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Get ready for METALfab 2010 • March 3–6, 2010 • Tulsa, OK

Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal


The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

November/December 2009 $6.00 US

Job Profile

Stairway To the Crown page 55

Shop Talk

Bendable aluminum castings, page 33

Shop Talk

Selecting a CNC cutting system, page 36

Biz Side

Surviving in any economy, page 63

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November/December 2009


Vol. 50, No. 6

Galvanizing protects artwork and more, p. 22

Tips & Tactics

Life in the bog goes to the table, p. 52

Shop Talk

Biz Side

Choosing a tube frame engine-driven welder.................... 12 When electrical power is unavailable, a gas-powered welder can do the job. By Eric Snyder

Selecting a CNC cutting machine................................. 36 When purchasing a CNC system, there are MANY variables to consider. By Leon Drake

Do you need a business manager?................................................. 59 A business manager can free you up to focus on the craft. By Chelsie Butler

Stop outsourcing! Consider an in-house waterjet system.......... 16 A sheet metal fabricator uses waterjet to expand capabilities.

Open and shut: A case for gate operator training.............................. 45 Since 1996, the Vehicular Gate Ad Hoc Coalition has educated the industry. By Peter Hildebrandt

How to survive and grow in any economy.................................. 63 Create a long-term strategy for keeping your tax bill as low as possible. By William J. Lynott

Shop Talk Hot dip galvanizing for corrosion protection. ............ 22 Answers to common questions on galvanizing metalwork. By Philip G. Rahrig Bendable aluminum castings..................................................... 33 The bend is the limit when it comes to offering options for your clients. By Jon McGraw

President’s Letter.............6 A new executive director

What’s Hot!

Job Profiles Doing it smALL...................................................... 52 A small but versatile firm creates a dining room “bog” table. By Chris Holt Stairway to the crown............... 55 Visitors can now once again climb the Statue of Liberty. By Dan Bellware & Rich Blatman

Exec. Director’s Letter..8 The best hidden benefit

NEF............................................68 Nationwide Suppliers............70 New Members.........................71 Biz Briefs.................................72 News Briefs.............................73 Chapters...................................73 People......................................75 Literature.................................76 Products...................................77 Advertiser’s Index..................81

NOMMA News..................10 Nominees needed for directors and award recipients

Perspectives.......................82 Can you call yourself a leader?

Cover photo: SRS Inc. of Metuchen, NJ created this elaborate stair system for the Statue of Liberty’s interior. A challenge of the job is that no welding or drilling was allowed on the main structure, which required the SRS team to create special clamps. The scope of the job included replacing 500 linear feet of railing on the double helix stairs, which run from the top of the pedestal to the crown.

NOMMA Officers President Bob Foust III Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS

Vice President/ Treasurer James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

President-Elect Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

Immediate Past President Terry Barrett Royal Iron Creations West Palm Beach, FL

Fabricator Directors Frank Finelli Finelli Architectural Ironworks Solon, OH

J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

Mark O’Malley O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. Yorkville, IL

Ray Michael R & F Metals Inc. Clinton, MD

Greg Terrill Division 5 Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

Supplier Directors Wayne Haas Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Cleveland, OH

Cathee Speaks King Architectural Metals Dallas, TX

Gina Pietrocola D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Bronx, NY

NOMMA Education Foundation Officers Chair Roger Carlsen Ephraim Forge Inc. Frankfort, IL Vice Chair Christopher Maitner Christopher Metal Fabricating

Treasurer Mike Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

Trustees Stacey Lawler Taylor Lawler Foundry Corp. Birmingham, AL

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

Heidi Bischmann The Wagner Companies Milwaukee, WI

NOMMA Staff Executive Director & Editor J. Todd Daniel

Administrative Assistant Liz Johnson

Interim Executive Director (Outgoing) John L. Fiegel, CAE

Associate Editor Sheila Phinazee

Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington 6


Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.

President’s Letter

A new executive director! In October, your NOMMA Board of

Directors met in Tulsa for our quarterly meeting and strategic planning session. During our meeting we unanimously voted to promote Todd Daniel to Executive Director. As many of you know, Todd has been an important part of NOMMA for 18 years. Todd has taken Fabricator to one of the top industry magazines; he has been and continues to be a leader in the building code arena; and not to mention he has brought NOMMA into the 21st century with the ListServ and NOMMA’s website. When our Interim Executive Director John Fiegel recommended Todd for this position, the Executive Committee was surprised, to say the least. We knew Todd was integral to the continued success of NOMMA, but was he a leader? Not to mention, in John’s 20-plus years of stepping in and helping associations through change, he has only recommended staying inhouse and not turning the reigns over to a management company on two occasions. Well, the executive team had to find out in person, so we all flew to Atlanta and met with Todd in an airport conference room for a face-toface interview. Todd was prepared. Not only did he have the standard resume, which told us all of his experiences in and outside of NOMMA, it also listed something in which I had no idea — ­ Todd has a BS degree in management and marketing. Considering our marketing woes of late, we were intrigued to say the least. Todd also brought his “NOMMA Action Plan,” where he discussed potential improvements within NOMMA in areas such as chapters, Top Job, METALfab, NEF, social media and technical affairs, to name a few. Now here’s where this gets good — Todd brought us his “Executive Director Goals,” which included operational

changes, member services, communications, staff and personal development, and his personal goals for NOMMA. Let me say this for all of the Executive Committee — we were impressed. Not only did Todd “WOW” us with his skills and preparedness during the interview, he also gave us his next review. Yes, he actually gave us benchmarks for which we can and will use in his future reviews. Needless to say, we believe this move will be a good fit for Bob Foust III is NOMMA. Please president of NOMMA. take a minute to congratulate Todd Daniel on his promotion. Earlier, I mentioned your Board of Directors met for a strategic planning session. During this meeting we developed task teams to hit five very important issues within NOMMA. Again, we will be asking for your help in manning these task teams. Names were tossed about during this meeting, and if you’re reading this, I bet your name was one of them. Your NOMMA Board can’t begin to thank you enough for your help as we continue to make our association the identity of the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. I look forward to your continued comments. Your NOMMA Board is listening.

Fabricator n November/December 2009

© 11/2009

Ornamental & Miscellaneous Met­al Fab­ri­ca­tor (ISSN 0191-5940), is the of­fi­cial pub­li­ca­tion of the Na­tional Or­na­men­tal & Mis­cel­la­ne­ous Metals As­so­cia­tion (NOMMA). O&MM Fabricator / NOMMA 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311 Fayetteville, GA 30214

Editorial - We love articles!

Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. Ph/Fax: (888) 516-8585. E-mail:

Advertise - Reach 8,500 fabricators

For information, call Todd Daniel, Ph: (888) 516-8585, ext. 102. Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads on CD to: Fabricator at address above. E-mail ads to: (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available: www.

Membership - Join NOMMA!

In addition to the magazine, enjoy more benefits as a NOMMA member. To join, call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. For a list of benefits, see membership ad in this issue.

Exhibit in METALfab

Exhibit in METALfab, NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show. For more information, contact Martha Pennington at (888) 516-8585, ext. 104, or


Subscription questions? Call (888) 5168585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311, Fayetteville, GA 30214. Fax: (888) 516-8585, or E-mail: 1-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30 2-year: U.S., Canada, Mex­ic­ o — $50 1-year: all other countries — $44 2-year: all other countries — $78 Pay­ment in U.S. dol­lars by check drawn on U.S. bank or money order. For NOMMA mem­bers, a year’s sub­scrip­tion is a part of membership dues.

NOMMA Buyer’s Guide

Published each December as a separate issue. Deadline for all advertising materials is October 31. For info, contact Todd Daniel at (888) 516-8585 or

2009 Editorial Advisory Council

Doug Bracken.............. Wiemann Metalcraft Nancy Hayden................ Tesko Enterprises Tom McDonough..... Master Metal Services Rob Rolves..........Foreman Fabricators Inc. Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editors or NOM­MA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA. 8


How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

The best hidden benefit As I write this column a team of

NOMMA volunteers are in Baltimore, MD attending the ICC fall code hearings. These individuals have taken time away from their families and businesses, and deserve our thanks. I can’t imagine what life would be like without our code advocacy team. Think about what would happen if new building codes were proposed and passed without any industry input. The result would likely be more severe restrictions that would raise product costs and hinder creativity without providing proven safety benefits. During the current code cycle we saw an example of an extreme code proposal. In the current code cycle there is a proposal in the IRC to reduce picket spacing from 4” to 2.5” inches and triangular openings from 6” to 4”, which fortunately was voted down. However, there is always the possibility of appeals and the introduction of similar proposals, and thus NOMMA must always remain vigilant. Our lead representative Tom Zuzik Jr. and other volunteers spend many hours at the code hearings, but this time is only the tip of the iceberg. Before the current code hearing, our Code Advisory Council held several long night meetings to review over 70 code proposals related to our industry. In addition, there is much time spent doing research and preparing for hearings. Then there is our participation with the ICC Code Technology Committee (CTC). Since 2005, we have had representatives at every CTC meeting, and we are highly active in the CTC’s Climbable Guard Study Group. This group has produced several positive building code changes that improve safety while remaining sensitive to the needs and concerns of industry. In other words, through the CTC we are developing win-win solutions. It was exactly 10 years ago when NOMMA began its code advocacy work in response to the “ladder effect”

rule, which we helped to successfully overturn in 2000. Since that time we have learned a LOT about code advocacy. Most importantly, we learned that the ICC is our friend, and that we share the same common goal of improving public safety. At the same time, we’ve also learned that the code development process is sometimes unpredictable, and can take quick and sudden turns. As a NOMMA member, the Technical Affairs Division Todd Daniel is executive director of is one of your greatest benefits. NOMMA. Had some of the extreme “climbability” proposals of recent years passed, I’ve been told by some members that they would be out of business. If you are not a NOMMA member, I urge you to support the work of our Technical Affairs team by joining us. With more members, we not only have a stronger voice, but we also have more resources to cover additional meetings. In conclusion, I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Tom Zuzik Jr., who is an indispensable part of our team. Each year, Tom spends many days away from his business to attend CTC meetings, ICC hearings, and related events. And even when he is not at a meeting, he is behind-the-scenes giving our representatives valuable guidance and advice. If you’d like to join our Technical Affairs team, we always need more help. For information, please give me a call at (888) 516-8585, ext. 102.

Fabricator n November/December 2009

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Call For NOMMA Directors and Award Nominees The NOMMA Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for the 2010-2011 slate, both for fabricator and supplier directors. Serving on the NOMMA Board of Directors is a great way to “give back” to your industry. Are you interested in running for a director position or know someone who would make an excellent candidate? If so, please submit the following information: • Nominee’s name and company (you may nominate yourself). • Short description of qualifications, achievements, etc. As a NOMMA director you will have a role in developing the association’s ongoing roadmap and ensuring that we stay on course. An important requirement to serving on the Board is that you must be able to attend Board meetings, which are held three times a year (at your own expense). In addition, there are occasional phone conferences, online votes, and

most prestigious awards: • Frank A. Kozik Volunteer Service Award - This is an award for outstanding volunteerism. It is given to a NOMMA member who continually serves both the industry and others year after year. Its namesake, Frank A. Kozik, set a great example by continuing to contribute to NOMMA even after he was off the Board. • Julius Blum Award - This award is for any person or organization that makes outstanding contributions to the industry. The award is bestowed to those who have used their gifts and talents to promote and advance the industry. Please send nominations for both directors and awards by Dec. 15 to:

other functions that will require your attention.

Terry Barrett Royal Iron Creations 1139 53rd Ct., N West Palm Beach, FL 33407 Ph: (561) 655-9353 • Fax: (561) 848-8333 Email:

Call for Award Nominations Julius Blum & Frank Kozik Awards

The Awards Committee is seeking nominations for two of NOMMA’s

Attention Industry Suppliers!

Online Version

Visitors can either download a PDF of the directory or they can use our online database to quickly find products.

For advertising info, visit: Or, contact Todd Daniel at (888) 5168585, ext. 102 or


*Source: Deep Metrix LiveStats, April 2006 study

Obtain additional exposure for your company by advertising in the NOMMA 2010 Buyer’s Guide

NOMMA 2010 Buyer’s Guid e

Print Version

The print version is provided free to our 700-plus members, plus it’s sold to the industry at a nominal rate. For many shops, the Buyer’s Guide is an indispensable tool for day-to-day operations.

Print Closing Date: Dec. 15

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311 Fayetteville, GA 30214 (888) 516-8585 • Fax (770) 288-2006 •

Fabricator n November/December 2009

NOMMA Board Moves Strategic Planning To New Level For the past year and a half, the NOMMA Board of Directors has been engaged in a major strategic planning process, with Immediate Past President Terry Barrett serving as facilitator. At their October 15 strategic planning session, the Board got to “brass tacks” by forming five task groups that will focus on key areas of the strategic plan: • Evaluating METALfab. • Defining and communicating the value of NOMMA membership. • Governance review. • Staff direction. • Member needs assessment. Task force groups either have been formed or will be formed in the next few weeks to execute each action plan. Actions include developing a policy, process, set of guidelines, background paper, survey, or recommendations. At the October meeting, Board right:

members set a timetable and benchmarks for each group. On completion, each group will make a presentation to the Board, along with recommendations. A guidance team is being assigned to each group, which is typically comprised of NOMMA leaders, past leaders, and/or staff. Members can view the strategic plan by going to the Members Only area and selecting “Membership Resources.”

James Minter Jr. takes notes during a small group brainstorming exercise.

On October 15 the NOMMA Board participated in a daylong strategic planning session.

Join NOMMA Today! Latest Benefit: A New Website Just For Members Benefits of NOMMA’s new Members Only Website include: • Forums and ListServs for discussing building codes, CAD, gate operators, and more. • Back issues of Fabricator magazine, Fabricator’s Journal, and TechNotes, our technical bulletin. • Each member can create their own profile, write a blog, and upload images in their own gallery. • See sample video clips of NEF Education Videos. • COMING SOON: Educational Webinars Members can enter by visiting: And more good news ... now you can join NOMMA at 1/2 price. For the special discount code, visit our website at and click on “Join.”

For a complete list of member benefits, visit and click “Join” Fabricator n November/December 2009


Tips& Tactics

Technology Contact: The Lincoln Electric Co. 22801 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland, OH 44117 Ph: (216) 481-8100 Fax: (216) 486-1751

Choosing a tube frame engine-driven welder When electrical power is unavailable, an engine-driven welder can do the job.

By Eric Snyder The Lincoln Electric Co. Engine-driven welders are typically

used when electric power often isn’t available, such as for outdoor jobs. Many outdoor applications, including maintenance and equipment repair, require welders that are easy to transport—compact tube frame welders with small gasoline engines are an ideal choice. Models with an enclosed case, although considered portable, are significantly heavier at 200 to 300 lbs. Tube frame enginedriven welders are more easily lifted by hand or with a crane from the back of a pick-up truck right to the jobsite. They are ideal for contractors, maintenance crews, farmers, and ranchers. If you’re looking to purchase a portable engine-driven welder for your next jobsite, this article will help identify what key features to consider when selecting a tube frame welder for your welding and repair needs. Key Features to Look for in Tube Frame Welders

AC or DC welding output options Before looking at advanced features, you’ll first have to determine if an AC or a DC welder is the best power source for your needs. Machines with AC welding output are typically available at a lower price than machines with DC welding output. This is due to the elimination of electrical components needed to 12

below & right: The Outback 185 by Lincoln Electric is one example of a rugged welder that is ideal for the field. The unit can generate up to 5,700 watts of AC power, and is ideal for MIG welding.

convert AC welding current to DC welding current. They are lighter and easier to transport than DC models. These machines are great for equipment or field repair and work best with stick electrodes designed for an AC welding output. Engine-driven AC welders are also great for powering a grinder or other small power tools from the AC generator power. DC engine-driven welders require additional electrical components to convert AC welding current to DC welding current, but give operators a wider range of stick electrodes for a variety of applications. DC welders are also preferred for the smooth DC welding output and arc delivery when

welding steel, stainless steel, cast iron, or even hard facing applications. For both AC and DC welders, 1/8” electrode is the most common diameter, although 3/32” and 5/32” diameters are also popular. The 1/8” electrode typically requires a machine with 125 to 140 amps of output, whereas the 5/32” diameter typically requires 150 to 170 amps. Once you’ve chosen either an AC or a DC welder, there are a few more features you’ll need to consider. Durable frame One of the most important elements for any outdoor equipment is that it have a durable, protective tube frame. You will want to make sure the protective tubes are large in diameter, rugged, and sturdy. This provides Fabricator n November/December 2009

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added durability and adequate protection for the entire machine. Engines Look for a commercial-grade engine with a cast iron cylinder liner and at least a two-year warranty from the manufacturer. A cast iron cylinder liner is the key to long engine life. Other features offered in slightly higher-end models include an engine idler and electric start options. Electric start Electric start is an important feature for larger gasoline engines, especially those above 10 horsepower. This is because they can be more difficult to pull-start, especially when mounted to a truck. Welders with accessible electric start capabilities are easier and much more convenient to start. Engine idler An engine idler reduces noise and saves fuel. A machine with an idle function slows the engine speed significantly after a weld is completed or the use of the AC generator power stops. The welder idles to the slower speed, usually within 10 to 15 seconds. This feature means you will need to refuel less often and the slower speed can help extend the life of your engine and reduce operational noise. Run time and fuel tank size Run time capabilities are important for performing larger, more timeintensive jobs. Since run time versus idle time affects the rate of fuel consumption, choose a welder with a large fuel tank, such as one that holds more than five gallons. A larger tank will allow for extended run times with less frequent refueling and increased efficiency. Easy access controls When working from a truck and using a welder with the electric start feature mentioned above, the best arrangement is for all the engine controls to be on the front of the machine for easy access. This includes the start switch and the engine choke control. 14

top & right: To improve portability, the Outback 185 and 145 units feature Low-Lift™ grab bars that provide more leverage for lifting the machines on and off the truck.

