Orion Pulse Arc Welders User Manual
Orion 250i
250i User Manual
Table of Contents
Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.3
Manufacturer’s Contact Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.3
Welding safety Precautions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.3
Chapter 1: Setup and Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.7
What is in the Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.7
Power Supply Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.8
Microscope Arm Setup* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.9
Microscope Shutter System Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . p.11
Become Familiar with the Microscope . . . . . . . . p.11
Electrode Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.12
Shielding Gas Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.14
Chapter 2: Welder Interface Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . p.16
Arc Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.16
LoadTab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.19
Save Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.20
Settings Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.20
Tack Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.23
Advanced Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.23
Chapter 3: Pulse Arc Welding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.26
Chapter 4: Tack/Resistance Welding . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.30
Chapter 5: Tungsten Electrodes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.34
Chapter 6: Orion Techniques, Tips and Tricks . . . . p.39
Chapter 7: Metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.45
Chapter 8: Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.53
Chapter 9: Updating Welder Software . . . . . . . . . . . . p.54
Chapter 10: Technical Specification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.55
Chapter 11: Troubleshooting/FAQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.55
Warranty Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.59
Thank You for Choosing Orion Welders and congratulations on your purchase!
You are now the proud owner of an Orion 250i Welder. This manual was designed to help you set
up the welder and begin welding. Please read and follow all safety precautions before proceeding
with the welding process.
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
Welding Safety Precautions
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:
Consult these symbols and the related instructions listed next to the symbols for proper action
when dealing with these hazards.
• 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.
Sparks can fly off from the welding arc. The flying sparks, hot work piece, and hot
250i User Manual
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.
• 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
• 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.
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.
It is essential for every person in the immediate work area to wear/utilize proper
Personal Protection Equipment. 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. Very often sparks fly off from the weld joint area; therefore, take
the necessary precautions to avoid trapping a spark within your own clothing.
• 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
• Use an approved face shield or safety goggles with side shields when tack welding or
when observing others performing pulse-arc and tack welds.
• Welding material that has a high thermal conductivity will cause metal to heat rapidly.
• 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.
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.
• 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.
• 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.
250i User Manual
• 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.
• Allow a cooling period between strenuous welding schedules; follow rated duty cycle.
• If overheating occurs often, reduce duty cycle before starting to weld again.
• 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.
Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes, ANSI Standard Z49.1,from Global Engineering
Documents (phone: 1-877-413-5184, 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 312-3532220, website: www.osha.gov).
National Electrical Code, NFPA Standard 70, from National Fire Protection Association, P.O. Box
9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101 (phone: 617-770-3000, website: www.nfpa.org and www.sparky.
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.csainternational.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).
Welder tested for electrostatic discharge immunity up to 2kV for CE compliance
What is in the Box
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
The Orion 250i will arrive in 2 boxes.
BOX 1:
(1) User Manual & Quick Start/Quick Settings Guide
(1) Orion 250i Power Supply
(1) Welder Power Cord
(1) Stylus Hand Piece
(2) Alligator Clips
(1) Foot Pedal
(1) Shielding Gas Hose
(1) Cross Lock Tweezers
(1) Electrode Vile (5 – 0.5mm and 5 – 1.0mm Electrodes)
(1) Fiberglass Brush
(1) Orion 250i Microscope Arm
(1) Microscope Arm Table Mount
(1) Microscope Arm Support Bar
(1) Set of Allen Wrenches
(2) Microscope Eye Piece Shields
(1) Green Cover
(1) Brass Lined Pliers
250i User Manual
Power Supply Setup (backside)
The Orion has an internal switching power supply that can accept both 120 and 240VAC. See video
explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/resources/
1. Plug the female end of the power cable into the “AC
Power” port on the back of the power supply. Then
connect the male end into AC power.
2. Insert the 1/4” gas tube firmly into the “Gas” port
on the back of the welder. *It may wiggle when
connected, but should not come out if pulled on.
3. Plug the foot pedal into the “foot pedal” port on the
back of the power supply.
4. Proceed to next section.
Power Supply Setup (frontside)
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
The welding stylus requires the most attention during setup. Since argon gas will flow through the
stylus, a tight fit between the power supply and the stylus is critical. This will insure that no oxygen
is entrained into the weld. To accomplish this, follow the steps below.
1. Position the end of the stylus so that the notch is facing up.
2. Push the stylus into the stylus connector port on the front panel of the power supply.
3. Turn the outside layer of the stylus connector clockwise so it screws onto the stylus
connector port.
4. Continue to turn the outside layer of the stylus connector clockwise until it stops.
5. Now push in on the stylus connector, (you will feel it move in a couple centimeters). Then turn
the outside layer of the stylus connector clockwise until it stops.
Repeat steps 2-5 until you feel the stylus connector bottom out, and you can no longer screw
the stylus connector clockwise. This will insure that the stylus connector is firmly seated.
7. Place an alligator clip into the positive port on the front
panel of the welder. *Remember to attach the alligator
clip to the work piece before welding.
Microscope Arm Setup
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://
Mounting Option 1 - Clamp to table
1. Determine the height of the tabletop. *If it is thicker than 2-3/4’
(7cm), follow arm base mounting options 2 or 3.
2. Position the microscope arm clamp under the tabletop.
3. Turn the clamp knob clockwise until the clamp is very snug.
Mounting Option 2 - Bolt through table
1. Using the provided allen wrench, unscrew
the 10m x 1.5 allen bolt underneath the
arm base.
2. Drill a 3/8’ (10mm) hole through the
3. Place a washer on the 10m x 1.5 bolt
(length will depend on tabletop thickness)
and run it up through the tabletop into the arm base.
4. Tighten the bolt until it is very snug.
Mounting Option 3 - Bolt to table
1. Position the base against the table.
2. Trace drill holes with a pen or marker.
3. Drill 1/4’ holes in the tabletop.
4. Run screws through the base into the drilled
250i User Manual
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
1. Place the upper half of the microscope arm into the arm base.
2. Install the rubber eyepiece covers.
3. Insert the welding stylus into the stylus holder
under the microscope head then tighten the stylus
holder knob.
4. Loosen the bolt in front of the microscope mount
to move the microscope head left and right.
