity and contact pressure. In Tack Mode the Orion is a full-fledged resistance welder. This means that
the Orion uses a metal’s electrical resistance to create the weld heat. Metals that conduct electricity well (e.g. copper) are
more difficult to weld in Tack Mode and require special Tack attachments to obtain a proper weld. The second important
factor when in Tack Mode is the weld contact pressure. The weld contact pressure can be controlled by how much force
you apply to the two pieces that are being welded together. The harder you push the pieces together the lower you make
the electrical contact resistance between them and the lower the created heat. Conversely, light pressure will result in high
contact resistance and high heat.
For all welds, the size and thickness of the metal will play a significant role in the energy settings that you choose. Orion
recommends that users start at a low energy, and work upwards until an appropriate energy setting is found.
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WILL I CONTAMINATE MY BASE MATERIAL WITH THE TUNGSTEN ELECTRODE?
There is a possibility of tungsten contamination when the Orion user forces the welding electrode into the weld material.
However, with proper practice using the pulse-arc welding stylus contamination is very unlikely.
DO I NEED TO USE ARGON TO WELD?
Argon is necessary to produce a clean and repeatable pulse-arc weld. Without protective argon, oxygen may combine
with the weld metal to produce brittle and porous welds. In Tack Mode, however, protective argon is not necessary. Other
protective gases can also be used, such as pure nitrogen. However Orion recommends high purity argon. This can be
purchased at your local welding supply shop.
HOW DO I CONTROL WELD SPOT SIZE AND WELD DEPTH?
Simplified answer: Energy adjusts your spot size while your weld time controls penetration. In reality both of these factors
(energy and time) influence both welding characteristics (spot size and weld depth). However, the above rule-of-thumb will
allow good and intuitive control of your welding parameters. It is also important to keep your tungsten electrode sharp to
maintain precise control over the characteristics of the weld spot size and weld depth.
HOW MUCH HEAT IS ADDED TO MY WORKPIECE?
The Orion is capable of extremely fine welds. In low energy settings, small amounts of energy are added and cause virtually
no heat to be added to the workpiece. During small welds involving little energy it is possible to hold the workpiece in hand.
For applications that require higher energy, your Orion (depending on the model) is capable of adding up to 250 Joules (Ws)
of energy to a weld. Until the user is familiar with the welding characteristics of the Orion, we recommend holding all parts
with the pulse-arc attachments (e.g. alligator clip) and not with your fingers.
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 0.75 mm and up
to 3.5 mm are typical and simple to implement.
HOW DEEP CAN MY PULSE-ARC WELD PENETRATE?
Depends on the material being welded, however, spot depth of down to 1 mm can be achieved.
HOW LONG WILL ELECTRODES LAST?
Under normal use electrodes will last for approximately 8,000 welds. To ensure that you get the most life out of your
electrodes use argon gas for pulse-arc welding and maintain a sharpened electrode tip during the welding process.
ARE THERE SPECIAL JOINT PREPARATIONS NEEDED WHEN PULSE-ARC WELDING?
Pulse-arc joint preparation is very similar to that of general “tungsten inert gas” – TIG welding. Some different types of
weld preparation include the simple “I” seam (but joint), X, Y and V joints (named for the way they look). The “I” seam may
require no filler material, while the X, Y and V require filler material and may require successive layers of material to be
added to the joint. For joints were the Orion can penetrate approximately ½ to ¾ of the way through the material an “I”
seam may be appropriate. The weld location should be cleared of solder as this will reduce weld quality.
ARE THERE SPECIAL JOINT PREPARATIONS NEEDED WITH TACK/FUSION WELDING?
Just as in pulse-arc welding, all solder should be removed if a strong metal to metal tack/fusion weld is desired. Tacking
can be used to weld solder in place, or to temporarily tack a workpiece to a solder layer.
CAN I USE TACK MODE TO PLACE SOLDER GRANULES OR PIECES BEFORE A SOLDERING TORCH IS USED?
Yes, this is a very simple process. A variety of hand pieces are available.
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
Trouble Shooting
Problem
My welder won’t turn
on.
Solution(s)
•Verify that the power cord is plugged into the rear panel of the Orion and also into a
power outlet.
•Do NOT use an extension cord with the Orion.
•Check the circuit breaker for that particular power receptacle.
•Check and replace any blown fuses in the Orion’s Fuse Bay.
My electrode keeps
•Clean the workpiece at the weld site.
sticking before I even
•Clean or sharpen the electrode.
weld.
•Increase the energy slightly to add more energy to the arc.
I can trigger a weld, but •Hold the stylus steady so that the electrode continuously contacts the workpiece. If
it always aborts and
contact is lost, even for an instant, the weld will abort.
does nothing.
•Verify that the attachment plugged into the + terminal is making constant contact with
the workpiece.
•Clean the surface of the workpiece at the weld site. Oil, carbon deposits, and other
residue can cause continuity to be lost.
•Verify that the electrode is sharp and not deformed at its tip. Replace or sharpen the
electrode as necessary.
My electrode keeps
•Verify that the current mode is not Tack Mode.
sticking when I weld.
