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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal

Fabricator ®

The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

May / June 2012 $6.00 US

METALfab 2012 Retrospectıve

Shown in photographs, page 22

Top Job winners, photos, page 35

Exhibitor review, page 50

Shop Talk

Smartly sketching with SketchUp, page 14

Shop Talk

Building Acanthus patterns, page 18

Member Talk

Inventor Weaver, page 58

Biz Side

NOMMA’s new insurance plan, page 62


We provide powerful tools to help your business

“NOMMA gives me the opportunity to network with other members via the ListServ, convention, and chapters. Every morning when I check my e-mail I see what NOMMA is doing for me.” — Scott Colson, Iron Innovation Inc., Clinton, MS

A sampling of the benefits you receive as a NOMMA member...

NEF Streaming Videos

One of our best member benefits ever - view the entire NEF education video library online — when you want to, and as often as you’d like.

NOMMA ListServ

Join over 200 of your colleagues on NOMMA’s email discussion list. We call it the “how to do it” and “where to find it” forum.

NEF Webinars

Join a webinar provided by the NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF). Past topics have covered measuring, building codes, and shop organizations. View them anytime in our archives.

Member’s Only Area

Obtain access to our member’s only section, which contains technical information on building codes, ADA, driveway gates, fabrication tips, and more.

Mentor Program

Visit the Mentor section in the member’s area to sign up for our mentoring program. You’ll be paired with an industry professional who can serve as your sounding board and source of advice.

Technical Support

Have a question on building codes? Simply call the NOMMA office or email If our office staff can’t answer the question then we’ll refer it to our Technical Affairs volunteers.

Free Downloads

Download past issues of NOMMA publications, including our safety manuals, past magazines, bulletins, and our popular NAAMM-NOMMA Finishes Manual.

Roundtable Conference Calls

Join your colleagues from around the country to discuss issues of common concern, such as contract negotiations, adjusting to economic challenges, and industry trends.

Join by Jun. 30 and receive two months of membership free!

More Benefits ...

Starter kit containing publication samples and static clean membership decal • Access to online tutorials • Free subscription to Fabricator and NOMMA Newswire • Vendor discount program. • Awards contest • Discounts on all publications • Insurance program • Free chapter membership • Member Locator listing • Discount for METALfab and all events, and MORE! To join, call Liz Johnson at 888-516-8585, ext. 101 Or, visit and click on “Join NOMMA.” Email:

Membership year runs 12 months (14 months during special). Fabricator dues: $425 (installment plan available.). 201204-6601

FAX TO: 888-279-7994

Join Online: • By Phone: 888-516-8585, ext. 101

NOMMA Membership Application Membership Category – Check One: q Fabricator - $425 (to pay in four payments, you can enroll in the Quaterly Payment Plan - please see below)

Metal fabricating shops, blacksmiths, artists or other firms and individuals in the industry whose products or services are sold directly to the consumer or the consumer’s immediate agent.


Supplier members are those members that produce or distribute materials, machinery, and accessories for the industry or provide services that may be used by the industry.

q Nationwide - $595 (operating on a nationwide or international basis) q Regional - $465 (operating within a 500-mile radius) q Local - $375 (operating within a 150-mile radius)

q Affiliate - $310.00


q School

q Non-profit organization

Individuals, firms, organizations and schools that do not engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous metal products, do not provide products or services to the industry, but have a special interest in the industry.

Company:____________________________________________________________________________________ Primary Contact :______________________________________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________________________________________ City:_____________________________________________ State: ________ Zip: _________________________ Country: __________________________________________________________________________________ Phone:__________________________Fax:________________________ Toll Free:_______________________ E-mail: ____________________________________________ Web:_____________________________________ Company Description/Specialty:_________________________________________________________________ Sponsoring Member: _________________________________________________________________________ Payment method: q Check

(Payable to NOMMA, in US dollars, drawn on US bank)

q AMEX q Discover q MasterCard q VISA Card # _________________________________________________ Exp.:________________ CVV: ___________ Print name on card: ___________________________________________________________________________ Signature_____________________________________________________________________________________ JOIN BY JUNE 30, 2012 AND RECEIVE 2 MONTHS FREE MEMBERSHIP Return to: NOMMA, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127 # 311, Fayetteville, GA 30214 • Ph: 888-516-8585 Fax: 888-279-7994 • •

Quarterly Payment Plan (there is a $6.25 processing fee for each transaction) q Please enroll me in the Quarterly Payment Plan.

As a member you agree to follow NOMMA’s Code of Ethics (viewable at

Payment method: q Please auto charge my credit card. q Please bill me each quarter. Questions? Contact: Liz Johnson, Member Care & Operations Manager: (888) 516-8585, ext. 101, 201105-6600



May / June 2012 Vol. 53, No. 3

These railings were hand forged by Master Blacksmith Keith Johnson. Notice the balusters. Keith made each baluster by drawing down two sections of pipe, fullering them and then connecting the two halves under the central collar. See related Acanthus story, page 18.

NOMMA Network MW Chapter elects officers.......... 10

Also, at an organizational meeting, the Pacific NW Chapter set its first general meeting for June 23. Shop Talk Smartly sketching................................ 14

Not an ordinary tent show......22

NOMMA’s 54th annual convention and trade show took place Feb. 29– Mar. 3 in Orlando, FL. The action ran nonstop with a large education program, trade show, awards contest, and how-to demos.

