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METALfab 2012 preview page 14 Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal


The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

September / October 2011 $6.00 US

Member Talk

Rod Iron Rod goes for gold

page 46

Tips & Tactics

DOT code changes affect gates, page 14

Shop Talk

Pool fencing: Teach the customer page 3

Job Profile

A 970-ton job, page 52

Biz Side

How to combat fear of selling, page 57


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September / October 2011 Vol. 52, No. 5

When you have a 970-ton project, you resort to computer modeling. Story, page 52

Job Profile

NOMMA Network

970 tons........................................................ 52

Getting connected makes your membership work................... 10

What’s it take to hold up a Boeing 747. Building Information Modeling was the right tool for this Top Job winner. By Linda M. Erbele

The return on your membership investment comes when you work with your colleagues. METALfab 2012

Tips & Tactics New DOT code will change appearance of gates........................... 22

The DOT code comes on line in January. A new building code for residential gate inspections is coming on line then, too. By Peter Hildebrandt Shop Talk The pulsed MIG success story.... 24

It cuts operating costs, speeds up your welds, reduces distortion and fumes, increases positional flexibility, all in one neat, spatter-free package. By JeffFogel Shop Talk Pool fencing: Educate your customers.................. 30

Here’s how you can teach your customers to use layered protection, and make a perimeter fence with self-closing, self-latching gates priority one. By Maureen Williams President’s Letter........... 6

Investment return comes to those who participate.

The new normal — moving forward in a changing economy.............. 14

NOMMA’s 54th Annual Convention and Trade Show will be Feb. 29–March 3 in Orlando. Here’s a preview of the two keynoters who will also give workshops on business-related issues. Shop Talk Your trucks DOT compliant?........ 36

Read about the experiences of fabricators and the regulations that can help you avoid surprises. By Peter Hildebrandt Member Talk Pursuit of the gold............................... 46

Rod Lambirth’s determination to eliminate mistakes helped make him a NOMMA award winner and still have time for some bass fishing. By Lisa Bakewell

Exec. Director’s Letter.... 8

NOMMA conference calls deliver the edge.

Biz Side Fear of selling.......................................... 57

We’re trained in fabrication, not sales. But we’re in the selling game now. Turn anxiety about sales into confidence. By Robert Warlow Biz Side The difference between cash and profits..................................... 60

If you don’t have short-term cash, you’re forced to find new money, borrow, or get capital investment to make up the deficit, even if you’re profitable. By Tim Berry What’s Hot! Business Briefs................................. 58 People.................................................... 59 Events.................................................... 60 New Products..................................... 61 Nationwide suppliers..................... 56 New members.................................... 57

NEF Chair Letter............ 12

Metal Moment............... 74

10-year collection of educational videos online.

Gentle curves and a book-like bike rack.

About the cover Scrollwork in the railing is made with 3/8 inch x 1 inch flat bar. The finish is flat black with a blonde bronze

faux. The rail was clear coated with three coats of XIM 900. Fabricator: Rod Iron Rod Inc., Odessa, TX. See story, page 46. September / October 2011 n Fabricator


NOMMA O fficers President James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

President-Elect Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

Vice President/ Treasurer J. R. Molina Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Immediate Past President Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

F abricator D i rectors Todd Kinnikin Eureka Forge Pacific, MO

Ray Michael R & F Metals Inc. Clinton, MD

Mark Koenke Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. Jackson, WI

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

Keith Majka Majka Railing Co. Inc. Paterson, NJ

Greg Terrill Division 5 Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

S u ppli er D i rectors Wayne Haas Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Cleveland, OH

Rick Ralston Feeney Inc. Eugene, OR

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

NOMMA E ducation F ou n dation O fficers Chair Roger Carlsen Ephraim Forge Inc. Frankfort, IL Vice Chair Christopher Maitner Christopher Metal Fabricating Grand Rapids, MI Treasurer Mike Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

T rustees Heidi Bischmann The Wagner Companies Milwaukee, WI Carl Grainger Grainger Metal Works Nichols, SC Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN Lynn Parquette Mueller Orn. Iron Works Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL

NOMMA C hapters Florida Chapter Britt Gordy, President Liberty Aluminum Co. Fort Myers, FL (239) 369-3000

Northeast Chapter Keith Majka, President Majka Railing Co. Inc. Paterson, NJ (973) 247-7603

Gulf Coast Chapter Scott Colson, President Iron Innovations Inc. Clinton, MS (866) 924-0640

Upper Midwest Chapter Mark Koenke, President Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. Richfield, WI (262) 677-2530

NOMMA S taff Executive Director, Editor J. Todd Daniel Managing Editor Robin Sherman Sales Director Sherry Theien


Meetings & Exposition Manager; NEF Executive Director Martha Pennington Member Care & Operations Manager Liz Johnson


Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.

President’s Letter

Investment return comes to those who participate An old joke:

Many who are enduring

A farmer is in Iowa during these difficult times look at a flood. The river is overflow­ NOMMA membership as an ing, with water surrounding the extravagance. They decide that farmer’s home up to his front there is no benefit to belonging, porch. As he is standing there, so they drop their membership. a boat comes up, the man in the You don’t join a health club boat says “Jump in, I’ll take you and expect to get into shape James Minter, Jr., just because you are a memto safety.” Imagine The farmer crosses his arms ber, do you? It takes some effort Ironworks, is and says stubbornly, “Nope, God president (okay, a lot of effort) to get sixwill take care of me.” The boat pack abs and buns of steel. You of NOMMA. goes away. have take advantage of what The water rises to the second the health club offers in order floor. Another boat comes up, the man to benefit. So maybe you don’t want to says to the farmer who is now in the sec­ train seven days a week — even if you ond story window, “Jump in, I’ll save want to lose 15 pounds (okay, maybe it’s you.” more like 20 pounds), you still need to The farmer again says, “Nope, God commit to a change in exercise and diet. will take care of me.” The boat goes It is the same way with membership away. in NOMMA. The best return on your Now the water is up to the roof. As membership will happen when you the farmer stands on the roof, a helicop­ take advantage of the offerings of your ter comes over, and drops a ladder. The Association. You can’t sit at the shop pilot yells down to the farmer “I’ll save and expect NOMMA to shower its wisyou, climb the ladder.” dom on you — you have to put in some The farmer says “Nope, God will take effort to seek it out. care of me.” The helicopter goes away. NOMMA makes getting that wisThe water continues to rise and sweeps dom pretty easy. You can participate in the farmer off the roof. He drowns. the ListServ, webinars, and telephone The farmer goes to heaven. God sees conferences. You can go to a chapter him and says “What are you doing here?” meeting, call fellow members, maybe The farmer says “I put my trust in you visit another member’s shop, even and you let me down.” attend METALfab. That’s really easy God says, “What do you mean, let when compared to treadmills, Stairyou down? I sent you two boats and a masters, free weights, and Zumba. helicopter!!!” My point is this — you have to do it.

During NOMMA’s membership renewal time, Board directors and the Membership Advisory Council call members who have let their membership lapse. It is always interesting to talk to metalworkers from around the country to get their take on their business, the economy, and NOMMA membership. These three items are well intertwined, with many trying to justify paying NOMMA dues when the economy stinks and business is a struggle.

To make your business better, you need to put in the effort to gain knowledge. Your NOMMA membership can help you make your business better. Just don’t be like the Iowa farmer and expect it to happen miraculously. It does take a commitment to make your business better. So, are you up to it? NOMMA is.

Fabricator n September / October 2011

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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 8,000 fabricators For information, call Sherry Theien, Ph: 815-282-6000. Email: Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads 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: 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 at METALfab, NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show. For more information, contact Martha Pennington at 888-516-8585, ext. 104, or Subscriptions Subscription questions? Call 888-516-8585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311, Fayetteville, GA 30214. Fax: (888) 5168585, or E-mail: 1-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30 2-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $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. Contact Sherry Theien at 815-282-6000 or 2011 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. © 2011 National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 8


How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

Conference calls deliver edge NOMMA recently rolled out

consolidation will create a more several new benefits, and the snappy and streamlined experione that I think is particularly ence for users. amazing is the evening conference calls. Strategic update On a Wednesday evening Your NOMMA Board of in the middle of the month, Directors is working hard to NOMMA members can call a ensure that the association Todd Daniel toll-free number to discuss the is executive stays relevant and responsive to “new economy” with their col- director of our members. NOMMA. leagues from around the counMost recently, the board try. The one-hour calls start updated their strategic plan and with a presentation from a vetcreated a new NOMMA Value eran member, which is followed Task Force. The Task Force is by a general discussion. currently reviewing NOMMA’s The conversations are candid and benefit portfolio to see what proeveryone is glad to share their best grams should be added, tweaked, or ideas. Past discussions have covered removed. The drastic changes in our diversifying, dealing with cutthroat economy are causing equally drastic bidding, contractors who “shop” your changes in our industry, and NOMMA quote, and getting paid. is committed to remaining sensitive Holding the calls in the evening and responsive to member needs. provides an atmosphere that is quieter and more relaxed. A ‘shout out’ The last few calls have featured an One fun part of my job is visiting “all star cast” of distinguished fabricashops, and I try to visit at least one tors, and I can assure you that the inshop a month. As executive director it formation you gain will more than offhelps me tremendously to spend time set the cost of your membership dues. with fabricators and really get a feel For the next time and date, refer to for their day-to-day challenges. After the “master calendar” in the member’s all, the ultimate goal of NOMMA is to area. help fabricators solve problems. Most recently, I had the honor of New website unveiling visiting Jim and Chris Birdsong of I’m excited about the new website Fabco Fabrications Inc., Rome, GA. we are unveiling in a few weeks. The Their shop is in an old dairy plant in site features a more modern design the rolling hills of northwest Georgia. and centers on one goal: making it From mailboxes and artwork to induseasier for members and the public to trial catwalks, their shop covers the interact with NOMMA. entire spectrum of the ornamental and In the past, maintaining separate miscellaneous metals industry. “public” and “member’s only” websites As I was touring their shop a feelcreated confusion. Where do you find ing of pride came over me. I am proud what and where? Now, there is only to be a part of such a creative and fun one website and when you log in the industry. And the old saying is really “member’s only” features appear. true: If a customer can put it on paper, On the back end, NOMMA is savor even dream it, our members can ing substantial money. We found a fabricate it! vendor who is rolling our membership database, public site, and member’s area into a single package. This Fabricator n September / October 2011

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The NOMMA Network Put your NOMMA membership to work: Get connected! As a new NOMMA member, your first

step is to be proud. You are a skilled professional working in a prestigious industry. By joining NOMMA, you have shown the world that you support your industry and that you subscribe to a code of ethics. What next? Learning

As with any professional organization, the emphasis is on continual education. The more you learn, the more effective you and your shop will become. Fabrication technology is constantly changing, and as we are all aware, the way we do business is changing drastically as well. NOMMA and the NOMMA Education Foundation are all about education. Here are ways to “plug in” to our education resources: n Read O&MM Fabricator magazine. It consistently ranks as the top

member benefit in our surveys. Get in the habit of reading the magazine cover-to-cover. If an article seems irrelevant to you, keep reading. Sooner or later you’ll have the opportunity to quote on something, and you can say, “I remember reading about this.” n Subscribe to the ListServ. This is our email discussion list, and is a daily fountain of knowledge. This is the place to go with your “where to find it” and “how to do it” questions. Once you post, responses typically appear in minutes. If the e-mail traffic is a problem, we encourage members to set up a separate folder in Outlook and create a “rule” for moving ListServ messages to that folder. n Attend METALfab. Each year, commit to improving yourself by attending NOMMA’s annual conference. METALfab is packed with education, including business sessions.

NOMMA to unveil new website We are more than excited about our new website, which should initially launch on September 30 and will be fully operational by late October. It’s been six years since we’ve given our website a facelift, and we feel the newest design will make NOMMA more interactive with members, the industry, consumers, and design/build professionals. At the hub of the new design is a large master calendar. We encourage you to regularly look there for the latest webinars, chapter meetings, NEF workshops, and key deadlines. The entire design is a radical shift from our old website. You won’t find a separate members area. Instead, logging in will activate various member sections. Consumers and architects will find new goodies, such as an expanded photo gallery and more technical and maintenance information.


NOMMA’s new website will have a cleaner look, be easier to use and more interactive, and contain more information for consumers and architects.

At METALfab 2012, you’ll really benefit from the business sessions because they are all about adapting to the new business climate. Sessions will cover dealing with change, cashflow, contracts, and techniques for getting your phone to ring. At our trade show, you’ll see new products and technologies that you can apply to your business back home. And best of all, just spending time with your fellow professionals from around the country has a magical effect — the networking will expose you to new ideas, job referrals, and more. n Attend chapter meetings. If you live in an area serviced by our five regional chapters (Florida, Gulf Coast, Northeast, Upper Midwest, Chesapeake Bay) — you’re always welcome to attend meetings. Programs often include fabricator lectures and facility tours. Get to know your local colleagues better. n Use the NEF resources. We are extremely proud of the NOMMA Education Foundation, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in November. The foundation plans the METAL­fab education program, provides educational resources to chapters, and hosts continuing education classes typically in the fall and immediately preceding METALfab. Sign up for a NEF workshop or send an employee. Another NEF resource is the video education library, which contains a dozen videos and is free to all members. You can view the library as often as you’d like, and we encourage you to use it as a training tool for shop staff. n Participate in our webinars and conference calls. We regularly hold webinars during the day, and open phone conferences at night. Fabricator

September / October 2011

The webinars focus on a variety of technical and business topics. For instance, we just completed a popular series on building codes and standards. Missed it? Don’t worry, all of our webinars are archived and can be downloaded from the member’s area. The phone conferences have a slightly different twist and focus on surviving in the “new economy.” One repeating theme of these calls is diversification — fabricators have been explaining how they are finding new revenue sources to get through these slow times. Affiliation

As a NOMMA member, we ask that you help us with our ongoing branding campaign. Our goal is to raise the consciousness of property owners, designers, and architects. Whenever anyone is planning a new project, we want them to think METALWORK — and LOTS of beautiful metalwork. We make a product that is durable, beautiful, enhances security and safety, and increases the value of any property. Imagine a world without stairs, safety guards, or gates. As a unified association, we can cooperatively market our products. The first step is to display the NOMMA logo on your business card, email signature, ads, website, stationery, and business forms. Raising the awareness level of NOMMA in the design community is an ongoing effort, and displaying the NOMMA logo is one way to help. A NOMMA logo cling-on and membership certificate are included in your new member kit. You can also go to “Member Resources” in the member website to download the logo in a variety of formats. Where to find it

n Looking for a component, tool, or some equipment. Refer to either the printed or online version of the NOMMA Buyer’s Guide. Or, post your question on the ListServ. n Building code questions. Post your question on the ListServ, or contact the NOMMA office (send an email to If staff can’t help, they will refer September / October 2011


NOMMA/NEF Event in Portland, Nov. 5 What: Chapter Exploratory Meeting and free NEF Continuing Education Class When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 am–2 pm. Where: Madden Fabrication, Portland, OR. Description: Join your fellow fabricators in the Pacific Northwest for a day of learning and networking. NOMMA Executive Director Todd Daniel and NEF Chair Roger Carlsen will be present to hold an education program, followed by lunch and a chapter exploratory meeting.

