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thefabricator.com 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, thefabricator.com 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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Augmented reality reaches the manufacturing floor

August 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Augmented reality (AR) remains an emerging technology, but it eventually could change how hands-on tasks in manufacturing get done.

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Reducing headaches associated with slag on laser grating

August 2, 2016 | By Dave Fox, Eric Chalmers, Mark Jeans

Slats in a laser cutting machine don't look important, but they can be the key to an efficient laser cutting operation. Fabricators need to stay on top of keeping slag off the slats to achieve high-quality parts and to ensure the laser cutting machine remains in operation.

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A review of steel microstructures

August 1, 2016 | By Daniel J. Schaeffler

This primer provides metal fabricators and formers with a quick lesson on how one type of steel differs from another. As “impurities” are added to the element in its natural state, the atomic structure grows more complicated and gains more strength.

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A novel approach to pipe welding automation

July 29, 2016 | By Soroush Karimzadeh

Pipe welding often requires frequent adjustments to changing conditions. Some changes are significant enough to make automation impractical. Today, though, collaborative robotics is helping to make pipe welding automation more flexible.

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Robotic plasma cutting gets flexible

July 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It used to take days or weeks to program a robotic plasma cutting cell. Now, like in welding, robotic plasma cutting has become much more flexible and adaptable. Offline programming and simulation, as well as flexible components of the robot cell itself, have made this possible.

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New forms in punching

July 28, 2016 | By John Ripka

Metal fabricators are familiar with forming shapes such as louvers on a punching machine, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Punching tools today can produce forms, such as hinges, which could be used to streamline production on the shop floor. Fabricators just need to open their eyes and take in the possibilities.

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Consumables Corner: Choosing the correct filler metal for mismatched base materials

July 22, 2016 | By Nino Mascalco, Rob Koltz, Steve Sigler

Q: We're a small shop that builds and welds a lot of custom metal products. In many instances, the products are made from two or three different material combinations, including stainless steel at times. Is there a good rule of thumb for deciding the correct filler metal to use? A: That is a...

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Arc Welding 101: All’s not fair in welding between U.S. and Canada

July 22, 2016 | By Paul Cameron

Q: I know what you're thinking—another early Saturday morning question.... I've been looking at the requirements for obtaining a Canadian Welding Bureau CWB) inspector certification. Am I seeing this correctly? A CWB inspector can apply for an AWS certified welding inspector (CWI) by reciprocity...

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Aluminum Workshop: What are the advantages of AC in aluminum GMAW?

July 22, 2016 | By Frank Armao

Q: Lately I have seen a few welding equipment manufacturers offering gas metal arc welding (GMAW) power sources that use alternating current (AC) instead of the direct-current electrode-positive (DCEP) current. Can you tell me what, if any, advantages there are to using AC instead of the more...

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Robotic welding fume capture 101

July 21, 2016 | By Josh Delson

The Robotic Industries Association reports that an estimated 260,000 robots are operating in North American factories. If you are joining in on the trend, it may be time to reassess the fume collection requirements for your facility. It’s best to make this part of the planning process before you install robots. If you wait until weld cells are already in place, installing the collector can be problematic. It is always better to engineer the fume removal equipment in advance for the space and the application.

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There’s something about Marty

July 20, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Marty Rice’s time as Arc Welding 101 columnist was relatively short, but his breadth of work online and in print has educated, inspired, and entertained readers for more than 10 years.

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Inside Frank’s Aluminum Workshop

July 20, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Practical Welding Today’s Aluminum Workshop columnist Frank Armao is the magazine’s longest-tenured contributor. Read how he landed the gig and what he’s learned during his 14-year journey.

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Still asking Elmer

July 20, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

The Ask Elmer column, written by Hobart Institute of Welding Technology instructor Elmer Swank, appeared in Practical Welding Today for four years. Even though the column no longer exists, Swank is still in the business of answering questions and developing good welders.

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Welding trends, technology advancements, and tales

July 19, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

A collection of PWT Editorial Advisory Committee members discuss what they believe to be the most important advances in welding technology, trends, and education.

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Long live the “Welding Queen”

July 14, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Her energy was genuine and her love of welding and welders was as real as the smile on her face. Ten years after leaving Practical Welding Today®, former editor Stephanie Vaughan shares her fondest memories of an industry she still loves.

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