Put SketchUp to work inexpensively not only for designing in 3D, but also for estimating and fabricating. By Terry Ross

Member Talk From passion to passion................. 54

Non-traditional work and office environment expand the boundaries of opportunity and fun for Rick Nelson at Ornamental Gate & Fence. By Molly Badgett

New NOMMA president Will Keller is optimistic.

In his 2nd career, mechanicallyinclined Phil Weaver, at 75 years old, works in a shop built in 1831 from split logs. He’s had time to invent a portable bender that has helped hundreds of fabricators. By Peter Hildebrandt

Ask Joe about NOMMA’s new insurance plan............................. 62

Building Acanthus patterns......... 18

This article, the third in a series, presents a nine-step guide for creating a full-scale Acanthus pattern that will make you the envy of your plant, er, shop. By “Uncle Bob” Walsh

Inventor Weaver.................................... 58

Biz Side

Shop Talk

President’s Letter........... 6

Member Talk

METALfab 2012 Recap

Top Job winners...............................35

This issue we feature the winners from the 2012 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. To see all entries, visit and click on “About NOMMA.” Enjoy! Exhibitor report...............................50

As a service to our readers who were unable to attend METALfab 2012 and as a reminder for our attendees we present some of the products shown by our exhibitors.

Exec. Director’s Letter.... 8

Connected members get a return on their investment.

In this new Fabricator column, Joe Romeo, Industrial Coverage Corp., Patchogue, NY, NOMMA’s insurance administrator since 1988, answers questions about the insurance program. By Joe Romeo What’s Hot! Industry News.................................... 65 Events.................................................... 65 Literature............................................. 67 New Products..................................... 67

Nationwide suppliers..................... 63 New members.................................... 64

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

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

What makes NEF great? The volunteers!

Maintenance-free hinge is no mess.

About the cover Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, wins the 2012 Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence for this circular stair system. This award is chosen from among all the gold winners by the Mitch Heitler Committee. See description, page 36. May / June 2012 n Fabricator


NOMMA O FFICERS President Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

President-Elect J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX

Vice President/ Treasurer Mark Koenke Germantown Iron & Steel Corp., Jackson, WI

Immediate Past President James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

F ABRICATOR D I RECTORS Todd Kinnikin Eureka Forge Pacific, MO

Allyn Moseley Heirloom Stair & Iron, Campobello, SC

Keith Majka Majka Railing Co. Inc. Paterson, NJ

Ray Michael Greg Terrill R & F Metals Inc. Division 5 Clinton, MD Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

Tina Tennikait Superior Fence & Orn. Iron Cottage Hills, IL

S U PPLI ER D I RECTORS Gina Pietrocola Rick Ralston D.J.A. Feeney Inc. Imports Ltd. Eugene, OR Bronx, NY

Mark Sisson Mac Metals Inc. Kearny, NJ

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

Heidi Bischmann The Wagner Companies Milwaukee, WI

Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

Carl Grainger Grainger Metal Works Nichols, SC

J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX

Lynn Parquette Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL


NOMMA C HAPTERS Chesapeake Bay Chapter Patty Koppers, President Koppers Fabricators Inc. Forestville, MD 301-420-6080 Florida Chapter Cathy Vequist, President Royal Iron Creations Jupiter, FL 561-801-7549 Gulf Coast Chapter Charles Perez, President B & O Machine Welding Brookhaven, MS 985-630-6943

Northeast Chapter Keith Majka, President Majka Railing Co. Inc. Paterson, NJ 973-247-7603 Upper Midwest Chapter Mark O’Malley, President Germantown O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Yorkville, IL 630-553-1604

NOMMA S TAFF Executive Director, Editor J. Todd Daniel, CAE 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

Optimistic about the future As the new president of

NOMMA lessons was to value NOMMA, I am honored and our work and my time. A recesprivileged to represent such an sion always puts that to the test. outstanding group of artisans The coming year for and business people. NOMMA NOMMA looks exciting due to has a long, rich history. When I the many benefits for our memthink of the list of former presibers. As with any organizadents (e.g. Gasparrini, Klahm, tion, you have to participate to Mueller, Wiemann), I am hum- Will Keeler, get value from your dues. Our bled to be included with them. Keeler Iron ListServ has made participatWorks, is I have also been fortunate ing as easy as turning on your president to serve on the Board with the of NOMMA. computer or sliding your finger five most recent presidents, across your smart phone. admiring each of them. Equally Moreover, NOMMA has impressive are the skills, knowledge, the best trade magazine in any busiand dedication of my fellow Board ness. We have 12 instructional videos members. for streaming from the web site. Our It’s hard to believe that 21 years ago, executive director, Todd Daniel, has I attended my first METALfab in New added webinars and phone meetings to Orleans with my brother Rob. A year our lineup. out of college I saw the country in reOf course, NOMMA’s main bencession. Our company was struggling, efit is a spirit of sharing knowledge but we felt a need to attend the conven- and experiences that is unique to our tion. I can recall working on an estiorganization. mate during our drive south. The convention gave us a shot in the Membership campaign arm by providing us with ideas, inspiI recognize that NOMMA faces ration (seeing the magnificent work of some challenges. I will be asking our the Top Job entrants), and knowledge. current members, fabricators and supAlso, we had a priceless opportunity to pliers, to help build our membership. commiserate with and learn from other The Membership team is launching a NOMMA members how they were member-to-member campaign using handling similar economic challenges. letters, email, and phone calls to recruit new members and reengage former At the Top Job Jamboree, I rememones. ber Paul DiFrancesco discussing his Douglas Bracken, Wiemann Metentry — an elaborate forged stair rail. alcraft, described his early years in Paul stated that just a few years prior NOMMA as “drinking from a fire hose he didn’t feel comfortable doing such a of information.” We must grow our difficult project. However, the knowlranks not just for NOMMA’s finanedge he got from fellow NOMMA cial security, but to add others’ knowlmembers gave him the confidence to edge and skills to that “fire hose” of tackle the job. We returned to work information. with a renewed level of energy. I am optimistic that we are at the METALfab energizes start of an economic recovery, and that Since that convention, I have attendNOMMA can help us with the new ed another 18, and I still return to work challenges we will surely encounter as our businesses begin to grow again. with the same feeling of rejuvenation. The range of knowledge I have gained runs the gamut from new business practices to gold leafing. One of my early Fabricator n May / June 2012