Roger Carlsen is leading a presentation on RTV mold making and white metal castings.

Topic: RTV (Rubber) mold making and white metal casting. Need a short run of custom casted items? Expand your shop’s skills by learning how to make castings in-house, quickly and inexpensively. This procedure allows you to take on restoration and preservation projects that require the replication of parts. Presenter: Roger Carlsen, NEF chair, noted blacksmith and presenter, former college professor. For details, visit: your question to NOMMA’s Technical Affairs team. And always feel free to call the NOMMA office. n NOMMA logo, code of ethics, vendor discounts, mentoring program. You’ll find all these goodies and more by going to the member website and clicking on “Member Resources. n Video tutorials, past webinars. Go to our member’s area and click on “Tutorials.” We also have a collection of mini demo videos on YouTube ( Technical Affairs

The NOMMA Technical Affairs Division is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. A portion of your dues goes toward the work of Technical Affairs. This allows us to send volunteers to code and standards meetings around the country. If we did not have a say on various committees, building codes and standards would be written without fabricator input. Without our input, requirements would not reflect fabricating practicalities, and at worst, they could be devastating to our industry. As a new NOMMA member, we extend a hearty welcome. Plug into the resources of NOMMA and get involved!!!

Long-time NOMMA supplier passes Michael E Spatz, 99, a long-time NOMMA member, died May 9, 2011. The founder of Spatz Paints, St. Louis, Mr. Spatz was a regular exhibitor at NOMMA conventions for many years. Even after selling his company he remained a consultant and involved in other industry business ventures. He is best known for his lifetime of charity and community service work. Most notably, after World War II, he helped organize the Freedom Train, a coastto-coast train tour that promoted patriotism and sold war bonds. In his later years, his tennis tournaments raised money for disabled children. He is survived by his daughters, Terry Coleman, who remains active in the industry, and Stephanie Fawley; 3 grandchildren, Michael Johnson, Ryan, and Terril Estabrook; and 2 great grandchildren.



NOMMA Educational Foundation

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

10-year collection of videos online now New educational benefit is free for NOMMA members

The NOMMA Education Foundation has produced

measuring, blueprints, tool, layouts and more. quality education videos throughout its 10-year his(70 minutes) tory. Recently, the entire collection came online for n “Garden Gates.” Follow the steps for measuring, NOMMA members. fabricating, and assembling a walkway gate. Lloyd The videos, which are a valuable member Hughes introduces joinery techniques and forge benefit, can be accessed via the member’s only area work. (50 minutes) ( n “Curved Stair Rail Fabrication.” Watch Jack Nonmembers are welcome to order DVDs by Klahm measure and make tinplates for a curved stair. Update from going to our main website ( and He will show you ways to save money while also NEF Chair clicking on “Order Online.” improving accuracy. This production covers many Roger Carlsen, The following videos are available online and can Ephraim techniques. (70 minutes) be viewed by all NOMMA members at no cost: Forge Inc. n “Almost The Last Word In Finishes.” Demonstrator Lloyd Hughes covers how to apply more than n “Fabricating, Forging, Annealing, Texturing & Coloring Stainless Steel.” George Bandarra and his 12 finishes using a variety of chemicals and materials team cover the intricacies of working with stainless from oil and was finishes to hot and cold patinas. steel and techniques for coloration. (101 minutes) (70 minutes) n “Overview of Driveway Gate Installations.” Scott n “Straight Stair Railing.” Follow Lloyd Hughes through Colson covers design, installation, and safety guidelines for each step of the fabrication process of a straight rail for extedriveway gates. (37 minutes) rior steps, including measuring, fabrication, adding final details, n “Curved Stair Fabrication.” Led by Chris Maitner, and installation. (53 minutes) the video covers site inspecn “Brazing, Soldering & TIG tion, field dimensioning, Welding Architectural Bronze, detailing, making adjustNickel Silver & Redd Metals.” ments, stringer layout, floor Basic instruction and tips in soland pan layout, stringer rolldering, brazing, welding with a ing/forming, shop assembly pulse TIG. JR Lodico works on fixtures and transport. (40 handrail profiles in architectural minutes) bronze, nickel silver, and Redd metals. The video covers maten “Scrolls — Production Techniques.” Roger Carlsen rial preparation, fluxes, solders, discusses the different scroll filler metals, machine settings, types and how they are creand safety. (24 min.) Jack Klahm is featured in “Curved Stair Railing Fabrication.” ated. He also covers the math- Here, he demonstrates the annealing process. n “Production and Postematics of scroll production ing.” Learn how to create short and aesthetic compatibility. (147 minutes) video tutorials. This video is produced by Dave Edwards, NEF’s official videographer. (9 minutes). n “Scrolls Design, History, Theory & Tools.” Roger Carlsen discusses the different scroll types and how they are In addition to the full-length video collection, NEF created. He also covers the mathematics of scroll production offers a series of “mini” tutorials that can be viewed and aesthetic compatibility. (147 minutes) online. To access these videos, visit nommaonline. n “Straight Steel Stair Construction.” Demonstrator Chris Maitner takes you through the fabrication of a straight stair system from layout to final fabrication. He also covers DO N AT E!

For more information on donating to the NOMMA Education Foundation Contact Martha Pennington, 888-516-8585 x 104, 12

Fabricator n September / October 2011

Demonstrator Lloyd Hughes, top, shows how to apply 12 finishes in “Almost the Last Word in Finishes.”

JR Lodico, above, demonstrates the welding of nonferrous metals in “Brazing, Soldering & TIG Welding Architectural Bonze, Nickel Silver & Redd Metals.” Roger Carlsen, left, is the presenter in a two-part video that covers scroll design, history, and production.

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2 1 0 2 b a f L A T E M ving Forward Mo The New Normal — o y in a Changing Econ m

54th Annual Convention and Trade Show National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association You cannot overestimate the value

of meeting face-to-face with your fabricator colleagues. The give-andtake of followup when discussing business issues and shop techniques is essential to learning. METALfab 2012 in Orlando promises much time for interaction for both these business and shop talk goals. It all starts with the keynote motivation and business sessions, and continues with the outstanding education program we have developed based on your needs for METALfab 2012. Keynotes

Two dynamic speakers will provide you with thought-provoking ideas to help you move your business forward in a difficult economy. James Feldman, a certified facilitator and an internationally recognized professional motivator, trainer, speaker, and author from Chicago (, will present the keynote speech and a follow-up education session on Wednesday, February 29.

o, FL d n a rl O , 3 h c r a M – 9 2 y Februar l Orlando e Entrance to Universa ilton at DoubleTree Hotel by H



Spaceship Earth is the visual and thematic centerpiece of Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.


Photo credit: Visit Orl

Fabricator n September / October 2011

METALfab 2012 attendee registration info Special prices, discounts for multiple registrants from the same company, and spouse registrations below expire February 20, 2012. After February 20, 2012, a late fee of $100 will be added to all registrations.

3 registration options Credit: Visit Orlando

Michael Stone, Construction Programs & Results, Camas, WA (, is a coach and consultant for construction-related small business. He will teach five classes on Thursday and Friday. Shift Happens

One of Jim’s most popular topics, Shift Happens refers to how businesses can thrive on change. This theme is represented in his books, Thriving on Change in Organizations, Celebrate Customer Ser­ vice — Insider Secrets, and D•A•T•I•N•G Your Customer. He has also published articles in numerous professional publications. Shift Happens, his latest book, was published in May 2011. James Feldman, More specifically, his Shift Happens a well known session will show attendees how to go trainer, speaker, from business as usual to business as unand author, is usual to leverage change and thrive during delivering the keynote address. turbulent times. This session will identify short-term opportunities that will create long-term benefits. Jim concentrates on overcoming entrenched cultures and habits and introduces innovative thinking and risk-taking to have you lead your market by increasing value rather than by reducing price. You will learn how to accelerate change with a deliberate, disciplined methodology that will deliver dramatic, successful results. After Jim’s keynote speech, the conversation continues with a class expanding the Shift Happens discussion and how to use the “3DThinking,” a process that takes you beyond creativity to innovative problem solving that impacts your bottom line. We have been taught to think “outside the box.” Yet, the problem is “inside the box.” For that reason many companies have developed solutions to the wrong problems. Jim’s three-dimensional process will keep you from being “boxed out” by typical analytical thinking. 3DThinking uses “try-angles” to “look inside the box” for the depth of your knowledge, the distance to the solution, and the determination to carry out your intentions.

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

1 Full conference package

n Keynote Speaker & Opening Session n Education Program (includes Saturday demos) n Trade Show (includes Opening Reception) n Theme Dinner n NEF Auction n Awards Banquet n Demos on show floor

Price 1st full registration: $395 2nd full registration, same company: $375 each 3rd full registration, same company: $365 each 4th or more full registration, same company: $350 each Ex: 3 people from same company: $365 x 3 = $1095

2 Education & Trade Show Package: $295

n Education Program (includes Saturday demos) n Keynote & Opening Session n Trade Show (includes Opening Reception) n Demos on show floor

3 Spouse/Guest Package: $299

n Trade Show/Opening Reception (Wed., 2/29/12) n Theme Dinner/NEF Auction (Thu., 3/1/12) n Special Classes for Spouses (Thu., 3/1/12) n Spouse Tour, Winter Park Tour (Fri., 3/2/12) n Awards Banquet (Sat.,3/3/12)

The Spouse/Guest Package registration is not available after February 20,2012. Make your company a NOMMA member and take advantage of the great member pricing above: $595 Individual Tickets Tickets will not be available for purchase after February 23, 2012 n Welcome Reception (Wednesday, 2/29/12): $30 n Theme Dinner (Thursday, 3/1/12): $105 n Spouse Tour, Winter Park Tour (Friday, 3/2/12): $105 n Awards Banquet (Saturday, 3/3/12): $75 Questions? Call 888-516-8585 extension 101 or email For course and event descriptions, Go to


3DThinking, Jim says, can increase your performance, enhance productivity, and boost profits. Mark Up and Profit

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Michael will present five classes at METALfab 2012 on Thursday, March 1, and Friday March 2. Markup, Margins and Cash Flow. How to set and use markup or margins to reach your sales price and how to prevent cash flow problems within a construction related company. You will discover: n How to avoid the financial pitfalls that most contractors fall into. n How to set the correct markup or gross margin for your company. n The three main causes of cash flow problems.

Michael Stone, one of our most popular past presenters, is giving five classes at METALfab 2012.

Marketing, Advertising, and Getting Your Phone to Ring. How to build a marketing campaign that will attract customers willing to pay a fair price for your work. We will review: n A marketing plan for NOMMA members. n Setting a budget for advertising your company. n Where to advertise and when. n How to avoid “me-to” advertising. n Building a referral network for leads.

Sales — Back to the Future. How to deal effectively with unrealistic customer expectations on job pricing. We will cover: n The cause of price objections. n The customer’s three biggest fears. n How to ask the four basic questions and find good customers. n How to become the contractor of choice.



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Contracts, Additional Work Orders, and Punch Lists. Documents written to prevent expensive customer problems. You’ll learn about: n Basic but necessary contract language. n The payment and signature page. n How to write change-work orders and get paid on time. n Stopping the never-ending “punch list.” n Contract language to corral in the problem customer. What Your Family Needs to Know About Your Business. Setting up your company so it is not a problem to your family: n Where is everything. n Who you do business with. n Employees, their jobs, and what the agreement is. n Who your business partners are.


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James Minter, Imagine Ironworks, Brookhaven, MS, and NOMMA president 2011–2012, says this about Michael: “We may call ourselves metalworkers, but we are really just small

business owners who work with metal. If we don’t get the business part right, all the skill in the world as metalworkers won’t help us stay in business.” “When I attended Michael Stone’s classes at METALfab 2003,” Minter says, “I had my eyes opened to a whole new way of operating a business. Instead of just opening the doors and hoping for the best, Michael preaches a pro-active and systematic approach to running a business. “I used to think that if I concentrated on the revenue numbers, the profit would take care of itself. Wrong! “It’s the bottom number on the income statement that is most important, that profit number, which determines whether a business succeeds or fails, and it was Michael Stone who helped drive that point home for me. “I am a big fan of Michel Stone, and I really look forward to having

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him with us at METALfab 2012 in construction industry. Orlando.” Starting as a “gopher” in his father’s Stone graduated from Eastern construction company in the early Oregon University with a degree in 1950s, Michael worked in numerous business and construction managebuilding trades over the years. He was ment and computer science. the National Association of Home His expertise lies in business manBuilders National Remodeler of the CSU-201108-NOMMA Fab Hlf Ad_Layout 1 7/22/11 10:00 AM Page 1 agement solutions and computer Month in February 1983. software programs for the residential Check out the November/December

issue of the O&MM Fabricator for the complete education program and registration forms. Because of NOMMA’s switch to a new web provider, information may be delayed on the website. Contact Liz Johnson (liz@nomma. org) for a registration form.

