Blog Posts

thefabricator.com has a team of bloggers that cover the challenges and rewards associated with a life in metal fabricating. Topics typically addressed by contributing authors include political and demographic trends affecting the fabricating industry, the business side of running a job shop, the culture of the welding community, and detailed looks at what happens on the shop floor.

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Got to pay your dues in modern-day fabricating

September 28, 2016 | By Dan Davis

As the metal fabricating business gets more complex, shops have to be smart about investing in technology, developing robust information technology systems, and investing in employee training.

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Still Building America—“When there is an opportunity, take it”

September 28, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Justin Webster’s fabricating career began as a spark ignited by his father, who advised him to take a welding class in his freshman year of high school. His journey did not take a linear path, but he now has his own shop and is living his dream. Here’s how he got there.

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Growing the business within the confines of a small shop

September 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin

There’s nothing quite as gratifying to a small-shop owner as seeing healthy capacity levels. However, when limited workspace becomes an impediment to growth, it’s time to think about expanding. Wilson, N.C.-based Barnes MetalCrafters has reached this point.

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Tuning in on the job: A wireless earbud review

September 26, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Who doesn’t like music? It has charms to soothe the savage breast and also can make a workday more tolerable. Thanks to modern technology, listening to your personal favorites in the shop is getting safer and more comfortable. Here are some options.

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College and the manufacturer

September 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Why is college so expensive? Sky-high demand may have something to do with it. Other businesses could learn a thing or two from custom fabricators and other manufacturing sectors, where a four-year college degree isn't the only ticket to success.

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Manufacturing Day 2016—You in?

September 13, 2016 | By Vicki Bell

Frustrated by politics, the economy, or other things over which you have no control? Focus your energy on doing something positive for your industry. Participate in Manufacturing Day. You’ll be glad you did.

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Laboring on Labor Day

September 7, 2016 | By Vicki Bell

Love unions or not, they are responsible for many improvements in working conditions in the U.S. They also are responsible for our most recent Federal holiday. However, many workers are not able to observe this holiday the way it was intended.

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Would your shop survive a natural disaster?

August 31, 2016 | By Vicki Bell

One in three small businesses have felt the impact of storms or extreme weather, and nearly 40 percent do not reopen after being hit by a natural disaster. Preparation is key to survival.

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You can’t judge a weld by its photo

August 29, 2016 | By Josh Welton

You may be able to tell certain things from a photo, but not everything. No one knows that better than Josh Welton, whose weld photos garner a lot of attention and feedback.

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Poor customer drawings create headaches and costly rework

August 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin

Most job shops encounter situations in which the customer provides inadequate drawings and details. You are told, “This is all we have, make it work.” These jobs can be frustrating and costly.

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Still Building America—How one welder helps keep our world safer

August 25, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Welders work on all sorts of projects. Sometimes their efforts keep us safe in ways we probably never think about. Meet Devin March and learn about his contributions to our safety.

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Bosses—the good, the bad, and the clueless

August 18, 2016 | By Vicki Bell

What do you think of your boss? Is he or she a good motivator? Do you feel valued? Does your relationship with your boss affect your job performance and satisfaction? Some “Fabricating Update” readers took the time to share their thoughts about bosses they’ve known and what makes a good boss.

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Respect for the finishing line

August 18, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Painting and powder coating come at the end of the line, but that doesn't mean it should be the last thing that fabricators think of if they are interested in running an efficient fabricating operation.

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Mistakes happen. Get over it.

August 17, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Have you ever thought about how quick we are to notice and point out mistakes? Doing so seems to have become de rigueur in today’s society. When even the most trival mistakes generate a deluge of hostile corrections, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at the practice and the reasons behind it.

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Manufacturing and the consumer class

August 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing built the middle class, a consumer class. Today, this "middle" consumer class is fading. For a consumer-based economy, that can't be a good thing.

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