*When adjusting the spring pressure as described in step 5, be
sure the arm is parallel to the table as seen in the above picture.
5. Loosen/tighten the allen on the microscope
arm to adjust the spring pressure. Turn the allen
clockwise if the arm does not hold the microscope
up. Turn the allen counter clockwise if the arm does
not allow the microscope to come down.
6. Ensure the microscope cable is plugged into the microscope
shutter light ring (the bottom of the microscope head).
7. Plug the other end of the microscope cable into the
“Microscope” port on the back of the power supply.
*Orion HDMI (or RJ45) ports are not compatible with any other
HDMI (or RJ45) ports. Connecting them to other devices may
damage the welder and/or the other devices.
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page
1. Loosen the screws on either side of the stylus holder.
2. Adjust the welding stylus to a 45-degree angle then slightly
tighten the screws just enough to hold the stylus in place at a
45-degree angle
3. While looking through the microscope, slide the welding
stylus holder forward/backward until the tip of the stylus is
in the center of your focus.
4. Now securely tighten the stylus holder screws.
2. 45°
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
1. Twist the 1x 2x knob to adjust the microscope magnification. *1x
= 5x magnification. 2x = 10x magnification.
2. Twist the bigger knob above the 1x 2x knob to focus the
When adjusting the microscope focus, place a finger under the
welding electrode to help judge the correct focus location. Focus the
microscope till the texture on the skin of the finger is clearly visible.
Microscope Shutter System Setup
The shutter allows an unobstructed working view before welding and completely protects the
user’s eyes during the welding process. The Orion’s internal computer verifies the shutter has
been closed before allowing the weld to take place. The Orion will not allow a weld to take place if
the shutter does not completely shut.
Shutter Troubleshooting:
1. Turn off the unit and then turn it back on. This will
reset the shutter.
2. If step 1 does not correct the issue, the shutter
switches can be moved manually. To do this,
remove the lens cap under the shutter and
manually move the shutter switches. (This
should be an easy movement. If it is not call in for
additional troubleshooting).
Become Familiar with the Microscope
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
The Orion Microscope has been designed to provide maximum visual clarity, eye protection and
ease of use. One challenge using the microscope is getting used to bringing the work piece to the
welding electrode while looking through the microscope. This is an easy challenge to overcome.
To begin, follow these steps with the welder on pause. *While the welder is on pause it will not
weld when the work piece touches the electrode.
250i User Manual
1. Rest your hands on the table and position the
work piece close to the welding electrode before
looking into the microscope.
2. Make sure your focus is at the tip of the electrode.
3. Use slow, controlled movements.
4. It is helpful to have your hands resting and to only
use your fingers to move the work piece up to the
5. Place the work piece surface perpendicular to
the point of the electrode. *As will be discussed,
the angle of the electrode tip relative to the work piece surface is very important and will take
6. Now practice making light contact with the work piece to the electrode.
*Remember to follow these steps once the welder is completely set up ready to begin welding.
Electrode Setup
The Orion welder comes standard with a 0.5mm electrode collet and (5)
0.5mm electrodes; and a 1.0mm electrode collet 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 (less than 5ws of energy).
Stylus components:
1. Stylus Shaft
2. Collet
3. Collet Cap
4. Electrode
5. Stylus Hull
Follow these steps to properly install the tungsten electrode. See video explanations of
setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/resources/orion-i-seriesresources/
1. Remove the stylus hull by pulling it away from the stylus.
2. Loosen the collet cap by twisting it counter-clockwise.
3. The welder comes with 2 electrode collets. One that fits 0.5mm electrodes and one that
fits 1.0mm electrodes. The electrode stylus will be shipped with the 1.0mm electrode collet
4. Insert the 1.0mm electrode into the collet. Helpful Tip: Make
a mark around the Stylus Hull that will help measure the
electrode length. Place the end of the stylus hull up against
the collet cap then make sure the electrode tip falls between
5. There should be between 0.6 - 0.7in (1.5 – 2cm) of the electrode protruding from the stylus
shaft. This will allow the electrode enough room to stick out from the stylus once the stylus
hull is placed back on the stylus.)
6. Lock the electrode into place by hand tightening the collet cap
in a clockwise direction.
7. Replace the stylus hull by pushing it snuggly until you feel it snap back
into place (the electrode should stick out between 1/8 – 1/4in (3.75 –
6.75mm) after the stylus hull is snapped back into place).
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
Touch the work piece to the electrode with very light pressure. Too much pressure will cause
the work piece to stick to the electrode and in turn cause the electrode to be contaminated
(work piece material on the electrode). This will shorten the amount of time you can weld before
re-sharpening or replacing the electrode. *As a general rule of thumb we recommend a freshly
sharpened electrode anytime a new work piece is being welded.
It is recommended that the user pay close attention to the electrode condition. An electrode that
appears to be dark colored or covered with material from previous welds can lead to inconsistent
welding and poor igniting of the weld. When this occurs, simply sharpen the electrode with the
included diamond disk. The diamond disk can be attached to a flex shaft or Dremel tool. Follow
these steps for sharpening the electrode. A video explanation of the steps below can be found at
1. Completely remove the electrode from the stylus.
2. Pinch the electrode between the thumb and middle finger with the point facing inward.
3. Power on the Dremel or flex shaft then hold it with
the opposite hand. *If the Dremel is in the left
hand, then sharpen the electrode on the side of the
diamond disk furthest from the body. If the Dremel
is in the right hand, then sharpen the electrode on
the side of the diamond disk closest to the body.
The reason for this is to keep the striations on the
electrode moving towards the electrode tip, not
away. This will effect the quality of the weld if not
done as explained above.
4. Set the electrode on the diamond disk at a 10-degree angle and begin to spin the electrode
with the thumb and middle finger. *A helpful way to get a sharp electrode is to push down on
the electrode with your index finger while twisting the electrode with the thumb and middle
finger. See the video on our website for additional instruction on this method.
5. Once the electrode is sharp and clean, turn the Dremel off and insert the electrode back into
the stylus as explained above.