Hotel information The Doubletree, a Hilton hotel at the entrance of Universal Orlando, is the METALfab 2012 host hotel. Rates

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1) Go to and use the link under the METALfab tab. 2) By calling 1-800-327-2110. Identify yourself as a member of the group: MET. All reservations must be guaranteed and accompanied by a first night room deposit or guaranteed with a major credit card. All reservations have a 72-hour cancellation policy. All early departures are subject to an early departure penalty of one night room and tax. All attendees must identify themselves as a member of the Group to receive the group rate and to have their reservation credited to the Group block. The NOMMA room block will be released on January 30, 2012, at 5 p.m. or when the block sells out, whichever happens first. Please make your reservation early so that you can be part of the great networking opportunities found outside the day’s activities. Fabricator n September / October 2011

Expanded spouse program For METALfab 2012, the spouse registration package has a lot of wonderful additions, and is available to attendees who register before February 20, 2012. The spouse registration includes: Trade Show opening reception, classes, tour of Winter Park, theme dinner, NOMMA Education Foundation Auction, Partners in Education reception, Trade Show admission, and awards banquet. Classes, Thursday, March 1, 11:30 am–3:45 pm

n Posies Presto! Sometimes we need to put a flower arrangement together unexpectedly. Watch as Chris Holt (Master Gardener with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA, and fabricator at Steel Welding, Freedom, PA) show you how to make simple but effective arrangements from your garden or with a few flowers from a local grocery. You’ll get some excellent gardening tips, too. n Bunko Tournament. Bunko is a game of chance, not skill, played with dice in a tournament format. Now for the real description: Bunko is great fun with dice and an easy way to make friends at METALfab 2012. Make plans to play! n Acrylic Class for Beginners. Have fun discovering your hidden talents with this fun, easy acrylic painting class taught by Mississippi artist Maxine Minter. n Dance Class. Join Sally Nibblelink for a beginner’s class in a jazzy version of a historic dance called the Shim

Sham. It is a favorite of Lindy Hoppers & Tap dancers. It will be easy to learn and lots of fun. Wear comfortable shoes for this class. Winter Park tour, Friday, March 2, 9:00 am–4:00 pm

Join the other spouse registrants for a tour of Winter Park, FL., originally developed (1887) for wealthy Northerners as a summer retreat. You will be taken to the Park Avenue shopping district where the Southern charm that lured the elite society can still be seen. Picturesque shops, boutiques, cafes, bricklined streets, and the towering trees of Central Park make Park Avenue the place to be and be seen. Start your tour with a relaxing, 45-minute the Scenic Boat Ride (pontoon boat) gliding through canals and tree lined lakes. View beautiful homes nestled along beautiful lakes and observe nature. Then enjoy a special visit to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, and the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. And you’ll enjoy a wonderful lunch at the Park Plaza Gardens.

Program schedule Wednesday, February 29

Thursday, March 1

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

Friday, March 2

Saturday, March 3


Tips& Tactics n New DOT code will change appearance of gates Building code for residential gates inspections coming online in January, too By Peter Hildebrandt Stripes are in. So says the U.S. De-

partment of Transportation. Next year on January 1, gates with access to a public street must have a reflective vertical stripe, a new DOT rule states. Joe Hetzel, P.E., Brent Nichols, Rick Sedivy, “This refers to a Federal law technical owner, director of based on the Manual for Uniform director, Picasso marketing, Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD),” DASMA Gate. DoorKing. says Joe Hetzel, P.E., technical director, Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) Intraffic control devices shall rest with ternational, Cleveland, OH. the public agency or the official having All signs, signals, markings, and jurisdiction, or, in the case of private other devices used to regulate, warn, roads open to public travel, with the or guide traffic, placed on, over, or private owner or private official having adjacent to a street, highway, pedestrijurisdiction.” an facility, or bicycle path by authority The manufacturers got caught of a public agency having jurisdiction, off guard with the MUTCD ruling, are traffic control devices, according to says Rick Sedivy, director of marketing, the MUTCD. DoorKing, Inglewood, CA, a nationAutomatically or manually operatwide supplier and NOMMA member. ed gates installed and operated under “We feel we have no choice but to authorization of a public agency to comply with the standard. What afcontrol traffic accessing public streets fects us directly and will add a little are also considered to be traffic control cost is on barrier arms and traffic devices based on this definition, as parking gates; manufacturers use a described in DASMA’s Technical Data white arm with yellow and black tape. Sheet 380. “This now calls for the markings on Public travel includes access ways these gates to be alternating red and and parking lots of shopping centers. white stripes, 16 inches in width with Even office parks could be included retro-reflective tape. It’s not just a matin the definition of a private property ter of painting something with red and open to public travel. white stripes,” Sedivy says. “We have to MUTCD Section 1A.07 directly meet some specific standards and this addresses this issue: “The responsibiltape is one of those requirements now.” ity for the design, placement, operaThe tape is somewhat specialized tion, maintenance, and uniformity of and costly, he says.

Affecting NOMMA members, too, is a requirement for sliding or swing gates/gate panels to contain a simulation of the barrier arm going across the panel. In other words, for a sliding gate 20 feet long, between three and four feet above the roadway would be a striped panel with alternating red and white vertical stripes, 16 inches in width and with retro-reflective tape. “On a beautiful ornamental gate, you’ll now have to have this simulated gate three or four feet above the ground,” says Sedivy. “This is to simulate the appearance of a gate arm on the ornamental gate. There is an option to place one or more Type Four object markers, diamond-shaped, used to indicate an end of the road.” “This manual contains everything one would need to know regarding signage on highways,” adds Sedivy. “We never paid much attention to it because we don’t deal with highways. Revisions were done to the manual that we were unaware of. We became aware earlier in the year when a building inspector in Florida flagged some barrier operators, pointing out the changes from the manual. I consider this a case of unintended consequences. “The question is, how much enforcement will there be? I don’t know. No one does until you start getting inspectors out there writing things up. In Florida, they’re starting to deal with it now. I haven’t heard one thing about the rest of the country,” Sedivy says.


Fabricator would like to publish your step-by-step tutorial or problem/solution case study. Please contact the Editor at 888-516-8585 or e-mail: 22

Fabricator n September / October 2011

“The simulated gate arms they’ve decided upon have made this a big deal. I like the analogy of the Mona Lisa having to have a safety railing in front of it, just in case someone was to stumble and fall into the painting. I guess their argument is that it’s hard to see a black gate at night.” Calling lawmakers

Brent Nichols, owner of Picasso Gate, Cheyenne, WY, has contacted his representatives on this issue. An aide in Senator John Barasso’s office (R-WY) is working on the case, and Brent has requested that NOMMA send a letter opposing the requirement, and that members-at-large contact their representatives as well. “I think everyone needs to do this or you are going to have a red and white stripe across your gate,” he says. “This standard is a standard that honestly is supposed to be used for road closures, railroad crossings, highway construction where they close down lanes or closures across inter-

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

I like the analogy of the Mona Lisa having to have a safety railing in front of it ,

just in case someone was to stumble and fall into the painting. I guess their argument is that it’s hard to see a black gate at night.

Rick Sedivy DoorKing

states. But they’ve made it so it’s anything that accesses a public road — including driveway gates,” Nichols says. “How enforceable it will be immediately on January 1 no one really knows. But the fact is, the requirement is still there and it needs to be removed,” he says. “One of our coalition members in Florida has mentioned that it’s already impacted them. They’ve contacted the U.S. Department of Transportation, who they said told them they

weren’t doing anything about it and it was staying in there. We know the rule is there but what are we going to do about it?” If you have any doubts as to where or when the MUTCD is applicable, check its website for answers: http:// faq_part1.htm New gate inspection rule

Also as of January 1, UL-325 and ASTM are going into the residential building code. This code is important for anyone doing gates because if you install a gate and it fails inspection you’re not getting paid by the contractor until it passes inspection, Nichols says. “Doing what is required is going to have to come out of their pocket,” says Nichols. “They’re expected to have known what was required beforehand. If an inspector fails my job, it’s going to be up to me to make it right. The contractor isn’t going to pay more money to have it brought up to code.”


Shop Talk

The pulsed MIG success story n

Cuts operating costs, speeds up your welds, reduces distortion and fumes, increases positional flexibility, all in one neat, spatter-free package.

effect was to lower the mean current, which solved the problem of welding thin sections. And that’s not all. The controlled, smaller droplets, pulled into the weld by surface tension, made for less spatter and a faster deposition rate for quicker welds, which, of course, made for a faster travel speed. But wait, there’s more. The nearly pure Argon shielding gas was denser, blanketing the weld to suppress fumes. And finally, the lower heat and pulsing let the pool “freeze” momentarily so you could weld in just about any position. The researchers called their innovation pulsed MIG (metal inert gas; GMAW-P, in today’s parlance) welding and it was a clever idea. Fast, neat, healthier, and infinitely versatile welding. What was there not to like?

A welder in OMF Performance Products’ shop uses pulsed MIG to draw a bead on an aluminum beadlock. OMF leaves the machine permanently set at an aluminum setting.


By Jeff Fogel Back in the ’60s when arc welding was

in its adolescence, researchers noodled an idea to tame the transfer problems inherent in continuous feed systems. It came down to the electrics: a low current produced a globular transfer like a drop hanging off a leaky faucet. Which was fine if neatness didn’t count. Crank up the current and you’d get a finer spray transfer but enough heat to crack base metals when working with thin stuff. The idea was to use two currents. A high peak current pulsed on and off, while a lower background current kept the arc from flickering out when the pulse was on “off.” And we’re talking some fast pulsing here. How fast? To an operator, it looks and sounds for all the world like a steady, continuous transfer. The net

A couple things. 1) It was complicated. And welding had already become complicated enough. There were more settings involved than the average fabricator had the time or inclination to deal with. 2) It was more expensive. Few were inclined to invest in costly upgrades that didn’t make their life any easier. Enter the inverter

With the electronics boom in the mid80s, things began to change for pulsed MIG. The focus was the power source. Initially, the power source for pulsed MIG welding was a line frequency pulse power source. These power sources were limited to pulse frequencies that were even multiples of the primary power frequency. Say you tapped into a line with 60 cycles per second power. Your alternatives would be confined to frequencies such as Fabricator n September / October 2011

120 cycles per second, for instance. But in the real world, a weld may call for a smorgasbord of pulse frequencies. As always, real world needs fueled a market demand that, in turn, fueled research and development. By the end of the ’80s, the big players, such as Miller Electric, Jacksonville, FL, rolled out pulsed MIG machines using a workable inverter as a power source. Well, almost workable. One thing the first generation of inverters could never be accused of was reliability. This led to the next generation of inverter, and as the decade closed, a new window opened for pulsed MIG welding. Inverters were now capable of an infinite range of frequency settings and had, as Mike Vanderberg, production manager at Miller Electric, puts it, “bulletproof ” reliability. And they’re simple. There are essentially only four settings: 1) Peak amperage, 2) background amperage, 3) pulse width, and 4) pulse frequency. And if that’s too complicated, newer systems, such as synergic technology, store canned parameters in the machine. The operator just chooses a wire feed speed, and the machine makes all the appropriate settings for that wire speed. Modern pulsed MIG machines give you the best of both worlds: MIG and pulsed MIG. You can always lower the current and the machine will switch back to a standard MIG for working on heavier sections or using thicker diameter wire. The early adopters of pulsed MIG technology were large auto plants in the Midwest, which used robotic arms to weld. But the new technology that makes the machines so user friendly is finding fans among the hand-held welding set. Which is to say that welders know a good thing when they see it. Pulsed MIG is now an accepted technology. “Nowadays, when you bring up pulsed MIG welding you don’t get a ‘what’s that?’ anymore,” says Vanderberg. So, who’s using pulsed MIG? Anyone who likes neat welds on thin sections, particularly people who work September / October 2011


with aluminum alloys or stainless steel. Boat builders like the speed, versatility, and delicacy when working with lighter gauge aluminum. They also like the longer leads for their leapfrog system of stitch welding used to fabricate hulls. Not to mention the lower heat that translates into reduced distortion. And fabricators of outdoor architectural and ornamental projects are discovering what boat builders have known for years. Aluminum has advantages over ferrous metals. It’s light and strong and has excellent corrosion resistance. Its impressive strength-to-weight ratio allows a wider breadth of design flexibility. But those same properties can make aluminum ticklish to weld

thin sections with conventional MIG. The lower mean temperature and smaller footprint of pulsed MIGs solves these problems. And for ornamental fabricators who strive for a certain aesthetic standard, pulse is a plus. Limitations

But encomiums aside, pulsed MIG does have a downside, which manifests itself when you get into sections over 3/8 inch thick. This is where pulsed MIG reaches its limits of penetration, and where the realistic welder will reach for a MIG gun. Or push down the current on his Pulsed MIG machine. Other places pulsed MIG is out of its element are open root pipe welding

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and welds where the fit-up is coarse enough to leave a good-sized gap. But for those working with aluminum or stainless steel, pulsed MIG delivers nonpareil artwork. Two success stories

Shops like Tim Orchard’s OMF Performance Products, Riverside, CA, will testify to that. OMF’s go-to machine, a four-year-old Miller 350P has canned settings that kick in automatically, taking their lead from a single knob setting based on spool rate. 05 G-S Co


10:41 AM

The newer technology makes it a breeze compared to the older GMAWP incarnations. “With the earlier machines, it took a rocket scientist to figure out the parameters,” says Orchard, who is president of the company. Although simple to change, OMF’s machine is kept on a dedicated setting for 6061 aluminum, their alloy of choice. Tim’s shop makes beadlocks, which any self-respecting gear head knows are specialized wheel modifications that allow for lower tire pressure in high performance vehicles. While highly practi-

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cal in purpose, the beadlocks are also works of art. The fillets that hold them together are examples of what pulsed MIG can do in the hands of an artist. Orchard says they experimented before concluding that Miller’s recommendations for wire and shielding gas were virtually spot on. Now they’re using pure Argon and 4000 series (4043) aluminum alloy for wire material. One of the less obvious benefits of the pulsed MIG welding is cost effectiveness. The low background current and intermittent peak current averages out to a lower mean current than regular MIG welding. That means less draw, and that has proved a significant savings for OMG on their monthly electric bill — which is actually a leveraged savings since higher use is billed at a higher rate in California. Other features yield power savings and maintenance savings as well. The cooling fan’s sensor allows the fan to cycle on and off as needed, rather than just run all the time. It also has jacketed wind tunnels, which cool the machine yet keep the innards sealed off from any airborne particulate matter. Orchard says that yearly dismantling to clean out debris is a thing of the past. While Orchard’s machine is kept at dedicated aluminum alloy settings, the machine loves other alloys equally. “A guy in my complex has a machine that he uses just for stainless steel. He loves it. He just leaves it set up for stainless,” says Orchard. Another fan of pulsed MIG is Bruce Larson, director of sales and marketing, Weldcraft, Clarkston, WA, a builder of high quality aluminum boats in Washington State. Weldcraft went to the pulsed MIG about six years ago. While they still use TIG for some of the high visibility welds, or “cosmetic” welds, they’ve found that in the hands of a skilled operator, the pulsed MIG can approach the look of a TIG weld. Their boats are made primarily of ¼-inch 5000 series aluminum, which is ideal for pulsed MIG. “It cleans up the weld,” says Larson. “It’s not a dirty weld with a lot of smoke because the weld pool stays a more consistent temperature.” And for boat building the cleanliness of a pulsed MIG weld was a big Fabricator n September / October 2011

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For OMF, pulsed MIG equals cost effectiveness from lower current average settings.

factor in moving to that technology. That and the longer leads. The 25-foot leads allow workers to scramble into nooks and crannies in the hull. And with a 17- to 34-foot boat, that’s a lot of odd spaces to reach. Faster deposition rate and travel speed, less spatter, less distortion, less fumes, more flexibility in welding positions, and more cost efficiency. It’s no surprise the demand for pulsed MIG is increasing. And increasing demand means decreasing price, which removes just about the last reason for not getting into pulsed MIG.