Manual transport Look for features and accessories that make transporting your welder easy. Some engine drives, such as Lincoln Electric’s Outback 185® and Outback® 145, have Low-Lift™ grab bars that provide more leverage for lifting these welders on and off truck beds. An accessory that can make your welder more portable is an undercarriage with foam-filled, puncture-proof tires, and fold-down, non-slip handles with built-in cable holders. An undercarriage makes it easier to control and wheel the tube frame welder to different areas on the jobsite. The foam-filled, puncture-proof tires will hold up when rolling over sharp objects such as nails or pieces of sharp metal. The fold-down handles are great for saving storage space, and the cable holders provide convenience for wrapping welding cables for storage. Warranty But, before buying any welder, you

should make sure the machine and the engine have at least a two- to threeyear warranty. Typically, they each have warranties from their separate manufacturers, so check that the warranties are for the same duration to ensure the life of your welder and engine as one unit. For more information on welding applications and products, visit www. or contact your local welding distributor. Fabricator n November/December 2009

Tips& Tactics

Case Study Contact: OMAX Corporation 21409 72nd Ave South, Kent, WA 98032 Ph: 800-838-0343 Fax: 253-872-6190 Email: OMAX@OMAX.COM

Stop outsourcing! Consider an in-house waterjet system A sheet metal fabricator uses waterjet to increase flexibility and expand capabilities

Determining the right mix of capabili-

ties can be a daunting challenge for today’s fabricator. Choosing which operations should be outsourced and which should be performed in house can have a huge impact on competitiveness and profitability. A shop in East Windsor, CT faced this dilemma when it had the option to invest in new equipment and eliminate some outsourcing operations. “Most of the parts we produce begin with laser cutting and we felt like we didn’t have the option of bringing in that aspect of production in house,” says Matt Soucie, general manager at Camm Metals. “We were sending out at least $2,000 in work each month, but laser machines were so expensive that waterjets seemed like the best alternative.” CAMM Metals was founded in 1996 by Al Soucie in his family’s garage. Mr. Soucie’s sons, Matt and Craig, joined him several years later and the company has experienced continuous growth since then. The company produces parts for a variety of industries, including aerospace, construction, and architectural. Among its architectural work, CAMM Metals has designed and manufactured high-end ornamental pieces for corporate buildings, schools, casinos, theaters, and other public buildings. Taking a look at waterjet

In late 2002, CAMM Metals faced a dilemma. It was already outsourcing a significant amount of laser cutting and these costs would increase proportionately to the continued growth of the company. With the outsourcing 16

The staff at CAMM Metals brought waterjet cutting in-house to reduce outsourcing costs. The company currently owns three waterjet units. Shown are Matt Soucie, General Manager, and Craig Soucie, Foreman right:

expenses squeezing profit margins, CAMM Metals began to evaluate other options. The high cost of laser cutting machines led the company to a technology with which it was unfamiliar. “We started looking at waterjet as a potential means to reduce the amount of money we were spending on outsourcing,” says Matt Soucie. “We evaluated quite a few options and decided to go with an abrasive waterjet from OMAX.” Because of its inexperience on waterjet machines, CAMM Metals relied heavily on support from OMAX to implement its first machine, a model 2652. Local representatives from the waterjet manufacturer worked with the company to train operators on using the machine and implementing it in a way that maximized profitability. While waterjet technology was originally selected due to the high cost of laser cutting equipment, CAMM Metals soon found

that it was the best technology for its operations, regardless of price. “We were lucky that the high cost of laser machines led us to waterjet, because we wouldn’t have gotten the same flexibility with laser,” says Matt Soucie. “We work with a wide range of materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel and Inconel. Abrasive waterjet offers highly productive cutting in all of these. Additionally, with laser we would have been limited to cutting materials of a maximum thickness of about 0.75”. With the waterjet, we can go up to 6” and still be really efficient.” Several years after making its initial investment, CAMM Metals purchased a second waterjet machine, an OMAX model 80160, to accommodate growth in orders. In the period from 2002 to 2007, the company saw its sales double, along with its number of employees. The company moved to a new facility to keep up with its growth. Throughout this period, the productivity and Fabricator n November/December 2009

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flexibility of its waterjets continued to grow, thanks to OMAX’s free, bi-annual software updates. “Keeping up to date on technology is very important to us,” says Matt Soucie. “With most of the software we use in our company, upgrading to the newest version represents a necessary, but substantial, cost. The fact that OMAX provides free updates is an unexpected savings, as we have their software on our machines and eight computers used by designers in our office.”

“We started looking

at waterjet as a potential means to reduce the amount of money we were spending on outsourcing .. We evaluated quite a few options and decided to go with an abrasive waterjet.”

The software updates provided by OMAX increase machine productivity by applying the results of the company’s continuous research and development. For instance, an update might optimize cutting speed by applying an algorithm for moving the cutting head through a cut around a corner. Additionally, software updates introduce new functionalities, such as including Windows fonts or allowing the import of .jpg or .pdf file types. In late 2008, CAMM Metals had fully integrated abrasive waterjet into





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its operations. Approximately 95% of the parts produced by the company began on a waterjet. The machines were running 50 hours a week and it was getting to the point where more capacity was needed. “We were falling behind on our deliveries to our customers,” says Matt Soucie. “We like to keep a three to five day lead time on parts that we just cut and ship off to the customer. We couldn’t do that with just two machines. We were running out well beyond two weeks. We were losing orders.” To bring turnaround times back into line, CAMM Metals purchased its third abrasive waterjet, an OMAX model 60120. Along with this investment, the company decided to try out OMAX’s Tilt-A-Jet® cutting head. The goal was to maximize the amount of work that could be completed on the machine. The Tilt-A-Jet system combines software and hardware to eliminate the natural taper that occurs with waterjet cutting. Unique software evaluates cutting data and calculates adjustments to be made to the angle of the nozzle. This moves the taper into the scrap, leaving the finished part with a perfectly straight edge. “Once we saw the results we were getting, we implemented the Tilt-A-Jet on all of our waterjet centers,” says Matt Soucie. “It’s really cut down on our costs and helped us to reduce our turnaround time even more.” Prior to the implementation of the Tilt-A-Jet, approximately 75% of CAMM Metals’ work required secondary finishing operations. Once a part was finished being cut with waterjet, it would move to a machining center for the edges to be milled to perpendicularity. Since integrating the Tilt-A-Jet, CAMM Metals has been able to reduce the amount of parts needing secondary operations to approximately 20% of its work. Today, CAMM Metals continues to experience strong sales, despite the weak 20 20

economy. The company was recently awarded a very high profile job in New York City. It will be producing artistic architectural pieces from brass and stainless steel for each of the 43 floors of Goldman Sachs’ new global headquarters. While the company once survived without waterjet, it now credits the technology with enabling it to succeed. “Waterjet has become the driver of our business,” says Matt Soucie. “Everything we do starts with the waterjets. Those machines cut jobs to completion and feed work to our press brakes, welding stations, and machining

centers. It’s really become the true driver of our entire company. We would not have been able to reach the level of sales we have attained without multiple waterjet centers. In a lot of ways, the technology has come to define what we do.”

CAMM uses their waterjet systems to create a variety of artistic and miscellaneous products. right: Door pulls for a retail store. below: A globe design for an entrance wall. bottom: A waterjet system was even used to cut components for this retail counter.

Fabricator Fabricator nn November/December November/December 2009 2009


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Q &A

Shop Talk

Hot dip galvanizing for corrosion protection n

Answers to common questions on galvanizing metalwork

By Philip G. Rahrig American Galvanizers Association Hot-dip galvanizing provides excellent

corrosion protection to a full spectrum of ornamental and miscellaneous metalwork, ranging from railings to driveway gates, fence, and intricate iron castings, to artistic pieces and light structural steel. Whether the galvanized coating is selected for use ‘as is’ or to provide a substrate for painting/powder coating, there is an

education process required in order to have all of your expectations of appearance and performance met and exceeded. The following frequently asked questions and associated answers should advance your knowledge and pave the way for successful corrosion protection of your project.


Why are vent and drainage holes required, where should they be placed, and how can water be

prevented from getting inside galvanized hollow pieces?


The primary reason for vent and drain holes is to allow air to be released from within and around the fabrication, allowing it to be completely immersed in the cleaning solutions and molten zinc. The excess zinc and solutions can then drain out and away from the part. The secondary reason is that if fabrications to be galvanized are not properly vented, cleaning solutions or rinse waters trapped in overlapping or contacting surfaces flash to steam. The resulting pressure increase can rupture the fabrication. Additionally, trapped moisture that flashes to steam can result in localized uncoated surfaces. Because items being galvanized are immersed in and withdrawn from all cleaning solutions and molten zinc at


For your information About the Author: Philip G. Rahrig is executive director of the American Galvanizers Association. Summary: Questions about galvanizing regularly appear on the NOMMA ListServ. In this article, Mr. Rahrig answers some of the most commonly asked questions. CONTACT

American Galvanizers Association 6881 South Holly Circle, Suite 108 Centennial, Colorado 80112 Ph: (720) 554.0900 Fax: (720) 554.0909 Email: This “fish net” gate is protected with galvanizing. 22

Fabricator n November/December 2009

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an angle, vent holes should be located at the highest point and drain holes at the lowest point as mounted during the galvanizing process. After galvanizing, aluminum or zinc plugs can be used to close vent and drain holes and prevent water from getting inside hollow sections. Both types of plugs can be ground down and touched-up to match the surface profile of the fabrication.


How can galvanized pieces be

protected during transport9:44 AM tri-state-quarter page.qxd 12/19/07 and at the job site?

The galvanized coating is actually harder than the steel it is protecting and so abrasion in transit or during erection is usually not a concern. If chain tie-downs are used, they may scuff the surface but generally do not damage the coating, which will still provide years of corrosion protection. Moisture is only an issue for galvanized steel if it is tightly bundled, nested, or stacked in a way AD

that prevents free flowing air. The zinc coating needs free flowing air to develop the zinc patina corrosion protection that gives hot-dip galvanized steel its durability.


What is the difference between hot-dip galvanizing and zinc Page 1 metallizing?


Zinc spray, This piece of galvanized artwork is called “Lion Radiance.” which is also referred to as metallizing, is done by surface to be metallized must be blast melting zinc powder or zinc wire in a cleaned to SSPC-SP5/NACE No.1 near flame or electric arc and projecting the white metal and must be free of oil, liquid zinc droplets by air or gas onto grease, weld flux residue, weld spatter the surface of the steel. The zinc used and corrosion products. The zinc is nominally 99.5% pure or better and coating can be sealed with a thin the corrosion resistance of the wire or coating of low viscosity polyurethane, powder is approximately equal. epoxy-phenolic, epoxy, or vinyl resin. According to ASTM A 780, the PROOF - 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2 The hot-dip galvanizing process

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This stunning eagle will be flying a long time, thanks to its galvanized coating.


entails dipping steel in a kettle containing molten zinc. As the iron in the steel reacts with the zinc, it forms consistently thick, zinc-iron alloy layers and a pure zinc outer layer on all surfaces, inside and out, corners and edges. Since the hot-dip galvanized coating is harder than the metalized coating, it has a greater bond strength and provides greater corrosion protection at corners and edges.

How large of an assembly or structural piece can be galvanized? There are many galvanizer kettles 60’ long by 6’ wide and 8’deep and a few larger than that. These dimensions do not restrict larger pieces from being galvanized since they can be progressively dipped to cover




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the entire piece. Due to heating and cooling of assemblies at different rates, precautions such as temporary bracing may need to be taken in order to provide a quality coating and final shape. Your local galvanizer should be consulted if you have an assembly larger than the dimensions of his/her kettle.


What do I need to know about welding before and after galvanizing? All commonly practiced welding and cutting techniques can be used on galvanized steel. In the welding of galvanized steels, no special skills are necessary, but welding conditions usually require closer control than for uncoated steels. Galvanized steel welding procedures are simple and well established. Welding before galvanizing ensures the whole structure is fully coated with zinc and the coating at the weld area is the same thickness as the coating on the rest of the steel part. In order to achieve the same coating thickness, it is recommended that the weld filler metal have comparable chemistry to the steel of the base material. If the weld filler metal is a different composition than the steel being joined, it may react with the zinc at a different rate and give a thicker (or thinner) coating over the weld. To prevent an increased reaction of the weld material with the molten zinc, the filler material should have less than 0.3 percent silicon content. Welding after galvanizing may be necessary if the final structure is too large to be dipped in a galvanizing bath or for structures that must be welded in place. The tensile, bend, and impact properties of welds on galvanized steel are equivalent to the properties of sound welds in uncoated steels. Welding galvanized steel specifications are derived from the American Welding Society’s (AWS) specification D-19.0, Welding Zinc Coated Steel. This specification calls for welds to be made on steel free of zinc to prevent strength reduction through zinc inclusion in the weld itself. The zinc Fabricator n November/December 2009

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coating should be removed at least one to four inches from either side of the intended weld zone and on both sides of the steel part. Grinding is the most effective means of removing the galvanized coating. Once the weld is completed, the area of the weld can be repaired using procedures described in ASTM A 780 to complete the corrosion protection on all surfaces


What method of repair should be used for galvanized coatings?


Although galvanized coatings are highly abrasion resistant, coating damage may occur once the galvanized steel leaves the galvanizer’s facility due to extremely rough handling, installation techniques, welding, cutting, grinding, or in-service conditions. There are methods available to ensure post-galvanizing coating integrity. ASTM A 780 authorizes three accepted touch-up and repair methods: Applying zincrich paint, coating with zinc solder, and spraying with molten zinc, aka

metallizing. The touch-up and repair method chosen should consider the specific use of the galvanized steel and the performance characteristics of each of the three methods. Corrosion protection should always be the primary consideration, but certain uses and conditions may warrant selection on the basis of other performance characteristics


Can I paint over the galvanized coating? If so, what

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

surface preparation is required?


Galvanized coatings can be easily and effectively painted, not only for aesthetics but also to extend the structure’s service life. The age and extent of weathering of the galvanized coating dictate the extent of surface preparation required to produce a quality paint system over galvanized steel. ASTM D 6386, Practice for Preparation of Zinc (Hot-Dip Galvanized) Coated Iron and Steel Product and Hardware Surfaces for Painting, should be consulted for suggested surface preparation methods for galvanized coatings of varying ages.

galvanized coating thickness and appearance. Continuously cast steel produced by the steel companies has a wide variety of chemistries, thus the different coating appearances. Silicon and phosphorous are two elements in the steel most affecting coating thickness and appearance and when in a certain percentage range deliver excellent coating appearance. There are several different additives galvanizers may put in their zinc kettle to enhance the coating appearance by making it shiny, spangled or matte gray. It is important to note the appearance of the coating (matte gray, shiny, spangled) does not change the corrosion protection provided.

through it. This means gussets must be cropped with holes put in the proper location for the draining and venting of zinc from tubular configurations. Also, weld flux must be removed, overlapping surfaces seal-welded, through-holes drilled slightly larger, threads in nuts overtapped, and light gauge material temporarily braced.