*See Chapter 5 for additional information on the Tungsten Electrodes
250i User Manual
When working with silver, copper, and other highly conductive metals in energy levels above
20ws, it is recommended to blunt the electrode instead of sharpening it. See video explanations
of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/resources/orion-i-seriesresources/
1. Completely remove the electrode from the stylus.
2. Pinch the electrode between the thumb and middle finger with the point facing inward.
3. Turn the Dremel or flex shaft on then hold it with the opposite hand. *If the Dremel is in the
left hand, then sharpen the electrode on the side of the diamond disk furthest
from the body. If the Dremel is in the right hand, then sharpen the electrode on
the side of the diamond disk closest to the body. The reason for this is to keep the
striations on the electrode moving towards the electrode point, not away. This will
effect the quality of the weld if not done as explained above.
4. Set the electrode on the diamond disk at a 10-degree angle and begin to spin
the electrode with the thumb and middle finger. *A helpful way to get a sharp
electrode is to push down on the electrode with your index finger while twisting the
electrode with the thumb and middle finger.
5. Once the electrode is sharp and clean, turn the electrode to a 90-degree angle and
push it against the dremel in order to place a flat/blunt tip on the electrode.
6. Once the electrode has a flat/blunt tip, turn the Dremel off and insert the
electrode back into the stylus as explained above.
See the Orion Workbook for additional details about the Tungsten Electrodes.
Shielding Gas Setup
During the pulse-arc welding process high temperature plasma quickly melts metal into a
molten pool. As the weld is performed, a small amount of shielding gas is released through the
weld stylus to prevent oxygen from entering the molten pool. After the weld has occurred the
protective gas turns off.
If oxygen from the air enters this molten pool, the result is a metal oxide that is brittle, porous
and burnt-looking. Protective shielding gas is used, such as 99.996% pure Argon (Argon 4.6)
or higher, to prevent these effects. Shielding gas is necessary to produce clean and repeatable
pulse-arc welds. We recommend high purity argon. This can be purchased at your local welding
supply shop.
There are several important rules that should be followed when using a compressed shielding gas
such as argon.
1. Always secure the pressurized gas tank to a fixed location (such as a sturdy table leg). If the
pressurized gas cylinder were to tip and become damaged there is possibility that the tank
could become rocket-like, expelling the high pressure shielding gas as propellant.
your shielding gas supply last longer in case there is a small leak in the tubing. This is also
a good safety practice. If the tube becomes dislodged, shielding gas could fill the room
displacing needed breathing oxygen. Argon is heavier than air and will fill the room from
the bottom upward. If you experience a large shielding gas leak, open all of the doors and
windows in the room.
See video explanations of setup items on our resource page http://www.orionwelders.com/
1. Ensure that your shielding gas tank is securely fastened to a stationary point near the welding
2. Turn the regulator dial COUNTER CLOCKWISE (closed) until it is fully backed out to prevent
over-pressurization of the line.
3. Screw the gas regulator onto the shielding gas tank.
4. Connect one end of the gas tubing to the gas regulator.
5. Insert the other end of the gas tubing into the gas port on
the back of the power supply. It will stop when it is fully
connected. Tug gently on the tube to verify a tight fit.
6. Open the gas tank slowly. The dial on the right should pressurize and the dial on the right
should remain at zero (when the regulator dial is fully backed out – see step 2).
7. Slowly turn the regulator dial CLOCKWISE until the gas pressure reads between 7-10 psi. (This
will adjust the dial on the left side of the regulator.)
Regulator Dial
250i User Manual
Below is an explanation of all the various buttons and options found on the Orion user interface.
*Orion touch screens are resistive touch screens. Resistive touch screens respond best to a little
bit of pressure. For best results use the end of your fingernail or the tip of the alligator clip when
touching the screen.
From this screen users can
make every adjustment
necessary for the pulse arc
welding process. Below is a
description for each button
found on the arc tab screen. We
will start at the bottom right and
work our way up.
Play/Pause Button
Play - In order to weld, the play/pause button must show the green triangle “play“ symbol.
Pause - If the welder is not going to be used for a period of time, users can push the play/pause
button. This will keep the unit powered on, but welding functions will be disabled.
Reset Button
The reset button will place all settings on the welder back to their factory default settings. The
factory default settings are “safe” settings and will work well with any metal. If the user is not sure
what settings to use, the factory default settings are a good starting point. If the user steps away
from the welder, it is a good habit to touch the reset button when they return to the welder. Users
never know if someone has tampered wit their settings. This will prevent ruining any work pieces.
Another good habit is to touch the reset button before welding a new work piece. If the settings
are set for welding stainless steel and the user is welding silver they may damage their silver
piece. Touching the reset button will not delete saved settings.
Weld Time/Duration adjusts the amount of time that the energy is discharged from the welder.
A longer discharge time will lead to a smoother weld surface and less internal stress within the
weld spot. A cool feature about this Orion Welder is that the length changes automatically as the
user changes the power. For example, at energies between 0.5Ws – 4.9Ws the length will be at
2.5ms. At energies between 5Ws – 29.9Ws the length will be at 15ms. At energies between 30Ws
– 250Ws the length will be at 60ms. These length settings are what we have found work best
in each respective energy range. We recommend that users keep the length settings where the
Orion places them. Some users have found it helpful to cut the length in half with metals like gold
(*see quick settings sheet for suggestions on when to do this). To change the length, touch the
Advanced tab at the top of the screen. Once you are in the advanced tab, be sure the primary tab is
selected at the bottom left of the screen. With the primary tabe selected you will find a slider bar
at the top left of the screen labled length. Slide your finger along the bar to your desired length
setting. *remember to touch the reset button to get back to the factory length settings.
Foot Pedal, Microscope, and Gas Tank Images
If the foot pedal, microscope or argon gas is not set up properly then a red X will appear over their
respected images. If the red X is showing, review chapter 1 for setup instructions.
Gas Pressure Read Out
If the gas is setup properly and flowing into the welding stylus, a read out of the gas pressure will
appear here. Be sure that the gas pressure reads between 5 -10 psi.
Trigger Type Button
Auto Trigger - When using the Auto Trigger mode (recommended), the unit will automatically
initiate the weld once the work piece touches the electrode tip.