For your information



OMF Performance Products Tim Orchard President 8199 Mar Vista Court Riverside, CA 92504 951-354-8272

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Weldcraft Bruce Larson Director of Sales and Marketing 1061 16th Avenue Clarkston, WA 99403 800-597-9189 Miller Electric Company Mike Vandenberg Production Manager PO Box 1799 Jacksonville, FL 32201 800-554-4761

For more information n Welding Handbook, published by the American Welding Society Society (ISBN 0-87171-729-8) has a section titled “Welding Processes” that provides ample background on pulsed MIG welding. Society of Manufacturing Engineers: n

About the author Jeff Fogel began writing as a journalist with the New York Daily News. He has been a copywriter and associate creative director for advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Jeff now lives in New Hampshire where the weather’s bad, the skiing’s better, and blacksmithing’s a respectable way to keep warm.

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Shop Talk

Pool fencing Educate your customers Code compliant perimeter fences are a proven deterrent to toddler drownings.

For your information


Summary Under many laws, a pool barrier is not required if a homeowner has other safety systems, such as a door alarm, pool cover, or pool water alarm. These devices can provide secondary protection, but isolation fencing is the first line of defense. Fabricators are encouraged to educate both their customers and their communities on the importance of “layered protection,” starting with a perimeter fence. Who is Virginia Graeme Baker? Seven-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker’s tragic death inspired her family to advocate for pool and spa safety and moved Congress to act to prevent entrapments. About the author Maureen Williams is founding president of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. 714-693-1931; 30


Here’s how you can teach your customers to use layered protection, and make a perimeter fence with self-closing, self-latching gates priority one.

By Maureen Williams Isolation fencing is the only layer of pro-

tection that has been shown through extensive research to be an effective deterrent against toddler drowning. But passage of mandatory fencing laws in the U.S. is likely to take many more years. In 2007, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (known as the P&SS Act), gave states an incentive to pass swimming pool barrier laws that would require such measures as isolation fencing. However, no state qualified for those grants while they were available. The reality is that laws requiring isolation pool fencing are tough to pass. Consumers do not want the government telling them what to do in their own backyards, and many in the pool industry fear that the added cost of a fence

will cause some consumers to decide against installing a new pool. Efforts to pass such laws face daunting opposition. Even the new International Swimming Pool Code drafted by the International Code Council, currently in the approval stage, allows for pools to meet code if the homeowner selects one of several other options to isolation fencing, such as automatic safety covers or door alarms. Extensive public education is the key to passing effective barrier laws, and fencing fabricators can and should take an active role in this effort. In places where mandatory isolation fencing laws have been passed, such as Western Australia, fences with self-closing, self-latching gates have been shown to effectively reduce drownings. Yet even where such laws are working, advocates must constantly battle individuals and Fabricator n September / October 2011

Model State Legislation. The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides model legislation (http://www.poolsafely. gov/wp-content/uploads/modelvgb. pdf) to guide new pool and spa safety laws or the amendment of existing statutes governing public and residential pools and spas. This model legislation also is intended to assist states and localities that seek to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for applying for a grant under Sections 1405 and 1406 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. For more information:

organizations that want to weaken the legislation making fencing an option, not a requirement. For parents with small children — or anyone with a pool who has children living or visiting their home — the cost of a pool fence is nothing in comparison to the life-long pain they would suffer if a child drowned in their pool.

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

In my experience with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (which I started in 2004 when I was communications manager for NDPA founding sponsor D&D Technologies), I’ve heard several bereaved parents of child drowning victims say that if they had known that a fence between their home and their pool would have prevented the tragedy, they would have

insisted on having an isolation pool fence with an effective gate. A number of states have passed pool barrier laws, but often they have “ors” attached to the requirements. You must have a fence, “or” a door alarm, “or” a pool cover, “or” a pool (water) alarm. Gates sometimes do fail to latch or are propped open, so additional safety measures, or layers


A pool fence can still be creative and meet code. This pool fence features a forged leaf on top of each picket, which is curved to create a leafy hoop. All total, this project included 48 feet of fencing, two gates, and a matching 8-foot arbor gate. The ironwork was hot-dip galvanized and finished in sponge textured tones over a deep bronze finish. Fabricator: Fine Architectural Metalsmiths, Chester, NY.

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of protection, are important. This is where pool covers, and door and pool alarms, are important back-up safety measures. But we need to educate consumers so that their their first safety layer will be isolation fencing. Some states require isolation pool fencing, but such codes typically apply only to new pool construction and are not retroactive. This means millions of these “grandfathered” pools nationwide have no barriers between the home and the pool, and those homeowners are not required to install one. Property line fencing is often mandatory, however, to protect neighborhood children from accessing the pool, yet the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission found that fewer than 2% of all drowning victims were trespassers; more than 98% of child swimming pool drowning victims were living at or guests at the house with the pool. Mandatory isolation fencing would provide a huge sales boost to the fencing industry, but even without laws requiring it, there is a major opportunity for fencing companies to take a proactive approach to selling pool fencing. Ways you can get involved

n Become a member of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA). You can go to www.NDPA. org to demonstrate your support for the NDPA’s efforts. It’s not only an important corporate social responsibility initiative, it’s good business. n The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the agency charged with administering the P&SS Act, has been conducting an extensive public education campaign called Pool Safely. Its videos and printed materials promote barriers, including isolation fencing. The NDPA is actively involved as a contracting agency. n The CPSC’s public service announcements (PSAs) and video can be found at One of the PSAs focuses on fencing. The NDPA, as part of its contract with the CPSC, also developed an educational video and two PSAs. They can be seen at Members of the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry are encouraged to share Fabricator n September / October 2011

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these videos on websites, and through social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter. The advantage of facts

Fabricators who can cite facts on the value of isolation fencing have an edge. In the U.S, a recently released CPSC report includes these key findings: n On average, 5,100 pool- or sparelated emergency department (ED)treated submersion injuries occurred each year for 2008 through 2010, tri-state-quarter page.qxd 12/19/07 9:44 and 383 pool- or spa-related fatalities reported per year for 2006 through 2008, involving children younger than 15 years of age. n 76% of the reported fatalities and 79% of the ED-treated injuries involved children younger than 5 years of age.


Saving lives is collaborative work

When you bid on a project for a new fence or repair a fence at a home with a pool, this information can improve your chances to make the sale,

accident often extends to the pool builder. Also, most members of the fencing would provide pool industry understand that potential pool owners know the risks. a huge sales boost to the Homeowners would enjoy pool ownfencing industry, but even ership more knowing their loved ones were better protected. without laws requiring it, Pool builders want product and there is a major opportunity pricing knowledge, assurance pool fencing will be aesthetically pleasing, for fencing companies to and a partner to handle that portion take a proactive approach of the sale. Fabricators can help ensure a fence goes up with every pool, and to selling pool fencing. that it fits into the landscape plans, by Page 1 but more importantly you will have proactively working with pool designdone something that can potentially ers and builders. save lives. There are a number of safety prodTo increase business, fencing disucts in our industry, such as self-clostributors and contractors can form ing latches and hinges, that have been partnerships with the pool industry, so designed to meet pool fencing codes. that when a new pool is installed, the Although most states have adopted fence goes up at the same time. the ICC Residential Building Code or Also stay in touch with industry, ICC Building Code, local jurisdictions realtors, home inspectors, home buildoften have more stringent requireers and design center staff, property ments. Consult with local building management companies, landscapers, department officials to get code and home improvement stores. requirements before you quote any PROOF - 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2 Legal liability after a submersion pool fencing job.

Mandatory isolation


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O&MM Fabricator file photo

Shop Talk

Are your trucks DOT compliant? n

Following a few important regulations can help you avoid surprises further down the road. By Peter Hildebrandt When delivering equipment, materials, or final projects, some NOMMA

members have discovered they must be prepared and then some when dealing with state and federal transportation authorities. After all, you don’t want to spoil the good feeling of a job well done with the misery of commercial vehicle violations before you’ve even installed your new creations. One NOMMA member’s company’s work truck that weighs about 10,000 pounds was recently ticketed because it did not have a DOT number. The company went online to register for one and noticed the numerous compliance rules and regulations that need to be addressed when driving a commercial vehicle.


Fabricator n September / October 2011

For your information


What to know Avoid the risk of large fines by ensuring that your fleet meets federal and state laws. Items covered by regulations include: n Driver qualifications. n Vehicle inspection. n Controlled substances and alcohol testing. n Hazardous materials.

Smaller businesses with smaller trucks often don’t think of themselves as being in the trucking industry. But they do

have the same regulations that are largely equal to what tractor trailer drivers are dealing with.

— Leon Feazell Trucking consultant Tejas Safety Advantage Frisco, TX


More on federal requirements

Build a fence that makes a statement

To find your state DOT Leon Feazell Consultant Tejas Safety Advantage Frisco, TX 214-872-4659 214-929-3371 mobile 214-872-3605 fax About the author Peter Hildebrandt is a long-time senior writer for Fabricator. He is a general interest writer with a specialty in company profiles.

Another member’s service truck (a Dooley flatbed C-3500) was pulling a trailer load of pre-fab rails when an officer stopped them for a random check. They were ticketed for: n not having a fire extinguisher with proper signage on the truck; n not having a commercial vehicle inspection (their state does not have state vehicle inspections anymore, but commercial vehicles are required to have proof of an inspection); n the driver not having a medical card by a certified physician; n not having roadside signs (the reflective triangles and flares in case they had a breakdown); and n being overweight only because the truck was not tagged properly. The company got seven days to correct everything to avoid being fined. The cost came to more than $800. September / October 2011 n Fabricator

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The DOT person that has worked with me is perhaps the most helpful state employee I have ever dealt with, perhaps O&MM Fabricator file photo

because I went to them proactively to solve a problem.

— A NOMMA member

Another member is going through registration and compliance on the advice of a neighbor who was roadside checked. He suggests contacting the compliance officer of your state motor carrier enforcement agency. “I have learned that once you put your name on the side of your vehicle and are using it for commercial use, you have opened yourself to a whole new line of requirements, driver’s records, medical cards, maintenance files. “I have also learned that although I have plated my vehicles properly and have the required insurance, I have been skating on all the rest of the rules,” the member says. “The DOT person that has worked with me is perhaps the most helpful state employee I have ever dealt with, perhaps because I went to them proactively to solve a problem.” When a NOMMA member in New Jersey received his USDOT number, the state police called for an appointment with them at their facility to discuss the paperwork. “The Trooper was great and spent about three hours with us, explaining all the basics that our firm would need to follow. This made it very easy to get started and follow protocol.” This member recommends calling USDOT compliance officer at the local state police. “If they don’t have one there, they should be able to direct you to them. Once you contact them, they should be very helpful. Getting medical cards would be my first step while working on the rest.” What is a commercial vehicle?

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The first step in dealing with transportation issues is knowing the driver and vehicle requirements. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is one with a gross combinaFabricator n September / October 2011

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tion weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, according to the USDOT, including a towed unit that has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. The other definition is that it has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, or it is used to transport hazardous materials. O&MM Fabricator file photo

How to get a USDOT number, and other stuff You must complete the MCS-150 (Motor Carrier Identification Report) to obtain a USDOT number. The form can be found on their web site at To update MCS-150 information, go to the FMCSA registration page:, Other forms may be found at


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Learn federal and state regulations

Most states adopt the federal regulations for intrastate travel. One lead agency in each state enforces the regulations, whether it’s the state police, state department of transportation, department of public safety or highway patrol. “When the states adopt the federal safety regulations (Part 390 through Part 396) all the regulations that affect interstate (crossing state lines) CMVs start at 10,001 pounds and above,” says Leon Feazell, a trucking consultant and sole proprietor of Tejas Safety Advantage, Frisco, TX. “But Arkansas, for example, adopted the regulations for intrastate (within the state) at 10,000 pounds, whereas Texas adopted at 26,001 pounds for intrastate. Each state establishes its threshold,” Feazell says. “A lot of the states now, when you operate within that state, are requiring that you have a USDOT number regardless of whether you’re going interstate or intrastate. “That is a move by the federal government to get everybody who operates a CMV, whether it’s 10,001 and above or 26,001 pounds and above, to have one identifying number that will be the USDOT number,” Feazell says. “That’s a fed issue that’s going on now, and many states have already put that in place, so when you start operating within a state you also have to get a USDOT number to put on your truck. “They are trying to eliminate all these different numbers that you see on a CMV. Now you’ll just have one identifying number,” he says. A USDOT number is required, if you have vehicles more than 10,000 pounds that are used for interstate commerce or haul hazardous materials. There’s no application fee. Fabricator n September / October 2011

September / October 2011 n Fabricator


What R&F Metals does Heather Latham, R&F Metals, Inc, Clinton, MD, says that R&F has run trucks of more than 10,000 pounds for years. “There are quite a few requirements involved, but we have found there are some key things they look for at inspections,” she says. Here’s her 12-item list: 1) USDOT number. We are required to have our USDOT number listed on our trucks at least here in Maryland and Virginia. 2) DOT physicals. The driver of the truck must have a DOT card noting he is fit to drive the vehicle. This is provided by a local DOT certified physician able to give DOT physicals. We generally pay for that and get copies of the cards for the driver files. 3) Drug tests. We carry acetylene horizontalfullcolorad.pdf 1 8/14/2011 9:08:36 PM and oxygen for our welders, so our

drivers must be drug tested every two years. We do not carry an amount high enough to placard the truck; only require the extra drug test. 4) Truck inspection. We have our vehicles inspected every 25,000 miles or annually, whichever comes first. We must have the truck inspection posted on the vehicle. 5) Pre-trip inspection. Our drivers complete a pre-trip inspection to make sure the vehicle works properly. 6) Load training. All drivers are trained to tie down the truck and ensure the load won’t shift in transit. 7) Compliance form. They also complete a DOT compliance form and list their mileage at the beginning of the day and end of the day, and list any issues they had and repaired or need to be addressed. 8) DOT file. We keep a DOT file jacket for each truck and copies of all repairs, maintenance, and inspections. We keep an Excel file listing out the repairs and dates, and mileage at

the time of repairs and maintenance. 9) Driver records. We have driver folders with our internal documents, copies of any vehicle violations, and annual questionnaires of the drivers asking for information on vehicle violations and copies of driving records. 10) Safety equipment. We have truck flares, triangles, and fire extinguishers (generally two extinguishers in case one is discharged on the job) on each truck. The extinguishers are also inspected monthly internally and annually by an outside company. 11) Weight registration. We register the vehicle at the highest weight allowed for that vehicle so that we can load the truck without violations. The load, including the driver and helpers, cannot go over the registered weight or the GVW weight listed on the door so that we do not get any fines. 12) Weigh stations. The vehicle must stop for inspection at all weigh stations that are open at the time they are passing through the area.” A commercial driver’s license

“There’s certainly no question that trucking regulations can be confusing at best and terribly expensive at worst,” says Clarence Mandoiza, traffic manager for King Architectural Metals, Dallas, TX. King operates a fleet of commercial vehicles in three states ranging from small delivery vans to tractor trailer combinations that are used to service their customers and to facilitate the inbound transportation of goods from their vendors. They’ve had some experience over the years in dealing with regulations and have offered some information. If a company operates a commercial vehicle exclusively in intrastate commerce, Mandoiza says the only federal regulations are: n the commercial driver’s license (CDL), n controlled substances and alcohol testing for all persons required to possess a CDL, and n if transporting a hazardous materials, be aware that additional regulations may apply.