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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 2012 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. © 2012 National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 8


How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

Connected members get ROI One conversation I often have

with NOMMA leaders is how to show a non-member the advantages of networking. It’s hard to explain the power of networking because its benefits arrive in dozens of magical ways, and sometimes you don’t even realize you are receiving benefits.

Testimonials work

n Chapter events. n NOMMA Education

Foundation (NEF) continuing education classes. n NOMMA Roundtable conference calls. n NOMMA ListServ. Todd Daniel is executive director of NOMMA.

To illustrate “networking power,” we recently posted testimonials on our website. The testimonials show networking to be the best member benefit, followed by education and our code advocacy work. Here are five ways networking helped members: n Bill Coleman, Arc Angels Inc., Dunedin, FL, received a subcontracted job via the NOMMA ListServ. n Mark Koenke, Germantown Iron & Steel Corp., Jackson, WI, had fellow members help him with two out-ofstate jobs. n Marco Vasquez, Vasquez Custom Metals, Tampa, FL, said all of their recent new work is directly related to NOMMA networking across the U.S. n John Allen, Country Metals LLC, Salem, NJ, said that as he got into more complex projects he found answers on the NOMMA ListServ. n JR Molina, Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, said an out-of-state job required follow-up work. Rather than having the expense of sending a work crew to the site, he found a local NOMMA member to assist. Ways to network with NOMMA

Networking takes effort and time, and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get in return. The best way to network is to attend NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show, METALfab. The next convention is March 20–23, Albuquerque, NM. Other networking opportunities include:

Raise your standards

As our NOMMA president and many members have pointed out, networking, and the exchange of knowledge that goes with it, raises our overall professionalism. As Philippe Fiers, Armadillo Metalworks Inc., Passaic, NJ, says: “My philosophy is that the ornamental metal trade is better served by knowledgeable individuals. Bad metalwork means bad publicity for our trade. . . . That is why I don’t mind sharing bits of my knowledge through NOMMA — it helps us all in the long run.” Even our education program is about networking. Most of our speakers are NOMMA veterans who enjoy sharing their knowledge. And the discussions that take place in class foster learning and relationships as well. Rewards come to those who join

Not a NOMMA member? Please join to begin reaping the rewards of networking and education. Our website explains the many benefits: www. If you are a member, but not involved, please attend a NOMMA or NEF event to build your network. And between events? Join the NOMMA ListServ to connect all year. A few years ago, I discovered the ListServ had become a community; subscribers were holding informal gatherings during METALfab. If you are NOT subscribed, send me an email or call. I’ll sign you up.

Fabricator n May / June 2012

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The NOMMA Network Upper MW Chapter enjoys job costing program, elects officers The Upper Midwest Chapter held their meeting May 5 in Peoria, IL. The day’s host shop was Kelley Ornamental Iron. After coffee and pastries, Mark Koenke, Germantown Iron & Steel, opened the meeting and officers were elected: n Mark O’Malley, O’Malley Welding and Fabricating Service Inc. — President n Max Hains II, MoFab Inc. — Vice President n Mason Hains, MoFab Inc. — Secretary n Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc. — Treasurer n Steve Engebregsten, The Wagner Companies — Supplier Director During the business session, Greg Terrill, Division 5 Metalworks, who serves on NOMMA’s Code Advisory Council, reminded attendees that a portion of their dues helps to support NOMMA’s code advocacy efforts. Mark O’Malley, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Service Inc., who services on NOMMA’s Membership Advisory Dave White Jr., Locinox USA, Council, discussed the Memtook the prize for catching the ber-Get-A-Member initiative. largest bass. NOMMA President Will Keeler was thanked for his attendance at the meeting. Breck Nelson, Kelley Ironworks, led a session on job costing, explaining the history of how his company arrived at their current system. Joel Hoerr, Kelley Ironworks, assisted. Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators shared an old form their company used before moving to a computer-based system. The conversation included opinions that job costing to some degree is critical. Trying to price by linear footage is dangerous as the smallest detail, repeated over and over, can

Attendees enjoy the new Kelley Ironworks facility. From left, John Seeli, Kelley Ornamental Iron; Steve Engebregtsen, The Wagner Companies; and Breck Nelson, Kelley Ornamental Iron.

ratchet the cost up so that you’re not making money. And if a company’s cash flow is good enough to keep some money in the bank, you can continue to lose money on future projects and dig oneself into a large hole. Attendees then toured the shop and adjourned to host Breck Nelson’s house for a fish fry and fishing in the lake adjacent to the Nelsons’ home. Many large bass were caught, and Dave White, Locinox USA, took the prize for catching the largest. A grass carp exceeding 28 pounds (the capacity of the only scale there) and about 44 inches long was also pulled in. The weather was perfect for the event.

— Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc.

Pacific NW Chapter general meeting set for June 23 in Clackamas, OR The proposed Pacific Northwest Chapter held an organizational meeting on May 9 at the shop of Madden Fabrication. Attending, from left, were Gale Schmidt, A2 Fabrication, president; Brad Adsit, Feeny Inc.; Jonah Barber, Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc., supplier representative; Steve Stanley, Stanco Mfg Inc.; Greg Madden, Madden Fabrication, vice president; Larry Jenks, Zion Metal Works, treasurer. A general meeting is set for Saturday, June 23 at Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc., Clackamas, OR. The chapter covers Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, but any member or guest is invited. 10

Fabricator n May / June 2012


May / June 2012 n Fabricator



NOMMA Education Foundation

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

What makes NEF great? The volunteers! Thanks to all who made METALfab 2012 a success

I am always amazed at METALfab by the number of

people who volunteer to help NEF with the auctions and education program. Without these outstanding volunteers and donors, the NOMMA Education Foundation would not exist. I want to give a special thanks to our chairs for 2012. Of course, they could not do their job without the help of numerous onsite volunteers who get the Update from hard work done while at convention. NEF Chair n Auction chair: Rob Mueller, Mueller Ornamen- Roger Carlsen, tal Iron Works Inc. Ephraim n Lead auctioneer: Carl Grainger, Grainger Metal Forge Inc. Works n Education chairs: Lynn Parquette, Mueller Orna​­mental Iron Works Inc., and Heidi Bischmann. Auction chair is a year-long job that involves asking for items to be donated, cataloging them, setting up and packing up the auction display at the trade show, and helping with the theme dinner. Rob Mueller Lynn Parquette Rob Mueller could not have completed his task without the help of numerous volunteers who donated items and volunteers who help man the booth and handle auction logistics. All of Rob’s work would be for naught if it were not for Carl Grainger, our lead auctioneer. Carl orchestrates the live auction from selecting the auction items to be included to planning the live auction operations and entertaining everyone present with his outstanding auctioneering skills. If you have not experienced Carl as an auctioneer, it is worth the trip to METALfab to see him perform. Carl has a wonderful team that helps him. Marti Grainger, as clerk Roger Carlsen, left, and Carl Grainger

for the auction, keeps track of the winning bids. I help with other auctioneering duties. Our auctioneering skills have helped the NEF to be a major fundraiser. Lynn Parquette and Heidi Bischmann developed the outstanding education program for METALfab 2012. This is not an easy task. It includes planning the content, finding the presenters, scheduling, collecting handouts and other materials, and then coordinating everything on site. This program would not be possible without the outstanding presenters who volunteered their time to prepare their classes and the classroom monitors who ensure that presenters have the materials they need, as well as collect surveys. I would also like to give a very special thank you to the outstanding members of the NEF Board of Trustees: Mike Boyler, Heidi Bischmann, Carl Grainger, Chris Maitner, Lynn Parquette, and Will Keeler. All work all year to plan, fund, and Heidi Bischmann support the programs of the NOMMA Education Foundation. Volunteers truly are what make any organization great, and I want to thank everyone that volunteered this year. Need volunteers

If you would like to volunteer and work with an outstanding group of people, please contact Roger Carlsen at roger@ or any of the NEF trustees. We always need more volunteers!

See you in Albuquerque for METALfab 2013.


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

Fabricator n May / June 2012

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Shop Talk

sketchıng n

Put SketchUp to work inexpensively not only for designing in 3D, but also for estimating and fabricating

By Terry Ross Metal fabricators who are comfortable using computers may want to consider using the 3D drawing application, SketchUp* (Mac and PC), to help design, estimate and fabricate their projects. Widely used by architects, SketchUp is popular because it’s free and easier to use than CAD software. Generally, SketchUp is visually oriented whereas CAD is engineering oriented. And, SketchUp models can be shared with clients and co-contractors who download the free SketchUp Viewer application. Undoubtedly, hand sketching with pencil and paper is the quickest and easiest way to capture design ideas. Refining a hand sketch into working drawings is where SketchUp comes in. The hand sketch in figure 1 evolved into the SketchUp design in figure 2, which yielded full-size working drawings that were used in fabricating the stair railing shown in figure 3. To increase the usefulness of SketchUp in metalwork design, estimation, and fabrication, I programmed three software plugins (extensions) for SketchUp. The plug-ins are Curve Maker, Taper Maker, and Stock Maker. You can download these plugins for free from: The plug-ins have been downloaded by about 30,000 SketchUp users worldwide and are

*Location-based solutions provider Trimble recently announced it was buying SketchUp from Google (, but will continue to partner with Google ( new-home-for-sketchup.html) on developing SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. Figure 1. Top, hand-drawn sketch. ©2006 Hammerfest Forge. Used with permission. Figure 2. Middle, design in SketchUp. Figure 3. Bottom, stair rail fabricated by Hammerfest Forge. 14

Fabricator n May / June 2012

available in English, Spanish, French, and Chinese. Here’s how the stair railing was designed using SketchUp and the plug-ins: Step The first step was to make sim1 ple 2D line drawings in Sketch-

Figure 4. Two-dimensional line drawing of unique railing elements.

