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Pass it on

December 12, 2014

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Ron Covell’s 50-year career manually building autobodies for street rods, dragsters, and motorcycles is impressive, to say the least. But he doesn’t plan on hoarding all of the expertise he’s garnered over the years. His latest passion, of the last 20 years anyway, has been sharing information in his traveling workshops to current or up-and-coming autobody enthusiasts. It’s what he hopes is his longest and most impactful legacy.

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One metal fabricator, two value streams

December 12, 2014

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For decades Nu-Way Industries operated with a conventional management structure. In recent years, managers at the Des Plaines, Ill., fabricator discovered that the two kinds of orders the company processed, engineered to order and make to stock, really called for two distinct value streams, each operating under a different business model.

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Aluminum Workshop: Preheating aluminum

December 12, 2014

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Q: What preheat temperature should I use when welding aluminum? I’ve heard different numbers, and I know they can’t all be right. A: Let me begin with a bold statement: If you have the right equipment, you never need to preheat when welding aluminum. I have gas tungsten arc-welded (GTAW)...

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Aluminum Workshop: Alloys for furniture fabrication

December 11, 2014

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Q: Which alloy would you recommend for cold bending aluminum tubing or fabricating aluminum law furniture? A: First consider alloy availability. Many alloys are available as round tubing, but not all are obtainable. Most small-diameter tubing is extruded because it’s relatively economical to...

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Boatbuilder switches from aluminum to steel

December 11, 2014

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Burger Boat Co. has weathered many a storm in its 150-year history, often changing direction to incorporate new technologies and adapt to changing market conditions. When the pleasure craft industry sank in 2009, it went after commercial work, and in the process had to develop a program for working in steel, which it hadn’t done in five decades or so. With the new process came new consumables from ESAB.

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Aluminum Workshop: Electrical current in TIG and MIG

December 11, 2014

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Q: When I gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW) aluminum, I always use alternating current (AC), but when I gas metal arc weld (GMAW) aluminum, I always use direct current electrode positive (DCEP). Why the difference? Does anyone GTAW aluminum using DC? Does anyone GMAW using AC? A: In both GTAW and GMAW,...

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Aluminum Workshop: Determining aluminum metallurgy

December 10, 2014

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Q: Most of my aluminum welding involves the repair of components my customers bring me. How do I know which alloy they are made of and which filler metal to use? A: This is a good question and one to which there is no easy answer. There is no quick, cheap test that will tell you which aluminum...

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Engineer, weld, fabricate, test, and perfect

December 10, 2014

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Rando Productions juggles various projects from various customers—TV shows, commercials, theme park attractions—and each has its own timeline. It’s all one-off, nonrepeat work. Sound familiar?

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Aluminum Workshop: Acceptable tensile sample failure

December 9, 2014

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Q: We are fabricating components from ½-in.-thick 5083-H131 armor plate using robotic GMAW and 5183 filler metal. The tensile samples are failing at 41 KSI during welding procedure qualification. My customer says this is unacceptable and that the tensile samples should fail at 46 KSI or higher....

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2015 metal fabrication forecast: Steady as she grows

December 8, 2014

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Fabricators expect steady growth for 2015. At the same time, they’re gearing up to handle increasing customer demand by investing in capacity-building equipment.

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Aluminum Workshop: A hotshot’s guide to hot short

December 8, 2014

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Q: A few months ago, you wrote that 6061 is “hot short.” I’m not familiar with this term. Can you explain it? A: Hot short is a standard metallurgical term, but I shouldn’t have assumed that everyone would be familiar with it. If a material is hot short, it means that the material is...

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Aluminum Workshop: Clearing up oxide misconceptions

December 8, 2014

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Q: My company welds 6063 tubing using AC gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) with 4043 filler metal and pure argon shielding gas. Appearance is important. How can we eliminate, or at least minimize, the oxidized area on each side of the weld? A: We need to first clear up a misconception. The area you...

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Global manufacturing economy pushes forward

December 8, 2014

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New bending, welding, and laser technology on display at the world’s largest metal fabricating and forming tradeshow helps manufacturers in their pursuit of achieving higher levels of production efficiency.

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Aluminum Workshop: Matching colors after anodizing

December 5, 2014

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Q: I’m welding on 6061-T6 tubing which then gets anodized. I was advised to use 5356 filler metal to get a good color match between the tubing and the weld after anodizing. The color match is close, but the weld and the tubing are a slightly different color after anodizing. What can I do to get...

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Aluminum Workshop: To reheat, not to reheat T4 temper material

December 5, 2014

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Q: Three years ago I bought 6061-T4 extrusions for a project. My idea was to weld in the T4 temper and then to improve the strength of the weld by performing an aging treatment after welding. The project sat dormant until now. Will the T4 temper material need to be heat-treated again before...

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