Foot Pedal - When using the Foot Pedal mode, the weld will only initiate when the foot pedal is
pressed (the work piece must be touching the electrode or nothing will happen when the user
presses the foot pedal). This mode is recommended if users need to reach a deep crevice or
a tight area where they do not want the weld to automatically initiate if they accidentally touch
a sidewall with the electrode. *Remember to touch with lite pressure no matter what trigger
mode is being used.
Weld Rate
“Single Fire” rate will do one weld at a time. “Rapid Fire” will weld close to five welds per second.
Agitation Button
High Frequency Pulse Agitation can improve weld formation and strength. An image on the upper
right side of the screen shows what is happening during the weld process with the different
agitation options. Agitation can be an extremely valuable option with certain metals. See quick
settings guide for when to use agitation.
None - This is the standard weld discharge curve with a smooth slope. This is
good for most metals and will give maximum control over spot size formation.
This is the recommended setting when working with silver.
Sloped - The Sloped agitation offers low levels of additional energy during
the weld and has a minimal impact on spot size formation, while still offering
additional penetration and enhanced weld strength.
Sustained – Sustained agitation offers high levels of additional energy during
the weld. The high levels of agitation energy will affect the spot size. It is
recommended to lower the overall weld energy slightly to compensate for the
additional agitation energy.
*Note: Agitation can produce loud, high-pitched sounds; please take precaution if ears are
250i User Manual
Ignition is the process by which the arc is created.
Standard Ignition - In this ignition option, the energy discharge occurs at approximately the
same time as the tip lifts off the work piece surface. Since the electrode is close to the work
piece when the weld is formed, precise placement is achievable. This mode provides the most
accuracy, but also requires the operator to hold the stylus and work piece together steadily. At
higher energy settings in any given range, this ignition mode is ideal.
Standard+ Ignition - This ignition mode is similar to the Standard, but includes a specified “preheat” duration. During this time, a low current is flowing through the electrode and work piece,
effectively preheating both the tungsten electrode and the work piece. The increase in that
temperature allows for easier ignition and better plasma arc flow when the full weld energy is
released. This is an ideal process for getting precise welds at low energy levels, but the operator
has to be aware that moving the work piece and electrode apart from each other during the
preheat time can create a premature arc which can affect the weld results by adding too much
Energy Bar
The energy bar ranges from 1Ws (Watt-Seconds or Joules) to 250Ws. Users can slide their finger
anywhere along the bar to move the energy up or down.
Energy Bar - Plus/Minus Buttons
Another option for moving the energy up or down is to use the + and - buttons on either side of
the energy bar.
Spot Width & Spot Depth
This section of the touch screen interface shows the user an image of the estimated weld spot
width and weld spot depth (based on where the energy is set). This is roughly the size and
penetration that will occur when a weld is made. The dimension is also shown in millimeters.
This section of the interface shows the metal that has been selected from the “Load” menu. More
details about loading metals are found in the Load Button section. If the metal section reads
“Titanium”, then the system is calibrated to the best settings we have found for welding Titanium.
If the user wants to change this to a different metal they must touch the “Load” button at the
top left of the user interface. Users can also touch the “Reset” button to go to the factory default
settings. Factory default settings will show as “Generic” in the metal section. The “Generic”
setting is a safe all around setting and can be used with any metal if the user is not sure what
settings to start with.
Current Setting
Users can save settings that they like. This section will
show the name of a saved setting that has been selected.
If a saved setting has not been selected, it will show as
“Unsaved”. More info about saving settings is found in the Save Button section.
Touch the Load Button to open the
“Weld Generator”, “Load Arc”, and
“Load Tack” menus.
Weld Generator - This feature
takes users through a series of
steps to help them with their weld
parameters. Users can tell the
Orion what type of metal they
are welding and the Orion will
calibrate itself to the best settings
for that metal. To begin, touch the
“Load” button at the top left of the
interface then touch the “Weld Generator” tab and a list of metals will appear on the left hand side
of the screen. Users can select the type of metal they are welding and the Weld Generator will do
four things.
1. First the Weld Generator will give a list of notes to help the user know what we have found to
be useful when welding the selected metal.
2. Then the user will touch the “NEXT” button and a screen will appear asking the user to select
their desired energy. Slide your finger along the energy bar to your desired energy then hit the
“NEXT” button. *Remember to start with lower energy then work your way up. It is easier to
have a weld that did not hold then a weld that destroys the work piece.
3. Now the Weld Generator shows an image of the electrode and some notes that tell you how
to shape the electrode based on the metal and energy that has been selected.
4. Touch the “Ready to weld!” button and now the system is calibrated to the best settings for
the metal and energy the user has selected. The user now knows how to shape the electrode
and is ready to weld.
Load Arc/Load Tack Tabs – These
tabs take the user to their saved
settings (see the “Save Button”
section to learn how to save weld
parameters). To begin, touch the
“Load” button at the top left of
the interface then touch the “Load
Arc” or “Load Tack” tab (depending
which mode you are welding in). A
list of saved settings will appear
on the left hand side of the screen.
Users can select the saved setting
they desire to use and their notes
will appear to the right. When the user is ready to weld touch “OK” in the top right corner of the
interface. This feature will load the users saved Weld Energy, Agitation, Trigger Type, Weld Time/
Duration, and all the current settings in the settings tab (ie Pre-Flow Delay, Post-Flow Delay, Accelerator, Foot Pedal, Pre-Weld, Shutter, Between Welds, and Retract Delay.). *After selecting the
saved setting remember to verify the spot size and depth before welding a new piece. Remember
to touch “Reset” before welding a new work piece that will require different parameters.
250i User Manual
This feature takes users through a
series of steps to help them save
their weld parameters. This feature
will save all the users current Weld
Energy, Agitation, Trigger Type,
Weld Time/Duration, and all the
current settings in the settings
tab (ie Pre-Flow Delay, Post-Flow
Delay, Accelerator, Foot Pedal,
Pre-Weld, Shutter, Between Welds,
and Retract Delay).To begin, touch
the “Save” button at the top left of
the interface then follow these steps:
1. Chose an empty slot on the left hand side of the screen or choose an existing saved setting
and it will be replaced with the current setting.