Why do galvanized steel appearances differ from project to project and is there any difference in the corrosion protection offered by the different appearing coatings?


Are there any special design and fabrication considerations required to make steel ready for hot-dip galvanizing?

Light gauge and dissimilar thickness assemblies Minimizing potential warpage and distortion is easily done in the project’s design stages by selecting steel of equal thicknesses for use in every separate subassembly that is to be hot-dip galvanized, using symmetrical designs whenever possible, and by avoiding the use of light-gage steel (<1/16” / 1.6 mm). Some structures may benefit from the use of temporary bracing to help maintain their shape and/or alignment.



Fabricated steel must allow the cleaning chemicals and molten zinc metal to flow easily over and

Seal-weld and stitch-weld of overlapping surfaces When stitch-welding is used, there

The steel’s chemistry is the primary determinant of


Fabricator n November/December 2009

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is a possibility of gas release between gaps, which will prevent the galvanized coating from forming in these areas. The result may be rust weaping over the visible galvanized surface. By leaving at least a 3/32” (2.4 mm) gap between the contacting surfaces, gases are allowed to escape and cleaning solutions and molten zinc are allowed to flow between the surfaces for a complete and uniform coating. If full seal-welds are used or if the gap between overlapping surfaces is less than 3/32”, vent holes must be provided in one or both of the overlapping surfaces; the amount and size depends on the area of overlap and thickness of steel. See the tables below. Through Holes and Overtapping of Threads If the hole you are designing is a clearance hole (a hole without threads), you can predict that a 7.2 to 14.0 mils (0.18 to 0.36 mm) allowance is required to accommodate the increased diameter of the bolt. This is because the mating surface of the clearance hole will also be galvanized to approximately the same thickness. Therefore, the diameter of the clearance hole will be reduced by twice the coating thickness and the diameter of the bolt will increase by twice the

coating thickness. It is also important to consider when increasing hole sizes to accommodate for galvanizing that you are also decreasing the bearing surface area of the bolt head. This may prove to be a factor when preparing design calculations. Coatings for hardware items and small parts are specified per ASTM A 153, Standard Specification for Zinc Coating (Hot-Dip) on Iron and Steel Hardware. The process for producing clean thread coatings is to centrifuge the hot-dip galvanized part immediately after it comes out of the zinc bath to throw off any excess zinc from the threaded areas. The threads are then smooth and consistent in coating thickness. Typical coating thickness on bolts can range from 1.8 to 3.5 mils (0.045 to 0.09 mm), making standard bolt and nut tolerances difficult to maintain for correct assembly. If bolts are galvanized, then the nuts should be oversized to accommodate the 3.6 to 7.0 mils (0.09 to 0.18 mm) increase in bolt diameter after galvanizing (oversize) tolerances are detailed in ASTM A 563, Standard Specification for Carbon and Alloy Steel Nuts. If the nuts or tapped holes in a steel article are hot-dip galvanized, they should be retapped or rethreadded

after galvanizing to remove the zinc coating and provide clearance for the coated bolt. When the fastener system is assembled, the coating from the bolt will provide protection for the uncoated nut thread since zinc coatings cathodically protect uncoated steel. The retapping is done on the nut side so no uncoated threads on the bolts will be available to weather without galvanized protection. If retapping the nuts, it’s important to note all of the zinc coating must be removed from the inner threads. The standard practice for structural connections is to galvanize the nuts as blanks and then to tap the threads after galvanizing. Once you have familiarized yourself with the concepts discussed above, further consultation with your local galvanizer about your particular project will yield a successful outcome, protecting your work from corrosion, and deliver maintenance-free performance for decades. If you have additional questions about hot-dip galvanizing, contact your local galvanizer or the American Galvanizers Association (www. To find a galvanizer in your area, visit

Vent Holes for Overlapped Areas for Steels ½ in. [12.75 mm] or less in Thickness OVERLAPPED AREA (in2) VENT HOLES UNWELDED AREA [cm2] under 16 [103] None None 16 [103] to under 64 [413] One 3/8 in. [1 cm] 1 in. [2.5 cm] 64 [413] to under 400 [2580] One ½ in. [1.25 cm] 2 in. [5.1 cm] 400 [2580] and greater, each One ¾ in. [1.91cm] 4 in. [10.2 cm] 400 [2580] Vent Holes for Overlapped Areas for Steels Greater Than ½ in. [12.75 mm] in Thickness OVERLAPPED AREA (in2) VENT HOLES UNWELDED AREA [cm2] under 16 [103] None None 16 [103] to under 64 [413] None None 64 [413] to under 400 [2580] One ½ in. [1.25 cm] 2 in. [5.1 cm] 400 [2580] and greater, each One ¾ in. [1.91cm] 4 in. [10.2 cm] 400 [2580] 32

Fabricator n November/December 2009


Shop Talk

Bendable aluminum castings The bend is the limit when it comes to offering creative options for your clients. n

Bendable aluminum castings are an

economic alternative to achieve creative results not available with any other material or method. Aluminumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural rust-free and light-weight characteristics can be further broadened by using bendable aluminum castings. The advantages are (1) a double face product, (2) good depth of ornate detail on both sides, (3) ease of fabrication, and (4) all obtainable at a reasonable cost. Regular aluminum castings have a hard, almost brittle, grain structure that permits very little elongation before breaking. Two percent elongation is common. To circumvent this constraint, Alloy Casting has developed three proprietary blends of alloys with three different levels of bendability and strength. As bendability increases, strength decreases. The three alloys are versatile and can be extremely bendable. These bendable castings have been utilized in projects where bending a curve is much better than the labor intensive approach of cutting and segmenting pie-shaped pieces. This bending approach has been used

Fig 1: Rose casting with varying cross sections. Fabricator n November/December 2009

in spiral stairs, curved balconies, belly rails, furniture, and ornate sculptures. Because castings come in many sizes, shapes, and cross sections, the act of bending is by trial and error. Some shapes can be bent at room temperature Fig 2: Leaf castings with consistent cross sections and some shapes need multiple steps of bending and have learned that the casting cross reheating. As the metal is bent, the section is an important design factor. casting will stiffen as work hardening Fig. 1 is a rose design where the thin takes place. Heating the metal at this round stems and vines bend much stage will re-soften the metal so more more easily then the thicker rose bending can be attempted. The softest petals. The rose petals will stay flat and blend of aluminum cracks easily and is not bend on the same curve as the recommended only for non-load more bendable vines. In contrast, the bearing applications. But, the medium consistent cross section of the leaves in blend and the strongest blend have Fig. 2 allows smooth and dramatic good strength integrity. bends. Some of the same bending results The non-load bearing tree canopy achieved with castings can be obtained in Fig. 3 was achieved with several sizes with thin aluminum metal stampings or with aluminum forgings. The drawbacks for the stamping approach are high tooling costs and only a minimum amount of detail possible on the thin sheets. About the Author: Jon McGraw of Alloy Casting Co. Inc. regularly writes for FabForgings may be labor ricator. His first article appeared in 1987. intensive, lack fine detail, and have a high piece About the Company: Alloy Castings, a price. Another advantage NOMMA member, is a longtime industry supplier. The firm specializes in custom of aluminum castings aluminum castings, both for decorative over stampings and and functional needs. forgings, is the design CONTACT cross section can be Alloy Casting Co. Inc. manipulated to encour3900 South Peachtree Rd. age even more bendabilMesquite, TX 75180-2724 ity. Ph: (972) 286-2368 For over 10 years, we Fax: (972) 557-4727 Email: have been involved in Web: bendable projects and


By Jon McGraw Alloy Casting Co. Inc.

For your information


of very bendable cast aluminum limbs and by manipulating the cross sections of the larger diameter piece. The “Y” limb, with diameters of 3/8” and ¾”, was made thin with a tapered round section. The limbs were easily bent. The 2” diameter thicker branch was given a “U” cross section to allow more bendability. The tree canopy was fabricated from these sections into the intertwined tree canopy. Another approach to cross section manipulation was done in the leaves on the hanging chandelier. In this case, the leaves were slightly pre-bent before making the match plate

Fig 3: Intertwined tree canopy using highly bendable tree limb designs.

Fig 4: Tree limb designs, before and after bending.

Fig 5: Leaf designs, flat back and preformed.

Fig 6: Preformed castings with additional bending for chandelier.


Fabricator n November/December 2009

tooling, (Fig. 5). The pre-bent cast leaves then allowed for even more leaf bending during fabrication of the chandelier (Fig. 6). The arms and legs in the bamboo chair (Fig. 7) were fabricated using medium-grade bendable aluminum. This approach saved the cost of making two separate match plate tooling for the mirror image left and right curved pieces. Thus the same straight bamboo tooling used for the legs and back were also suitable for the arms when they were bent and welded. The highest strength and lowest bendable grade aluminum has been used in handrail. Fig. 8 is a piece used in a curved balcony rail and Fig. 9 is a piece used to fabricate a belly rail. In both cases, ease of fabrication and low cost were project benefits. In conclusion: Using bendable aluminum castings, with good double face details, in a custom application, can achieve dramatic and creative results at a reasonable cost.

Fig 7: Bamboo castings bent for arms and legs.

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

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Shop Talk

Selecting a CNC cutting machine n When purchasing a CNC system, there are MANY variables to consider. This article

provides a helpful checklist of items to evaluate before making your investment. By Leon Drake Chief Engineer Dynatorch Inc. CNC cutting machines have been a


This Lockformer unit was an older refurbished machine that was retrofitted with Dynatorch drives by Weber & Sons.

options and may offer stepper or servo drives. These usually cost from $10,000-30,000. Above that are unitized tables of medium grade with industrial type controls, servo drives, and many options costing $30,000100,000. Above that are large industrial machines that range from $80,000 to the hundreds of thousands with punches, drills, milling heads, torch rotators, and more. These are for specialized or high production shops. Armed with this starting point, let’s move on. Look for the best combination of the following components that you can afford in your price range. Lasers are a whole different category than what I will cover here and cost $200,000 and up. A further cost reduction is in the form of tax deductions. Presently there are substantial tax credits for purchasing capital equipment. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of

2009 extends the $250,000 Code Section 179 increased expensing limit, which was in effect for 2008. It now runs through 2009 and does apply to used machinery. The Section 179 limit for first year’s expense in 2009 is now $250,000 (almost double the 2007


major part of fabrication as the first step in creating any structure from metal sheet or plate for the last 40 years. Beginning with cantilever photo tracers to lasers of today, they have been around for quite a while. Choosing what is best for you can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider. Thankfully, prices of CNC systems have been dramatically reduced by the advent of the PC. Previously, all CNC systems used dedicated industrial computers that were expensive and required special knowledge to install or maintain. Many systems are now based on the basic PC allowing low production or custom shops to own one profitably. These machines generate quality, repeatable parts quickly and at low cost—opening many doors of opportunity. Not having one makes you look rather outdated. Sorry, it’s just that way when the other guy does have one. Fear not. While there are many choices, being armed with the right questions should help you to determine your needs and decide what is best for your application. The first thing to decide is what you want to spend. In order to determine that, you need a framework of what to expect. At the low end are hobby type machines. These have PC controls with a simple gantry design and usually offer stepper drive motors and few options. Some are available as kits and start at $5,000-10,000. Then there are preassembled light industrial systems with torch height control for plasma, more

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

limit of $128,000). This could seriously help you purchase that much needed system for your shop. Loading and configuration

The basic machine layout that has been standardized is a gantry type machine. These may have a single drop side or both sides to allow loading access with a forklift. Overhead cranes using vacuum lifters or magnets will allow any type to be used, however, check that the machine has a parking area large enough to allow the torch and gantry to be out of the way for loading depending on your shop layout. Older cantilever machines have become less popular since they are not as stable at the cutting speeds of plasma. They were generally used with oxy fuel cutting at speeds of less than 50 inches per minute. If retrofitting one of these, be aware of this problem. Depending on the material you will be cutting, make sure that the table is rated for the load of a full sheet.

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Table size

How big of a floor space do you have? Plan enough room for loading and material storage. The smallest tables are usually 4x4 ft. Some manufacturers offer custom sizes, but generally 4x8, 5x10, and 6x12 tables are the most common since this corresponds to available sheet sizes. The larger the sheet size, generally results in less scrap when nesting parts. Select size based on your supplied sheet sizes. Indexing a sheet on a smaller machine to cut a large part is very difficult and time consuming. Also, it may easily result in a scrapped part and another try with poor accuracy. The small additional cost for a larger table is something you will never regret. I have never heard anyone say they wish they had bought a smaller machine, but plenty wish it was larger. Also, you may think this silly but do NOT plan to place your machine outdoors. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a tractor. It is a precision system, like a lathe, and cannot handle the weather without damage.

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the machine. PCs have come a long way. Most of us are familiar with the operation of a PC and have more than one. You may use a laptop for some machines allowing you to keep it safe, clean, and dry in the office when not in use and also to load and dry run the program before taking it out to the shop. Look for USB type connections that allow simple plug-and-go ability. Some systems still use add-in controller cards or external boxes to convert the signals. Check to be sure that they do not require parallel or serial ports

since these are becoming less available on PCs and may have you scrounging for an antique PC that you hope will not die on you. The software must be able to run on up-to-date Windows versions, not DOS or Win 98 which are no longer supported. PCs in a dirty shop take a lot of abuse for which they were not designed, so they generally last two - three years before needing replacement but are very inexpensive. Remember to blow them out periodically. Dedicated controllers such as

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Burny, Hypertherm, or ESAB, to name a few, have excellent shielding for industrial use. These usually operate a bit differently and require more training to run, but may include many options. These have sealed cabinets and panels to keep out dirt and are the standard for high end machines. They generally last five to 10 years before becoming obsolete or needing repairs but may run for 30 years. Repair or replacement is expensive and as they age, parts availability may be a problem. Drive systems/speed


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This is a key point to investigate. Drives are the motors and components that move the machine. Accuracy, speed, and control are centered here. At the low cost end are stepper motors. These have high torque at low speed but rapidly loose power as speed increases. Since most of these are aimed at low cost, there is generally no feedback from encoders telling the machine where it actually is. Without feedback, the system cannot be sure at any time that it is in proper position. It just assumes that it is. As the drive speed increases, these may make “miss steps” where the motor “skips.” This is not seen by the control, and all subsequent cuts are out of position causing the parts to be scrap. If cutting with oxy fuel where speeds stay low and rapid moves from cut to cut are Fabricator n November/December 2009

not important, then these systems operate satisfactorily for that application. Motors generally have to be oversized to compensate and rapid move speeds are limited to about 300 inches per minute. Cutting or â&#x20AC;&#x153;contouringâ&#x20AC;? where the machine may require quick changes in direction are even more limited. All industrial grade machines and the better low cost machines may offer servo drives. Servo drives require feedback to operate. Encoders CNC cutting is well suited for signage. are most often used. These devices tell the control where the machine is at all times. The or belt reduction with high perforfeedback may go to the drive control mance and high rapid traverse speeds card or to the computer. The preferred in the 1000-2000 inches per minute method is to get this information all range. the way back to the computer. This Most servo systems will have allows absolute control confirmation separate drive amplifiers, feedback of position with no guessing. Servos loops and controller cards. These are can operate at very high speeds quite expensive and diagnosing a without loosing power. This allows the problem requires an experienced tech. system to use smaller motors on gear New technology, however, has com-

Fabricator n November/December 2009

bined these into a single package where the motor has all of these systems, including the encoder, built inside (Animatics). This makes repairs as simple as swapping a motor. Why high speed? While you generally will never cut past 500 inches per minute, the time between cuts is also a cost. Moving the machine out of the way for loading is also costing you. With many parts on a sheet this can add up. A machine that can rapidly move from cut to cut is saving you expensive shop time. Look at the drive arrangement. Are there gearboxes or belts on the motors? Obviously, a sealed planetary gear box is going to give superior control with low backlash and high performance. Belts and exposed gears will wear and have more slip. Bearings should be sealed ball or roller types. Avoid bushings as they will rapidly wear in the dirty environment. Quality


components make or break the machine. If using rack and pinion drives, there should be a system of springs, air or hydraulics that engage the drives compensating for backlash. Bolted drives with no self-adjustment can jam or break on a piece of trash in the rack and require that they be installed with backlash (looseness) reducing part quality. There are some systems using belt drives. These are more common in Europe but are quiet and efficient. The belts have stainless steel cords to prevent stretch. Gear racks with fine pitch are preferred and helical racks, An elaborate sunburst design. while costing more are even better. Helical racks, however, “should” be lubricated as they are with air daily to weekly to reduce always sliding in cutting applications. buildup. Do NOT use oil type lubricaThis is rarely possible and will wear tion on racks. It just attracts the dust. out in time. Replacement is a cost to Dual drives? On the long axis of a think about. Way covers are quite machine, you may be offered single or common however plasma cutting dust dual drives. Two is always better than WILL get in there and stay in there. one. Driving from one side, machines Exposed racks should be blown out get bracing to try and reduce shake on

the non driven side. This rarely actually works well. Always have drives on both sides so that the machine has motor control of the gantry on both ends. Drives should be synchronized to work together usually with some encoder feedback. Some systems use resolvers and some kind of synchronization card to match both sides. These require additional maintenance and adjustment. Gantry guide systems