Fabricator n September / October 2011

O&MM Fabricator file photo

The drivers CDL, which is issued by the state and meets federal standards and guidelines, typically requires extensive written and driving testing. Drivers also must complete a physical exam in addition to holding a medical examiner’s certificate. The driver’s certification would indicate any medical restrictions applied to their duties. “The employer is also required to perform a documented driving test to ascertain that the operator can in fact safely manage the equipment he will be using during his daily activities,” adds Mandoiza. “Extensive documentation on the part of the operator and the employer is required, including basic background information, ongoing updates of license status, accident involvement, safety and drug awareness training and random drug testing.” The USDOT requires companies to evaluate their drivers on various criteria. Mandoiza says drivers are rated based on: n their driving, n hours of service or logbooks, n fitness n whether they’ve had a controlled substance violation, n what their maintenance ranking is, and n number of tickets and crashes they’ve been involved in. The most important thing that drivers can do, according to Mandoiza, is to find out from the state if your equipment needs to be registered with them and the proper way to register it. The second thing is to be sure you understand what paperwork and what kinds of records need to be done for both your vehicles and your drivers. If you are crossing state lines, you must be sure that you’re completSeptember / October 2011 n Fabricator

ing the proper forms and making the first worked with DOT regulations. proper payments with fuel taxes. Get“There have been a lot of improveting behind on those can cause some ments over that period of time in the interest payments to result. qualification process for obtaining a Each state’s motor carrier enforceCDL and the hiring process by the ment agency website has a section for employers,” he says. commercial vehicles. “Some of it is “Years ago, drivers came largely in ‘legalese’ and may take a follow up from farming backgrounds and typiphone call,” adds Mandoiza. “But for cally were not as qualified as those the most part the information is out today,” he says. there.” “The biggest challenge in preventFeazell says, numerous regulation mishaps Ad_2011:Layout 1 2/7/11 10:09 AMingPage 1 is making sure the drivhave been made since 1970 when he ers understand the characteristics of

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A lot of the states now, when you operate within that state, are requiring that you have a USDOT number regardless of

O&MM Fabricator file photo

whether you’re going interstate or intrastate. That is a move by the federal government to get everybody who operates a CMV, whether it’s 10,001 and above or 26,001 pounds and above, to have one identifying number thatwill be the USDOT number. — Leon Feazell Trucking consultant Tejas Safety Advantage Frisco, TX

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their vehicles,” says Feazell. “This includes ensuring that they provide enough space or cushioning around their trucks. Traffic congestion has become worse than just a few years ago. “A driver today must understand that each truck has different characteristics and criteria for its operation. A driver with a good driving record, minimal traffic violations and no prior accidents is one that is keenly sought after by companies, where there is much competition for good drivers. The value of a good driver is going up,” Feazell says. Smaller businesses with smaller trucks often don’t think of themselves as being in the trucking industry, Feazell says. “But they do have the same regulations that are largely equal to what tractor trailer drivers are dealing with.” One of the biggest problems Feazell sees is an employee who works himself up in a company to drive a truck when he doesn’t have the experience. A terrible accident then occurs. Feazell typically is called in to teach companies how to meet the state or federal regulations. Thus he is quite aware of what companies are up against. And he teaches frequently for the Texas Motor Transportation Association. “Bottom line is,” he says, “you cannot leave your transport to chance. You must be pro-active and aggressive regarding trucking regulations, as this is an important part of ensuring your business continues to succeed.”

Fabricator n September / October 2011

Sign up now for this NOMMA Education Foundation workshop!

Bronze & Silicon Bronze

Saturday, Oct. 15 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Host: Mueller Orn. Iron Works Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL Presenter: Roger Carlsen Fee: $199 members / $299 nonmembers – limited to 10 participants. Fee includes class materials, continental breakfast, and lunch.

Workshop covers:

yourPrepare hat next self for t ob bronze j

 Forging silicon bronze.  Welding silicon bronze with a pulse MIG welder.  Texturing of silicon bronze.  Finishing of bronzes in general brushed finish to near mirror.  Patination of bronzes from browns to greens - both hot and cold.  Sealing options. About the Instructor: Roger Carlsen, Ephraim Forge Inc. – After a career as a college professor, Roger began his forging career as a blacksmith in 1974. He furthered his craft by attending many conferences and workshops and working under the tutelage of practicing smiths, and began his business, Ephraim Forge, in 1979. Roger is a member of NOMMA winning numerous awards in the highly respected Top Job contest. After many years as a trustee for the NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) Roger was elected as Chairman and spends numerous hours each day working to further the educational goals of NEF. He owns Ephraim Forge Inc. in Frankfort, Illinois and accepts commissions for custom forged ironwork, replication and restoration of old ironwork and sculpture. His shop is much like himself, a bit disorganized, eclectic, somewhat enigmatic, with a knowledge base and technology that ranges from the 21st century BC to the 21st century AD. Class requires a minimum of 5 participants.

Register online at: Or, call NOMMA at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101; Fax: 888-279-7994


Member Talk

Pursuit of the gold n

Rod Lambirth’s determination as a NOMMA award winner comes in part from his ongoing quest to eliminate mistakes and still have time for some bass fishing.

By Lisa Bakewell To say that “Rod Iron” Rod Lambirth is a hard worker is

an understatement. To say that he likes to do his best is definitely an oversimplification of his stellar work ethic, eye for good design, and his quest for perfection. Hard work pays off. “This might sound cocky,” says Rod Lambirth, founder of Rod Iron Rod, Odessa, TX, “but my opinion about getting the job is — no matter what the job is — when you walk up to that customer, the first thing they need to feel is you can do it — no matter what. “You’ve got to convince them that there’s nobody better than you. But you’ve got to be able to back that up.” And back it up, he can. With hard work, determination, and a zest for perfection, Rod has worked underwater and aboveground to forge a path that’s gotten him to a place where he hasn’t had to “look” for work in over 3½ years. Since Rod does primarily high-end work, today’s economy isn’t hurting his business at all. Business is “out of this world,” he says, and his phone won’t quit ringing. “My phone rings 60–70 times per day, but I don’t know if I should be telling this,” Rod chuckles, “because I don’t want anyone moving here. But, really, there’s been no downturn. I’m months behind now. It just never stops.“ First underwater, then Vegas

Rod Iron” Rod poses in front of his fabrication shop. Lambirth does mostly high-end jobs. “I don’t ever look for a job. We never have to. People just call me. Our work is all referral,” he says. 46

Rod Lambirth hasn’t always gone by the nickname “Rod Iron” Rod. Prior to his fabrication career, he was an underwater welder. “I was underwater for nine years,” says Rod, “on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and on barges in Hawaii. I Fabricator n September / October 2011

worked on bridges, and I even fixed the prop on the Queen Mary once.” In 1990, in an effort to get out of the water — and onto (safer) dry land — Rod went to Las Vegas where he worked at a construction company as a welding supervisor, running their equipment. He wasn’t on the job long, when Rod’s bosses found out he used to own a welding company. Because of his past experience, his supervisors asked him if he thought he could run a wrought iron company, which they were considering opening at the same time. Rod said yes. “I built 350 sets of switch-back stairs — steps and switch-back stairs — that’s all I built for that company for about a year, and then they ran out of work. So, I bought [the welding]that division of the company from them, and I started my own, Rod Iron Rod, right there in Las Vegas.” Next a timeout, then Odessa

Work was very good for Rod in Vegas, where he built staircases for apartment buildings. After about a decade, though, business dried up, and he decided it was time to move on. “I was burnt out,” Rod said, “and it was really hard to get paid in Las Vegas. You’d spend three or four days a week just trying to get paid.” So, in 2000, Rod sold his business to Jose Sanchez, got married to Trudi (a girl he’d known all of his life), and moved to New Mexico. “I did nothing, just fished for a couple of years,” says Rod, “but that wasn’t real profitable.” About the time Rod was getting a little weary of doing nothing but fishing, a friend needed help with work on a house in Odessa. Once he was there, his friend told him the area needed a wrought iron company. So, he and Trudi started Rod Iron Rod in Odessa, where they remain today.

The pattern for this Rod Lambirth-designed railing is from .5 solid sq. bar and was rolled cold. Heat was used only on the volutes. The hardest part of the job was that the pony wall and steps were all built incorrectly. The height from the point of the step to the top of the pony wall would vary up to 8 inches, thus keeping the rail height the same was “a nightmare.” The rail was built in the shop and transported to the job in five pieces. Exactly 100 feet of rail is in this “S” shaped project. The finish is flat black with a blonde bronze faux. The rail was clear coated with three coats of XIM 900. Approx. labor time: 520 hrs.

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Learning the business

If you ask Rod how he learned to create the masterful, award-winning pieces that he forges today, he’ll tell you that it was a lot of determination and hard work. He’s a self-taught artisan. “I got [my education] by learning,” shares Rod. “When I bought the comSeptember / October 2011 n Fabricator

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The railing was designed by Rod Lambirth. The customer ordered 500 feet of this fence originally, but after seeing the finished product, they ordered another 1000 feet. This labor-intensive fence has about 43,000 welds in 500 feet; there was so much welding on each 6-foot panel that they have 12, C clamps to keep it from warping. The pickets are 5/8 inch and 1-foot-2-inch square tube, and 1.75 inches apart. The top was finished with a 2.25 inch cap rail. The entire project was built in Lambirth’s shop and transported 350 miles on his 40-foot gooseneck and installed in 18-foot sections. It was all core drilled in limestone and concrete, with a North wind blowing about 40 miles per hour everyday. The finish is a copper vein powder coat.

pany in Las Vegas, all we built was staircases for apartment complexes. I never built any wrought iron in my life! [Before that] I built solid pipe fence for livestock and horses for years. “So, everything I learned, even the AutoCAD, I self-taught. I tried to go to school for it, but I didn’t understand what they were trying to tell me at that point, so I just quit. After 10 or 15 years of it, though, I can draw you about anything.” While still in Las Vegas, Rod became familiar with the spec houses of the “Street of Dreams,” and he was intrigued. “I saw [Street of Dreams] the first year that I was in business when I was still doing apartment complexes,” said Rod, “and I said, ‘Man, I want to build a staircase in that sometime.’” The next year, Rod built one of the staircases on the Street of Dreams, and it won second place in NOMMA’s Top Job competition. That was in 2001, only about a year and a half after starting his business. To date, Rod has won five Tob Job awards: one gold, one silver, and three bronze. Keys to growing a successful fabrication business

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Rod has some very specific reasons he feels his shop has been successful, so successful, in fact, he recently opened a second shop, Stainless Stairs & Door, in a second building that occupies an additional 5,500–6,000 square feet right behind the Rod Iron Rod shop of the same size. Rod feels a successful fabrication business needs to provide: n good design; n quality work; n the ability to meet deadlines; n the ability to stay within a budget; and n no (or very few) mistakes. The most important step to being successful, he says, is being sure that everything is done right. To keep clients coming Fabricator n September / October 2011

back — and referring his business — he feels that one of his most important responsibilities is looking over each piece completely before it leaves his shop. “I powder coat 80–90% of all the jobs that leave here,” he says. “I go over every job with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything is just right. A few things get by me every now and then, but not too often.” And, the fact that he creates his own AutoCAD drawings, Rod feels, is probably his biggest selling point. “My AutoCAD designs let people see exactly what they are going to get, and we build exactly what I drew. Usually it’s pretty cut and dry. I go through the job very carefully, you know, and double check everything and get it right the first time. That way it keeps [my] customers happier. And I’m happier. “Sometimes I get a little carried away with my drawing and not so carried away on my bidding, though,” he chuckles. Regarding pricing, Rod says that he sticks to his price, so his customer knows what the job is going to cost, unless they “change the whole ballgame.” If that happens, Rod says that an upfront conversation, preferably before work has begun, is the best way to keep his clients happy. “We do really good work, and, um, I don’t ever look for a job. We never have to. People just call me. Our work is all referral.” And, according to Rod, that’s the key to having a successful metal fabrication business.

Rod’s patent pending arc welder Rod developed a 36-volt, cordless DC Arc Welder that’s suited for general welding purposes in the field or in the shop. This patent-pending welder can be used for quick repair welding, such as for small auto parts, home and garden (including welding a hinge back on a gate, Rod says), racing vehicle, and agriculture and shop needs. The welder is good for five or six rods, and is capable of welding mild steel using 6013 mild steel electrode (1/16 inch, 5/64 inch and 3/32 inch. Low voltage protection ensures a proper weld 100% of the time. The fourhour quick charger is specialized for sealed lead acid batteries. It also has a built-in power indicator and shoulder strap. Retailing for $300, the welder is manufactured by JS Products, Inc., Las Vegas, NV, and marketed under the Steelman brand name. It can be purchased from various retailers nationwide.