Figure 5. A Line and a 3D-tapered shape based on the line.

May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Up of only the unique elements of the railing. In this case, figures 1, 2, and 3 reveal that each “s”-shaped element in the design comprises two identical pieces with one rotated upside down. That means a line drawing was necessary for only one-half an “s.” However, as further illustrated in figures 2 and 4, an “s” on the sloped section (rake) is, of necessity, slightly different from one on the horizontal section. This means that two different “s” halves had to be drawn. The Curve Maker plug-in was used to draw unique spirals for each half. Step The second step was to use the 2 Taper Maker plug-in to draw

the railing elements in 3D. Taper Maker, in essence, traces along a line and creates (extrudes) a 3D shape as it goes. Figure 5 provides an isometric view of Taper Maker’s work. On the left is a line drawing of one of the “s” halves. On the right is the 3D tapered element that Taper Maker drew from the line drawing. Because Taper Maker also computes the volume of each 3D shape that it draws (for estimating raw material requirements and the weight of each element), it was also used to draw the straight elements of the railing as well — even though they don’t taper. Applying SketchUp’s “copy and paste” capabilities together with its “rotate” and “move” tools to the 3D shapes ultimately resulted in the finished design shown in figure 2. Taper Maker can draw tapers with round, square, diamond, rectangular, hexagonal, or octagonal cross-sections. Figure 6 shows examples of different cross-sections created by tracing along the same curved line.


Table 1. Example of total stock requirements for a project fabricated from two different alloys and three different stocks.

Step The third step was 3 to use the Stock

Figure 6. Isometric view of alternative tapers.

Maker plug-in to estimate the material required to make each element and to estimate total material requirements. To accomplish this, the stocks (i.e. raw materials) to be used were described to Stock Maker. It needs to know: n what alloy will be used (e.g. A36 mild steel), n the cross-section shape of a stock (e.g. square), n the cross-section dimension (e.g. 他 inch), and

n optionally, the weight and cost

per unit (e.g. per lineal foot). Given that information, Stock Maker can compute how much of a stock will be required to fabricate an element that Taper Maker drew.

Obviously, a design may comprise numerous instances of numerous elements, so Stock Maker can also summarize: n the quantity of each raw material required for a complete design, n the total weight of the design, and n the total cost of the materials. Table 1 above is an example of total stock requirements for a project fabricated from two different alloys and three different stocks. The numerical data generated by Stock Maker can be copied and pasted into other applications, such as spreadsheets or word processors.

For your information


For more information on SketchUp and plug-ins:

Call for Nearest Dealer

About the author Terry Ross is a retired software developer, consultant, and teacher with a newfound interest in metalwork design and fabrication. His work combines contemporary computerbased design technology with traditional fabrication methods and techniques. blog: http:// metalworkdesignandfabrication. 512-484-6624


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May / June 2012 n Fabricator


Shop Talk

Building Acanthus patterns

The pattern for the wraparound acanthus leaf is in the lower left corner of the grille.

This 9 step guide to creating a full-scale Acanthus pattern will make you the envy of your plant, er, shop.


Editor’s note: In “Drawing Large Acanthus Leaves” (November/December 2011 Fabricator), how to draw a simple, single-sided acanthus leaf in 11 steps, alternating “C” curves with “S” curves was addressed. In “Drawing Acanthus side views” (Fabricator March/April 2012), a decorative grille, in which there are two types of acanthus leaves, was added. The sequential steps used to draw a side view of a leaf was discussed. By “Uncle Bob” Walsh Drawing the “S” curves in acanthus

leaves can take getting used to. After a couple tries, based on my previous article, I hope you’re now in the ballpark. Like any hand skill, it just takes some practice. Now the goal is to make a full-scale pattern from which we can build a leaf. This pattern will be for the wraparound acanthus leaf in the lower left of the grille. If you are making a grille with a different design, no problem. All stretch-out patterns are made the same way, so just plug in your own dimen-


sions. Stretch-out drawings are combining the dimensions from two drawings (typically both with “foreshortened” views) to achieve one working drawing with “true” lengths from which to build. Creating illusions

Before we start laying out our pattern, let’s address two illusions. The contour of the spine in either figure A or B looks like the leaf has grace and was just bent into that overall form. It was not. The leaf was easily bent at points #2, but in areas #1 and #3 the leaf is a “U” shaped piece of metal. Now let’s think about bending a deep U–shaped channel in cold (or hot) metal with a hammer and anvil. This is not something we want to do. The sides provide too much strength (resistance) and are not going to stretch or compress as desired. Instead, they will collapse out or fold in because this is easier for the metal

than stretching or compressing. Where am I going with this? In areas #1 and #3, you have created short sections of deep, thin-walled channel iron. Although it appears to have been bent into shape, areas #1 & #3 Figures A and B (figure B) were actually stretched by sinking/pounding from inside the leaf into a cavity so there is a lump of the appropriate radius here. The legs of this channel will not allow the metal to bend as it appears to have been bent. The radius of the lump matches the radius put in the rest of the leaf. In figure A, we have created a deep, short section of channel iron in areas #1 & #3, also. The metal here was not bent; it was instead, shrunk/mashed (upset/compressed/re-contoured) within itself to create a graceful curve. In both figures A and B, the overall contours are created by stretching or compressing the metal in conjunction Fabricator n May / June 2012