The gantry will ride on some kind of rollers or guides. Low end systems use track rollers, flat faced, or slightly crowned off-theshelf cam follower types. These must be adjusted against some kind of guide. Machine accuracy can be compromised by the quality of that guide rail. Cold roll bar stock is not very accurate. Ground stock, like elevator rail, is better. Remember, however, those flat top areas will collect dirt. The rollers will compress this and

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

cause machine shake as it rides over the area. V rollers on hardened rails are the next step up. These guide the machine in two directions and are self cleaning. Best and most expensive are linear guides. These use rollers or recirculating balls on a ground track. They are very smooth and usually are rated at capacities that far exceed the low load demands of a CNC machine. Very large machines ride on custom machined railroad rail with large wheels.

noise. This can damage components not designed for use with high frequency plasma. Air type plasma systems use a “contact start” system with no high frequency and can be used with most controls. Proper grounding of the machine, the plasma, and the CNC are always essential for safe and reliable operation. You WILL need to do this right. If you need help, plan on an electrician. Torch types are hand torch and machine torch. Hand torches are only

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Torch Height control

If you plan to cut with plasma, then torch height control is mandatory— plates warp with heat, material comes in bent, handling may bend it, or you may be cutting domes. The most accepted method is using arc voltage control. This measures the voltage at the torch. As the torch gets closer, the voltage drops. The system compensates by holding the actual voltage at a pre-set level. This set point should be allowed to be changed while cutting. Better systems compensate quickly and smoothly, holding the torch voltage by 1 volt or less. Stand alone height controls are not a part of the CNC control but operate independently. This limits the ability to freeze the height in corners or when slowing down unless they have added inputs for this purpose and the CNC has the outputs to match. The system should also use the arc transfer or OK to move signals from the plasma so that if the arc is lost or does not start, the control will stop also and notify the operator. Blind systems just keep on moving with no cuts and that is wasteful. The best systems will integrate the torch height control into the CNC so that these functions are constantly monitored and updated (ex; Dynatorch)


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Depending on the material you will be cutting, a suitable plasma system must be selected. This will be covered in another article soon. For now, if using a mechanized plasma system that produces high frequency at the pilot arc (start of cut), the machine’s control system must be shielded and capable of dealing with that electrical Fabricator n November/December 2009

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offered on air type plasma systems and are designed for your hand, not a machine. Machine torches are for machines. Attempts to use hand torches on a machine are poor at best. Springs and levers try to simulate the human hand and can never really work well. Get a machine torch and be sure the machine has a good holder. Changing out consumables (tip) is much easier with a machine torch which does not have to be removed and re-installed.

the smoke and dust out of the area and can be ducted outside or through a filtering system. Closed systems with filters will prevent the need for make-up air to the shop and save on heating and cooling costs. Some tables use moving baffles, doors, or pick-up heads to reduce the air volume requirement. Zoned systems operate this way, but beware; more moving parts in this system require more maintenance. Some are simple boxes that barely work at all or Cutting systems can even handle the complexity of 3-dimenhave “hot” and “cold” spots. A sional shapes. demonstration will reveal a bad Smoke and dust; aluminum underwater because this design when cutting at the far handling the mess produces hydrogen gas. Some plasma end from the fan or near the edges. If Plate cutting is messy. It produces systems can cut underwater as they they cover the unused area with plates large quantities of smoke and dust. purge gas constantly, keeping water or sheet material, beware. A good air This is unhealthy and might get you in out of the tip. Water tables are messy. table should work with a small plate big trouble with your employees, Water will get all over. Cleaning is an anywhere on the table and still draw in unions, or OSHA. The table should even bigger mess. However, they do all the smoke. have either a fan system or a water work well and if you have a big table table included, or you may build your (over 12 ft long) you will generally Part two of this article will appear in own. Water tables are simple and have this as your only choice. the January/February issue. In the next usually allow the water level to be Air tables use a down-draft issue, we’ll cover control software, adjusted with air pressure. Never cut method. These have fan(s) that draw detailing, tech support, and more.





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Fabricator n November/December 8/27/08 11:51:492009 AM


Shop Talk

Open and shut

A case for automated gate operator training For 13 years, the Vehicular Automated Gate Ad Hoc Coalition has tirelessly promoted safety, education, training . . . and now testing and certification. n

This swing gate is powered by an Elite operator. The opening is 17 feet wide by 17 feet tall, and each leaf weighs approximately 300 pounds. Fabricator: Klahm & Sons Inc., Ocala, FL.

By Peter Hildebrandt Brent Nichols, owner of Picasso Gate,

For your information


IDEA P.O. Box 236 West Milton, OH 45383 Ph: (937) 698-1027 Fax: (937) 698-6153 Web:

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Cheyenne, WY has been constructing gates for years. He’s also been active in ensuring that automated gate operators (AGO) are safe to use. In a recent interview, Nichols gave us an update on what’s been happening with all the work he and others have done involving training for the installation of automated gate operators. But, first a little background on the issue. Due to reported injuries and deaths from gate systems from a number of states and at the request of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Underwriters Laboratories put together an ad hoc group to develop standards in UL 325 for gate operators. In 1996, Nichols was interviewed by UL as a possible member of the gate

ad hoc committee. While further developing the UL 325 standard (which at that time was for garage doors), they assembled a committee to deal with current accidents. CPSC approached UL about putting something together to try to eliminate or at least reduce the number of accidents and injuries taking place. Nichols attended his first meeting in June of 1996. This involved the CPSC, manufacturers of gate operating equipment, and distributors of access control equipment as well as UL engineering staff. During the first few years of UL 325, Nichols was the sole gate builder/ system installer on their board. He reminded them of the two different things involved: UL’s requirement for gate operators and the total installation itself. The CPSC wanted UL to 45

A swing gate with the gate opening arm visible in the background. Photo courtesy of DASMA.

This monumental gate features a prominently displayed safety placard.

assemble another document encompassing the total system since there was nothing at that time dealing with the installation side, including placement of equipment and other factors. “I suggested at one of our last meetings before UL 325 was adopted,


that they allow us to assemble some different trade organizations and develop a standard based on needs of the installer of automated gates,” says Nichols. “During the first meeting in 1996, NOMMA found out I was on the board. They wanted me to represent

the interests of NOMMA members. At that time, a new position on the technical board was created for automation of gates, and I was placed as the head of this committee.” Nevada was the first state to adopt UL 325 in 2000; at the same time, UL 325 was complete in March 2000. As a result of an accident at the Carson City Airport, Nevada was looking at legislation to govern AGO; UL 325 was presented to them and then adopted into Nevada law. After UL 325 was complete, a small group of members from NOMMA, American Fence Association (AFA), and The Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) was organized to develop a standard that would incorporate UL 325 and the actual challenges of site conditions. They sought to produce a document as a complement to UL 325 that dealt with the safety issues involved in the installation of gates to be automated. In the fall of 2000, the group had their first meeting which consisted of the American Fence Association, DASMA, and NOMMA. For the next few years, this group of participants all met three times a year to develop a standard that later became ASTM F2200. As of May 2009, UL 325 and ASTM F2200 also became part of the International Fire Code and the International Building Code and are now being presented to the International Residential Code for adoption. After this document was complete, it was submitted to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and then adopted as ASTM F2200 after the members of this group defended the content of this document at the ASTM National Convention in Salt Lake City. The ASTM F2200 ad hoc group felt the next step was to develop a training program for gate installers and to even provide a certification program for them. A few years ago, one state looked at requiring certification and licensing of gate installers; now more states appear poised to create revenue by licensing gate operator installers. Because of that and other states looking at licensing, the ad hoc comFabricator n November/December 2009

“...These two documents

[UL325 and ASTM F2200] are the basis for the determination of liability in gate accidents.”

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mittee was pressured hard to complete the training program that could be presented to any state considering certification and licensing of gate installers, keeping the certification requirements the same from state to state with a national training and certification program already in place Another trade group, the International Door Association (IDA), joined the ad hoc group in the completion of the training program and the Institute of Door Education and Accreditation (IDEA) was voted on to distribute, administer, and test installers that want to be certified. An Advocate for NOMMA Members

“Anyone who is doing automated gates needs to understand UL 325 and ASTM F2200,” says Nichols. “Up until this year, they have in fact been voluntary standards with only Nevada requiring UL 325 for gate installation but these two documents are the basis for the determination of liability in gate accidents.” Nichols raises the importance of teaching people who don’t have all the information about UL 325 and ASTM F2200 and educating them on aspects of gate installation, but also having those in place should states start licensing. Nichols and his group wanted people from the industry writing the specifications because they are familiar with what is required. Since a lot of people work across state lines, the realization came that it would be much better for an installer to have a standard of curriculum and testing without having to figure out what each state wants and then having to deal with it independently. Eventually, the non-profit IDEA joined them. They publish the curriculum that Nichols’ group developed and they in turn sell it to those who wish to obtain certification. (See IDEA continues to meet and go over questionnaires, summaries, and responses from those who’ve taken the class and the testing. “We’re constantly trying to update and upgrade according to responses we get from other people, in addition to meeting on UL 325 and ASTM F2200 issues” says Nichols. “We try to meet at least once, if not two to three times yearly to resolve whatever issues may be faced. “We’ve found Dallas to be a good, centrally-located place for meetings, with good, easy-in and easy-out accommodations, and excellent pricing from anywhere in the country. We have people flying in from all regions Fabricator n November/December 2009

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A scene from AFA’s annual Gate Operator Installer School.

of the U.S. Though there are few Dallas NOMMA members, we still chose it because it was big enough and had enough flights for everyone.” Showing up for Class

Photo courtesy of the American Fence Association.


Automatic Gate Operator training classes may be taken in two different ways, either by self-study (where the materials can be ordered from IDEA) or there are different locations where a participant can go to be tested. Testing can also be done at most of the national conventions, including FENCETECH or NOMMA’s METALfab, starting in 2010. Some of the manufacturers and distributors of gate operating equipment will at times hold weekend seminars. If enough people are involved, they may have IDEA come in and do testing at these seminars. The AFA also has a field school just for the instruction and certification testing of gate installers. At that weeklong school, participants work with a variety of different gate operating equipment, since a lot of manufacturers donate equipment. Classroom instruction includes the same study guide used for self-study. There is an opportunity to ask questions and for hands-on training since the equipment is right there. Troubleshooting, new installations, and a variety of applications of gate installation also take place, which includes post construction and installation, gate construction and installation, phone systems, emergency access etc., and instruction in UL 325 and ASTM F2200. At the end of that weeklong class, there is the opportunity to take the certification test. But, to be certified, there is a requirement for at least some experience, including installation of several gate systems. Once that actual field requirement is met, then certification may be received. “The group felt that actual field experience is as important as the class curriculum,” says Nichols. The field school typically had two prices, one for AFA members and a higher price for non-fence association members. Nichols had always spoken out at their meetings and mentioned that all of the organizations contribFabricator n November/December 2009

uted to the creation of this document and NOMMA was nowhere near large enough to end up having their own field school. He felt any member of any of these organizations involved in the creation of this training program should be allowed to go to the fence school at the same cost as the fence association members. And, that is exactly how it is now. Any NOMMA member can attend the school and pay the same rate as an AFA member. Rapid changes in technology have meant continual updating must take place in electrical technology, electronics, and computer systems. Because of this, the organizations must also constantly update what they are doing. The class includes technology going back 10-15 years ago, as these types of systems are still running and needing repair. At the same time, the new technology must be kept up with as well. “Any of these items can change and when they do, things must be changed in the class and the materials,” adds Nichols. “It’s a continual study for me every time I see a gate, to see if it’s being complied with. To be quite honest, often it’s not. There is no real reason compliance is not being met. During the time we were working on the document now known as ASTM F2200 and after it was adopted by ASTM, members of our gate ad hoc group went to many national conventions and gave classes and explained the document. FenceTech, METALfab, ISC, and IDA were just a few of the presentations we made as well as having articles and information published in trade magazines and organizations’ publications. Our group made every effort to expose fabricators and installers to UL 325 and ASTM F2200, all of us doing this work for each of the organizations we represent on a voluntary basis. Over the many years we have worked on these issues, I have grown a great respect for all the members of our group, not only with their knowledge of the gate industry but their dedication to the work they gave to produce ASTM F2200 and the certification program.” “The people need to know that if there is an accident, regardless of whether it’s a voluntary standard or Fabricator n November/December 2009

“We’ve made it very easy to get certified. . . .

Accidents do take place with gates, some of which could have been preventable especially if the guidelines for installations had been followed.” Brent Nichols NOMMA’s representative Vehicular Automated Gate Ad Hoc Coalition

in the International Building Code, the guide that they will use is the UL 325 document and the ASTM F2200 document. The manufacturers of the gate operators who have taken the bulk of the abuse in the lawsuits will be sending out their engineers to the jobsites with those two standards, plus their installation manual, going through things point by point. If it is not done according to those standards they’re going to say the installer did not follow guidelines, increasing the liability exposure for the fabricator and installer of the gate and operating equipment, at the same time reducing

the exposure of the manufacturer of the gate operating equipment.” Even if you are a gate fabricator and do not install the gates or gate operators, you still need to comply with ASTM F2200 and UL 325 to meet those standards for the gate construction itself. Just because you didn’t automate it does not relieve you of the liability, according to Nichols. “We’ve made it very easy to get certified and get the class curriculum,” adds Nichols. “Accidents do take place with gates, some of which could have been preventable especially if the guidelines for installations had been followed.” Phone: (800) 285-3056

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More About UL 325 and ASTM F2200 Cleveland-based DASMA is a trade

association comprising of gate operator manufacturers among other door and access systems related manufacturers. They’ve been integral to the formation of the ad hoc coalition as well as keeping abreast of ongoing activities, according to Joe Hetzel, DASMA Technical Director. A number of milestones have been reached since the work

began in 1998, the year that the coalition was created. Hetzel helped with some of the administrative aspects of some of the milestones achieved. “Activities involving UL 325, ASTM F2200, and the installer program were already begun or in the planning stage at the time we got involved in the Nevada legislation,” says Hetzel. “The ad hoc group was further motivated in the wake of the law that was enacted. The first accomplishment was having UL 325 significantly

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revised to more clearly define primary and secondary entrapment protection, something the industry had worked on for several years to clarify.” ASTM F2200 relates to the construction of a gate intended to be automated. The standard intends to minimize or eliminate potential hazards due to such items as gaps, pinch points, and protrusions. “It was important for us to first develop the standard,” explains Hetzel. “Then we turned our effort toward referencing it, along with UL 325, in the applicable codes. The standards are now referenced in two model building codes and we’re attempting to get them referenced in a third code. We’ve also proposed changes to a fourth code, to note the importance of maintenance of automated gates. “There’s been a lot of activity that has taken place since 1998. The industries involved worked well together in a highly cooperative fashion to handle activities in a sequential manner towards ultimately maximizing safety and minimizing liability in the marketplace, as a primary ongoing objective.”