The pay off

Rod Iron Rod mostly does highend work, although there isn’t a job that Rod will refuse if the customer is willing to pay the price. Annually, he says, the company does at least 150 jobs with eight or more of them being “really big jobs.” Rod also does all of the design work himself. “We do lots of the big, fancy staircases, wrought iron staircases, all different styles and the doors too, he says. “I design all the doors . . . 90% of the doors, anyway, [there are] very seldom any ‘cookie cut’ doors.” The timeframe for Rod’s work varies depending on the job. The larger the project, the more time it takes. September / October 2011 n Fabricator


Odessa Country Club railing, far right. Elaborate railing created for another fabrication shop owner in Odessa, TX, near right. Rod Iron Rod also created railings for fabrication shop owners in three additional high-end homes.


“If it’s a big house with doors, staircases, entry gates — electric gates — and all the handrail and oven hoods and copper — it could take two or three months sometimes,” he says. To run his second company, Rod recruited Jose Sanchez (the man that bought his company in Las Vegas). Rod Iron Rod has eight employees, Stainless Steel & Door has five. 9:43 book and half page 2011:Bmp ad 7/15/11





“We opened Stainless Steel & Doors four months ago,” Rod said. “The workload was just overwhelming. I couldn’t handle everything I had to do in this building. This other building came up for rent, and I just bought a whole bunch of new equipment and moved Jose and four guys down here.” With the new business, Rod says thatPage he doesn’t have to outsource much PM 1


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Does it get any better than this? “Rod Iron” Rod doing what he loves to do (besides metal fabrication): bass fishing on Lake Falcon.

work anymore — only the brick and stone work, since his contractors want his work to be turnkey. He used to outsource some of his plasma cutting, but he purchased a CNC Plasma Cutter to keep the majority of his work in-house. Other equipment that Rod uses are a Hebo scroll machine, Miller welders, and Eagle rolling machines; though he says, with a chuckle, his main tools are a propane forge and an anvil. Going for the gold

Rod attributes part of his success to becoming a member of NOMMA and wrote a Sept./Oct. 2003 article for Fabrica­ tor titled, “Pursuit of Gold” about trying to win the Gold NOMMA Top Job Award. Besides being an avid Top Job Award contestant, Rod also enjoys the camaraderie of the NOMMA members, and he’s a big fan of NOMMA’s YouTube educational videos. “Rod Iron” Rod has come a CO NTAC T long way, in his pursuit of gold, Rod Lambirth from his parents’ (Richard and 411 West 2nd Street Bettye Lambirth) cattle ranch Odessa, TX 79761 in Porpales, NM, to where he 432-582-2226 is today. Though he forged 432-582-2229 fax an unusual path to success, 702-985-5978 cell he’s worked hard for all of his achievements. But, along with his pursuit About the Author of gold, Rod still has time for Lisa Bakewell is a freelance his family, his church (Odeswriter in the Chicago area. sa Baptist Church), and a Besides writing and editing good deal of fun: his beloved for Fabricator, Lisa’s work bass fishing adventures and can be seen in ALL YOU, tournaments. Massage and Bodywork, Pulse, other trade As Rod tells it, there needs magazines, and in her local to be a balance between newspaper, The Herald working hard and playing hard. News. Lisa also blogs for All work and no play is no fun Chicago for “Rod Iron” Rod.

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Job Profile

970 tons n

That’s the weight of the structure fabricated to hold up the weight of a Boeing 747-100. A heavyweight job requiring a delicate touch. Building Information Modeling was the right tool for this Top Job winner.

By Linda M. Erbele Across the street from the McMinnville, OR, airport, a large

airplane appears to have landed on the top of a building. Closer inspection reveals that the building is the Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark, which opened its doors in June of this year. The waterpark is a part of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum complex, so it’s one of few waterparks with an educational mission, focusing on teaching the importance of water to life on our planet. And it’s certainly the only waterpark with an actual Boeing 747-100 sitting on the roof. The plane isn’t just decorative. Ever wished you could slide down one of those emergency chutes? Innertube clutching kids (and their adventurous parents) climb one of two 110-step staircases from the first floor of the building to enter the plane through its fuselage and then choose one of four waterslides at the tail of the plane. Each slide has its own level of daring, but all go spiraling out over the roof, then into the building, twisting and curving 350 to 550 feet before hitting the water, the equivalent of six stories beneath the plane. Making the dream a reality

From a fabrication point of view, creating a steel frame building that will gracefully and safely hold a 700,000-pound plane is no easy task. “There’s a support gantry system that supports the 747, and out of that there’s a million-and-a-half pound footing 52

Fabricator n September / October 2011

that is structurally independent of the building,” explains Dave Garske, operations manager for Hoffman Construction, Portland, OR, who managed the project. In fact, the building that houses the waterpark was built around the structure for the plane. “The reason for that is the seismic reaction and the loading for the 747, which needed to be separate from the structure (of the building).” Seismic load is proportional to mass. During even smaller seismic events, the higher a heavy object is, the worse the effects. One of the big challenges of putting a real plane on top of a building is that it wants to do what it was designed to do — fly, Garske says. “When we get 30 or 40 mile-per-hour winds, it creates a tremendous amount of uplift.” Columbia Wire and The Building Information Modeling program modeled and detailed the Iron Inc. (CWI,), Portentire project, virtually lifting and setting the Boeing 747 into fittings land, OR, was a part of the created for it on the roof of the building.

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

team that built this unusual museum and waterpark. They had worked on the other parts of the Evergreen museum campus, including building the structure for the space museum and engineering the hanging of the rockets and airplane in the aviation museum. Howard Hughes’ wellknown Spruce Goose is one of the premier exhibits at the aviation museum. Group MacKenzie, Portland, OR, designed the waterpark building, and the steel package came in two parts. Structural fabrication was awarded to CWI, and structural steel erection, including the support of the 747, was awarded to Carr Construction, Portland, OR. “The waterpark was a big project on a fast schedule,” says Bob Park, CWI chairman. “We took the information from the structural engineer, then did the modeling in the computer for the whole project.”


2011 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest Gold award project description In keeping with the theme of the facilities location at the McMinnville airport, a 747-100 was flown in to become the iconic feature of the water park. Fabrication of 970 tons of complex heavy structural and miscellaneous steel was required for the project, featuring seven long span trihedral trusses. The project began by modeling the complete structure and using it as the basis of shop drawings. The trusses were made of 12 heavy pipe cords with 8-inch heavy pipe lacing. All pipes were CNC laser cut and beveled before fitup and welding. All the structure and miscellaneous steel is AESS. The biggest challenge was the schedule. From start to finish the structural steel portions of the project covered a seven-month time span. Approx. labor time: 14,900 shop hours.

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It took a lot of interface with the airplane, which Evergreen Aviation had retired from its fleet. “Then we did the detailing. We put it in a three-dimensional computer model to see how everyone else’s parts fit in,” explains Park. From on-screen to on-the-roof

“CWI played a crucial role,” says Garske. “If it had been a conventional project, Carr would simply have taken the material and put it together. But CWI took it one step further and did the three-dimensional modeling, detailing all the steel fabrication. Through that we were able to make sure all the components fit together and that the 747 was structurally sound.” Total tonnage for the project was 970 tons. Consequently, CWI used a Building Information Modeling program to see “virtually” how to pick the plane up and set it down on its fabricated supports, ensuring that everything fit. When it came time to actually move the plane, it was lifted by two cranes and put down into its structural connections as smoothly as the computer simulation had indicated that it would, says Drew Park, CWI president. “The plane was set into place without any issues,” says Garske. “Bolts and structural seats fit perfectly. At the end of the day, if you do your detailing correctly, everything goes as planned. We spent nine months challenging ourselves so that when we did get the plane in the air, everyone completed their tasks and it was all done safely. We knew that we had done our homework properly.” CWI worked on the coordination of all phases of the project as structural modifications needed were made for the various apparatus and parts of the building, including the various pools, HVAC systems, and slides. The waterpark has a wave pool that simulates tides and tsunamis, a hot tub, a vortex pool, a museum, an arcade, and various kiddie slides, as well as the two stair systems that take people into the plane and onto the four major slides. The weight and dimensions for even the mechanical and electrical parts of every piece of equipment were created in the computer program so that every Fabricator n September / October 2011

The steel skeleton for this unusual water park begins to rise from the ground.

detail could be verified. “Their modeling and detailing made sure all those components were coordinated,” adds Garske. A lot of challenges were eliminated because Hoffman put together a good team for the project, explains Drew Park. “The project was successful because the architect, the contractor, and the whole team were moving in the same direction at the same time,” he says. “We collaborated non-stop via email, phone, and meetings when they made sense.” Some of the trusses for the building were 110 feet long, and they became parts of even bigger pieces of the building. Size isn’t really a problem for CWI because their shop is an old building that was used to build Liberty ships during World War II. “We built all the structural steel and the miscellaneous steel like stairs, hand rails and guard rails,” says Bob Park. The company has been in business since 1902 and employs anywhere from 40 to 100. Park purchased it in 1980 and ran it until 2007, when he handed over daily operations to his son Drew. Both are proud of the waterpark. “These kinds of projects are few and far between right now.”

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The more unusual a job, the more CWI relishes it, says Brad Carlson, president of Innovative Metals (and a fellow NOMMA member), Troutman, OR. Innovative Metals has worked with CWI on a number of buildings. Together, they won the Mitch Heitler September / October 2011 n Fabricator


Some of the trusses for the water park building were 110 feet long.

Award in 2002 for their work on the Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA. Designed by Frank Gehry, the outside of the building consists of multiple steel plates, some curved into swirls. CWI and Innovative Metals partnered on the 27-story Fox Tower in Portland, too, garnering another Mitch

Heitler award in 2005. CWI routinely handles projects around the country and overseas, such as the Museum of Art in Milwaukee, with its iconic saillike skylight, the Bard College Performing Arts Center in upstate New York, a large transit center for the Miami Airport, and the Museum of

Biodiversity in Panama City, Panama. “(Bob) kind of gets into the more interesting and difficult projects,” says Carlson, explaining that Park is adamant about having the right tools for the job, including the BIM program. “There was nothing available for the EMP Museum at the time. The software had to be developed for it.” CWI began using Rhino software to model and detail the Gehry projects they were working on, says Bob Park. Rhino converted the data from Gehry, even though it was in a different format. He describes BIM as the wave of the future and believes more fabricators should learn about it. “On complicated projects, it’s becoming more and more necessary,” he says. “It’s the only way to develop the information you need to build the building.”

For your information



Bob Park, Drew Park Columbia Wire and Iron Inc. 5555 North Channel Ave., Bldg 4 Annex Portland, OR 97217 503-286-6600 Dave Garske Operations Manager Hoffman Construction 805 SW Broadway, Suite 2100 Portland, OR 97205 Brad Carlson President Innovative Metals 1051 Northwest Corporate Dr. Troutman, OR 97060 About the Author Linda Erbele is a freelance writer with a telecommunications background, specializing in business, travel and lifestyle. She has written for a number of regional and national trade publications, both print and on-line.


Fabricator n September / October 2011

Fear of selling Biz Side


We’re trained as fabricators, not marketers or sales people. But we’re back in the selling game because of market forces. Here’s how to turn anxiety into confidence.

By Robert Warlow You’ve set up your business, got all your stationery printed, got

the premises and office sorted, and now you have to get out there and . . . sell! Suddenly you break into a cold sweat, but you persevere, pick up the phone or approach your first customer, and it all goes horribly wrong! This really sets you up for the next one. The fear of selling is something that most first time business owners suffer from. Selling is not something we are taught in school or shown by our parents (unless you are immersed in business from an earlier age!), and so the whole process is alien to us. In this article, we are going to look at exactly why we have this fear of selling and what you can do to overcome it. Fear of failure

Undoubtedly the biggest fear is the fear of failure. Nothing is more demoralizing than a continual lack of success. Fear of failure has been ingrained from school. Remember all those tests when the results were read out for all the class to hear? If you had a poor result, you never felt like trying again. But, don’t be like Homer Simpson when he tried to console his son Bart, who had failed in his bid to be class president, “You tried and you failed. The lesson is . . . never try.” September / October 2011 n Fabricator


So, what can you do to conquer your fear of failure? The bottom line is that you need a rock solid positive attitude. You must have an inner voice that is continually pushing you onto the next prospect and saying, “Come on, let’s find the one who’s going to say ‘yes!’ ” Failure has to be seen as a learning opportunity. In every failure, there is a nugget of information, which next time, can point you toward success. James Dyson, the inventor of the revolutionary vacuum cleaner, summed up the need for a positive attitude, when he said, “Success is made up of 99% failure. You galvanize yourself and you keep going as a full optimist.” Image fear

Not everyone has boundless selfconfidence. When you start out in business, sometimes a nagging doubt

Tips for selling n Identify each of your

selling fears and put a plan in place to address them. n Strong product knowledge

goes a long way in relieving anxiety. n Develop a positive attitude

and be confidence about what you are selling. n Tap into selling resources,

such as audio books and classes.

indicates you may have bitten off more than you can chew. This inner doubt chips away at your self-confidence and soon you have a poor self-image, which reflects in your sales pitch. To be a successful salesperson, you have to have a strong self-image. To improve the image you have of yourself, follow these steps: n Write down the qualities that you believe a successful salesperson should possess. Try to limit the list to four or five key qualities. n Find a quiet spot. Relax your body and mind with deep and steady breathing. n Recite the strong, self-image qualities you identified earlier, once you are completely relaxed, n Visualize yourself having each of these qualities. See in your mind’s eye how you look now that you have these qualities. See how successful you are,

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Fear of rejection

Closely linked with the fear of failure is the fear of rejection. Hearing the response “No” is not a great motivator! The main way to deal with rejection is just to accept that it happens. Reframe any rejection you get by saying to yourself that it’s the customer who loses out, not you. Walk away with a smug smile on your face, and remind yourself that you are one step closer to someone who will say “yes.”

pare a script for the key parts of the presentation, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. n Ask someone to help you role play a sales presentation. This will allows you to make all the mistakes you want, but in a risk-free environment. n Visit your local Small Business Administration office about the courses they offer on sales skills. n Look for books and audio presentations on effective selling. All of these actions will help improve your confidence in building a more professional sales presentation. Selling does not have to be a fearful experience. If you have the right attitude, a strong self-belief, a full understanding of your product, and plenty of practice, then you have nothing to fear. Take a look at each of these fears and tackle them today.

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how you look, the car you are driving, and where you are living. n Repeat to yourself that you are assuming each of these qualities and becoming a better person with each day that passes. Repeat this exercise first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You’ll soon find your self-image and confidence levels increasing!

About the Author Robert Warlow manages Small Business Success, a free weekly newsletter with tips to help small business owners become more successful. Contact him at: warlow@ www.