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with conventional bending. Technically speaking, conventional bending also compresses and stretches the metal, but arguably to a much lesser degree. This also means that if you put a central, raised vein in your leaf (figure B) before adding the final contour, when you sink the metal in your deep channel, the raised vein will often split open. The raised vein will be the thinnest area, and therefore often rips apart when the metal is stretched. From my experience, spine veins work better when put into the leaf after the overall form has been achieved. One last point. Because of the stretching and compressing of the metal a simple tin-foil pattern is not easily made for wraparound acanthus leaves. Or rather, I have never been able to make one work.

include that drawing because it is simply the circumference of the scroll the leaf is attached to divided in half. I then bump this tail dimension up a little for metal thickness. I would rather grind off a little excess metal later than lament not having it in the leaf. Step In the case of the sample leaf, start 6 your layout with increments to

Step 1

Step Add in your 6 (or whatever you 7 need) reference points from your

end view for the width.

Step Now we start our pattern. Because 8 the outside radius of the finished

Let’s go to work

We first need to make a pattern.

Step Off your full-scale grille drawing, 1 trace the side view of your

Step 2

acanthus leaf.

Step On your spine (contour) line, in the 2 thickest part of the leaf, draw a line

through it. The goal with this line is to make it as perpendicular to the spine line as possible (eyeball engineering is needed here). Step From the initial line, walk off incre3 ments. If you want to buy yourself a

new toy, a “Traveler” made for reading maps works well for walking off these increments. Just push the traveler wheel along the line and read the odometer. It has numerous scales from which to read. I mark on the one-inch increments and eyeball in the remaining lines, giving me half-inch increments. You could also do this with a ruler, a set of dividers, or a compass.

Step 3

Step In the case of this stretch-out, I was 4 unsure of the depth of the little flip

on the top, so added an additional line. Do what you need to do to get the job done. Step Now we need to determine how 5 wide our leaves will be before we

leaf and the inside radius (contour spine line) will not be the same length, the stretch-out drawing becomes interesting. Interesting, well more like a correspondence course in insanity! We will now re-draw our leaf, using the reference points as guidelines, but this will not be a simple dot-to-dot reproduction. Our pattern will now have an entire new set of dimensions, which will look distorted. Our new drawing will look like acanthus leaf “road kill.” Note: In the stretch-out drawing we are now making, the leaf petals are highly condensed. This is because the outside arc we measured in from (on the tracing) is larger than the inside radius of the leaf (the spine line, figure A). If the drawing we were making was for a leaf of the opposite shape (figure B), meaning that the spine line was convex instead of concave, then on the stretch-out drawing the petals would be spaced far apart instead of overly condensed. These far apart petals would then close together as the final contour is put into the finished leaf. In the case of our current leaf, the final contour opens up the petals (figure A). Step Lay a sheet of tracing paper over 9 the first half of the leaf you have

Step 4

bend them into channel shapes. Draw your end views and approximate how you want the leaf to saddle the metalwork. A third drawing, which could be added to the two illustrated, would be the end of the bottom of the tail. I didn’t 20

match the increments on the contour line of your traced leaf.

laid out. Trace what you have laid out onto the tracing paper. Flip the tracing paper over and slip it under the vacant half of your pattern. Trace to complete your pattern. The tracing paper will save you a half hour when you may be at your wits end. Compare my original tracing of the acanthus leaf from the grille with the photo of the finished product (figure C). Fabricator n May / June 2012

Step 5

Step 6

Step 9

You’ll see some differences. The main difference is the spacing between the petals. This is a mistake on my part. The spacing between the petals in the grille drawing is wrong (impossible) for a wraparound leaf. I apologize for this, and should have caught this error. The other differences are because this was not an exact dot-to-dot translation. If a person wanted the petals to be closer together as in the grille drawing, a one-sided leaf will have to be used, not a wraparound leaf. Singlesided leaves are cut on a bandsaw or chisel cut and do not receive the forming that spreads the petals apart. In the case of our project grille, the inside edge of a single-sided leaf would be rolled to wrap partly around the scroll. May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Step 8

For your information


Step 7

Figure C. Compare my original tracing of the acanthus leaf from the grille with the photo of the finished product, above. Notice the difference in the spacing between the petals. The drawing is wrong for a wrap around leaf.

About the author Robert “Uncle Bob” Walsh has been a fabricator/artist/ blacksmith for 30 years. For 10 years, his shop was in downtown Minneapolis. After the invention of the fax machine (allowing an easy interchange of sketches), he moved to semi-rural Wisconsin where he set up a cottage industry with fellow shop owners that has been chugging along for 20 years. Their ironwork can be found throughout the upper Midwest. CO NTAC T

R. Walsh Gate & Railing 306 Lake St. Pepin, WI 54759 715-442-3102


METALfab 2012, Orlando Convention Coverage

METALfab not an ordinary tent show

Saturday tent sessions covered numerous technical issues in a delightful atmosphere.

Metalworking professionals from around the country gathered in Orlando, FL for the industry’s annual convention and trade show. NOMMA’s 54th annual convention and trade show took place Feb. 29–Mar. 3 in Orlando, FL. The action ran nonstop from the first-time attendee orientation on Wednesday morning to the Saturday evening awards banquet. The Saturday tent demos were a highlight of the week and covered: n finishing, n induction, n forges, n scrollwork, and n copper foldforming.

