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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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All you need to know about the heat-affected zone

June 28, 2016 | By Andrea Bustreo

Any thermal cutting or welding process changes the material makeup of the workpiece. This heat-affected zone can make downstream processing of the metal a bit more unpredictable.

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3 questions to ask for better laser cutting

June 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Brent Donner, president of DLC Manufacturing and Fabrication, has spent almost a decade as a laser cutting consultant. Over that time he has noticed several fundamentals that many operators miss: properly cleaning and polishing the optics, centering the nozzle, and calibrating the beam focus.

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So, you want to become an AWS CWI

June 28, 2016 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Becoming an AWS certified welding inspector is a challenging task that takes serious preparation and study. Shortcuts don’t cut it.

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The 2016 FAB 40: Planning their next move

June 22, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It’s been quite a run. Over the past four years many FAB 40 companies have reported big revenue gains. In 2015, not so much, at least on average. Sales at some big companies either held steady or declined somewhat, mainly thanks to weak markets that by now every fabricator knows about: oil and...

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling with surfaces, patterns, and configurations

June 20, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the use of equations, configurations, design tables, and specific modeling tools for creating 3-D models of paper and cake.

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Metal fabrication and the buying experience

June 17, 2016 | By Tim Heston

SixAxis, a fabricator of safety platforms, portable stairs, and other industrial products, developed its own software with quoting, customer relationship management, and product configuration features. According to sources, software changed the customer buying experience, which in turn helped the company quintuple in size over six years.

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R&D Update: Controlling material flow in drawing operations

June 17, 2016 | By Ali Fallahiarezoodar, Taylan Altan, Ph.D., Zeming Yin

The researchers at The Ohio State University's Center for Precision forming perform research on controlling material flow in drawing operation using CNC hydraulic cushions to help improve drawability.

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Reading progressive die strip — Part II

June 16, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part article about reading progressive-die strips. Part I, which appeared in the May issue, covered the causes of pilot hole distortion and mismatched cuts. Hard marks, otherwise known as coin marks, occur when metal is severely squeezed between two...

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Die Science: Developing forming dies - Part III

June 16, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Editor's Note: This is third installment of a three-part series that discusses die development for producing nonuniform, contoured parts by breaking the process down into eight steps. Part I covers the part material, its form, and its function. Part II discusses length-of-line analysis and tip...

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Die Science: Developing forming dies - Part II

June 16, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Editor's Note: This is first installment of a three-part series that discusses die development for producing nonuniform, contoured parts by breaking the process down into eight steps. Part I covers the part material, its form, and its function. Part II discusses length-of-line analysis and tip...

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Die Science: Solving punch breakage problems - Part III

June 16, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Numerous factors contribute to the premature failure of piercing and cutting punches. In addition to problems with the punches, such as tool steel or problems caused by EDM and grinding, the press can cause problems through deflection, and bridge strippers also can cause punch breakage.

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Die Science: Designing dies 2-D or 3-D?

June 16, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Both 2-D and 3-D die design packages have advantages and disadvantages, which are discussed here, but true success lies in the designer's ability, not the software's.

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Customizing your GMAW gun for the job

June 15, 2016 | By Andy Monk

Being as comfortable as possible on the job is important for mind, body, and productivity. Customizing your GMAW gun for the application can improve your personal comfort and weld quality.

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A metal fabricator you can’t pigeonhole

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

IMS Engineered Products’ revenue has increased by 45 percent during the past five years. How? The fabricator is part of a larger organization, IMS Companies, with diverse revenue streams coming from gear manufacturing, stamping, electrical harness assembly, and more. But IMS’s story of growth really boils down to a straightforward strategy: quick response.

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Lean, large, and keeping pace

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Ironform Corp. formed in 2013 after Wynnchurch Capital purchased two large metal fabricators. But Ironform’s story is more about scaling up metal fabrication through acquisition. It’s about adapting the principles of lean manufacturing to custom metal fabrication—on a large scale.

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