Product knowledge fear

A lack of in-depth knowledge about your product or service quickly finds its way into a poor presentation. There is only one solution . . . and that’s to start learning! Absorb yourself in the product. Understand all the features and benefits so that you can confidently talk about your offering. Banishing this fear is one of the easy ones to put right. Criticism

No one likes to be criticized, especially if you have tried your hardest. Unless you are thick-skinned, harsh criticism can knock you back. If you do the exercises on improving your self-image, your ability to take criticism will also improve. View criticism more as feedback than a direct attack on you. The majority of critical comments have some truth. Take the opportunity to learn and change. Presentation fears

You may know all the features and benefits of your product but, like an actor, you suffer from stage fright. The presentation fear can be attributed to a weak sales structure and process. Try the following: n Write an outline on how you wish a perfect sales pitch to go. PreSeptember / October 2011 n Fabricator


Biz Side

The difference between cash and profits n

If you don’t have short-term cash, you are forced to find new money, borrow, or obtain new capital investment to make up the deficit, even though your company is still profitable.

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What You’ll Learn n Profitability means little if you don’t have cashflow. n If your average collections goes from 30 to 45 days, that will have a major impact on cashflow. n If you’re holding too much inventory (i.e. materials), your cash balance takes another hit. Tip A sound business plan is essential. Extensive resources are available online, including the author’s website (bplan. com) and the U.S. Small Business Administration website ( About the Author Tim Berry is founder and Chief Blogging Officer of Palo Alto Software, co-founder of Borland International, founder of bplans. com, author of books and software, teacher of entrepreneurship, blogger, Stanford MBA, and an angel investor. His website is www. He blogs at www.bplans. com. Email:


Figure 1

By Tim Berry Cash is critical, but business people

often think in terms of profits instead. We all do. When you imagine a new business, you think of what it would cost to make the product, what you could sell it for, and what the profits per unit might be. We are trained to think of business as sales minus costs and expenses, which is profit. Unfortunately, we don’t spend the profits in a business. We spend cash. Profitable companies go broke because they had all their money tied up in assets and couldn’t pay their expenses. Working capital is critical to business health. Unfortunately, we often don’t see the cash implications clearly; this is one of the best reasons for proper business planning. We have to manage cash, as well as profits. Let’s look at the implications in the real case of a computer reseller store in a medium-sized, local market with sales of about $6 million per year. The first chart, in this first illustration, shows a representative sample business plan cash flow for 12 months, given standard assumptions for sales, costs, expenses, profits, and cash

management. The sample company is profitable and growing. It sells about $6 million annually, produces about 8% net profit on sales, and is self-supporting. Figure 1 shows a 12-month projection of cash resources. The vertical green bar represents the checkbook balance at the end of each month, and the vertical red bar represents the cash flow, which is how much the balance changes in a month. The green bars should never drop below zero, because if your checkbook balance is less than zero, then you are bouncing checks. The mathematics don’t care, but the banks do. The red cash flow bars, on the other hand, can drop below zero without major problems as long as the balance stays above zero. For example, if a company’s balance was $10,000 at the end of January, and its February cash flow is a negative $5,000, then the balance at the end of February is $5,000 and the cashflow is -$5,000. The green bar stays positive, but the red one is negative. In the next illustration, only one assumption has changed. The computer store now waits an extra 15 days Fabricator n September / October 2011

Figure 2

Figure 3

surprise, but can be easily managed when you have a plan for it. This is an argument for good business planning. In the third case, shown in the following illustration, we set the collection days back to the original assumption of 45 days, but change the assumption for inventory. Where previously the computer store kept an average of two month’s worth of inventory on hand, in this changed assumption it now keeps three months of inventory on hand. Accountants call this “inventory turnover.” The changed assumption creates an inventory turnover rate of four, instead of the previous rate of five. The collection days are back to 45 in this next scene, but inventory turnover went from five to four, which means keeping more inventory on hand. [Editor’s Note: “Inventory turn­ over” could also apply to purchased materials.] Changing Inventory Only

on average to receive money from customers on invoices presented. The average wait, which is called “collection days,” goes from 45 days to 60 days. Nothing else changes — no new employees, no change in costs, no additional expenses. Changing collection days only

In figure 2, a single change, from 45 to 60 days, makes a huge difference in the cash flow. No other changes except waiting on average an extra 15 days before receiving money owed (accounts receivable) from their customers. Notice here the importance of cash and the critical difference between cash and profits. With this single change in assumptions, the company is still as profitable as it was, down to the last dollar. Now, however, its projected bank balance in January is more than $50,000 below zero. Therefore, the company needs more than $50,000 September / October 2011 n Fabricator

in additional financing. This is new money needed, new investment or new borrowing. The problem can’t be solved by reducing expenses or increasing sales. Companies go out of business for problems like these. Even otherwisehealthy companies can go under for lack of cash. This kind of projection can kill a company if it sneaks up by

In figure 3, the change in inventory turnover shows the cash balance is now well below zero. The implications of the above illustration are massive. This is still a profitable company, but it has a critical financial problem. You see how the cash balance bar falls to more than $600,000 below zero in November. That means that this company needs new money, new loans, or new capital investment to make up its cash deficit, even though it is still profitable. This is hard to swallow until you see it happen in real business, but it is the truth and it will happen. Profits are not cash.


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Check out the growing NEF video library of short tutorials on finishing, measuring, metal forming, etc.. Plus, you can view past webinars and download class materials.

But Wait, There’s More....

On joining you receive a starter kit containing a sampling of our publications. Other benefits Join by include our Vendor Discount Program, Insurance Program, discounts on all publications and events, Oct. 30 automatic chapter membership (if a chapter is in your area), and a cling-on NOMMA logo. and receive two months of New Benefit: Access the NOMMA Knowledgebase and Forums membervia your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android. ship free! To join, call Liz Johnson at 888-516-8585, ext. 101 Or, visit and click on “Join Now!” Email:

Membership year runs 12 months (14 months during special). Fabricator dues: $425 (installment plan available.).



Fabricator n September / October 2011

North America’s Largest Metal Forming, Fabricating, Welding and Finishing Event

IT’S ALL HERE. Discover the most innovative technologies, resources and ideas. Engage with industry experts. Find solutions to improve productivity and keep your business competitive.

REGISTER TODAY! November 14-17, 2011 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL Follow us:

FB11 Ad_SME Full Page.indd 1


3/10/11 10:18 AM


Nationwide Supplier Members Accurate Manufactured Products Group Inc. (317) 472-9000 Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (866) 252-4628 Alku Group of Companies (800) 465-7143 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (800) 527-1318 American Punch Co. (800) 243-1492 American Security Products (310) 324-1680 Ameristar Fence Products (888) 333-3422 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444 Artist Supplies & Products (800) 825-0029 Artistic Ornamental Supply (305) 836-0192

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 Dashmesh Ornamentals 011919878447477 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 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233

Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710

P & J Mfg. Co. (419) 227-8742 Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796

Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988

ProCounsel (866) 289-7833

Industrial Coverage Corp. (800) 242-9872

Q-Railing USA Co. (714) 259-1372

Industrial Metal Supply Co. (800) 371-4404 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101

Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157

The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427

Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (800) 841-8457

Iron World Mfg. (866) 310-2747

Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806

ITW Ransburg (800) 233-3366

L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (800) 745-4107

King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379

Scotchman Industries Inc. (800) 843-8844

King Architectural Metals - CA (800) 542-2379

SECO South (888) 535-SECO

King Architectural Metals - MD (800) 542-2379

Shaped Steel Inc. (816) 781-5717

Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143


Banker Wire (800) 523-6772

ETemplate Systems (919) 676-2244

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144

Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418

Barnett Bates Corp. (800) 541-3912

EURO-FER SPA (011) 39-044-544-0033

Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225

South Camden Iron Works Inc. (800) 962-1029

Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766

FabCad Inc. (866) 427-2454

Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512

Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793

BFT U.S. Inc. (877) 995-8155

Feeney Inc. (Feeney Architectural Products) (800) 888-2418

Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (800) 221-5579

Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245

Locinox USA (877) 562-4669

Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612

Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537

Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400

Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510

TACO Metals (800) 653-8568

Marks U.S.A. (800) 526-0233

Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058

Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293 Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC (856) 205-1279 Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926 The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961 Cadd Connection (541) 967-7954 Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948 Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 Century Group Inc. (800) 527-5232 Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402 Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404 CompLex Industries Inc. (901) 547-1198


(262) 786-9330

Gates That Open LLC (GTO) (800) 543-4283 Genova Imports LLC (972) 395-8199 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (800) 663-6356 Glasswerks LA Inc. (800) 350-4527 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549 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 Heritage Cast Iron USA (918) 592-1700 House of Forgings LLC (866) 443-4848

McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373 Metabo Corp. (281) 948-2823 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

Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (800) 392-3655 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667

O.K. Foundry Co. Inc. (804) 233-9674 Ohio Gratings Inc. (800) 321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. (866) 985-9885

Fabricator n September / October 2011


METALfab 2012

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 August 26, 2011. Alabama Casters & Equipment Pelham, AL Bob Burleson Fabricator Alliance Welding & Steel Fab. Inc. Floral Park, NY Frank de Oliveira Fabricator Automated Equipment Co. Inc. Seattle, WA Brian Thorpe Fabricator Circle M Contracting Portsmouth, VA Ray Moore Fabricator

David John Ceckanowicz Jr. Inc. Carmel, NY David Ceckanowicz, Jr Fabricator

Super Thanks!!!

Feb. 29 - Mar. 3, 2012 Orlando, FL

A thanks to all members who have contributed so far to our 2011–2012 Membership Campaign! We encourage everyone to sponsor a member and/or send the NOMMA office your leads.

Provided NOMMA with a member lead n Stan Lawler, Lawler Foundry Corp.

Hess Ornamental Iron LLC Felton, PA Scott Hess Fabricator

n Nancy Hayden, Tesko Enterprises

Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc. Northbrook, IL Penny Sympson Nationwide Supplier

n Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works

n JR Molina, Big D Metalworks

Catch the energy! Make plans now.

Sponsored a member n Dave Filippi, Fabcad

option 1

NEED COMMERCIAL INSURANCE? NOMMA and Industrial Coverage Have Hammered Out a New and Improved Program Just For You! Tools for a Custom Fit: Property & Equipment Coverage General & Products Liability Vehicle Insurance Umbrella Liability Worker’s Compensation

Industrial Coverage Corp. has been NOMMA’s trusted Insurance consultant and advisor since 1989. I.C.C., under the guidance of NOMMA, has created a specialty insurance plan specifically designed for Ornamental Metal Fabricators.

Call the Ornamental Fabricator HOTLINE for competitive pricing on custom quotes at 800-242-9872. Or visit us at our website: option 2

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

NOMMA and Industrial Coverage Hammer


What’s Hot? n Briefs OSHA to finalize hazard communication, space rules The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to finalize rules on hazard communication and confined spaces in construction this year. The rule would require chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and material safety data sheets to convey the hazards. The agency also expects to issue a final rule this fall “to protect construction workers in confined spaces.” Under the new rule, the construction exemption for permit-required spaces would be eliminated. For more information: PA law limits excess damages A new Pennsylvania law will help keep some subcontractors from having to pay excessive damages. The bill (S.B. 1131) requires responsible defendants to pay only their share of damages when found jointly and severally liable — as long as the responsible defendant is found to be less than 60% at fault. When a defendant is more than 60% at fault, the defendant could be responsible for 100% of the damages, if the other defendant(s) are unable to pay. Exceptions to the joint and several liability limits include: intentional misrepresentation; an intentional tort; a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance; or a liquor code violation. The law took effect immediately.


Industry News

Encon hosts Apollo, American Access

Apollo’s Ron Swartz lectures to workshop attendees.

Access control products distributor Encon Electronics collaborated with manufacturers Apollo Gate Operators and American Access Systems (AAS) on Aug. 23 for a joint training seminar held at Encon’s training facility in Hayward, CA. Nearly 20 Encon dealers attended the workshop. AAS general manager Kevin Downing described the various keypads offered by AAS and the features unique to each. “The DKLP is ideal for solar applications and draws 20 micro amps during standby,” Downing said. He also discussed their DKE commercial grade keypads. Downing said the Advantage DK keypad, the most popular of their product lines, offers the most features. “The DKS II is a keypad controller and features two-door access control with event reporting. The controller can handle two keypads,” said Downing. He also described the card reader controllers in the Advantage DG family, the Remote Pro Keypad, and the Pro Access 200 PC based controller. Downing finished the overview with a summary of AAS’ two telephone entry products: PhoneLink and PhoneAire. Downing explained that the PhoneLink telephone entry system is used for residential applications and wires directly

Kevin Downing, AAS general manager, discusses a keypad with Santiago, A&J Fencing, Walnut Creek, CA.

into an existing phone line. The PhoneAire is a wireless telephone entry system with shared phone line capability. Apollo technical representative Ron Swartz, and West Coast sales manager John Anderson, began their portion of the workshop by detailing the Apollo 835/836 circuit board, which Swartz said will retrofit into any Apollo operator. “It has removable connectors, the control voltage is 4.7 VDC and the input voltage is 12 VDC,” he added. Next, Swartz did an overview on troubleshooting gate operators. He described the 10 dip switches on the board, covering functionality of each. Fabricator n September / October 2011

What’s Hot? n

Industry News

He continued an AAS keypad. with an examina“I apprecition of Apollo’s acated the technituators, including cal aspects of the the 816E, 816EX, seminar,” said one 416E, and 416EX. of the attendees. “I He also discussed walked away coninternal compo­ fident in my ability nents, setting to sell and install limits, and the gethe products.” Gary Gorman, left, Access Control, ometry and place- Sonoma, CA, talks to Encon sales manager “Kevin Downment of installing Zach Eichberger ing, Ron Swartz the operator. and John Anderson The final lecture portion of the semi- did a great job presenting technical nar consisted of solar application calcu- information to the group,” Zach Eichenlations and how to conduct a solar panel berger, Encon sales manager, said. “Our check. Swartz then took the attendees dealers benefited from the explicit trououtside to check the amperage on the bleshooting instruction, the hands-on solar panel and the current draw of the product demonstration and the one-onactuator. one Q&A.” The class then performed a mock inContact Encon Electronics, 800-782stallation of an Apollo gate operator and 5598;

