Tube and Pipe Fabrication Articles

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Harvesting a bumper crop of bumpers

August 24, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

When Grant Mallicote’s father had a bumper-crumpling collision on the family’s ranch, Grant figured he could save his dad a few dollars by fabricating a replacement bumper. He used some tube, plate, a welding torch, and some ingenuity to make a bumper, and eventually it became a bumper business, Bodyguard Truck Accessories.

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Minimizing effort, maximizing distance

July 21, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

A golf club shaft looks like an ordinary tube, but it’s not. Quite a bit of engineering goes into manufacturing the tube and drawing it so it has the optimal characteristics—lightweight without being flimsy and elastic enough to pack a wallop. Editor Eric Lundin interviewed Scott Cokeing, director of engineering and global quality True Temper Sports, about one of the company’s manufacturing processes, variable wall technology.

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Orion Drilling Co. has rigs, will travel

July 16, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Before purchasing a 3-D CNC cutting system from HGG, oil rig builder Orion outsource quite a bit of its work. In addition to being at the mercy of its subcontractors’ lead times, Orion had to deal with their quality, which often wasn’t sufficient. The machine has been such a productivity enhance that Orion estimates the ROI period to be one year.

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Keeping it together at 330 MPH

June 29, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Top Fuel races are a dazzling sight, covering 1,000 feet in little more than 3 seconds. The drivers get the glory and the engines get the attention—they develop approximately 10,000 horsepower—but underneath the car’s exterior is a marvel of modern engineering: a tubular chassis that somehow holds together through 4G of acceleration during the race and the even harsher 5G of deceleration when it’s over.

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Fabricators flying ultralights

June 24, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Most people who own ultralight aircraft buy them fully assembled, but this isn't the only option. U-Fly-It, DeLand, Fla., lets the buyer be the builder if he's handy and has about two weeks to spare.

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Turning to milling for weld preps

May 26, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Preparing tube or pipe ends for welding with a portable tool is one way to get the job done, but for complex end forms and high-volume work, a stationary beveling machine is the way to go.

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Getting the most for your tube bending buck

May 12, 2015 | By Heather Schultz, Stacy Cramer

Understanding the basic tube bending methods, including their capabilities and limitations, can help you uncover the best and most economical way to achieve a quality bend.

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Getting to the root of pipe welding automation

April 29, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Automating the root pass in pipe spool fabrication has always been a challenge, and making weld preparations more consistent just hasn’t been economically practical. In this market, advanced vision systems and adaptive welding have helped overcome these challenges.

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Electric bender cuts lead times, scrap rate

March 12, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Former toolmaker Toolspec Manufacturing Co. has transitioned over the years to become a fabricator, and over the years acquired 14 hydraulic benders. The machines are capable but require lengthy tool changeovers, hours of programming time, and substantial expertise to maintain bend consistency. It recently invested in two all-electric machines, benders that don’t have these issues.

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Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Bob Moehlman has welded pipe for more than 50 years, including 30 years at Superior Pipe Fabricators, a Los Angeles-based shop he helped launch in 1984. The shop’s success hasn’t come by using the latest and greatest pipe welding technology, but instead through teaching—showing the inexperienced employees the ropes, developing their talent, and giving them a career.

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Developing a national, international bending standard for tube and pipe

January 23, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

An update from an article that ran in the September 2013 TPJ, this column describes a research project intended to help eliminate trial-and-error setups, conserve programmers’ time, and help get products to market faster by helping everyone involved in a bending project home in on the optimal bending process before getting started.

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Don’t buy it, bend it

January 21, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Bill Farris, owner of auto components supplier and repair shop Marden Tire & Auto, Rockford, Ill., focused on tires and repairs for many years, staying away from the inventory-heavy exhaust business. All that changed when King Cobra Muffler Centers Inc. approached him with a new way to handle exhaust systems: Stock straight pipe and bend systems when necessary.

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Sustaining fabricating success

October 31, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Located in the Pacific Northwest, P&A Metal Fab is not in a hotbed of North American metal fabricating activity. That hasn't stopped it, however, from growing into a successful and award-winning supplier of metal fabricating services. It's all about continuously improving the entire organization, not just the shop floor.

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Aerospace parts manufacturer upgrades bending capability

September 8, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

Bending tubular parts for the aerospace industry isn’t easy. OEMs continue to push the envelope, designing increasingly complex parts made from pricey materials. Fabricators are under continuous pressure to improve their capabilities, turn orders around faster, and minimize scrap. To that end, SL Engineering recently invested in a second all-electric bender from Unison.

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Custom bicycle manufacturer fabricates titanium, ferrous materials, aluminum to thrive in competitive market

September 4, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

Firefly Bicycles, a 2011 start-up in the custom bicycle business, is thriving despite the sluggish economy and a competitive marketplace. The company’s three founders are using their previous work experience in bicycle fabrication and their enthusiasm for cycling to stay ahead of the competition.

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