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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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Marketing for metal fabricators: Don’t pitch, educate

October 10, 2016 | By Bruce McDuffee

A fabricator’s marketing function shouldn’t be about tradeshow booths, brochures, and websites. It’s not there simply to serve the sales function. Instead, marketing reinforces a fabricator’s value proposition and, ultimately, helps drive the direction of the business.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: The 10 laws of die design

October 10, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: Can you provide me with some guidelines for die design? A: When it comes to die design, I find there are two best practices to live by: Follow Tom Vacca’s 10 Die Design Laws. Use a die design continuous improvement check list. Following are my 10 Die Design Laws. Look to the...

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Hammering out the return on investment in safety

October 7, 2016 | By John Peabody

The first step in making the case for a return on investment on safety equipment and training is understanding the real costs associated with accidents and illnesses that occur as a result of the workplace environment.

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Uncover the hidden costs of roll forming

October 6, 2016 | By Patrick Kitchen

Tooling is of course a significant cost driver in roll forming. But reducing costs takes more than scrutinizing the number of passes a roll formed cross section requires. It also calls for looking at the big picture and questioning the status quo.

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5 factors driving the punch/laser cutting machine investment

October 5, 2016 | By Brian Welz

Does a punch/laser combination system make sense for your operation? For the answer, consider these five factors: part geometry; process throughput; lean manufacturing; process flexibility; and automation.

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Precision sawing: Mind the miter

October 5, 2016 | By Richard Klipp

Miter cutting tube and other workpieces can be extremely critical, especially when dealing with frameworks and other large assemblies. One seemingly small error in a miter cut can throw a large assembly significantly out of tolerance. This is where automation and precision control in sawing come into play.

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A look at laser hybrid welding in the automotive industry

October 5, 2016 | By Herbert Staufer 

Laser welding is a great process for delivering high-speed joints with a small heat-affected zone, but it requires consistency in gap size. Gas metal arc and tandem welding, on the other hand, handles those inconsistencies in gap size much more easily. Combining the processes has proven to be a manufacturing success for some automakers.

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Robotic welding in a small shop

October 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

TnL Welding, Sidney, Ohio, is a two-person operation with four robotic cells. Todd Whitt is the welder with the talent for getting automation to work smoothly. Kristen Whitt is getting her B.S. degree in welding technology by learning tips and tricks from her dad.

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7 tips for optimizing your fabricating operation

October 5, 2016 | By Shane Strowski

There’s always room for improvement in any operation. Following these seven steps can help you identify areas that need improving and put your shop on the path to optimal efficiency, increased productivity, and less waste.

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The evolving bending-to-blanking ratio in metal fabrication

October 4, 2016 | By Dustin Diehl, Scott Ottens

How many lasers and punch presses do you have? How many press brakes? Determining the best ratio isn’t as straightforward as it once was. It’s a puzzle that must be looked at holistically. The trick is discovering which pieces fit best for your operation.

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Sheet metal blanking milestone: Continuous-feed laser blanking launches into production

October 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Earlier this year Worthington Specialty Processing, a toll processor serving the automotive industry, among others, installed a continuous-feed, coil-fed laser blanking line. An idea with roots in the 1990s has finally become reality.

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How 2016 Car of the Year Honda Civic maneuvered around AHSS obstructions

October 4, 2016

Honda used Gestamp’s in-die “softzone” hot stamping process to form strategic zones of the 2016 Civic sedan’s rear frame rails to 1,500-megapascal (MPa) (shown in red), while cooling other zones (shown in pink), at a different pace to render them to a lower tensile strength to satisfy crush mode and performance targets.

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Flat-rolled steel spot prices keep falling

September 27, 2016 | By John Packard

After peaking in June, steel prices continue to decrease. Metal fabricators should keep an eye out for price increases from the mills. When they are announced, service centers will begin increasing their own prices.

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Arc Welding 101: Understanding acceptable undercut

September 23, 2016 | By Paul Cameron

Q: I find myself rejecting a lot of welds. I don't want to fail them and find out that I misinterpreted something. When there are small amounts of undercut throughout the length of the weld, I'm still not clear on what AWS means by "... in 2 inches up to 12 inches" [AWS D1.1, Table 6.1(7)]. So I...

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Consumables Corner: Preventing porosity on weldable primer-coated joints

September 23, 2016 | By Nino Mascalco, Rob Koltz, Steve Sigler

Q: A majority of our welding is done on 1/4 to 5/8-in.-thick carbon steel that has a weldable primer. Most of the welding is done on basic partial joint penetration (PJP) T-joints without any joint prep. We use an E70T-1 0.052-in.-dia. flux-core wire with a 75 percent Ar/25 percent CO2 shielding...

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