By Richard Beach
Richard Beach is a seasoned goldsmith with decades of laser welding experience. You can watch Richard live on a laser welder at JCK 2022 Las Vegas at the Sunstone booth.
The secret to realizing a healthy profit from repairs is efficiency. You’ve heard the old adage that “time is money,” and with repairs it’s never been more true. The faster you can complete a repair, the more profitable the service is to your store.
A true craftsman knows the importance of having the right tools. For repairs and restorations, a benchtop laser welder is paramount, and here’s why:
1. Pinpoint Accuracy
The laser welder in my store, an Orion LZR 100, provides 0.2 mm of focus, meaning repairs can be made in the tiniest of areas. I can fix filigree, channels, prongs, and chains with pinpoint precision. I can’t imagine taking on the responsibility to restore the family jewels and not have pinpoint accuracy.
2. Speed and Efficiency
Not to brag but rather to set an efficiency baseline, I’ve tipped 40 prongs start to finish in less than 30 minutes. To use a torch, that kind of job would require hours of time and, in the end, I would lose money. Another example: Laser polishes the workpiece as you work, which makes clean up a breeze. And—you’ll like this—the use of such a high tech machine justifies the rush charge on those “I need it in an hour” jobs. Simply put, the laser welder is not an expense, but a money maker.
3. Work Effortlessly with Castings
Every bench jeweler has experienced that job that had to be done no matter what. And then, when you get into the job, you realize you only have a partial casting, or voids, porosity, missing prongs, or all of the above. All of these issues are easily fixed with a laser welder.
4. Do the Impossible
Remember the family heirloom that turned out to be nothing more than costume quality? And you promised to fix it? No problem! I’ve fixed many a piece that before having a laser welder I would have turned down. I rarely turn away any repair and have gained gratitude and customers for life.
Anytime you can do a job quicker, easier, cleaner, and with less effort, you put money in your pocket. The ROI is measured in weeks and months, not years. Some quick, back-of-the-envelope math will show you how much repair work you need to add to your store to justify a laser welder. And you’ll be surprised by the numbers. It truly pays for itself from day one.