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

Briefs Creative arts institute featured in Tampa Bay magazine Bill Coleman’s Institute for Creative Arts, Dunedin, FL, was highlighted in the 25th Anniversary Issue of Tampa Bay Magazine. The Institute had been awarded a contract by the City of Dunedin to design and build two custom bike racks for the public library. The original design takes the shape of an open book with bikes parked between the pages. A pair of metal sculptured hands holds open the two book covers. See photo on page 74. Contact Bill Coleman can be reached at 727-412-8862 or email at


What’s Hot? n


Metal Museum offering blacksmithing, toolmaking classes The National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN, is offering a variety of classes for blacksmithing and tool-making this winter, including the following: n Basic Blacksmithing I Jan. 21–22, 2012 This class will acquaint students with blacksmithing fundamentals. Students learn to build and manage a fire; study the use of blacksmithing tools, proper hammer and striking techniques, and basic forging techniques; and work on specific projects such as coat or pot racks. n Basic Blacksmithing II Feb. 11–12, 2012 This class focuses on a “grill,” using various types of scrolls such as ribbon, fish tail, and snub-end. The grill will be assembled and fitted using the traditional techniques of punching, forge

welding, riveting and collaring. n Blacksmithing Tools and How To Make Them March 17–18, 2012 This new advanced-level class is designed to help participants build both skills and tools. Students will

forge a hammer and eye punch, and learn skills in power hammer operation, bottom tooling, riveting, team striking, hammer control, and basic metallurgy. Prerequisite: Blacksmithing I and II. n Fireplace Tools I Jan. 7–8, 2012 This new intermediate-level class focuses on refining skills, learning new skills, and making a matching fire poker and shovel. Students will learn skills in sheet metal forming, forge welding, riveting, fullering, and swedging and hammer control. Tuition for these classes covers tools and materials. Students must provide their own safety glasses, hearing protection and gloves. Contact National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN.; 877881-2326; ABANA

259 Muddy Fork Road Jonesborough, TN 37659 423/913-1022


Association of North America, Inc. 68

Fabricator n September / October 2011

What’s Hot? n


Portable platform scale Alliance Scale A rugged portable platform scale for weighing drums, barrels, containers, skids, and pallets that includes a digital weigh indicator has been introduced. The Alliance/CAS R-Series Drum Scale is a portable platform scale with access ramps on two sides, side rails to keep items on board, which are also live, two built-in handles and two rubber wheels for portability. This low-profile scale is available with a six-digit LED digital indicator, which has single-pass automatic span calibration.

With an anti-slip platform and a 1,000-pound capacity, the Alliance/ CAS R-Series Drum Scale measures 42.75 inches wide, 39.5 inches deep and 3.5 inches high. The digital weigh indicator includes an 18-foot shielded cable, and is accurate to within 0.1% FS. Contact Alliance Scale, Inc., (800) 343-6802; Brush-on finishes Birchwood Casey Created for copper, brass, steel and aluminum, Birchwood Casey’s brushon finishes are made for sculptures, ornamental hardware, and fabricated products and components. The finishes include: n Antique Black M24 Brush-On, a concentrate suggested for blackening or browning of brass, bronze or copper alloys. It produces US10B finishes

Literature Iron design photo book Jansen Ornamental Supply Jansen has a new edition of its Orna­ mental Designs Photo Book I, a collection of color photos for wrought iron shops and professionals. The book offers 113 pages of photo ideas, which can be shown to customers to help sell iron work. It includes 344 color photos of custom-designed rails, fences, gates, and stairs, many of them using Jansen stock components. Contact Jansen Ornamental Supply, 800-423-4494; www.



Ornamental Hardware • Hinges • Custom Metal Parts Art Objects • Custom Grills • Signs and Letters Custom Bending, Fabrication and More


117 DAVID BIDDLE TRAIL, WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787 DESIGN & SALES: 800-635-2596 FAX: 404-601-9322 OFFICE: 800-541-8065 • September / October 2011 n Fabricator


What’s Hot? n on large architectural surfaces, sculptures and engravings – either new or reconditioned components. Reaction speed and finish color are controlled by diluting the concentrate with water. n Aluma Black A14 Brush-On, designed for aluminum alloys, providing a durable, smooth black finish. It can be applied undiluted to blacken entire parts or used as a touch-up for black anodized parts that have been damaged or re-machined. n Presto Black BST4 Brush-On, for most steel components, designed for application on any size part in limited quantities. It addresses the application challenges of liquid prod-


ucts while producing a high-quality, durable black finish. It can be sealed with a rust preventive. These finishes are available in 1, 5, 15 and 55-gallon containers. Contact Birchwood Casey, 952-9377931;

used left or right handed. It is designed for heavy-duty use, such as with trash enclosures and high traffic gates. The bolt can be locked with a pad-lock. Contact Jansen Ornamental Supply, 800-423-4494; www.

Heavy-duty slide bolt Jansen Ornamental Supply

Bandsaw with automated controls Kalamazoo Machine Tool Kalamazoo’s XT320 A-NC doublecolumn bandsaw is designed with automated controls for more efficient operation, and features heavy-duty construction to ensure precision cutting. An automatic material sensor detects cutoff points and material height, which the company claims greatly improves productivity by eliminating two of the settings that are traditionally made by the operator. The

Jansen’s new heavy-duty slide bolt is available in plain steel or as zinc plated. The product has a 7/8-inch-diameter bolt and is 10 inches long and can be

er s v E t w u a c S st mitre e t s Fa o 60º 0º t

Whether you choose 1-½" diamond wire mesh or 2"x1" rectangular partition systems both are pre-engineered for easy installation and with multiple functions for use in high security or low security, tool cribs, quality control cages or safety storage caging on mezzanines.

"From the simplest to the complex, Jesco does it best!" 1" Square, 10 gauge. 1-½" Diamond, 10 gauge. 2" Square / Diamond, 8 and 6 gauge.

Direct Drive Saws See demo on our website ‘Better than a Cold Saw’ 800-323-7503 70

Contact us today and we'll take care of your wire mesh needs. Call toll free

96 1-800-609-82 View our complete catalog at nline .com www.JescoO Jesco Industries, Inc.

950 Anderson @ Fab Road Litchfield, MI 49252-0388

Phone: 1-517-542-2353 Fax: 1-517-542-2501

Fabricator n September / October 2011

What’s Hot? n


round material and up to 12-inch x 13inch rectangular shapes. Contact Kalamazoo Machine Tool, 269-321-8860;

short three-inch minimum leftover material remnant is also said to result in less scrap. The saw’s double-arch frame dampens vibration and has greater strength, less flexing, less vibration, and greater blade life, the company reports. Carbide blade guides run in large diameter bearings for virtually friction-free blade movement. The Model XT320 A-NC saw features a 11/4 inch blade, blade speeds from 60 to 360 FPM, a feeder vise stroke of 78 inches, and a 5 HP 3-phase motor. The saw can cut up to 12-inch

Interleaf flap discs Rex-Cut Products A full line of interleaf flap discs designed to grind welds and grain-in stainless steel architectural railings, sinks, counters, and tanks is available from Rex-Cut Products, Inc. Rex-Cut Fusion Flap Discs feature a premium coated abrasive layer and a nonwoven surface conditioning layer combined into an interleaf construction that grinds and grains-in stainless steel in one step. Designed to provide fast material removal and smooth operation, they can last up to six times longer than traditional surface conditioning discs,

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

Rex-Cut Products claims. Calibrated with abrasive grains to produce a specific grained-in finish, Rex-Cut Fusion Flap Discs are available with coarse, medium, and very fine grits in 41/2-inch and 5-inch diameter sizes. Applications include stainless steel railings, counters, vessels, and related fabrications. Contact Rex-Cut Products, Inc., 800-225-8182;

71 Hou-476BW-B-FABTECH.indd 1

7/28/11 9:33:13 AM

What’s Hot? n Liners for MIG guns Tregaskiss Quick Load liners are now standard on Tresgaskiss’ Tough Gun and TGX semi-automatic MIG guns. Quick Load liners are installed from the front end of the MIG gun for quick liner replacement. Welding operators can change the Quick Load Liners on semi-automatic MIG guns that are connected to boom mounted feeders without having to climb up to them. Similarly, in robotic applications, the Tough Gun Robotic MIG gun does not have to be removed from the wire feeder during the Quick Load Liner replacement, eliminating the need to


climb over robotic tooling or transfer systems. Welding operators are able to stay in a safe zone outside the work cell during changeover. Tregaskiss offers its Quick Load Liners to accommodate wire sizes from .023 to 3/32 inches. Contact Tregaskiss, 877-737-3111; Air-cooled TIG torches Weldcraft To improve torch control and performance when welding on thin- to medium-gauge materials, Weldcraft offers its WP-17 Series of air-cooled TIG torches. The series includes six styles of TIG torches, including models with gas valves and flex necks. The torches provide 150-amp DC and 115amp AC welding capabilities at 60% duty cycle, and are available with 12.5and 25-foot, one- or two-piece cable

lengths. Weldcraft’s WP-17 and WP-17V models feature the company’s Diamond Grip torch body, which it designed to provide welders with a secure grip and greater control. The WP17V model also has a fingertip gas valve to ease gas flow control when used with power sources that do not include a gas solenoid. Other models are the WP-17F and WP-17FV TIG torches. Both are flex neck torches for access to restricted joints. The FV model includes a gas valve for gas flow adjustment. The WP-17 PSH model, has a secure, threaded handle useful in pipe applications using the cupwalking technique, Weldcraft says. Contact Weldcraft, 800-752-7620;

Better than therapy. With a craft to show for it at the end of the session. Restoring the Past. Building the Future.

Pounding, bending, cutting…you can really work out some frustration creating something beautiful.

Engaging hands and hearts since 1925. Come enjoy making crafts and good friends on 300 natural, scenic acres in western North Carolina.

Questions? Call Peter H. Miller, President: 202.339.0744 x 104. Or email

72 Fabricator RM house ad.indd 1


1-800-FOLK-SCH NORTH CAROLINA Fabricator n September / October 2011

10/12/2010 1:14:13 PM


Advertiser’s Index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine. Pg Company


  Pg Company


67...Alloy Casting Co. Inc...........................................

76....The Iron

17....Apollo Gate

55...Jansen Ornamental Supply Co..............

25...Architectural Iron Designs

70....Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO div...............


69...Kalamazoo Machine Tool..................................

68...Atlas Metal Sales.............................................

75....King Architectural Metals............................

29...Big Blu Hammer Mfg.

69...Laser Precision Cutting....................................

58...Blacksmiths Depot...........................

4......Lawler Foundry

50...Blue Moon Press....................................

2......Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc.....................

51...Julius Blum & Co.

71....Lindblade Metal

54...Bracewell Web

35...Mac Metals Inc...............................................

28...The Cable Connection................


72....John C. Campbell Folk


31...Carell Corporation...........................................

70....Pat Mooney

39...Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.....................

42...National Bronze & Metal............................

61....Colorado Waterjet

48...NC Tool Company

56...CompLex Industries

3......PLASMA CAM Inc..........................................

20...CS Unitec Inc........................................................

48...R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine

27...D & D Technologies (USA) Inc...............


9......D.J.A. Imports Ltd...........................................

26...Rogers Mfg. Inc........................................

67...Doringer Cold Saw.............................................

53...Scotchman Industries...................................


16....Sharpe Products....................................

31...Eagle Bending.........................


38...Eberl Iron Works

63...Society of Manufacturing Engineers.......................



32...FabCad Inc...............................................................

38...Steptoe & Wife Antiques

19....Feeney Inc.............................................................

44...Suhner Industrial Products Corp..............

26...The G-S Co..................................................................

43...Sumter Coatings

7......Hebo - Stratford Gate Systems

23...TigerStop LLC......................................................

71....Hougen Mfg. Inc..................................................

72....Traditional Building.......................

65...Industrial Coverage Corp..............

34...Tri-State Shearing & Bending................................... 718-485-2200

49...International Gate

23...Universal Entry Systems Inc.......................................216-631-4777 37...Vogel Tool & Die Corp..................................... 33...The Wagner


47....Weaver’s Iron Works.......................

Sherry Theien,

Advertising Director 8392 Leesburg Ct. Rockford, IL 61114 815-282-6000 815-282-8002 fax

Advertise in the 2012 NOMMA Buyer’s Guide Your advertising contact for: • O&MM Fabricator • NOMMA Buyer’s Guide • NOMMA Website

September / October 2011 n Fabricator

Closing Date: November 30, 2011 Contact: Sherry Theien Description: The Buyer’s Guide is available in print, online, and database versions. It is the “one stop” resources for both shop and office personnel. 73


Metal Moment

Gentle curves and a book-like bike rack Editor’s note: We are always thrilled to receive photos of work from our members. These projects come from Bill Coleman of Arc Angels Inc. in Dunedin, FL, which is also home of the Institute for Creative Arts.

Send us photos of your work! We love to publish work from our members. However, if you have any plans at all to enter them in the annual Top Job contest, please let us know — the contest rules require us to hold them until after the judging.

Library Bike Racks

These two “Book Bike Racks,” created for the City of Dunedin Library, were fabricated from aluminum tubing to form an open book. Two silhouettes of hands are holding the book covers open, and the pages between the covers are where the bikes are parked. The “cover” on each rack was water jet cut with the word “READ.” The finish is a power coating, and the fabrication of curves was accomplished with a power roller. All welds were TIG welded and ground smooth. Each rack accommodates eight bikes. The job received a letter of commendation from city manager Bill Hemme, who said, “I am pleased that my favorite library now sports these cleverly designed themed racks located right up front where they’ll be noticed.” Photo: Jim Goins Photography Inc.

Aluminum Bench

Bill Coleman received a commission to design and fabricate two aluminum benches. The 60-inch-long benches were made from square and rectangular tubing with 1/8-inch wall thickness. Gentle curves were rolled using a power roll bender. The entire bench was TIG welded with exposed welds ground smooth. The three round disks were cut from twoinch round bar using a vertical band saw. One-half-inch diameter holes were drilled in the center of disks and plug welded to the frame. Welds were ground and polished. Finish will be power-coated a satin black. The two benches took 40 man hours.


Something on your mind? Got something to say? Got an idea? Got a tip? Got a gripe? Do you have a story to tell? Fabricator magazine would like to interview you for a Metal Moment story. Please contact editor Todd Daniel at 74

Fabricator n September / October 2011

September / October 2011 n Fabricator


Metal Spirals from $495

Oak Spirals from $2850

Victorian One Spirals from $4500

Proud nationwide member of...

Call for the FREE color Catalog

1-800-523-7427 Ask for Ext. FAB Proudly made in the U.S.A. since 1931 76

or visit our Web Site at Fabricator n September / October 2011

2011 09 fab  
2011 09 fab