2. Touch the square below “Name:” and give the saved setting a name.
3. Touch the square below “Metal:” then select the metal type that is being welded from the
options on the left. Or users can leave this as “Generic”.
4. Touch the square below “Notes:” and type in any notes to help you remember what this saved
setting is for. For example, type in a customers name, a specific application or design, a part
number, etc.
The settings button gives users the ability to change system preferences. When users touch the
settings button a page with four system preference tabs will appear. The four tabs are Interface,
Gas, Pulse Arc Timing, and System. We will discuss each settings button tab below.
Interface Tab
Here users can adjust the Screen
Brightness, Audio Volume, and
Microscope LED brightness.
Simply slide your finger left and
right on the slider bars to change
these settings.
Language Button - Touch the
Language button on the right
side of the screen to open a list
of language options. Select the
desired language then touch the
“OK” button in the top right hand of the screen.
Calibrate Touchscreen Button - Touch the Calibrate Touchscreen button if the user interface
does not seem to be responding well. Use the tip of the alligator clip when calibrating the
touchscreen. *If the touch screen is working correctly we recommend not accessing this
function. Try using the tip of your finger or the tip of your alligator clip on your touchscreen
before deciding to calibration the touchscreen. If the screen is still not responding very well then
touch the Calibrate Touchscreen button and follow the steps on the screen.
Gas Tab
The Gas Tab allows users to change
the default gas flow settings to
adjust gas flow behavior.
Pre-flow Delay - Allows users to
control the amount of shield gas
released before the weld occurs.
An increased pre-flow delay can
be used to allow for complete
clearing of the gas line and good
shielding at the weld spot. This
can be used in applications that
require the electrode tip to stick out further from the Stylus Hull opening than is normal. The
pre-flow delay can be alternatively shortened for applications that have a short distance from
the electrode tip to the Stylus Hull opening. *It is recommended to use the default settings for
all other applications.
Post-flow Delay - Allows users to have control of the amount of shield gas released after
the weld. Materials that solidify quickly do not need the system to maintain an inert gas
environment for as long, while materials that remain in a molten state for an abnormally long
time may require a longer post-flow delay to maintain good shielding at the weld spot.
Accelerator - The Accelerator is an advanced feature that will automatically detect the time
between welds in order to determine how much gas to flow when welding. The Accelerator will
use standard gas flow delays for the first weld, but decrease the gas flow time for subsequent
welds that occur immediately after the first weld. With the accelerator feature on, an operator
can weld more quickly in applications that require, back-to-back welds because the system
does not need to clear a gas line that has recently been actively used (e.g. seam welding or
automated welding). This feature can help save time and gas in back-to-back weld applications.
Update Pressure (Purge) - Touch this button to send a shot of shielding gas through the gas
flow system. This is used to test if gas is flowing through the system properly, to check the
pressure, and to clear the gas line of any oxygen that may have entered between welds.
Timing Tab
The Timing Tab allows users to control the amount of time used on different weld parameters.
Foot Pedal - With single fire the welder will only weld once each time the foot pedal is
compressed. With continuous fire the welder will continuously fire until the user takes their foot
off the foot pedal.
Pre-Weld - This is the time from the moment the weld is initiated (either by compressing the
foot pedal or touching the work piece to the electrode) to the time the weld process begins.
250i User Manual
Shorter time will cause the weld
process to begin immediately.
Longer time will cause the weld to
have a noticeably extended delay
before it welds. As such, other
factors add to this delay for a total
time between trigger and weld
energy release (i.e. Gas to Preheat
Shutter - This option controls how
long the shutter in the microscope
will stay shut during a weld. Even at
the shortest time setting, the shutter will remain closed for the duration of the weld and protect
the eyes of the user from the weld flash.
Between Welds - This option controls weld charge time between each weld. As the setting is
increased, the charge time is also increased. As the setting is decreased, the charge time is also
decreased and the welder can weld at a faster rate.
Calibrate Electrode - This option allows users to calibrate the electrode to their specific touch
pressure. The welder will ask users to touch the electrode a number of times causing the
electrode to retract (it will not release weld energy during this process). After finishing this
process the electrode is calibrated to the users specific touch pressure. *If the welder is firing
ok it is recommended to not use this option.
Retract Delay - The Retract Delay allows users to change the amount of time it takes for the
electrode to fully retract to create the arc and weld. Sliding the bar to the left will bring the delay
time down and therefore make the arc and weld happen faster. Sliding the bar to the right will
add more time to the delay and make the arc and weld happen slower. *It is recommended for
users to keep the Retract Delay at the factory setting (if you do not know the factory setting go
to the System Tab and touch the Restore All Defaults button).
System Tab
Restore All Defaults - This will
reset all welder settings back
to their factory default settings
(Energy, Ignition, Agitation, Weld
Rate, Trigger Type, Interface Tab,
Gas Tab, and Pulse Arc Timing Tab
settings). This will not affect saved
Clear All Memory - This button will
erase all the users Saved settings.
*This can take up to 45 seconds
after touching the ok button.
The Tack Screen controls the
resistance welding aspect of the
welder. Tack welding is typically
used to hold pieces together and
does not permanently fuse them
together. Uses will generally
utilize this type of welding to hold
their work pieces together before
soldering or performing a pulse arc
weld. Tack welding before pulse arc
welding allows the user to verify
the work pieces are placed together correctly. Then the user can return to the “Arc Screen” and
place a permanent weld between the two work pieces. *Tack welding can be used to permanently
fuse the work pieces together if the energy level is high and the work piece are not to thick. Tack
welding does not work with resistive metals like silver or high karat gold.
Energy Bar
This controls the overall energy that will be discharged during the welding process. Slide your
finger along the Energy Bar to change the energy or touch the plus and minus buttons on either
side of the Energy Bar.
Length Bar
This controls the total time that the weld energy is discharged during the welding process. Slide
your finger along the Length Bar to change the weld time or touch the plus and minus buttons on
either side of the Length Bar.
Trigger Type
Auto Trigger – Unlike pulse arc welding, this option is not recommended for tack welding. If the
user chooses this option the weld will occur as soon as the two work pieces touch each other.