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referenced in two model building codes and we’re attempting to get them referenced in a third code. We’ve also proposed changes to a fourth code, to note the importance of maintenance of automated gates. Joe Hetzel DASMA Technical Director Fabricator n November/December 2009

American Fence Association Role The American Fence Association has

worked with IDA, IDEA, DASMA, and NOMMA for several years now, originally on UL standards for automated gate operators and then after those standards came to fruition, the organizations developed a curriculum and certification program which IDEA administers on behalf of each of those organizations. For years, AFA has produced field training schools in the fence industry. 2007 05 g-s co:2007 05 G-S This teaches people a variety of different installation techniques and methods for a variety of different fence materials and types. AFA also has a sales training school that teaches people consultative selling skills. The school takes place in Tulsa, OK where a partnership was created with the Tulsa Technology Center. There, they also conduct their field training school. They’re not held at the same time of the year but they do offer the schools in the same place. Each school is offered once a year. They’ve started offering the sales training school multiple times per year. But, this is taken on the road to all their different chapters all over the country. NOMMA has been somewhat involved in the process of gate operator security for some time now, according to Rick Church, AFA executive vice president. “Not only has NOMMA been involved, but NOMMA members in good standing have a real opportunity to increase their education and knowledge through attendance at the school at a reduced rate.” Beyond being involved with the development of the UL standards and a certification program for automated gate operators and installers and of the AFA school, they are working with states considering licensing gate operators. Georgia currently has draft legislation at a committee level. A Georgia hearing is soon to take place. There is hope that AFA’s board will serve as the basis of licensing, according to Church. “Rather than reinvent the wheel and put some sort of administrative burden on Georgia, we want to use this certification program as the basis for Fabricator n November/December 2009



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The American Fence Association (AFA) holds a gate operator training school each year in Tulsa, OK. NOMMA members may now participate at the AFA member price.

Photos courtesy of the American Fence Association.

the licensing,” says Church. “We think once one or two states create a program, there will also be the opportunity for those to serve as good examples to even more states. Though we don’t

think we’ll seek federal licensing, if we get a good program going in Georgia, we will likely take that to other states and show them the practicality of doing this.”

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The cattails and one branch appear to go through the glass top, but actually rest on the glass and line up with the corresponding stems beneath the glass. This makes for easy removal and the clients can use the table without the additional centerpieces.

Job Profile

Doing it smALL A small, but versatile firm creates a dining room ‘bog’ table for their distinguished clients. n

For your information


About the fabricator: Steel Welding, a NOMMA member, specializes in railings, gates, benches, sculptures, and other hand-forged work. 52

By Chris Holt Steel Welding When Steel Welding meets with a

client, attends a conference, or has a weekly meeting, all divisions are expected to attend. Fabrication, advertising, marketing, sales, design, installation, and public relations departments happily comply. In most businesses, availability of all divisions would be impossible, but not in this company. Both John Steel and I work all aspects of this small but creative company. When an opportunity arose to submit work for competition at the 2009 NOMMA conference, we were excited to enter recent commissions. We do not have thousands of square feet of industrial space, but we do have all the tools and equipment needed to get the work done. We also have the confidence to work with Award: The bog table received a 2009 silver Top Job award in the Furniture & Accessory Fabrication (Forged) category. Interesting Feature: The clients own two Labradors and their paw prints were forged into the base plates to personalize the table. Marketing Tip: “Presenting a pricey project can be made easier by being prepared for many questions that may arise.”

clients on special projects and meet their expectations. If we are found talking to ourselves, we are able to defend the one-sided conversation by saying we are conferencing with another department! Winning a silver award in the Furniture & Accessory Fabrication — Forged category was definitely a highlight. First, we needed the right opportunity, a job that would showcase our company’s strengths. Our prospective clients wanted a dining room table with a big “WOW” factor. Equally important, we needed to build the clients’ confidence in us. For all our commissions, we both meet with a prospective client and discuss the proposed project. I take notes during the initial meeting so that clients’ ideas are available when the design process begins. For instance, noticing interests, hobbies, and styles the clients have in their homes helps us with the design. Steel Welding 2063 Lovi Rd. Freedom, PA 15042-9326 Ph: (724) 774-6757 Fax: (724) 774-3209 Email: Web:

Fabricator n November/December 2009

The bog theme table we recently created was one of five designs presented to our clients. Not all of the designs were detailed, but each had a special element prepared to help the clients visualize the concept from the hand-drawn sketch. We had hoped the bog design would be their choice because it provided us with the opportunity to really show off our best work. It also complimented the vocation of the clients; they both are civil engineers and are very familiar with working with the environment. We showed samples of leaves, textures, and cattails to the customers so they could “see” an example of our work as well as handle some of the proposed elements. We believe this step is important, even though it takes a lot of preparation and time. Presenting a pricey project can be made easier by being prepared for many questions that may arise. It also assures the customers that you are exactly the firm they need for their work. We also invite all our customers to visit the shop during the transformation of their project so they can be a part of the process. Some of our clients are interested in visiting; other individuals prefer an emailed photo followed by a phone call. Got plant samples

The “Bog Table” work began with a field trip to, you guessed it … a bog! We believed it was important to examine the plant life and ground surface that we were about to create. We also took plant samples back to the shop and had photographs displayed around the work areas to keep us focused. Our first challenge was to forge two huge plates to look like swamp mud. This posed a big challenge. We decided to build a frame of “H” beams and welded the first plate onto it. We welded the 3/8” plate to the frame on all four sides because we did not want the plate to warp (like a potato chip) while being forged. It was heated underneath with a coke burning forge attached to a hydraulic jack so that the heat could be raised close to the plate. We discovered it was not enough heat, so we added a torch from the top with a rose bud tip. The plate finally came up to forging Fabricator n November/December 2009

The plants were made to accurately depict cattails, harts tongue, water lilies, and arrowheads.

temperature; next big sledges were put to work. It was difficult to “know” when the plates were formed to the desired shape because we were working upside down. A little more here, a bit pushed out more there, and voila … a bog surface … we believed! The second plate we heated with gas,

which preformed better, but still required additional heating from the top surface. We also asked a couple of friends to help with the forging process. The plate was cut loose and trimmed with a cutting torch to the desired biomorphic shape. Prior to this project, we were commissioned to design a birdbath with a tree as the support for the water dish. We were able to learn how to make a “tree” from pipe and stick welded bark. This step was fairly straightforward, keeping in mind the design that would support the 450# irregular shaped ¾ inch glass surface. We decided in the design process to intermingle a number of support points throughout the bog as cattails, tree branches, and ferns. We created the cattails (Typha latifolia) from aged pipe which provided a wonderful texture, angle iron for leaves, and ½” to ¾” round for stems. Yellow water flag (Iris pseudacorus) in the pod stage was added. Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) is a common bog plant and we included a collection of these plants in various

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stages of growth, such as emerging, full petal growth, and declining. We also added movement to the interestingly shaped leaves to give the setting character. The arrowhead leaves almost ended up in the scrap bucket. I made them exactly as they were in a bog, but they lacked personality and interest. To The clients own two large Labradors, so their footprints were forged into the “mud” base give them “life,” each leaf was represented as though a plates to personalize the table. breeze fluttered the leaves. The cattails cleaning the hardwood floor was made were placed among the fallen tree and easy because the lilies were designed to branches to fill out areas that needed swing out on each side and reposition support. The water lily (Nymphaeaceae) easily. Two Labrador retrievers also leaves were made so that they would share the home, and to add a personal suggest a water level. Maintaining and touch we suggested a dog print in the

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“mud” of the base. This was one of those questions when you leave the meeting and ask, “Just how are we going to put Princess’s paw print in the base plate?” It was probably one of the easier steps. We had John’s dog, Cliffy step into clay, and made tooling to fit the paw print. One tool was the center pad, and the other tooling was for the individual toes. It really worked well; we just could not make a mistake when we forged it into the big base plates. Two dogs, two dog prints! One of the most challenging parts of the design was the creating the centerpieces. They do not extend through the glass surface but appear to penetrate the glass top. The plan was to have the centerpiece plants match perfectly with the plant below the surface. We were able to accomplish this task without using a base plate for the centerpiece. The leaves are made to intersect and touch such that the centerpieces are free standing and can be removed from the table. We made candlesticks from aged pipe to suggest cattails. The eight candlesticks can be placed at will. The customers told us in an early meeting that they often use their dining room for buffet serving. This added option gave the clients versatility and control over their table. The finish for the base was several coats of clear coat that gave a soft luster to the mild steel. Shiny grinding areas were dulled with a thin black wash. To ensure the table was level, we used a laser level to correctly attain the correct height on the 16 touch points. The installation was easy. The clients also have a collection of whimsical cloisonné frogs, lizards, and reptiles that they place in their bog. Our financial department has no problems because we are able to build close relationships with our clients, so progress payments are not an issue. We are also able to track the progress of all departments by a conversation or a look in a mirror. We at Steel Welding found this project to be challenging because we wanted it to depict a bog setting but also be graceful and calming. We were very pleased with the results. Typha latifolia and aged iron pipe never looked so good! Fabricator n November/December 2009


Stairway to the crown Thanks to an elaborate rail system crafted by SRS, visitors can once again climb to the observation deck in the Statue of Liberty. n

By Dan Bellware and Rich Blatman SRS Inc. The Statue of Liberty, and all of Liberty

The double helix stairs as seen from the crown.

For your information


About SRS: SRS, a NOMMA member, is a custom fabricator that specializes in high-end applications, using stainless steel, brass/bronze, aluminum, architectural steel, and glass. The company fabricates conventional stairs as well as curved glass rails. Interesting Feature: The job required a variety of railing types, including 1-line, 2-line guard rail, cables, wire mesh, and even glass. A side mounted handrail was required in some areas as well.

Fabricator n November/December 2009

A Challenge: The fabricator was not allowed to modify the statue in any way, which meant no welding or drilling into the framework. Instead, the fabricator had to create special clamps, including modified beam clamps. SRS Inc. P.O. Box 4277 Metuchen, NJ 08840-4277 Ph: (732) 548-6630 Fax: (732) 548-6885 E-mail: Web:

Island, was closed to the public after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In 2004, SRS Inc. was part of the team that renovated the seven-story pedestal to allow limited public access. As a symbol of America welcoming people to the United States, the statue has special meaning to SRS. During the past few years, eight of our employees have become naturalized citizens and we were especially proud and pleased to be part of the renovation project for this majestic monument. After the renovations in 2004, the public was still not allowed to ascend the steep helical stairs to the crown. Early in 2009, we began to hear rumors that the Obama Administration intended to open the Statue all the way up to the crown, but we were not aware of the role we were to play in the renovation required. Early in May, we received a call from Kalimex Inc. We had never worked with them before, but they wanted to come see us on an 55

urgent matter. The next morning they came to our offices and insisted that we sign a non-disclosure agreement before revealing the project they wanted to discuss. That was how we learned of the renovation plans to allow access to the crown of the statue by July 4th of 2009, less than two months away. Kalimex wanted us to fabricate and install all the new railing. The scope required replacement of about 500 lineal feet of railing on the double helix stairs and platforms from the 7P level (top of the pedestal) up to the crown (another ten flights for each of the two entwined stairs). Many types of railing were required to meet the many conditions. Most would be helical. Some railing was 1-line; much was 2-line guardrail with a side mounted handrail. There also was railing with pickets, cables, and wire mesh. In addition, there were some ¾ in. glass panels at platforms. All metal components had to be Type 316L stainless steel with a mirror finish. As the scope of work became evident, we were skeptical as to whether we (or anyone) could complete the task in time for the Statue to reopen on schedule. Unbeknownst to us at that time, Kalimex has a reputation with several Government agencies for getting projects done on time, no excuses, period. They assured us it could and would be done.

Looking up the helical stairs from the 7 P level.

Purchasing Materials


Obtaining accurate field measurements was nearly an impossible task. The double helix stairs wrap around an 18-inch column (which delivers HVAC to the upper reaches of the Statue). The stairs are only 20 inches wide, for an outside radius of 29 inches. This allows a maximum sight line for measuring, of less than a five foot horizontal distance. Risers are about 9-1/4 inches. Typical treads are 10-1/2 in. deep at the outside radius and only 3-1/4 in. at the column. As well as measuring, one can imagine the difficulty in carrying railing, tools, and 56

a consistent height above the nosings. We also discovered that in a high wind the Statue sways, or “dances”, making it difficult to get accurate measurements from a swaying laser beam. Creative designing was required in those situations where attachments had to be made directly to the original structure. We were prohibited from altering in any way the venerable Eiffel structure, including welding or drilling bolt holes. In these instances we custom designed clamps, sometimes using modified beam clamps to do the job. The architectural drawings did not show a great amount of detail. Fortunately, we had a commitment from the architects and the engineers for a 48-hour turn around on any requests for concept changes. Because of the fast and furious pace of the project, we had our detailers measuring and producing detail shop drawings based on concept understanding. We began fabricating and erecting as fast as possible. Formal approval drawings had to wait!

Picket railing at the crown. The “down” stair is in the foreground; the “up” stair is in the background.

supplies to the upper levels. To the best extent possible, measuring was done with templates, laser, and old fashioned plumb bob and tape measure. Much to our consternation, we soon realized that the stairs (built in 1884) had neither a constant radius nor slope. Further, the “skirt” that makes up the outside radius is not

In order to comply with the government requirements, all materials had to be produced in the United States of America. Every bolt, nut, piece of tubing, or glass panel had to have a paper trail proving it came from an American source. Furthermore, the engineer insisted on tests to verify that the yield strength of stainless tubing be 60,000 psi minimum. Fortunately, Kalimex had already contacted a tube mill, ASTI in North Carolina, who had Type 316L stainless tubing that met the requirements. Some already had a No. 8 mirror finish. Kalimex achieved an overnight delivery by dispatching their own truck to make the run to North Carolina and back. Other runs would be made later, but for now, this gave us enough material to get started on fabrication. Purchasing small items sometimes presented even greater problems. A variety of custom designed glass clips Fabricator n November/December 2009

were required. Again, Kalimex came through by finding a supplier who made them over a weekend. Fabrication

Using field measurements and shop sketches, the shop erected steel templates to duplicate the curvature and elevation needed for each helical rail. Much of the guardrail was two-lines of 2-in. OD plus a 1-1/2-in. OD off-set handrail. Each rail was rolled to the approximate helix,

tors and polishers to our shop to work under our supervision. It is amazing what can be accomplished with good cooperation. Installation

Because this was for the U. S. Government, our contract required us to pay prevailing wages (equivalent to union wages). And, because SRS Inc. maintains a good relationship with Local 580 Iron Workers, we wanted to use union personnel to the greatest

extent possible. At the same time we realized it would be necessary in some instances to have our non-union shop fabricators and finishers at the job site. Rich explained the situation to the union people at the job site, and much to their credit, they entered into a spirit of cooperation, and whenever necessary, worked alongside nonunion personnel. As the Statue of Liberty is on an island, all personnel and materials had to be brought by boat. Workers

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checked against the template, and then tweaked by rolling again until it approximated the desired measurements. In some instances, we knew the field measurements were questionable, so the railing section would be tack welded and sent to the field for verification before it was completely welded and repolished. As fabrication progressed, our shop was working a 12-hour shift, but it appeared that we simply didn’t have the manpower to complete on time. Kalimex suggested we send some of the work to outside vendors, but we felt this would cause more confusion and make supervision more difficult. Instead, they found two other companies who were willing to send fabricaFabricator n November/December 2009



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arriving from New York took the boat from Battery Park. From New Jersey we drove across the “temporary” bridge to Ellis Island and took the boat from there. If transportation was needed during off hours, arrangements could sometimes be made by giving the Park Service 24-hour notice. Transporting materials from shop to field was complicated. It required loading onto a truck, driving to Jersey City and across the bridge to Ellis Island, loading onto a boat, unloading at Liberty Island, walking the material a few hundred yards to the Statue, carrying it

The rolling machine was raised and tilted to prevent the helical work piece from striking the floor. Approximately 80 lengths of tubing were rolled to a helix.

Jigs were built to duplicate the curvature and elevation at each location. The railing sections were fit up and tack welded on the jig.

to the 2P level and loading it onto an elevator that took it to the 5P level, then unloading and carrying it to 7P which is the top of the pedestal. Then the difficult part began — carrying it up the narrow, steep, helical stair, which could be as much as nine more flights. Whenever a section of railing didn’t fit properly, it had to either be reworked in the field (made extremely difficult because of the confined space), or go through the arduous task of returning it to the shop. This meant reversing the transportation process just described. In the early stages, we employed only one shift; but, towards the end we had two 11-hour shifts at the statue. Throughout the project, the staff and employees along with many cooperating partners and colleagues worked long and hard hours to complete the task we all felt honored to be trusted with. SRS always prides itself on delivering exceptional quality, and this project gave all of us a great reward in feeling very proud to have had a part in restoring one of America’s greatest symbols of international friendship. We at SRS have the satisfaction of knowing we not only did a great job, but we finished on time. This historic symbol of American freedom is once again available to the public. 58

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Biz Side

Do you need a business manager? How do you hire one? A great craftsperson is not necessarily a great businessperson. If this is true for you, consider hiring a professional business manager. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have more time to focus on what you do best â&#x20AC;&#x201D; creating outstanding metal products. n

By Chelsie Butler

The goal of this article is to offer ideas on:

As all metal fabrication business

owners know, there are countless responsibilities that come with the job. Part of it involves marketing the shop and its strengths in order to bid for the best projects. Next is the project design work and then carrying out the actual metal work. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the bills need to be paid.

how a decision to hire a business manager can be beneficial, n

where to look for a business manager, n

what qualities to look for, n


This can all be incredibly overwhelming if the owner is the only one in charge of performing all of these duties, which can also include customer service, insurance claims, payroll, and shop supervision. In a situation such as this, hiring a business manager to help out on the tasks you either do not have time to do, or simply donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like to do, could be a

For your information


Fabricator n November/December 2009

how to build up trust with that person, and n


Challenge: When you started your business, you wanted to create ornamental metalwork, not spend endless hours handling government and other paperwork. Solution: Consider bringing in an out-

other solutions.

side professional with business management skills. He or she does not necessarily need to be an expert in metalworking. About the author: Chelsie Butler is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. 59

“I was better at bidding

for jobs, designing, and accounting, and Tim was better at the technical aspects — deciding how we were going to perform projects and maintaining the tools in the shop, Rachel Miller Spirit Ironworks Bayport, NY

strong asset to you and your shop. The goal of this article is to offer ideas on: n how this decision can be beneficial, n where to look for a business manager, n what qualities to look for, n how to build up trust with that

person, and n alternative solutions. Why hire a business manager?

