By Corkie Bolton
It was an incredibly exciting mail day when my Orion 150s pulse arc welder from Sunstone arrived a week ago. I have wanted the opportunity to work with a welder for many years. As someone who has been soldering jewelry with an acetylene torch for over a decade, I was fascinated by the ability to hold metal in my bare hands and fuse tiny components together—such sorcery!
Now that one had arrived on my doorstep in three well designed packages, containing the welder’s power supply, the microscopic optics, and an fun orange tank of argon, I couldn’t wait get started and found I was able to complete set up within an hour. The instructions were easy to follow, but I also found my new welder had tutorial videos available right on the screen. I may have yelled: “it’s a mini computer too?!”
I immediately began experimenting on a handy piece of practice steel that came with the welder. Soon after, I started digging through my silver scraps to start welding various components. I was honestly amazed by how quickly I was able to weld a tiny jump ring and attach an earring post.
One thing I quickly realized was that setting myself up for a good weld was similar to setting myself up for a good solder seam: Making sure all metal pieces are flush and have a good point of contact. I know it will take some practice to become great at using the welder, but jumping into it as a beginner felt comfortable.
As a jeweler, I’ve had some design ideas over the years that involved chain or delicate components that never came to fruition because I struggled to execute them with my torch, or they were too time consuming. Having the new ability to weld on finished pieces that already have set stones and to be able to attach chains and do repairs I would never have considered taking on before, has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Within my first hour of playing with my Orion 150s pulse arc welder, I was able to create a pair of stud earrings with a chain fringe that I’ve wanted to make for years! I’m stoked to have this amazing new tool and am excited to see where it takes my work!
About Corkie Bolton
Corkie Bolton graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in metalsmithing in 2007 but didn’t launch her jewelry line until 2016. For a time, she found herself in the fitness industry but held on to her bench and torch. After moving to Boston, Corkie met a woman whose grandmother had been a metalsmith and who generously entrusted her grandmother’s beloved tools to Corkie. To Corkie, that incredible act of kindness was a sign that she had a calling in jewelry. Shortly thereafter, she launched Metalsmith Society, an Instagram community where jewelers can share information, ask questions, and learn.