Blog Posts has a team of bloggers that cover the challenges and rewards associated with a life in metal fabricating. Topics typically addressed by contributing authors include political and demographic trends affecting the fabricating industry, the business side of running a job shop, the culture of the welding community, and detailed looks at what happens on the shop floor.

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Manufacturing needs to ditch the celebrity spokesperson

April 9, 2010 | By Dan Davis

Bear with me for a minute. I'm about to bring up the name Jesse James, but I'm not about to spend 500 words on this tabloid fodder. (This would be the guy behind West Coast Choppers, not the American outlaw of the 19th century Old West.) Of course, James is also the guy that stepped out on Sandra...

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Welding passion leads to livelihood

April 7, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Two years ago, I wrote an article for about Brennan Palmiter, a young race car driver and welder (then 16) who had teamed up with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) Foundation and Practical Welding Today® magazine to introduce young people to manufacturing...

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Lots of lies? No surprise

April 1, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

American Metal Market held its Third Annual Steel Tube & Pipe Conference March 22-23 in Houston, and if you’re a steel tube or pipe producer, you might give some thought to attending its fourth annual conference. It held something for everyone—industry overview, industry forecast, and a...

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Toyota's failure to communicate-a lesson for us all

March 31, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Cousin Roy called last night. We chatted about family, weather, and work — the usual topics of conversation. Roy's two brothers died last year, a few months apart — very sad news. Roy works for a Toyota dealership in Kentucky. More sad news. Or maybe not. Roy said that he's sold 25 cars this...

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Ford sheds another brand, thank goodness

March 29, 2010 | By Tim Heston

My 3-year-old daughter has never seen the lights on at a house up the street; the building has been empty and on the market longer than she’s been alive. I don’t know the owners or the situation, but I do know the asking price has steadily fallen. The owners probably just want to get that asset...

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Real-life concerns for metal fabricators

March 26, 2010 | By Dan Davis

"Worry about those things that you can control," my mom used to tell me. It's a great piece of advice, especially as we struggle to deal with the weak economic rebound and the political ruckus that passes for progress in Washington, D.C. So what's a metal fabricator to worry about? I don't run a...

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The inventor-manufacturer relationship

March 24, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Inventors and manufacturers are entities that truly go hand-in-hand, meaning you really can’t have one without the other, at least not in any substantive manner. Similar to "Love and Marriage", about which the song (written in 1955) says "you can’t have one without the other." (Not too sure...

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Health care and the angry citizen

March 22, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Talking with various contract metal fabricators over the past few months, I now realize what health care insurance means to them and other small-business owners across the country. Providing health care is a moral imperative. Sure, providing good benefits makes a shop competitive. But at the end...

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Offshoring not what it once was

March 18, 2010 | By Dan Davis

We live in extraordinary times. You can tell because people are creating their own words, and society adopts them without questions. It's fantabulous. Metal fabricators should embrace this new word with open arms: Re-shoring. Manufacturing jobs that once went overseas because of low-cost labor are...

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The green fields of America

March 17, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

As I write this, it's March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day - - and as a member of the Irish diaspora, I'm wearing green and playing the CD Murphy's Irish Pub as I work. This is the one day of the year that I immerse myself in my ancestry. I’m an American first and foremost, but who I am as an...

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Do not count on those manufacturing backlogs

March 16, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Not a day goes by that I don’t remember how lucky I am. OK, I’m lying. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, though I know I should. My parents got a second mortgage so that I could leave college without having to worry about paying back student loans. How could they do this? Well,...

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Faith in metal fabricating

March 12, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I came across the Web site for JRS Custom Fabrication Inc. down in Ocala, Fla., last week. Someone sent me an e-mail so I checked it out. When you visit the site, you'll notice a Bible verse from 1 John 1:3. Make no mistake; this company's guided by the Lord's words. As its mission statement...

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'Our most-used machine is so old ...

March 10, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

... that the hydraulic cylinder doesn’t have a conventional seal, but uses rings of packing to slow the flow of hydraulic fluid.'  This is just one of the comments we received yesterday in response to the March "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter that addressed companies' reluctance to invest in...

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The backbone of America

March 3, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

The phrase "backbone of America" is used to describe various important U.S. entities: the Continental Divide, roads, steel, and small business, to name a few.  Just looking at this list, you can see how interconnected these four examples are. We need roads and steel bridges to cross the...

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Therapy for data overload

March 2, 2010 | By Tim Heston

This week The Economist put together a special section about how society is overflowing with data. Reading it, I thought it was irony at its best. What better way to cover our data-overload than with a long, drawn-out story bubbling over with … data. The most obvious example of data-overload is...

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