•Hold the stylus so that there is less pressure on the electrode. Very low energy
settings will require extremely little pressure on the electrode.
•Increase the energy slightly to add more energy to the arc.
I’m set to Auto Trig•Verify that the workpiece is clipped to, or touching, an attachment that is securely
ger (Touch Detect) but
plugged into the + Arc terminal.
nothing ever happens
•Verify that the play button is green.
when I touch the elec•Verify that the stylus connector is completely inserted into the stylus receiver on the
trode to my workpiece.
front panel. Disconnect and reconnect it following the procedure given in the Setup
Instructions.
•The workpiece is not conductive and cannot be arc-welded with the Orion.
My welds look dirty or
• Change the flow rate of the shielding gas. Between 5 -10 PSI is recommended.
blackened.
• Decrease the length of exposed electrode to bring the workpiece closer to the stylus
nozzle.
• Verify that there are no gas leaks at the gas receiver on the rear panel of the Orion
and also at the stylus connector on the front panel. Note: Gas cannot leak from the
stylus connector except during a weld.
• Increase your gas post flow to ensure that welds will look cleaner.
The Orion still shows
• Even though the tank’s valve has been shut, there may still be residual pressure in the
that I have gas congas tube. After the pressure is released, the Orion will display the gas connectivity
nected even after I’ve
status correctly.
turned my tank off.
30
Glossary
CAPACITIVE DISCHARGE (CD): An effective resistance welding technology that stores energy in capacitors in order to
release a consistent amount of energy in every weld. Orion uses this technology to produce clean and smooth welds.
CUSTOM SETTING: The available “slots” for settings that a user may customize and then save.
FACTORY PRESET SETTING: Refers to the settings that have been pre programmed into the Orion.
HAND ATTACHMENT: The Orion comes with a variety of hand attachments that can serve as a positive or negative
electrode depending on the circumstances.
JOULE: See Watt Second.
LITERS PER MINUTE (LPM): Used to reference a gas flow rate for shielding gas (argon).
MILLISECOND (MS): One thousandth of a second (.001). Used to reference the Weld Time or length of a weld pulse.
PLASMA: Plasma is an ionized, high temperature gas, in which a certain proportion of electrons are free rather than being
bound to an atom or molecule. The ability of the positive and negative charges to move somewhat independently makes
the plasma electrically conductive. The Orion’s pulsed arc uses this high temperature plasma to create a weld.
PULSE-ARC WELDER: Arc Welding uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between an electrode and the
base material to melt the metals at the welding point; Pulse refers to the intermittent nature of the weld arc produced.
RESISTANCE WELDING: A process that uses the electrical resistance properties of a metal as a method of welding.
SHIELDING GAS: Argon, or other inert gas, is used while welding to displace the regular atmosphere from the weld
location. This drastically reduces oxidation and carbonization of the metals increasing the weld quality.
STYLUS: On the Orion, the stylus is the main hand piece used for arc welding. It safely encloses the electrode and directs
the shielding gas to the weld area.
TACK / FUSION WELDING: Tack welding can refer to a semi-permanent weld to place parts prior to permanent pulse arc
welding. Fusion welding can also refer to a permanent resistance weld. See Resistance Welding.
TIG WELDING: Also known as Tungsten Inert Gas Welding, is an arc welding process that uses a non consumable tungsten
electrode to produce a weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by an inert gas such as argon.
TRIGGER: When using the Orion welder the term trigger is used to denote what method the operator is using to initiate
the welding cycle. When the trigger is set to “Automatic” the Orion will automatically detect the contact between the
tungsten electrode and the workpiece. Once contact is made the weld sequence will initiate automatically. When the
trigger is set to “Foot Pedal” the Orion will not initiate the weld sequence until the foot pedal is depressed and there is
contact between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece.
WATT SECOND (WS): The reference for weld energy. A Watt second is the same as a Joule. 1 Ws = 1 J.
WORKPIECE: In this manual, workpiece refers to anything being welded or worked on.
Chapter 7: Cleaning
Guidelines
WORK PIECES: The included fiberglass brush can be used to clean off weld debris and discoloration from weld areas. The
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Orion Pulse Arc Welding Workbook
bristles are extended and retracted by twisting the top.
GENERAL CLEANING GUIDELINES: Be sure to only perform cleaning on the Orion when it is switched off and unplugged.
Never use abrasive cleaning implements on any part of the Orion. Do not blow compressed air into any part of the Orion
as this may damage the internal components. Never use any chemicals besides mild detergents on any part of the Orion.
Always clean the Orion’s parts indirectly by moistening or spraying a soft cloth first, and then use only the cloth to perform
the cleaning.
STYLUS AND HAND ATTACHMENTS: If discoloration appears at the end of the stylus or hand attachment, it can be wiped
off using a moistened cloth.
CABLES AND CORDS: Detach cables and cords from the Orion and wipe them off using a moistened cloth.
ORION’S CASE AND LCD SCREEN: Wipe gently with a moistened cloth being careful not to let any moisture into the air
vents.
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