But METALfab was much more than the tent show. Other highlights during the week included: n a massive education program, n trade show, n spouse program, n awards contest, and n demos on Saturday. Many classes enjoyed large turnouts and sessions covered business issues, technology, and techniques. On the following pages our special METALfab 2012 section covers the trade show, exhibits, and numerous special events in words and photographs. 22

Special thank you to...

NOMMA Convention Committee, n NEF Convention Education Team, n Auction Committee, n Top Job Awards Committee, n Spouse Program Committee, n and all the many volunteers who made METALfab  an outstanding success. n

To view more photos of METALfab 2012, visit flickr at sets/

e action returns next year! Plan now for METALfab , Albuquerque, NM, March 20–23, 2013.

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Michael Stone, Construction Programs & Results, Camas, WA, back by popular demand, presented five classes at METALfab 2012, a day of presentations that covered markup, cash flow, sales, contracts, and family business issues. His sessions attracted large turnouts. Fabricator n May / June 2012

METALfab 2012, Orlando Education

Eduction sessions enjoyed large crowds throughout the week. Topics covered everything from OSHA Fall Protection to measuring.

Mark O’Malley, left, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating, led a presentation on installation methods.

Tony Martinez, Big D Metalworks, discusses grinding and finishing techniques during an outside demo.

Phil Hermance, Art’s Work Unlimited Inc., shows copper foldforming techniques. May / June 2012 n Fabricator


METALfab 2012, Orlando Show floor

NEF Auction Committee members take a moment for the camera. Left to right, Rob Mueller, Mueller Ornamental; Martha Pennington, NEF Executive Director; Marti and Carl 800-782-5598 Grainger, Grainger Metal Works.

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Product demos were held throughout Thursday. Topics covered glass rail assembly, waterjet cutting, ETemplate systems, blackening and antiquing chemicals, and gate hardware. Tony Leto and Steve Engebregtsen, left to right, The Wagner Companies, demo a “dry glaze” glass railing assembly.




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Old friends take a break during the trade show. Left to right, Keith Majka, Majka Railing Co. Inc.; Ed Mack, Fine Architectural Metalsmiths; Phil Heermance, Art’s Work Unlimited; Paul DiFrancesco, Lightning Forge, Tom Raber, Raber Industries Inc.

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METALfab 2012, Orlando Newly elected NOMMA Board

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Around the Show

Jonah Barber, Robert1Rayson, Hebo/Stratford Ad_2011:Layout 2/7/11 10:09 AM Gate Systems Inc., chat with an attendee.

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Members of the Top Job Committee stayed busy collecting ballots for the Top Job Contest. Left to right, Will Keeler, Keeler Iron Works Inc.; Cathy Vequist, Pinpoint Solutions; Bill Coleman, Arc Angels Inc.; and Maciej Jankowksi, Artistic Iron Works LLC.

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Greg Tennikait, Superior Fence & Orn. Iron, and Francis Flaherty, Flaherty Iron Works Inc., visit an exhibitor at the trade show.

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Inquire about water reducible Sure Grip (PFGA-paint for galvanize and aluminum).

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Richard Dantoni, Julius Blum & Co. Inc., left, and Josh Guillory, Custom Iron By Josh LLC. Fabricator n May / June 2012

METALfab 2012, Orlando Thursday Theme Dinner and Auction

Enjoying delicious food at the Thursday theme dinner. Left to right, Rick Ralston, Feeney Inc; John Groll, Groll Ornamental Iron Works; and Greg and Tina Tennikait, Superior Fence & Orn. Iron.

Randy and Monique LeBlanc enjoy the Thursday theme dinner and NEF benefit auction.

Barney Rubble, Snow White, and Prince Charming, aka. J.R. Molina, Susan Wilson, and Curt Witter, all of Big D Metalworks.

The swashbuckling Industrial Coverage team. Left to right, Joey Romeo, Patty Spinelli, and Joe Romeo.


METALfab 2012, Orlando Thursday Theme Dinner and Auction

Auctioneer and NEF trustee Carl Grainger leads the live auction.

Carl Grainger and Keith Majka hold up a beautiful quilt that was given to Paul and Moana DiFrancesco as a “thank you” for Paul’s crafting of a beautiful table.


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Julius Blum Award Edward Mack has true spirit of industry service The Julius Blum Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry, was presented to Edward Mack, Fine Architectural Metalsmiths, Chester, NY. A long-term NOMMA member and industry visionary, Mack is a former NOMMA director and two-time chair of the Membership Committee. He also helped to develop a literature resource guide in the late 1990s and is co-founder of NOMMA’s Northeast Chapter, which is still thriving after many years. In 2003, Mack began operating a metalworking school out of his facility, called the Center for Metal Arts. He continues to bring in top name instructors to the school, such as Uri Hofi and Charles Lewton-Brain. A regular award winner in NOMMA’s Top Job contest, Mack’s firm has won 25 Top Job awards, as well as the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence. Mack embodies the true spirit of the Julius Blum Award, for he has devoted his life to serving not only NOMMA and the industry, but to the craft.

Edward Mack with his wife and close friends. Left to right, Keith Majka, Majka Railing; John Steel, Steel Welding; Ed and Rhoda Mack, Fine Architectural Metalsmiths; and Art Ballard, Phil Heermance, Art’s Work Unlimited.

