Blog Posts

thefabricator.com 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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Blogger's block

June 10, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

It was a dark and stormy night & make that a hazy, humid day in which my brain is so exhausted from creative overload that it's refusing to come up with a really good blog topic. I've come down with blogger's block, an affliction that is by no means as serious as the potential H1N1...

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Lookin' good ... we think

June 8, 2009 | By Tim Heston

Journalists, economists, and pundits of all sorts have turned to cautious optimism. Sure, stocks are up from their lows earlier this year, and the numbers out there indicate we're past the recession's trough and on our way up. As just one example, the Institute for Supply...

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Pulling for the underdog

June 4, 2009 | By Dan Davis

I'm always pulling for underdogs. They receive little respect, and their stories are often more fascinating than those darlings standing in the spotlight.That's why I'm pulling for GM. No one thinks it has much of a chance for a recovery, and people are calling the $20 billion...

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It ain't easy being Fritz

June 4, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

GM filed for bankruptcy, and now it"s time to stand around and criticize. And criticize. And criticize some more. Enter GM bankruptcy into a search engine and you"ll see a flood of articles, editorials, and blogs that provide no shortage of criticism for the company. The supposed mistakes and...

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'Humans are smarter than apes'

June 3, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

In past posts, I've mentioned that I'm a tennis fan. The last few days have been quite exciting in the tennis world as No.-1 ranked, four-time French Open champ, Rafael Nadal, was defeated in the fourth round by No. 23-ranked Robin Soderling, a Swedish player who never won so much as a...

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Of freedom and gearheads

June 1, 2009 | By Tim Heston

A decade ago we watched events leading up to the dot-com-era implosion, and this morning we witnessed a milestone of the drawn-out automotive bust: General Motors is now a bankrupt company. Economic history is peppered with booms, bubbles, and busts of various sorts, but the current automotive...

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A new combo choice

May 29, 2009 | By Dan Davis

If I had to choose just one machine tool to watch in a fabricating shop, it would probably be a combination machine. It slices, it bends, it forms, it engraves, it taps. It's the perfect mechanical representation of a job shop: If it needs to be done to metal, we can do it to the metal.Of...

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Hello, summer!

May 28, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

Well, maybe it"s not quite time to greet the summer. In astronomical terms, it starts at the moment of the summer solstice, which will occur at precisely 5:45 a.m. on June 21 this year (I know it sounds crazy, but it varies). However, one thing doesn"t vary from year to year: the conventional...

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'Work like hell to win now'

May 27, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

If you read last week's blog post "Leapfrogging the competition," you know about the Barclay's Commercial survey cited in the May issue of "Tube Talk" that said 54 percent of UK businesses view the ability to leapfrog struggling competitors as their key opportunity in the current...

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Don't drop the box

May 26, 2009 | By Tim Heston

Friday was just one of those days. As usual, I drove my daughter to daycare, parked, carried her in, dropped her off, walked out, and saw the back end of my car smashed, with the hood lid looking a bit like a fortune cookie. Because the vehicle's 11 years old, it didn't take much to...

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The hunt for opportunity at ALAW

May 22, 2009 | By Tim Heston

Before one session at last week's ALAW Laser Applications Workshop, a fabricator stood in the back of the conference room at the Inn at St. John"s in Plymouth, Mich., just outside Detroit. He peered at the small sound board that controlled the microphone at the podium and noted the metal...

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What's propping up manufacturing?

May 21, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

It"s no secret that the U.S. economy is in the worst recession in decades and that manufacturers are suffering more than they have in recent memory. In its April Report on Business®, the Institute for Supply Management stated that the U.S. economy had been in decline for seven months and...

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Tweet, tweet

May 21, 2009 | By Dan Davis

There's a conversation in the movie "Clerks" where characters Randal Graves and Dante Hicks, friends and fellow retail store clerks, are talking about Graves' interest in going to a funeral:Dante Hicks: "You hate people!"Randal Graves: "But I love gatherings, isn't it ironic?"How...

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Leapfrogging the competition

May 20, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter that went out to more than 10,000 metal tube and pipe industry professionals featured findings from the Turning the Corner survey conducted in the UK by Barclay's Commercial.According to this survey, a majority of UK businesses (54 percent) view the...

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Got to get to work

May 19, 2009 | By Tim Heston

A keynote speaker at last week's ALAW Laser Applications Workshop—an annual industry conference about lasers in automotive and general fabrication—gave some valuable perspective on the automotive industry. Bernard Swiecki of the Dearborn, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research...

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