In a nutshell, having someone else on your team to take on some of the day-to-day responsibilities can free up a great deal of your time so you can do what you really enjoy, such as work-

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ing in the shop on ornamental work that can take up a significant amount of time. “A business manager can work the nine-to-five schedule, making sure all of the paperwork and accounting is getting done,” said Rob Rolves of Foreman Fabricators in St. Louis, “which means the owner has the freedom of spending 16 hours in the shop without being bothered if that is what he/she chooses to do.” Rolves’ responsibilities include making sure the bills are paid, invoices are entered, and customers’ feedback is being handled. The owner is then able to focus more on the big picture, which can include company marketing and sales efforts. A metal fabrication shop often opens as a small, one-person business, but as that business grows, so does the need for more help. Breck Nelson of Kelley Ornamental Iron in Peoria, IL, brought on a business manager/ CPA nine years ago when he was looking to consolidate his three locations into one. “I needed to get all of the books and payroll in order, while at the same time bidding and running projects, and it was too much for me,” said Nelson. “Our business has grown and become profitable by me and my business manager taking responsibility for the areas we understood and relying on the other for the areas we did not. I would not be in this business today if I had not made this decision.” Nelson focuses on the sales, installation and design aspects of the business, and Joel Hoerr, his business manager, deals with the accounting, human resources, insurance, scheduling, and outsourcing for such things as powder coating. In the case of Rachel and Tim Miller, a brother-sister team for Spirit Iron works in Bayport, N.Y., neither had a specific role when the shop opened, but when Rachel became pregnant along the way, and there were some tasks that were inappropriate for her to perform, they came to realize that they actually each had a knack for different things. “I was better at bidding for jobs, designing, and accounting, and Tim Fabricator n November/December 2009

“Our business has

grown . . . by me and my business manager taking responsibility for the areas we understood and relying on the other for the areas we did not.” Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron Peoria, IL

was better at the technical aspects — deciding how we were going to perform projects and maintaining the tools in the shop,” said Miller. “Our business has grown by 20 percent this year, and it is because I have had the time to go out and get more of the kinds of jobs we want and give more attention to our clients.” Where to look and establishing trust

Trade publications and websites catering to the metal fabrication industry are obvious choices when it comes to hiring someone for your business, and educational facilities are smart places to start, especially if there are colleges and/or business schools in the area. “We have an agreement with our local welding school where we give them materials to use for classes, and in return, they send us their recommendations for potential shop workers,” said Rolves. “This can also be done when looking for a business manager.” An alternative is finding someone you already know or someone who was recommended by someone else you trust, such as a colleague. Scott Colson of Iron Innovations in Clinton, MS found his right-hand comptroller through the woman who had filled his spot previously. He had owned a medical billing business, was semi-retired, and was looking for work to keep him busy. Rolves started out part-time with Foreman Fabricators 19 years ago Fabricator n November/December 2009

while he was going to engineering school and ended up learning the business extensively and liking it so much that he was hired to stay on full-time. No matter from where or whom your potential candidate has been recommended, there is still the matter of establishing a sound level of trust since that person may be in charge of highly important items, such as bookkeeping and insurance claims, that can affect the bottom line. One suggestion is to start the candidate out gradually — giving him/ her a little bit of responsibility up front until he/she has proven to be able to do the job well. Another method of establishing trust is to come up with a checks-andbalances system that enables you, as the owner, to keep an eye on things on a regular basis. An example would be keeping track of the ratio of accounts receivable to accounts payable. “I eased my comptroller into the daily tasks, and we regularly meet a few times a week when money is coming in to decide what we need to pay,” said Colson. “Now he has full reign of all of my accounts, and I would hate to think of running this place without him.” There are also situations where trust can establish itself all on its own. “Joel came on board originally for six months to help us get things under control financially, and in the middle of his employment, we had a fire in the main facility that was a total loss,” said Nelson.

“He could have bailed on me at any time during that crisis, but he didn’t, so I offered him a partnership, and he has been here for seven years.” Alternative solutions

While it is obvious that having a business manager would be an asset to almost any metal fabrication shop, we know all too well the state of the economy, and some of the smaller



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“The downside is that

enough work out there to hire help, and it is all I can do to stay busy enough and pay the bills myself.”

there is not enough work out there to hire help, and it is all I can do to stay busy enough and pay the bills myself.”

A few hours a week

Randy Webster Webster Manufacturing Co. Macon, GA

shops may not be able to afford to hire anyone else. “With a small shop, it is nice that I can set my own schedule and do not

have to worry about keeping track of employees,” said Randy Webster of Webster Manufacturing Co. in Macon, GA “The downside is that there is not

Aside from hiring a full-on staff member, there are other ways to get the extra work done and still maintain ample projects. Miller suggests spending two hours a few times a week on a part of the business on which you do not normally focus or hiring another person in the shop so the owner can dedicate more time on such tasks as getting new clients and ordering materials on time. Pricing properly

Rolves says if work is priced correctly, there may be enough left over to pay an administrative staff member to perform some of the duties. In the end, it really comes down to figuring out what your time is worth. If you are spending 80+ hours in the office, think of how much more time you could spend on the mechanics of the business if you had the extra help. “Work is supposed to be only a part of my life, but there was a time when I was taking home all kinds of stress to my family and working crazy hours,” said Nelson. “My choices were to shrink down my shop or continue on the path to growth instead.” Work well done

Instead of taking whatever projects are out there just to make a dime, with a business manager, an owner can spend more time focusing on the work he/she really wants, and the shop’s reputation will improve when a job is done well and on time. Miller says it best, “In a nutshell, a good person in the office and an eye for detail make a huge difference in the production end of things.” 62

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Biz Side

How to survive and grow in any economy Slow business times are an opportunity to re-examine your expense structure and make needed cuts n

By William J. Lynott In the metal fabricating business,

tough times come and go. Whatever the state of today’s economy, whether we are still in the grip of a recession or not, it isn’t going to last forever. Every shop experiences times when business is slow and the phone isn’t ringing often enough. When things are tight, it may seem natural to pull in your horns take shelter until the storm passes but that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. Even in lean times, there are plenty of clients out there. That’s why you need to sharpen your management efforts while your competitors are slacking off. When the smoke clears, you’ll be stronger and the competition will be wondering where they went wrong. Many businesses emerge stronger than ever as the result of management techniques that owners and managers put to use while things were tight. The


For your information The goal: Cutting expenses is only half the solution. The current business downturn provides an opportunity for fine-tuning your marketing.

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Tips: Some good cost-saving measures might be right under your nose. For instance, can you replace your postage or fax machine for a web-based service? About the author: Mr. Lynott is a long-time business writer for Fabricator. He has a background in management, marketing, and finance. He is the author of over 900 published articles, and has written three books.


most obvious of these is expense control. Chances are, you’ve already taken a line-by-line look at expenses, looking for costs that can be reduced or eliminated. Even if you run a tight ship, there are probably ways to significantly reduce operating costs. At NOMMA headquarters, for example, elimination of the expensive postage machine in favor of buying and printing postage at www. resulted in a significant cost savings. As a busy shop owner, you rely on modern technology to keep you in touch. With your cell phone, pager, broadband internet access, and regular telephone service, you’re never far from anyone you want to reach (or anyone who wants to reach you). Unfortunately, you’re probably paying a lot more than you realize for all that techno-communication. Contact your

primary provider to see what bundled plans are available in your area. In addition to saving you money, dealing with one company will greatly simplify your bill-paying procedures. These and other cost saving steps are usually the first things that come to mind during a business slowdown, and rightfully so. But surviving during tough times calls for more than taking obvious steps to reduce operating costs. Here are seven other battleproven survival techniques that can help to strengthen your business in any economy:

Surviving during

tough times calls for more than taking obvious steps to reduce operating costs.


Adopt a Marketing Mentality


Determine That You Will Never Lose a Client to a Competitor

If customer satisfaction is the mashed potatoes, marketing is the gravy. But, keep in mind, marketing involves far more than an ad in the Yellow Pages and passing out your business cards. Marketing is a complex challenge, all the more so in a business operating in a specialized niche such as yours. If you are to achieve optimum success in marketing your business, you must be willing to spend time studying, reading, and analyzing your market and your competition, whether your business is residential, commercial, or both. Keeping your business healthy and profitable requires an ongoing marketing program. There is no other way. Competitive prices alone won’t do it; dependability alone won’t do it. Marketing embraces all facets of your operation. To be an effective marketer, you must nurture and promote your business image, sell yourself as well as your business, and concentrate on making your services the best choice for discriminating clients.

Numerous studies over the years have shown that, on average, it costs five times as much for a business to find a new customer than to keep an old one. Focus on the significance of that statement; it is one of the most 64

Fabricator n November/December 2009

powerful concepts in the world of business. With competitors standing ready and anxious to snatch away your clients and prospective clients, and your awareness of the cost of replacing a lost client with a new one, it should be easy for you to understand the importance of never giving even one client a reason to stray. Once a client uses your services for the first time, you’ve done the hard part. Now, your job is to instill the notion that doing business with you will always be a satisfying experience. You and your employees must never lose sight of the fact that developing a new customer is a costly and difficult job. Once a stranger becomes your customer, a major part of your overall marketing program must center on ways to make sure that he or she never has reason to leave you for a competitor.

STEP Set Your Business Apart America’s most successful 3

entrepreneurs, gigantic or tiny, are those who have carefully developed an identity all their own. Your job is to evaluate your strengths and then combine them to form a unique identity an identifiable image for you and your shop. Perhaps you’ve been in business longer than your nearest competitors; or maybe you have a reputation for especially skillful workmanship at competitive prices. Whatever your marketable strengths, you should write them all down and study them. Then determine how to separate yourself from your competitors and how to motivate potential clients to seek you out, and make existing clients feel fortunate to have discovered you.

It should be easy

to understand the importance of never giving even one client a reason to stray. Some of the most successful companies in the world have been built on a foundation that revolves around the principle that client complaints provide a valuable opportunity to build the business. When L.L. Bean, founder of one of the world’s most successful catalog order firms, was starting out, he suf­fered what could have been a disastrous setback. Shortly after he began shipping his first waterproof, hand-made boots, complaints that the boots leaked started coming in from clients. Determined to fulfill his promise of client satisfaction, Bean returned the full purchase price to every client. Then, he set out to correct the flaw in the boot’s design. That was the beginning of the client loyalty that helped to make L.L. Bean what it is today. Sometimes, satisfying a client’s complaint calls for measures that you may feel are unreasonable. When that happens, think of the cost in time and money as an investment in your future. Once you’ve sold yourself and your employees on why you are the

Fabricator n November/December 2009


Make Client Satisfaction Your Hallmark


Treat the telephone as an important business tool.

Client satisfaction is the most powerful advertising and marketing medium available to you. Nothing will build your business faster than clients bragging to their friends about you, and nothing will eat away at your business more relentlessly than unhappy clients complaining about you on the golf course or at a Rotary meeting. Yes, it can take money and time to resolve a complaint, and it can be especially trying when you feel that the complaint is not justified. However, it’s important to remember that the dollars you spend resolving a complaint are marketing dollars arguably the most effective marketing dollars that you can spend.

Your clients’ experience with your business begins the moment that you or your employee answers the phone. Everyone who answers the phone must be trained to understand the importance of treating every caller with courtesy and respect. Answer the

Anvils Hammers

STEP Go the Extra Mile Never forget that a complaint 4

from a client can easily be turned into a valuable asset. Some years ago, a major retail marketing study revealed that clients whose complaints were satisfactorily resolved became better clients of the company than they were before the incident that triggered the complaint.

best choice for clients who require the utmost in dependability and know how, you must focus your marketing efforts on ways to promote this image to both clients and prospects.


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Join us for METALfab 2010 Tulsa, OK March 3–6, 2010 The world’s largest ornamental iron education expo and exchange

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phone promptly. Never allow it to ring more than two or three times, and identify yourself by name in a cheery voice. If your calls are usually answered by an answering machine, the voice heard by the caller must be friendly and professional. If your voice doesn’t fit that requirement, consider asking someone else to make the recording. Most importantly: Always, always respond to every phone message. Today’s clients are frustrated enough by the impersonal nature of voice messages. Don’t force a caller to wait for a call that never comes. That’s certainly a way to permanently alienate a client or prospect.


Clamp Down on Those Accounts Receivables

Your accounts receivable (A/R) system must be capable of telling you whether any accounts are overdue by 60 days or more. If that comes to 10 per­cent or more of your total A/R, you need a more aggressive collection policy. Never delay sending out your invoices. Every day that you fail to process invoices is a day that someone else has the use of your money. The more casual you allow yourself to become when collecting the money

Always, always

respond to every phone message. Today’s clients are frustrated enough by the impersonal nature of voice messages. owed to you, the more casual your clients will become about paying you. To some shop owners, a tight economy means going into hibernation. To others, it’s a time to n increase client loyalty, n solidify market position, and n attract new clients. Following these operating tips will help you to turn tough times into good times.

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

Join NOMMA today! Own or Manage an Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal Fab Shop? Then NOMMA is the organization for you!

Tap into a goldmine of information by becoming a NOMMA member. Get quick access to information and resources by joining NOMMA. We offer educational tools, discounts, networking opportunities, and more... O&MM Fabricator Magazine NOMMA’s glossy magazine offers shop techniques, job profiles, business articles, and more.

Member Discounts Pay lower rates for our educational materials, sales aids, training DVDs, continuing education classes, and annual METALfab convention.

Members only Website Download technical bulletins and access information on ADA, building codes, driveway gates, etc.

Professional Resources Receive TechNotes, our bimonthly technical bulletin and Fabricator’s Journal, our members only “how to” publication.

Technical Support Get answers to your questions by posting them on the ListServ or contacting our staff.

Best of all, a NOMMA membership is only $425* per year! That’s less than $1.16 a day for one of the smartest choices you’ll ever make.

NOMMA & NEF Provide First-Class Education For the Industry LEFT: The NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) provides professional education sessions during our annual METALfab convention and trade show. TOP RIGHT: NEF Continuing Education programs are regularly held in the fall and prior to METALfab. RIGHT: A highlight of METALfab is the shop tours, which typically feature various mini demos.

Other Member Benefits: Awards Contest, Insurance Program, Chapter Membership✝, Member Locator, Introductory Package, and MORE ...

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253 Call 888-516-8585, ext. 101 or visit *For fabricator membership. Memberships are also available for suppliers.✝Chapter membership is only available in regions serviced by a chapter.