Foot Pedal – This is the default tack welding setting and is recommended. Unlike Auto Trigger
this option will not weld unless the users presses the Foot Pedal after the two pieces are
touched together. This option allows the user to precisely position the work pieces together and
make sure they are aligned correctly before initiating the weld.
Below is an explanation of all the various buttons and options found on the Advanced Tab user
interface. *Orion touch screens are resistive touch screens.
The Advanced Screen gives complete control to the user. Users can adjust and manipulate every
weld parameter to achieve any combination of custom weld settings. As a note, changes made on
the Advanced screen will modify any settings already configured on the Arc screen.
Primary Weld Tab
Energy Bank Selection - Turns on/off the various energy banks (Nano, Micro, Ultra).
Primary Voltage Bar - Adjusting this bar translates into energy selection based on the primary
250i User Manual
banks selected. Turning all three
banks with maximum voltage
translates into approximately
250 Joules of weld energy. Using
only the nano bank at a minimum
voltages translates into as little as
0.01 Joules of weld energy.
Length Bar - This adjusts the
amount of time that the energy
is discharged from the welder. A
longer discharge time will lead
to smoother weld surfaces and
less internal stresses within the weld spot, therefore most welds do best with the length set to
Agitation Tab
HF Bank(s) Selection - Similar
to the primary bank selection,
these buttons allow the use of
special agitation banks that are
used for high-frequency pulse
agitation welding. Note that the “+
Boost” button utilizes the primary
energy bank as an added agitation
booster. Therefore, only one can
be used to weld at a time - either
the micro primary bank, or the
“+ Boost” bank on the agitation
Agitation Voltage Bar - Adjusting this bar adjusts the total agitation energy that will be used
during the welding process. Typically, this is set to a value slightly higher than the primary voltage.
Duty Cycle Bar - The duty cycle controls the width of each agitation ‘spike’, or the amount of
agitation energy that each ‘spike’ delivers.
Frequency Bar - The frequency bar adjusts the total number of ‘spikes’ that will occur during the
welding process.
*Note - Agitation options can produce loud, high-pitched sounds. It is recommended to use
hearing protection when welding with agitation turned on. Higher energy settings on all agitation
options will intensify the sound produced.
Ignition Tab
Weld Rate - ”Single Fire” rate will do one weld at a time. “Rapid Fire” will weld close to five welds
per second.
Trigger Type - This bar controls
the length of time between the
initiation and the electrode tip
Ignition Type - Choose Standard,
Standard +, TipSaver, or TipSaver +,
then set the desired parameters on
the bars below.
Tip Saver Ignition - This ignition
option delays the energy discharge
in relation to the electrode tip
retraction, and uses an alternate low-energy source to create the arc as the tip lifts off the
material surface. It also has a preheat time to prepare the tip for better arc generation. Because
the electrode is able to retract away from the work piece before welds are formed, the electrode
is significantly less susceptible to contamination and sticking. This will significantly extend
the life of the electrode, but is slightly less accurate since the low energy arc can wander away
from the target weld site as the tip moves farther and farther away from the material surface.
As such, this mode is not recommended when welding gaps or tight areas. It is, however, very
helpful in improving consistent weld results with low energy welds on perpendicular welds on
flat or convex surfaces. To get more focus and deeper penetration, use TipSaver+.
Tip Saver+ Ignition - This option utilizes the Tip Saver function combined with a weld focusing
technology. The system will output an additional burst of energy after the tip lift-off, but
immediately before the normal weld energy discharge. This burst will focus the low energy arc
that is normally generated by the TipSaver mode and allow for deeper and tighter welds. To
compensate for the added energy from the ignition process, it is recommended to lower the
overall weld energy slightly.
Retract - Weld Delay Bar (Only used in Standard Ignition) - The amount of time between the
electrode retraction and the weld.
Tip Return Delay Bar (Used in all Ignition Types) - This controls the length of time that the
electrode stays retracted after the weld has been performed.
Preheat Length Bar (Only used in Standard +, TipSaver, and TipSaver + Ignition Types) - This bar
controls the length of time that the electrode pre-heats before welding.
Lift-off Delay Bar (Used in all Ignition Types) - This controls the length of time between when the
electrode retracts from the work piece and when weld energy is released from the welder.
250i User Manual
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 Tack Mode the Orion can be
used to temporarily position parts before welding or soldering. By increasing the energy output it
can also be used as a permanent fusion welder (resistance welder, spot welder). In its Pulse Arc
Mode, the Orion can be used to perform permanent welds, add metal, and do a variety of other
amazing and time saving applications.
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
work piece 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-arcweld. 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 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 (See image on top of next page). 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 work piece surface – therefore it is
important to use very light pressure.
*Remember that the weld is created only when the electrode lifts from the work piece 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.
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 work piece 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.
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 the Orion. The Orion is very easy-touse and many users will be making quality welds within minutes. The purpose of this section is to
help the user to better understand some of the fundamental welding principles, to utilize all of the
functions of the Orion, and to adapt this knowledge to specific applications.
250i User Manual
As you can see from this example the Orion’s Arc Mode offers a lot of energy. At higher energies,
this mode is perfect for larger/thicker pieces, deeper weld penetration and for welding highly
conductive metals like silver.
Hands on: Try welding on a flat plate with 30, 50, 75, 100, and 250 Ws
of energy. Stay at max length, and make sure you have a sharp
welding electrode.
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. Make sure you have a
sharp welding electrode.
What happens if the 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 time at max time for most
applications. The top image was welded at 25 Ws with 0, 2, 4, 8ms weld
time. The bottom image was welded at 75 Ws with 10, 20, 50ms weld length.
The two weld parameters (energy and time) can be understood with the following analogies.
Consider the 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. The 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 more slowly, the ripples have a chance to dissipate and go away completely before
the water’s surface refreezes. This is why short weld time causes the weld spot to look rippled.
Keeping the weld time at its max will leave the weld looking smooth and clean.
