Articles is the digital home of The FABRICATOR magazine, the metal fabricating industry’s foremost authority on manufacturing technology. Technical articles, case studies, and company profiles from The FABRICATOR and its sister publications, Practical Welding Today, The Tube & Pipe Journal, and STAMPING Journal can be found on this site. Additionally, has a team of subject matter experts that write exclusively for the website, covering topics such as welding skills and metal forming basics.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: Do die repairs require full lockout/tagout?

April 18, 2016 | By Dennis Cattell

Editor’s Note: Regular readers of this column might recognize that Mr. Cattell answered a similar question in the May/June 2010 issue of STAMPING Journal®. Since this question reflects a common concern among stampers—and is asked of Mr. Cattell quite frequently in his work—we felt it would be beneficial to address the issue again.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How can I form titanium successfully?

April 15, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: We are getting more and more inquiries for components made of titanium. We have never worked with this material. Any advice? A: Titanium can be cold- or hot-formed on standard equipment using techniques similar to those used on stainless steels, but you need to consider two main issues: The...

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Saying “yes” to complex projects has benefits

April 14, 2016 | By Bryan Elmore, Edward Dunn Jr.

Fabricating operations interested in taking on more complex projects now have additional motivation: The R&D Tax Credit is permanent and could pay off for those companies involved in solving manufacturing problems.

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Big-league metal fabrication

April 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In September 2015 contract fabricator BTD expanded to the Southeast with its purchase of Impulse Manufacturing. The deal hints at just how scalable custom metal fabrication may be.

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Press brake bending: Applying the 20 percent rule to 6061 aluminum

April 13, 2016 | By Steve Benson

Four areas to consider when bending include (1) formability; (2) thickness and bend radius; (3) tensile, yield, and elongation; and (4) how to deal with bending tempered materials. This month, Steven Benson applies these to forming 6061 aluminum.

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FMA Annual Meeting: Navigating into metal fabricating’s future

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

This year’s FMA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in February, celebrated the technology companies need to compete and the worker skill shops need to sustain that success through the generations.

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Laser cutting in a new light

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis

In the past, lighting manufacturers introduced product designs that might last 10 years. Because of the lengthy product lifetime and volumes, these manufacturers didn't think twice about relying on hard tooling. Today product designs change regularly, and the constant evolution of LED technology means a manufacturer has to react quickly. For TAMCO, Port St. Lucie, Fla., that meant it needed its own laser cutting capability.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How can I get a die to run in two different presses?

April 11, 2016 | By Dennis Cattell

Q: When I move a die from one press to another, the die runs fine in the first press but will not run in the second press. The presses are the same size, stroke, and speed range, although one is a few years older than the other. What can I do to ensure the die runs in both presses. A: There are...

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Demand variation: Challenge or opportunity in custom metal fabrication

April 4, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

For custom fabricators, demand variation is a fact of life, but this doesn’t mean that a shop can’t mitigate its effect. Lean consultant Jeff Sipes describes several options that can help make life easier, even for shops that deal with extreme shifts in demand.

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Offline weld robot programming evolves

April 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Groupe Gravel invested in robotic welding and plasma cutting. And from the very start, for most work, technicians never programmed jobs using a teach pendant.

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Head and optics innovations key to laser cutting growth

April 4, 2016 | By Dru Schwartz

Today a fiber laser can cut both thick and thin material efficiently and with good edge quality. Key advances in laser optics and cutting head design have helped make this possible.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: Is there a check list for setting progressive dies?

April 1, 2016 | By Dennis Cattell

Q: We are new to die setting. Do you have a check list that could help us with different progressive dies? Can you recommend any literature on the subject? A: First, I do not know of any comprehensive literature. Most literature tends to focus on an individual subject rather than cover the overall...

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How can we achieve fast punch changeout halfway through a run?

April 1, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: I’m a diemaker for a Detroit Three automaker. We have a job on which we have to change punches halfway through the run. Changing the punches is a lengthy operation and involves quite a bit of downtime. Does anyone in the industry make an automatic or semiautomatic punch removal system that we...

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How can I reduce snap-through condition effects?

March 31, 2016 | By Dennis Cattell

In the May/June 2012 “Ask the Expert” column, you discussed the causes of the large vibrational energy wave that must be dissipated by the press structure beyond the shear loads. Is there any way to reduce the vibration? A: Many lamination and blanking dies incorporate moveable stripper...

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Ask the Stamping Expert: Why do press and die problems occur at lower-than-capacity press speeds?

March 31, 2016 | By Dennis Cattell

Q: To improve efficiency and reduce cost in our newly acquired high-speed blanking operation, we have increased press speeds from 225 SPM to 450 SPM. After several successful months, we are experiencing a high number of new press and die problems. The presses are capable of speeds higher than 500...

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