NOMMA Education Foundation In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

A note from the chair

NEF to Sponsor Education Classes to Local Chapters With the current economy, the

enrollment for NEF’s continuing education classes is down.  It is understandable that the cost to an individual or Roger Carlsen is chair of company, the NOMMA Education including fees, Foundation travel, time off, and other expenses, makes it difficult for a number of individuals to come to a central location.  Instead, the NEF Trustees and Program Director have decided to offer a class for chapters at a nearby location.  The choice of the class would be up to the local chapter and

would be funded in large part by NEF, there are, of course, some limitations.  A number of members in the northwest part of the country have indicated that they are interested in forming a new chapter and NEF is working with them to make this happen. If you know of a group of NOMMA members that would possibly like to start a chapter, contact me for more information. As you can see in other parts of the Fabricator, the upcoming METALfab 2010 in Tulsa will be a bit more compact but still very full of educational sessions and opportunities.  Check out the NOMMA website and the convention guide included with this magazine for more details.  As many of you know, the auction

Meet Trustee James Minter Jr. James Minter Jr. of Brookhaven, MS serves as a NEF Trustee and as NOMMA’s Vice President/Treasurer. He is the president of Imagine Ironworks and B & O Machine & Welding Co., with 19 employees between the two companies. “I began in the metalworking business nearly 30 years ago, working for my father,” says Minter, “and purchased the business from him in 1998.” Although not a native of Mississippi, he is glad to make his home in Brookhaven, where he married his wife Sue, and watched the birth of his son Walker (now age 17). He has deep roots in the community, serving as president of the Lions Club, working behind the scenes and onstage in many productions for the Brookhaven Little Theatre, and as a dedicated member of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. After joining NOMMA in 2002, he heeded then NOMMA President Mike Boyler’s call to get involved in the work of the Association. In 2004, he accepted the opportunity to join the NEF Board of Trustees, and eventually rose to Chairman of that Board. In 2007, he was elected to the NOMMA Board of Directors as a Fabricator Director. James has been an active participant in METALfab conventions as a presenter, and is the coordinator for the video shop tours. He is the immediate past president of the Gulf Coast NOMMA Network, a NOMMA networking group that 68

is one of the primary fundraisers for the NOMMA Education Foundation.  The auction is being planned to be bigger and better than ever.  NEF has created a new volunteer position of Auction Chair and we are extremely fortunate to have Heidi Bischman of the Wagner Companies to fill this position.  Heidi will be keeping us up to date on the latest auction news.  In future issues, I will introduce the NEF Trustees and give a little background information on each of them.  I hope that with this introduction you will feel at ease with each of us and come forward with ideas and suggestions as to how NEF can serve our membership better.  This issue I would like to introduce James Minter!

serves the Gulf states. “When Mike told me that I would get far more out of my involvement in NOMMA than I would ever put in, I couldn’t see how that could happen – but he was right,” says Minter, “Many of our company’s successes have their roots in something that was either picked up at METALfab, or from a conversation or meeting with other James Minter Jr. NOMMA members.” At METALfab, Minter is known for giving out candy bars to those that show him the NOMMA logo on their business cards. “I want people outside NOMMA to recognize our members as the metalworking experts that we are. Wouldn’t it be great if architects and builders started to seek out NOMMA members for their projects? We need to ‘sell’ NOMMA to them, and one way to do so is to proudly and visibly display that logo – be it on business cards, stationery, even vehicles.” When not doing volunteer work, Minter collects antique Brookhaven postcards and searches for late twentieth century French lithographs and serigraphs. He enjoys living and working in a small Southern town, and is amazed at the impact his family and business have had in Brookhaven and Mississippi. Fabricator n November/December 2009

Call for Auction Items

Support NEF with a donation to the Live/Silent Auctions at METALfab 2010 in Tulsa, OK Dear Fabricator Readers: The NEF Auction has become one of the most anticipated events held each year at the METALfab Convention and Trade Show. Since its inception, this memorable, fun-filled event has raised more than $100,000 dollars to support the educational and research work of the NOMMA Education Foundation. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution for our Live and Silent Auctions to be held on Friday, March 5, 2010 in Tulsa, OK. The Auction Committee is requesting donations of auction items which may include: Metal sculpture, a garden gate, hand-forged furniture, books, artwork, or antiques; non-metal items such as tools, gift baskets, gift certificates/ coupons, clothing, food/wine, presentation drawings, the use of a condo at the beach, or airline tickets; specialized services to create a custom, one-of-a-kind item for the winning bidder. Or, be creative â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the skyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the limit! I challenge the NOMMA Chapters to follow the lead of the Upper Midwest Chapter and schedule a special work day to create at least one handcrafted item. We anticipate hundreds of fabricators, suppliers, and guests will attend the METALfab 2010 Theme Dinner to view and bid on your auction donation. Your name and business will receive proper recognition before, during, and after the auction. With your help, we will have another successful auction! Every donated item will help the foundation to provide quality education for the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry through continuing education programs, video productions, educational publications, as well as supporting special projects important to the industry. If you wish to contribute an item(s) for this event, please complete the auction donation form available at For questions, call the NOMMA office at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. Thank you for your help with the NEF Auction 2010!!


Heidi Bischmann NEF Board of Trustees, Auction Chair

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Attention Chapters! Want to view some of the video shop tours from past METALfab conventions? These video shop tours can make a great chapter program. For more information, contact NEF trustee James Minter Jr. (601-833-3000; 69


Nationwide Supplier Members A Cut Above Distributing (800) 444-2999 Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (866) 252-4628 Alku Group of Companies (800) 465-7143 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858 Allied Tube & Conduit (800) 882-5543 All-O-Matic (818) 678-1790 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (800) 527-1318 American Punch Co. (800) 243-1492 Ameristar Fence Products (888) 333-3422 Anyang USA (940) 627-4529 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444 Architectural Metal Sales (925) 216-1004 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Banker Wire (800) 523-6772 Barnett Bates Corp. (800) 541-3912 Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766 BFT U.S. Inc. (877) 995-8155 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293 Builders Fence Co. Inc. (800) 767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926 The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961 Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948 Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 Century Group Inc (800) 527-5232 70

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402 CML USA Inc. (563) 391-7700 Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. (866) 464-4766 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. (800) 716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (718) 324-6871 DAC Industries Inc. (800) 888-9768 Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493 Robert J. Donaldson Co. (856) 629-2737 Downey Glass Industries (954) 972-0026 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233 EURO-FER SPA (011) 39-044-544-0033 FabCad Inc. (866) 427-2454 Feeney Architectural Products, CableRailâ&#x201E;˘ (800) 888-2418 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (800) 663-6356 Gerhard Glaser GmbH & Co. (011) 49-607-893-7137 Glasswerks LA Inc. (800) 350-4527 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549 GTO Inc. (800) 543-4283 Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC (800) 346-4296 Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700

Hendrick Mfg., Perforated Metals Div. (800) 225-7373 Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. (800) 242-9872 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (800) 371-4404 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101 The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427 ITW Ransburg (800) 233-3366 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 Laser Precision Cutting (800) 514-8065 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144 Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (800) 221-5579 Locinox USA (877) 562-4669 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510 McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 NC Tool Co. (800) 446-6498 New Metals Inc. (888) 639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. (800) 321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. (866) 985-9885 P & J Mfg. Co. (419) 227-8742 Paxton & Thau Artistic Supply (866) 629-2790 Fabricator n November/December 2009

Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796 ProCounsel (866) 289-7833 Q-Railing USA Co. (714) 259-1372 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (800) 841-8457 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (800) 745-4107 Scotchman Industries Inc. (800) 843-8844 SECO South (888) 535-SECO Shaped Steel Inc. (816) 781-5717 Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418 Stair Service Inc. (800) 478-2477 Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245 Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612 Suhner Industrial Products Inc. (706) 235-8046 Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400 Taco Metals (800) 743-3803 Texas Metal Industries (800) 222-6033 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (800) 392-3655 Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Welcome New Members! We are pleased to introduce our newest members. We encourage our new member firms to “jump in and get involved!” New NOMMA Members as of October 30, 2009. * Asterisk denotes returning member.

Advanced Welding & Design Inc.* Woburn, MA John Joseph Canney, Jr. Fabricator

Barnett Aldon Ironworks Inc.* Albuquerque, NM Don Best Fabricator

Harvard, IL Michael Migala Fabricator

Potter Art Metal Studios Inc.*

Downey Glass Industries Pompano Beach, FL Rina Downey Nationwide Supplier

Dallas, TX Richard J. Potter Fabricator

Rod Iron Rod Inc.* Odessa, TX Rod Lambirth Fabricator

Steve Fontanini Blacksmithing* Jackson, WY Steve Fontanini Fabricator

Shaped Steel Inc.

Heritage Cast Iron USA

Melrose Park, IL Robert Cooke Nationwide Supplier

Migala Metal Designs*

Huntington, WV Carrie Wallace Fabricator

Chatsworth, CA Shaia Schuchmacher Fabricator

Locinox USA

Hicksville, NY Raymond O’Leary, Jr. Fabricator

Mountain State Metal Works*

Custom Design Iron Works Inc.*

Tulsa, OK Doug Bracken Nationwide Supplier

Mariah Metal Products*

Liberty, MO Robert D. Evans Nationwide Supplier

Vail Mfg.*

Avon, CO Barry Kroschel Fabricator

Vincentown Ironworks Vincentown, NJ Todd Jordan Fabricator

Not a member? Why not join your 51-year-old trade association? We provide a variety of programs and services to help your business succeed! For more information, visit or call (888) 516-8585.

Chapter Resources Attention chapter leaders: Need ideas for a future program? Check out our new resource area on the NOMMA website. Receive information on NEFERP and the loaner programs for Top Job slides and shop tour videos. For info, visit the “Chapters” section of NOMMA’s website. Web:


What’s Hot? n Biz Briefs News items from the American Subcontractors Association (ASA):

“Harmonized” Hazard Communication Standard Would Require Training or Re-Training Within Two Years

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published its plan for aligning U.S. hazard communication standards with international standards for communicating chemical-related hazards. Under OSHA’s plan, construction firms would be required to train or re-train employees on new labels (including new symbols and pictograms) and data sheets within two years of the publication of a final rule. This is due to extensive changes in hazard classification, labeling, and safety data for flammable, explosive, oxidizing, irritant, corrosive, pressurized, carcinogenic, and toxic substances. Seeking to Close Tax Gap, IRS Launches 6,000 Audits The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans to start auditing 6,000 companies (2,000 companies each year for the next three years) of different sizes as part of its National Research Program to test Employment Tax Compliance. Companies audited will be chosen at random and will come from different sectors of the economy. The audits will focus on five employment tax compliance areas: officer compensation, nonfilers, worker classification, reimbursed expenses, and fringe benefits.


Industry News & More

Online Tools to Help Find and File Required Reports for Stimulus Projects Contractors looking to bid on federal stimulus projects or already working on stimulus projects and are subject to reporting requirements can find help at www. The website allows users to find stimulus projects by congressional district, state or ZIP code. Visitors to the site can use its mapping application to find stimulus projects in their local communities and other information. Get Recognized for Ethical Business Practices — Apply for the Excellence in Ethics Certificate by Dec. 11

If your company has developed and implemented an ethics policy and training program, get recognized for “doing the right thing” with an Excellence in Ethics Certificate from ASA. Contact: ASA, Ph: (703) 684-3450; Web: www.asaonline. com. McGraw-Hill Construction Report Examines the ‘Business Value of BIM’ McGraw-Hill Construction released “The Business Value of BIM: Getting Building Information Modeling to the Bottom Line.” The report examines the growing adoption of BIM, how experienced users are leveraging their BIM capabilities to win new work, and where BIM adoption is growing fastest in the United States. The report also discusses how BIM is impacting architects, owners, engineers, contractors, and suppliers. First Niagara Risk Management Provides Insurance and Surety Solutions Construction subcontractors know that every project carries risks. First Niagara Risk Management’s construction specialists are assisting with insurance and risk management solutions, including workers’ compensation insurance and self-insured and captive insurance programs.

Literature & Media Tool and equipment website now available in Spanish

CS Unitec CS Unitec has announced that their website is now available in Spanish. Like CS Unitec’s original website in English, the Spanish version covers their line of pneumatic, hydraulic, and electric power tools for construction and industry. The Spanish-language website may be accessed through the homepage of CS Unitec’s English-language website. Contact: CS Unitec, Inc., Ph: (800) 700-5919; Web: www. LEED sample exam now available

Successfully prepare yourself for the LEED new construction exam with a newly released reference guide from Professional Publications Inc. The 39-page booklet contains 80 questions that mentally prepare you for the pressure of working under timed conditions. In addition to new construction, there is info on major renovations. For more info, visit the Professional Publications website: www.ppi2pass. Fabricator n November/December 2009

What’s Hot? n ASAdvantage Participating Provider FedEx Offers Discounts ASAdvantage Participating Provider FedEx Offers Discounts Through the ASAdvantage program, ASA members can now save up to 27 percent on select FedEx shipping services. There are no costs and no minimum shipping requirements to take advantage of this member benefit. OSHA Provides Silica Control Tips in New Publication OSHA has released a new guidance document, Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction that provides tips on controlling worker exposure to crystalline silica. The guide can be used to help employers provide a “safe and healthful workplace.”


The Northeast Chapter of the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Association (NOMMA) sponsors a FabCad® one day CAD Seminar The Northeast Chapter hosted a CAD seminar on September 24th at the Marriott Hotel located in Saddle Brook, NJ. The seminar was conducted by Dave Filippi of FabCad Inc. The seminar, designed for beginners, ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A continental breakfast and box lunches were available free to the attendees provided by the Northeast Chapter. To help members during the recession, the Chapter offered its own stimulus package by offering a discounted registration fee to both NOMMA and AFA members. The program was designed for a small group setting to provide plenty of one-on-one guidance. Students came to the event from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even as far away as Louisiana. The seminar covered the basic steps

News Brief

Wagner completes ISO audit with zero non-conformance.

The Wagner Companies is proud to announce that it has completed its ISO audit and received ISO 9001:2008 Certification. The ISO 9001 is a family of standards for quality management systems. ISO 9001 is maintained by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and is administered by accreditation and certification bodies.

of drawing on the computer, starting with drawing straight railing and fence, then to stair railings, and finally to super imposing their own custom designed railing into a photograph of the clients’ house properly scaled to size.  In the beginning, some struggled with the basic drawing commands such as ortho, snap, and drawing arcs and circles.  By the end of the day, most students were importing components from the supplier libraries, and texturing and coloring their own custom railings and driveway gates. Most attendees were able to furnish themselves with a shop-ready cut list of material that stated the individual parts supplier, cost per each, and the overall cost of material. A thanks to the Northeast Chapter for hosting this excellent event.

Complete Kits for Steel Security Storm Doors • Powder coat finish & custom colors • Shipped fast • Odd sizes available • Several colors to choose from



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Brakewell Steel Fabricators is fully certified.

Brakewell Steel Fabricators is pleased to announce that its fabrication operations have been fully certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) as an approved fabricator. The status as an approved operator is the result of Brakewell’s newly expanded and documented Quality Assurance Department. Brakewell is now fully certified in three AISC categories including bridge and highway metal components, steel building structures, and simple steel bridges. Contact: Brakewell Steel Fabricators, Ph: (888) 914-9131; Web:

30081 Hwy. 6, Nettleton, MS 38858 Ph: 662-963-7373 • Fax 662-963-9918

Fabricator n November/December 2009


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Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot? n


Gulf Coast NOMMA Network Focuses on Forging & Scroll Bending Saturday - October 17, 2009 â&#x20AC;˘ Dothan, AL

The business program for the day was a presentation on employee leasing, which was given by Rosemary McKibben of SCI Companies.

The Gulf Coast NOMMA Network (GCNN) held a spectacular meeting on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Dothan, AL. Serving as host shop for the day was long-time member Wheeler Ornamental Metals. The meeting, which had nearly 30 attendees, was well organized and featured a great program. After a welcome and introductions, led by president Scott Colson, NOMMA national vice president James Minter Jr. gave an update on all NOMMA activities, including METALfab and technical affairs. The first presentation of the day was a talk on employee leasing, which was given by Rosemary McKibben of SCI Companies. A couple of attendees in the audience shared their positive experiences with leasing personnel, which offers many benefits at a minimal cost. Afterwards, the sparks started flying during the first demo, which was on forging with an air hammer. Also during this time, everyone received a shop tour led by Henry Wheeler.

A welcome banner greets attendees.

Attendees were treated to a hot forging demonstration, which was done with an air hammer.

Quality Tools for Quality Hardware Hayn distributes only the finest cutting, crimping, and swaging tools available to support our full line of rigging and architectural products. Call for more information and to request copies of our current catalogs.

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What’s Hot? n The group then took a lunch break and enjoyed a fantastic catered “country style” lunch that featured green fried tomatoes and some delicious fried chicken and rhubarbs. Following lunch was the famous buck-in-the-bucket door prize drawings, and prizes included tools, a cutlery set, and castings. During break time, guests also had a chance to look as some of the neat cars on the property, including some

Henry Wheeler leads the shop tour.