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. The Orion welder’s energy
discharge has been designed to ramp down the weld energy for longer weld time. This gives the
molten metal vibrations time to smooth out before the metal re-solidifies. *It is recommended
that the user keep the time at its max length for most welding applications.
In addition, a longer weld time will also help prevent cracking in
some metals as the extended time and longer discharge curve
allows the molten pool to cool more slowly. 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 (like hammering).
In most cases it is recommended to leave the weld time at max
length 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 time. By turning down the time 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 and 15 Ms time. The smaller weld on
the right was done at 5 Ws and 3 Ms time.
Alternatively, the user 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.
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What is Resistance Welding (Tack Welding)?
Resistance welding, often called tack or fusion welding , takes place using a very different process
from that of TIG welding. In resistance welding a large electrical current is passed through two
work pieces 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 work pieces 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 of creative possibilities. It also helps
eliminate the need for complicated binding or clamping of parts before permanent welding or
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 close-up
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 work piece parts. As we zoom in on a cross sectional
view of the work piece 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 work pieces. 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
work piece 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 work pieces 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.
With the above in mind there are several different helpful recommendations to use when
resistance welding.
1. The pressure between the two parts is the most important variable in resistance welding; even
250i User Manual
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
If using tools to hold the work pieces remember that firm pressure between the tool and the work
piece is important to prevent welding the tool to the work piece (e.g. brass lined pliers). Then
apply the correct pressure between the work pieces to achieve your weld.
HANDS ON: Try turning the Tack Mode energy to 50 Ws 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
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 work piece. Doing
this will reduce the amount of heat created where the tool and part meet.
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 work piece together
remember that firm pressure between the tool and the work piece is important to prevent welding
the tool to the work piece (e.g. brass lined pliers). Then apply the correct pressure between the
work pieces 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, it is not good practice to use a set
of steel pliers to hold a steel part, for example, during resistance welding. The tool can easily fuse
to the work piece.
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 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.
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).
*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.
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 work pieces 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).
250i User Manual
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
may be better for cases when less energy is desired.
HANDS ON: Make a weld using 15 Ws and 8ms using a sharp 1.0mm electrode. Now make a weld
using the same settings using a sharp 0.5mm tip.
In the ‘HANDS ON’ examples above, more energy was transferred from the Orion into the piece
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
*Note: The 0.5mm small 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.
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 work piece 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
Melting Point (deg C)
Stainless 304
Carbon Steel
generated by the electrons impacting
the work piece than the atoms striking
the electrode.
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. 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. 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.
250i User Manual
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.
There are two main electrode shape configurations that Orion users 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 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 unfocuser. 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
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 with the
Orion and get to know how it responds to different electrode shapes and metals.
1. When welding very small features, under about 1mm, the electrode should be sharp to help
focus the weld energy.
2. When welding with less than 20-30 Joules(Ws) the electrode will typically be sharp.
3. Some materials weld better with a sharp electrode (e.g. Stainless Steel).
4. When welding at very low energy settings a sharp electrode will help ignite the arc more easily.
5. Flattened tips provide arc stability at higher energies
6. At high energies a sharp tip may melt off during the welding process and contaminate the
work piece.
7. A large flat or completely blunt electrode tip for some metals is desirable (e.g. silver,
8. A large flat can be helpful on all metals depending on the desired weld puddle and the work
piece geometry.
9. Truncating the electrode helps to un-focus the weld energy and prevents “burrowing” in
mobile metals like silver.
10. 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.
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.
A sharp electrode will help place the weld
into tight geometries (left), a blunt electrode
can spread the energy and prevent weld
formation (right).
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.
Poor weld results are most often traced back to electrode condition and shape. Because the
electrode condition is very important, the following table will help troubleshoot problems quickly.
In the table below we see that trouble igniting the arc can be cause by several different reasons.
The most common is a contaminated electrode. If the work piece metal contaminates the welding
electrode the following may occur:
250i User Manual
Possible Problem
Possible Solution
Trouble igniting the arc
Contaminated electrode
Re-grind the electrode to remove contamination
Electrode shape not conducive to
ignition at low energy
Shape the electrode to a very sharp tip
Broken electrode, jagged edges
Re-grind electrode to desired shape
Electrode contamination leading to a
metal bridge explosion (see discussion)
Re-grind the electrode
Sharp electrode in a mobile metal
such as silver
Truncate the end of the electrode to help
“un-focus” the weld energy
Cratering of the weld spot
Weld spot not symmetric
Damaged or jagged electrode
Re-grind electrode
Porosity in the work piece
Damaged electrode with jagged tips
Re-grind electrode
Metal may contain zinc and “boil”
during the welding process. (e.g.
white gold)
Often welding over the same location two
or three times will smooth the weld spot
Sharp electrode in a mobile metal
such as silver
Truncate the end of the electrode to help
“un-focus” the weld energy
1. During the ignition process the electrode is touching the work piece 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.
2. 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 work piece. 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”.
3. 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 work piece).
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
Electrode contamination can lead to small “explosions” that
create craters in the work piece. 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 the user 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, lead to electrode metal contamination and will shorten the amount of time you
can weld before re-sharpening or replacing the electrode.
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. 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 in the process.
250i User Manual
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
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.
A final scenario can occur when the electrode is placed on top of a 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.
HANDS ON: Try adding fill wire using the top placement method. Build up a small mound of
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, 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
250i User Manual
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 work piece
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.
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 work piece. 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 Time/Duration at “Long” 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.
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
250i User Manual
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
The Orion 250i 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 work piece 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.
Pulse Arc Welding: Warping
In some specialized applications, precise positioning of the work piece 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 work piece.
The warping can be used to one’s advantage if done correctly. Often the user can simply observe
the natural warp in the work piece 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 work piece. 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 work piece. 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.
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.
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 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.
Carbon Steel
250i User Manual
Melting Point
Boiling Point
Specific Heat
Electrical Resistivity
Thermal Expansion
Thermal Conductivity
*Some Values may be approximate
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.
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.
250i User Manual
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.
Using the following can help reduce oxide formation on the back of the work piece:
1. Argon flood on both sides of the work piece 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 work piece. 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 work piece.
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 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
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
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 in a jewelry setting. This is mainly due to palladium cracking during the welding process.
