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The solid state of metal powders in metal fabrication

December 3, 2015

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Metal powders are used in various areas of manufacturing including powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing. But in the welding and metal fabrication arena, weld overlays and thermal spray are by far the most popular applications for metal powders.

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A job shop reborn

December 3, 2015

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Co-Lin Metals Fabricating, Rockford, Ill., was an old-school shop. Estimates were done by hand, and important documents were transferred by fax. Stephen Hedlund, who had once worked summers at the shop where his dad, Michael, worked, wants to change all of that. He and his dad are the new owners, and they want to take the shop into the 21st century.

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How a plate rolling rookie becomes a guru

December 3, 2015

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How does a plate rolling rookie become a guru? According to Ken Pecho, project engineer at Chicago Metal Rolled Products, it requires good communication. So how do you really define good communication? For plate rolling (and many other shop skills), you can break it down into three critical components: collaboration, observation, and patience.

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Make way for the torch queen

December 2, 2015

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Contributing Editor Amanda Carlson introduces us to a former contractor who has found her niche as a welding artist and instructor.

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Metal fabrication in 2016: Diversification proves its worth

December 2, 2015

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2015 has been a tale of two markets—commodities and everything else. Demand for food, fuel, and materials is suffering and prices are dropping. But low prices in these areas are spurring growth elsewhere. Many predict this tale to continue into 2016.

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The differences between stiffness and strength in metal

December 1, 2015

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Many in the metals industry think that stiffness and strength are the same thing. That's not the case, especially when you are talking about metals used in automotive designs.

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Press brake training: Passing the torch

December 1, 2015

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Southern Metalcraft Inc.’s press brake veteran will be retiring at the end of 2016, and he is now passing the torch to someone who never worked on a press brake until 2009. So how did the rookie learn so quickly? Technical aptitude plays a role. But more important than that, the veteran and rookie get along and just work well together.

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2016 capital spending forecast in metal fabrication: The growth continues

November 30, 2015

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According to the “2016 Capital Spending Forecast” from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, total capital spending will edge up a little more than 2 percent next year. Still, certain equipment categories, including welding and bending, may experience dramatic gains.

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3 steps to optimize a finishing operation

November 30, 2015

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Metal fabricators are pressed for time, so many don’t dedicate the time to conduct a thorough analysis of something as trivial as abrasive disc usage. That’s a mistake, because a few simple steps can produce momentum that makes a more formal investigation into abrasive usage hard to ignore.

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Friction stir welding expands its scope

November 30, 2015

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Friction stir welding, which is used in projects such as the new NASA heavy-lift rocket, is now being used in more typical metal fabricating applications.

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R&D Update: Flow stress data and FE simulation

November 30, 2015

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Finite element (FE)-based computer software commonly is used in the sheet metal forming and stamping industry for die design and for predicting metal flow and thinning in the formed part. It is a useful tool for predicting and preventing forming defects such as fracture and wrinkling. However,...

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Cutting costs automatically with automated material handling

November 30, 2015

Schletter Inc., a producer of solar mounting systems, invested in an automated sheet metal storage and handling system from Volz-Stopa America Inc. for its Shelby, N.C., manufacturing facility.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How do I calculate press tonnage for swaging?

November 30, 2015

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Q: We are in the process of quoting a new job for the swaging and stamping of copper rod. To do this job, we need to buy a hydraulic press. The goal is to deform copper rods into a flat form on one of the edges. How do we calculate how much press tonnage we need? A: Obviously I would need a...

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Die Science: Training new tool- and diemakers

November 27, 2015

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I must get two or three calls a week from companies needing tool- and diemakers, die maintenance specialists, or die repair specialists. The demand for skilled labor has skyrocketed in the last year or so. Unfortunately, most of the time I can’t help them. The Dwindling Talent Pool...

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Aluminum Workshop: Fine-line lack of fusion and its causes

November 16, 2015

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Q: I recently fabricated a large component from 1-in.-thick 5083 aluminum. The customer required it to be radiographed. His inspector failed one of the radiographs because of a lack of fusion (LOF) discontinuity. I looked at the radiograph and I can’t see any discontinuity. Could the inspector be...

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