June 9, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Mankind has been making tools and gadgets from metals for millennia. The discovery of copper and tin ushered in the Bronze Age about 5,000 years ago, and new metal tools swept aside stone tools in a hurry. Iron and steel have been used widely for about 3,000 years, but these days it appears that...
June 2, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Custom guitar-maker Gordon Branch started making guitars from wood, the traditional material, about 25 years ago. He went in a different direction when he created a design based on an aluminum billet, relying on the metal’s acoustic characteristics for a unique sound. Recently he decided to try combining an aluminum billet with aluminum tubing, with stunning results.
May 5, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
The unthinkable has happened: Gasoline prices have crossed the $5.00-per-gallon threshold. Forget the official data. The Energy Information Administration says that the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.96, but that’s not accurate for two reasons. First, it...
April 26, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Careercast.com, a job search Web site, recently posted the results of a couple of surveys regarding stressful jobs. Two thoughts occurred to me immediately: The 91.2 percent of people who have jobs right now are just happy to have a steady paycheck, and the 8.8 percent who don’t are experiencing...
April 26, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
When James Castoro founded Custom Aluminum Products in 1960, the company’s premise was simple and concise: It produced aluminum products, mainly storm windows and storm doors. It was a good time to be in the business—the baby boom was in full swing, and the U.S. population was...
April 25, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Selecting the right tungsten electrode, and preparing it to match the welding process, aren't just good ideas to maximize welder productivity. They are necessary to prevent weld defects and all the time necessary for troubleshooting and rework.
March 31, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
A headline at CNN’s money page caught my eye recently: “Why house prices will keep falling.” The article cited the Case-Shiller U.S. House Price Index, which showed a 3.1 percent decline from January 2010 to January 2011. The gist of the index, developed by Karl Case and Robert Shiller, is...
March 10, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Lasers have been in use for industrial purposes for decades, and their capabilities continue to develop. Many machines these days can cut sheet and tubular sections, and fabricators are finding that the laser’s programmability really broadens their capabilities.
March 9, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Judging by the political developments in Libya and the current price of petroleum, you’d think that Libya was some sort of heavyweight exporter. Last fall West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was trading at less than $85 per barrel on the spot market. Protests in Libya started in February, and...
February 25, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Shortly after the company was founded as a welding and repair shop in 1949, Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs found a niche in building spiral staircases. Founder Bill Osborn bought some equipment and made some of his own. Some of Osborn’s original ideas and equipment are still in use at the company 60 years later.
February 14, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
In my previous blog entry, I made some comparisons between several gasoline-powered and alternative-fuel vehicles: Two passenger cars (a Toyota Prius® and a Toyota Camry®), two exotic sports cars (a Tesla Roadster Sport and a Lotus Evora), and two motorcycles (a model S from Zero Motorcycles and...
January 31, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Everyone knows that liquids, mainly gasoline and diesel, have been the main fuels for vehicles for decades. Although steam and electricity competed with gasoline at the turn of the last century, gasoline won that battle and ruled the automotive industry ever since. However, the oil shocks of the...
January 24, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
Tube and pipe cutting advancements include saws that are programmable to cope with varying cross sections and a variety of material hardnesses; a rotary axis for waterjet cutting; and automation.
January 21, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
J & D Tube Benders Inc., founded as a partnership to produce a single part number in 1971, today generates $16 million in annual revenues and is on the cusp of the third generation of family ownership. The key to its longevity is learning valuable lessons throughout the past four decades, finding opportunities during expansions and downturns.
January 13, 2011 | By Eric Lundin
If you work in manufacturing, you’ve probably heard that some government agencies, notably OSHA and the EPA, have been mandated to become self-funding. I heard this in a discussion at a recent conference, and it seems reasonable. The government debt is $14 trillion, so why wouldn’t the...