250i User Manual
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 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 work piece in hand while welding without weld heat immediately making the work
piece 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
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 work piece 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
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 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.
250i User Manual
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 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 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.
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.
Changing and Sharpening Electrodes
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. The 1mm electrodes require the included collet
with the small hole in the center. This collet is pre-installed in the stylus when shipped. The 1mm electrodes
cannot be used with the other zero clearance collet, and similarly the 0.5mm electrodes cannot be used in
the collet designed for the 1mm electrodes. Inserting and tightening electrodes into the wrong collet can
damage the stylus.
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.
To change the electrode, first remove the stylus hull by pulling on it. Then loosen the collet cap by twisting it
counter-clockwise. Grasp the electrode and push it into the collet to free it, and then pull it out to remove it.
If changing electrode sizes, the collet must also be swapped out. To do this, remove the collet cap by
continuing to twist it counter-clockwise. The collet should be loose and will remain in the stylus shaft. If it
is not loose, gently tap it out with a screwdriver or other small tool. Replace the collet with the desired one.
Replace the collet cap, but do not tighten yet. Insert the fresh electrode into the collet and lock it into place
by hand tightening the collet cap in a clockwise direction. Finally, replace the stylus hull by pushing it snuggly
back into place. See below for an exploded view of the stylus.
Stylus Shaft
Collet Cap
Stylus Hull
When sharpening electrodes, be sure to remove them from the stylus first. Use the included diamond
wheel in a rotary tool to reshape the tips. Be sure to follow all safety instructions provided by the rotary tool
manufacturer. When grinding down the tips, attempt to create a 15° angle to the tip as shown below. A sharp
tip welds better in much the same way that a sharp pencil writes better. However, grinding a very small flat
surface on the tip of the electrode tip will improve the number of welds between tip sharpening.
250i User Manual
Cleaning Guidelines
Work pieces: The included fiberglass brush can be used to clean off weld debris and discoloration from
weld areas. The 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.
Orion users are able to receive software and welder setting updates via email or through a software update
download option on our website. As Orion engineers develop new software with more efficient settings
and/or features to help users have the very best welding experience, they will place the update on the Orion
website for user to download.
1. Download update ZIP file from website or email.
2. Unzip file, which produces a file called
3. Plug USB into computer then Place the
“Update.bin” file in the root directory of the USB thumb drive. (Do not
place the file into any subdirectory or folder on the USB drive and do
not rename the update file or the welder will not be able to perform
the update.)
4. Turn welder off then plug the USB thumb drive into the USB port on
the back of the welder.
5. Turn the welder on. Update will run automatically.
6. Once the update process is complete and reaches 100%, the system may reboot itself into the main home
screen. Depending on the update, it may also no automatically reboot but wait at the 100% mark for the
operator to manually reboot. Either way, it is important that the operator turns the welder off, removes the
USB drive, and turns it back on at least once before using.
Orion 250i Pulse Arc Welder
Welder Type
Weld Modes
Pre-Programmed Metal Settings
Customizable Save Settings
Energy (Ws)
Switching Power Supply
Weld Spot Diameter
Stereo Microscope Magnification
Shutter/Auto Darkening
Pulse-Arc and Resistance
9” Touch Screen
0.5-250 Ws
110/240VAC (Auto Detected)
0.25 - 4.5mm
4.7” x 8.4” x 10.4” (12 x 21.3 x 26.4cm)
28 lbs (12.7 kg)
5x - 10x
Shutter System
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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
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).
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
250i User Manual
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, the Orion 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.
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.
Depends on the material being welded, however, spot depth of down to 1 mm can be achieved.
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.
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.
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 work-piece to a solder layer.
Yes, this is a very simple process. A variety of hand pieces are available.
Trouble Shooting
My welder won’t turn on.
•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 sticking
before I even weld.
•Clean the work-piece at the weld site.
•Clean or sharpen the electrode.
•Increase the energy slightly to add more energy to the arc.
250i User Manual
I can trigger a weld, but it
always aborts and does
•Hold the stylus steady so that the electrode continuously contacts the work-piece. If
contact is lost, even for an instant, the weld will abort.
•Verify that the attachment plugged into the + terminal is making constant contact with
the work-piece.
•Clean the surface of the work-piece 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 sticking
when I weld.
•Verify that the current mode is not Tack Mode.
•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 Trigger
(Touch Detect) but nothing
ever happens when I touch
the electrode to my workpiece.
•Verify that the work-piece is clipped to, or touching, an attachment that is securely
plugged intothe + Arc terminal.
•Verify that the play button is green.
•Verify that the stylus connector is completely inserted into the stylus receiver on the
front panel. Disconnect and reconnect it following the procedure given in the Setup
•The work-piece 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.
•Decrease the length of exposed electrode to bring the work-piece closer to the stylus
•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.
The Orion still shows that I
have gas connected even
after I’ve turned my tank
•Even though the tank’s valve has been shut, there may still be residual pressure in the
gas tube. After the pressure is released, the Orion will display the gas connectivity
status correctly.
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
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
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
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.
All Orion products come with a 2-year limited repair 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 Welder products. This warranty does not include
consumable items, such as welding electrodes or hand piece attachments. Orion Welders is dedicated to
keeping our products operating at peak performance for years to come. Any repairs needed after the 2-year
warranty period are performed at cost.
Orion Welders offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of our products. Before sending a product back
please contact Orion Welders to receive an RMA number. The RMA number should appear clearly on the
outside of the package. Customer refunds are accomplished via check. Please note that a 3% restocking fee
will apply to all returns. In some cases, a merchant fee may apply. Equipment damaged by improper use or
insufficient shipping precautions will be charged additional fees.
Orion Welders is dedicated to providing quality products and support. Please feel free to call with any
questions before or after purchasing our products.
Toll free:1-877-786-9353
Fax: 1-866-701-1209
Mail: Orion Welders, a Subsidiary of
Sunstone Engineering R&D Corporation
1693 American Way, Unit 5
Payson, UT 84651 USA
Orion 250i User Manual
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Orion Welders
1693 American Way, Unit 5
Payson, UT 84651 USA
+ 1-801-658-0015
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