Fabricator n November/December 2009


real L.A. low-riders (Lower Alabama). For the grand finale, the shop staff gave a demo on scroll bending, which ended the official events for the day. After the meeting ended, most attendees remained in the shop, enjoying leftover food, and talking “metalwork” with their colleagues from around the Southeast. It was great seeing members from the Florida Panhandle, some first-time guests, supplier representatives, shop employees, members of the Wheeler family, and many regulars. Todd Daniel from the NOMMA staff also came to join the fun. A special thanks goes to the Wheeler family and staff for serving as hosts for the day. Everything was just right and it was a fantastic day from start to finish. As a side note, those boiled peanuts were sure great!!!!

People Masterman named as President and CEO, ESAB ESAB Welding & Cutting Products has announced the Masterman appointment of Andrew Masterman as President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB North America. Masterman will be based in Florence, SC, and will replace Brendan Colgan, who will be assuming the role of Chairman of The ESAB Group, Inc. (North America) and will also assume additional responsibilities.


What’s Hot? n


Fascia mount bracket

Literature & Media New product catalog

Ercolina Ercolina’s newly released 48-pg full color catalog features new models including the TM76 Top Mandrel Machine and the CE70H3DP Double Pinch Angle Roll / Section Bender, suitable for prebend applications. The company website features mandrel and non-mandrel rotary draw benders and angle rolls for which Ercolina is known. Product demonstrations are available on DVD and on the website. Contact: CML USA, Ph: (563) 391-7700; Web:

665-06203 FMB Manual Ad (Nomma Fab)

g n i t t Cu

Q-railing USA Q-railing, a railing systems provider in Europe, has created a fascia mount bracket for use in the installation of glass railing systems. The new model 760 requires one anchor, provides adjustment options, and has an integrated level called a “Q-bubble.” The product is suitable for ½” to ¾” tempered or laminated glass. Contact: Q-railing, Ph: (714) 259-1372; Web:

Powder coating line

OGi Ohio Gratings, Inc. (OGi) introduces their new powder coat finishing line that uses less energy and no solvents. The new line is available in 3/30/06 4:44and PM black, Pagehas 1 two colors, gray


y c a ur


bending flexibility, and is EPA approved. Contact: Ohio Gratings, Inc., Ph: (800) 321-9800; Web: T-Latch®

D&D Technologies D&D Technologies has developed the T-Latch, a floating-style latch bolt that toggles vertically to automatically compensate for gate sag and ground movement. The latch is vertically and horizontally adjustable and has horizontal gap variances of 3/8” to 1-3/4”. The T-Latch is designed to fit square post metal, vinyl, and wood gates. Contact: D&D Technologies, Ph: (800) 716-0888; Web:

TUBING BENDERS Hand Tube Bender Rolls:  1 1/2” Square Tubing  1 x 1 1/2” Rectangular Tubing  Flat Bar (1/2 x 1 1/2” & smaller)  Pipe & Tubing


Magnum Hand Tube Bender Rolls:


 2” Square Tubing 1 x 2” Rectangular Tubing Flat Bar (1/2 x 2” & smaller)  Pipe & Tubing

Direct Drive Saws Combine the speed of an abrasive saw, the precision of a cold saw and the versatility of a band saw. • • • • •

Precision Mitre Cuts - 0º to 60º 8” to 20” Cutting Capacities Pull Down or Hydraulic Cutting Systems ACCU-CUT Blade Guide System Small Footprint

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Additional Rollers Available

1-800-200-4685 UNIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM Works with both hand tubing benders

Cap Rails



 Flat Bar (on edge hard way) R&D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co. 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928 Fabricator n November/December 2009

What’s Hot? n


Same-day black finishing

 irchwood Casey B The new prototype scale aluminum blackening line utilizes the new LUMICLAD® process from Birchwood Casey. The product is designed for same-day black finishing of small aluminum parts in large quantities in-house. The LUMICLAD® process utilizes a diptank procedure to form a black oxide coating on aluminum using one heated tank and does not require electrolytic current. The process works on cast and wrought aluminum alloys, without rub-off. Contact: Birchwood Casey, Ph: (952) 937-7931; Web: www.

Flex-neck torches

Weldcraft For welding operators who encounter applications with limited joint access or hard-to-reach angles, Weldcraft offers several of its core WP Series TIG torches in flex-neck models. Models are available from the company’s air-cooled TIG torches WP-9, WP-17, and WP-26 Series for a range of application needs—from thin gauge welding to heavy-duty continuous jobs. Weldcraft also offers valved versions of each of these flex-neck torch models for use with power sources that do not have gas solenoids. Contact: Weldcraft, Ph: 800-752-7620 or 920-882-6800; Web: www.

Literature & Media New railing systems catalog Q-railing Europe’s Q-railing has released their latest catalog for the American market. Q-railing brings out two new catalogs each year with the latest featuring 50 products in the company’s “Square Line.” Fascia mount brackets, handrail brackets, and new cross bar holders are now available in the square design. In addition, prices have been reduced on Q-railing’s stainless steel glass clamps. Contact: Q-railing, Ph: (714) 259-1372; Web: www.q-railingusa.

DON’T USE A TWIST DRILL TO DO AN ANNULAR CUTTER’S JOB. For materials up to 1/2" thick

48 diameters from 1/4" thru 1-1/2", 6 mm thru 25 mm

Precision ground hardened M2 H.S.S.

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Cut round, virtually burrfree holes in seconds

No surface scratching or dimpling

10 times the tool life of hole saws

Whether you’re making a few holes with hand-held tools or thousands of holes in production applications, only Hougen RotaCut ™ Sheet Metal Cutters give you clean, accurate and virtually burr-free holes 3X faster than twist drills or hole saws with longer tool life and no need for secondary operations. Available in two convenient kits... 5/16 thru 3/4" and 7/8 thru 1-1/2" diameters.

800-426-7818 •

Made in USA

Fabricator n November/December 2009 HOU-433B 3.375x4.875.indd 1

77 5/19/09 11:25:02 AM

What’s Hot? n


Portable MIG welder

Hobart Hobart’s Trek 180 operates off its self-contained battery or 115V power. The Trek180 is designed to weld 24-gauge up to 1/4-in. mild steel on one charge and may be recharged using an automotive power inverter or 115V receptacle. The portable welder weighs 52-lb, operates while plugged in or cordless, and has a low battery shutdown feature to disable the welder when the battery runs low, protecting the life of the battery and quality of weld output. Contact: Hobart, Ph: (877)-462-2781; Web:

severs 1-1/4 in. (32 mm). PowerCut 900 also offers a tool-less quick disconnect torch that disconnects from the machine without the use of wrenches or special tools for storage, repairs, replacement, or to attach a mechanized torch for mechanized applications. Contact: ESAB, Ph: (800) 372-2123; Web:

Customer Discount Program

Tiger Stop® TigerStop announces immediate large discounts for a limited time on equipment used by industries hit by the recession. TigerStop has reduced the price of their table saw automation line, TigerFence and TigerCrossCut. In addition, TigerStop is offering discounts on product upgrades for existing equipment. Contact: TigerStop, Ph: (360) 254-0661; Web: www.

Heat absorbent flap discs

CS Unitec CS Unitec’s TIGER SHARK-PLANTEX® elastic discs are designed to be flexible for grinding curved surfaces and shapes using aluminum. The discs also feature reduced grinding temperature, high material removal, and

PowerCut™ 900

ESAB ESAB Welding & Cutting Products introduces the portable, PowerCut 900 manual cutting package. The 60-amp PowerCut 900 cuts 7/8 in. (22 mm) and

Infill Panels

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Fabricator n November/December 2009

What’s Hot? n no glazing with aluminum particles. TIGER SHARK discs are available in diameters of 4”, 4-1/2”, 5”, and 7”. Contact: CS Unitec Inc., Ph: (800) 700-5919; Web:


gripping surface throughout the length of the installation. With this product, no welding, drilling, or threading is required to construct handrail systems. Contact: Easyfit Inc., Ph: (330) 4949610; Web:

Slip-on pipe fittings

Easyfit™ Easyfit Inc. announces a new line of slip-on structural pipe fittings to build handrail systems that conform to the “barrier-free” requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable state and local building codes. Designed for stairs, ramps, walkways, and other areas where safety railing is required, the new line of fittings is used to construct handrails that provide a contiguous

Swivel-base and high-speed portable drills

Hougen® Hougen Manufacturing announces that it is now incorporating its patented swivel-base, drill-to-magnet coupling design to the model HMD925S power feed model drill that features heavy-duty hole making capability. The unit’s base coupling is designed to create a pivot axis for up to a 1-1/8” arc of side to side motion and a straight line axis of up to 1-3/8” of front-to-back movement. These additional axes allow operators to fine


Proven design Efficient-Reaches 2350 Degrees Versatile Portable Many Models Available

tune the drill position and locate hole center points after the magnetic base has been engaged. Hougen also introduces a high speed version of the Hougen HMD505 portable magnetic drill. The higher speed gearing of the HMD508 is designed for Hougen’s carbide tipped Copperhead™ Annular Cutter tooling for drilling holes at faster RPMs and feed rates in hard alloys, castings, and other materials. The HMD508 incorporates single-lever gear box adjustment for no-load RPMs of 450 or 750 speed rates. Contact: Hougen Manufacturing Inc., Ph: (800) 426-7818; Web: www. ABANA

Call for Free Catalog - 800/446-6498

NC Tool Company Inc 6133 Hunt Road Pleasant Garden, NC 27313 336/674-5654 Fabricator n November/December 2009

15754 Widewater Drive Dumfries, VA 22025-1212 703-680-1632


Association of North America, Inc. 79

Come See the Best Collection of Historically Accurate Products for Old House Restoration and Renovation Found Anywhere!

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Conference: April 7-10, 2010 Exhibition: April 9-10, 2010 The Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference is the largest, most comprehensive learning and networking event for people who love old houses and period interiors. Choose from 65 seminars, workshops, architectural tours and craftsmanship demonstrations on topics such as historic architecture, old house restoration/ renovation, period interior design and landscape design. See 150 exhibits of historically accurate, authentic, high-end, one of a kind, old house and “new old house” building products. Shop the exhibition hall free or attend seminars and exhibits, affordably. Join your fellow old-house enthusiasts and traditional building professionals for new products, education and inspiration. Come to Chicago this April! To register visit: or call Carolyn Walsh 781.779.1560 Exhibitor inquiries: or call Anita Delargy 866.566.7840 Speaker inquiries: or call Judy Hayward 802.674.6752

RESTORE MEDIA LLC Producer of the Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference. Publisher of Clem Labine’s Traditional Building and Period Homes magazines. Producer of

Chicago April 7-10, 2010

Advertiser’s index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine ... Pg 77 42 43 41 37 79 75 34 65 62 47 61 35 78 39 4 66 28 27 3 54 13 44 39 49 26 9 21 51 74 31 77 58 84 58

Company Website Alloy Casting Co. Inc......................................... Apollo Gate Apollo Gate Architectural Iron Designs............. Arteferro Miami................................... Artist-Blacksmith’ Atlas Metal Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Blacksmiths Depot....................... Blue Moon Julius Blum & Co. Inc.................................... COLE-TUVE Inc................................................... The Cable Connection............. John C. Campbell Folk School Carell Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.................... Colorado Waterjet Co..................... CompLex Industries D & D Technologies (USA) Inc.................. D.J.A. Imports DAC Industries DKS, DoorKing.................................................. Decorative Iron..................................... Eagle Bending Eberl Iron Works Inc........................................ Encon Electronics............................ FabCAD Feeney The G-S Hayn Enterprises Hebo - Stratford Gate......................... Hougen Mfg. International Gate The Iron Jansen

Attention Industry Suppliers: Plug into the NOMMA Network Call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101

Advertise in Fabricator! The new media kit is out! Download a copy at fabricator. Consider Fabricator in your 2010 advertising plans. For info, contact Martha Pennington (, 888-5168585, ext. 104. Fabricator n November/December 2009

78 83 7 2 75 40 76 79 73 15 23 19 17 76 25 46 30 18 62 29 64 57 48 38 80 24 74 50 53 60

Jesco Industries King Architectural Metals........................ Lawler Foundry Corp........................... Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Lindblade Metal Works......... Marks U.S.A....................................................... Pat Mooney NC Tool Company National Custom Craft P & J Mfg. Plasma Cam................................................. Production Machinery R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Regency Rogers Mfg. Scotchman Industries............................... Sharpe Simsolve.............................................................. Stairways Steptoe & Wife Antiques Sumter Coatings Inc.......................... Sur-Fin Chemical Texas Metal Industries...................................... Traditional Building................... Tri-State Shearing & Bending...............................(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc...................................(800) 837-4283 The Wagner Companies............ Weaver’s Iron Works..................... YAC Equipment & Companies in boldface are first-time advertisers.

As a supplier, NOMMA offers many marketing opportunities to gain exposure for your company, including membership, advertising, exhibiting, and sponsorships.

Getting Duplicates? No Longer Wish To Receive Fabricator? Please help us reduce waste by reporting unneeded issues. To remove an issue from our list, simply fax the mailing label to: (888) 516-8585. Or, send an email to: You may also submit a drop request by visiting the “Fabricator” area of the NOMMA website. 81



Can you call yourself a leader? One sign of leadership is your ability to inspire others with your vision. By Ed Rigsbee During any era, especially these

tumultuous economic times, some leaders fail to lead; and elsewhere, leaders emerge. Leading in good times is so much easier than leading in difficult times where the leaders’ metal is tried. In leading others, rather than being about authority, it should be more about inspiration. Every leader in these times must ask him or herself, “Do I inspire those around me?” Leadership, at the forefront is about trust; getting others to trust and believe in you, your abilities, and vision. Below are some steps you can take to better help you to emerge as a true leader in these times: n Convince others that you have a vision. Your vision must be crystal clear to yourself and others, and must ring true so those you lead feel safe in following you. n Convince others that you have the knowledge, skills, and tools at your ready that will enable you to deliver. Just having a clear and purposeful vision is not enough. Having the tools necessary to deliver the implementation of you vision is just as crucial. Your people must believe to the depths of their souls that you have what it takes to make things happen. n Convince others to let you take

hold of the steering wheel for the time necessary to move your vision into action. Without someone steering, nobody gets anywhere. For too many, the decision of indecision is their preferred strategy. That does not work in leading an organization through the land mines of today’s globally volatile economy but rather definitive action is needed. Any if you are going to call yourself a leader, take definitive actions. n Help others to imagine how your vision will result in helping to make their lives better. Nobody wants to make their life worse. However, it is your job as a leader to help those you lead to see the light, the glimmering light of hope through ultimate actions. As you inspire your organization to be better, to do better, through your own personal actions. They are “listening” to what you “do” more than listening to what you say. Be the example of what’s right, rather then embody the problem. n Celebrate every milestone on the way. As you steer your organization toward your vision, have milestone markers set up along the way and be sure to celebrate every marker reached. This helps those in your organization to viscerally realize that the organization is moving toward the intended vision. Leading others is about building a

trusting relationship with them; they have to trust your direction, strategy, and implementation tactics. Trust is the most powerful relationship glue on earth. You earn trust; trust is not bestowed upon you based on title, position, or any other outward trappings. Nor is trust instant but rather an accumulation of all that you say and do. You must keep your word in all aspects; actions, rewards, and penalties—otherwise your word is only partially valid which actually translates to: no trust. Say what you are going to do, do what you say, and say what you did—therein are found your successful leadership strategy. Ed Rigsbee says what many people are thinking but afraid to say. He is the author of several hundred articles and a number of books on business topics. Ed travels internationally to share his business growth expertise through consulting, training, and keynote presentations. He has been an adjunct professor for two California universities, yet he prides himself, a practical business thought leader. Additionally, Ed’s avocation is serving as CEO & Executive Director for a non-profit public charity. You may contact Ed through

Get ready for METALfab 2010 • Tulsa, OK • Mar. 3-6, 2010 METALfab is the education conference designed specifically for our industry. Come join us in Tulsa for several days of intense learning and networking. A conference guide is included with this issue. If yours has been separated, you can download a guide at Questions about METALfab? We’re glad to help! Call the NOMMA office at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101 82

Fabricator n November/December 2009

Changing The Way you VieW FenCes

king architectural metals is proud to partner with Fortress iron Railing and Fence systems to offer the best in pre-fabricated, galvanized and powder-coated fence panels—exclusively for the trade. now fence builders can take advantage of this quality timeand money-saving solution. choose from a variety of different styles, sizes and accessories, each designed to bring a standard of excellence to your project. call today and see how easy it is to spec with king’s line of Fortress fence panels. You’ll never bid your jobs the same way again!

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2009 11 fab  
2009 11 fab