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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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step file

Your friend, the STEP file

January 30, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the STEP file and how it can be used to interact with customers in a more complete way.

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crimped wire

The basics of crimped wire

January 30, 2014

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Precrimped woven wire mesh is a smaller part of the metal fabrication world, but it does have a significant presence in some industrial applications. This overview explains just how the mesh is created and gives metal fabricators an idea of the basic crimp styles that are available.

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FABTECH 2013

FABTECH breaks records—again

January 28, 2014

The manufacturing sector appears strong for the near term. New technologies are emerging to help make fabricating a more productive exercise. Fabricators have positioned themselves to grow. All appears right in the metal fabricating world.

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Bending basics

Bending basics: Why profound-radius bending is a different animal

January 27, 2014

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Large or profound-radius bends are those in which the inside bend radius exceeds eight times the material thickness, but is still too small to move to the plate roll. At this point, a press brake operator has to change his mindset before proceeding. This is not a typical bending job.

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Digital GMAW

GMAW in the digital age

January 27, 2014

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Arc performance and electrical efficiency have driven various advances in inverter-based welding power sources. These improvements have led to present-day digital welding systems that allow for repeatable, high-precision, low-spatter welds on a variety of materials.

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cutting time

Cutting time between coils

January 27, 2014

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Excessive press downtime between jobs is stamping’s perennial albatross around the neck. To expose the culprits in your shop, try scrutinizing every step in a coil handling system, from the coil itself to the material pilot guides in the tool.

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truck bodies

Controlling its own fabricating future

January 27, 2014

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Altec, a manufacturer of truck bodies and related products, tried the outsourcing route me to stay on top of expanding fabricating jobs, but the headaches were too great to maintain such an arrangement. The company decided to take metal fabricating back in-house by setting up a new facility in Burnsville, N.C., and with the addition of some key equipment, it hasn't looked back.

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Shop Towel

Shop towels and the unseen danger

January 17, 2014

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Those freshly washed shop towels you may be using to clean your hands in the workplace might be doing more harm than good. A recent study shows just how contaminated these towels can be.

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Angle Grinder

Technology Spotlight: Tight spaces? There’s a grinder for that

January 17, 2014

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Small angle grinders are incredibly flexible tools; however, even they have their limitations, like accessing confined spaces. A power tool manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in West Chester, Pa., developed a small angle grinder with a reduced profile that reaches into tight spaces not normally accessible with standard angle grinders.

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Plasma cutting

The evolution of plasma cutting

January 17, 2014

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Metal fabricators with plasma cutting equipment that is 10 years or older may be surprised to learn just how far plasma cutting has come. The technology has evolved to the point that outside edges are smoother than ever, and precision holes can be cut to accommodate fasteners.

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Coil Fed laser

It all starts with the blank

January 17, 2014

The evolution of precision blanking began with the shear, moved to the press, and now to the laser. Each type of blanking technology, from cut-to-length lines or blanking on a traditional mechanical press to blanking with servo press technology and laser blanking, comes with its own best applications, advantages, and disadvantages.

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Welder

How to build a metal cube

January 13, 2014

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Scott Behr, founder and fabricator at Total Metal Resource Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., usually gets a pretty enthusiastic response when he tells people what he does for a living. With the upstart of his Metal Shop Fantasy Camp, he can now share tiny parts of his job with people who might otherwise never get an opportunity to try their hand at metalworking.

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Manufacturing Workers

Establishing a die preventive maintenance program, Part II

January 13, 2014

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An effective PM for dies can't happen without a skilled, engaged workforce. When it comes to uncovering ideas on how to improve a process, workers are the experts.

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