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Lynn Parquette continues long service to NOMMA The Frank A. Kozik Award, which honors exceptional volunteer service, was given to Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works, Elk Grove Village, IL. The Kozik Award is given to NOMMA members who consistently serve the industry, even after they rotate off the board. A trustee of the NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF), Parquette serves on the NEF Education Team, which plans the yearly education program for METALfab. She is also a past member of the Auction Committee. Her other love is chapters. She cofounded the Upper Midwest Chapter of NOMMA, and served as the chapter representative on the NOMMA board for many years. She continues to help the chapter program as a startup May / June 2012 n Fabricator

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adviser and troubleshooter, plus she organizes the chapter booth every year. In 2009, she was named to the METALfab Review Task Force, where she spent over a year reviewing the entire convention and created a convention guide manual. Her company is a secondgeneration Gold member. Both her brother and father have held many positions with NOMMA as well.

Lynn Parquette, Mueller Iron Works, is presented the Frank A. Kozik Award by past recipient Tom Zuzik Jr.

Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, received their third Mitch Heitler Award during the Saturday awards banquet. They also won two golds and a silver in the Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. Left to right, J.R. Molina, Tony Martinez, and Curt Witter, all from Big D.

Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence Big D Metalworks wins industry’s highest metal craftsmanship award Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, received the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence during the METALfab 2012 awards banquet held in Orlando on March 3. Big D received the coveted award for an entry submitted in the “Stairs Complete — Residential” category. The same entry won a gold award in the Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest. Big D is one of only three companies in the industry to have won the Mitch Heitler Award three times, previously in 2000 and 2001. The winning entry is for a five-story stair system made of steel, stainless steel, and glass. Designing the stair required computer renderings, mock-up, and testing. The project took 17 months to complete. See full description, page 36. The NOMMA awards program is an annual event held in conjunction with the association’s convention. Entrants submit photographs and a description of their work. This material is publicly displayed without identifying the entrant, and NOMMA members vote for the “Top Job” in each category. The Mitch Heitler award, which is given once annually, is selected among the gold winners. 34

Fabricator n May / June 2012

METALfab 2012, Orlando

2012 Top Job wınners n

This issue, we feature the winners from the 212 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. For all entries, visit: www. and click on “About NOMMA.” Congratulations!

Categories B, G, H, K, and P did not open because they did not meet the minimum entry requirement. 1 = Gold | 2 = Silver | 3 = Bronze Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence

Chosen from among the gold winners by the Mitch Heitler Committee. n Big D Metalworks M-1 A. Gates, Driveway — Nonforged

1 Ornamental Gate & Fence A-3 2 Emerald Ironworks Inc. A-2 3 Art’s Work Unlimited A-4

C. Interior Railings — Ferrous, Nonforged

1 Custom Iron by Josh C-8 2 Eureka Forge C-2 3 Metal Head Inc. C-4

D. Interior Railings — Nonferrous, Nonforged

1 Big D Metalworks D-4 2 Wiemann Metalcraft D-1 3 Art’s Work Unlimited D-6

E. Interior Railings — Ferrous, Forged

1 Vasquez Custom Metals Inc. E-5 2 Disenos Ornamental Iron E-4 3 Royal Iron Creations E-7

F. Exterior Railings & Fences — Nonforged

N. Structures

I. Furniture & Accessory Fabrication — Forged

O. Unusual Ornamental Fabrication

1 Wiemann Metalcraft F-1 2 Hess Ornamental Iron LLC F-5 3 Iron Decor F-3

1 Vasquez Custom Metals Inc. I-8 2 Wonderland Products Inc. I-4 3 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc. I-1

J. Gates/Doors — Nonforged

1 Custom Iron by Josh J-4 2 Big D Metalworks J-10 3 Wiemann Metalcraft J-5

L. Stairs Complete — Commercial

1 Anvil Craft Corp. L-2 2 Johnston Products L-4 3 DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. L-5

M. Stairs Complete — Residential

1 Big D Metalworks M-1 2 Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. M-8 3 M. Cohen & Sons Inc. M-4

1 Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. N-7 2 C.T. and S. Metalworks N-4 3 Royal Iron Creations N-6 1 Disenos Ornamental Iron O-1 2 M. Cohen & Sons Inc. O-2 3 Artisan Metal Works Ltd. O-4

Q. Art/Sculpture

1 Johnston Products Q-5 2 Crystal Metalworks Q-4 3 Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. Q-2

Copper in Architecture Award for Ornamental Applications

Presented by the Copper Development Association. The award recognizes jobs that make outstanding use of copper or copper alloys. n Wiemann Metalcraft D-1 n Big D Metalworks D-4 & J-10 n Wiemann Metalcraft J-5

View the 2012 Top Job Winners on the NOMMA web site at or on flickr at

May / June 2012 n Fabricator


METALfab 2012, Orlando Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence Big D Metalworks — Gold Dallas, TX The owner created their dream get-a-way from a vision they had years earlier: five-story stairs made of steel, stainless steel, and glass and nine stair flights with nine landings. When producing a product with extreme detail and high finishing requirements like this one, it involves many drawings, 3D renderings, samples, testing, and ultimately a full-sized mock. Glass tread were laminated with SS threaded inserts to allow Big D to secure the tread to the corresponding holes in the stringers. Handrails were doweled into solid metal block put inside the stringers. Many intricate details were present in this project, which were not detectable once installed. The project duration from contract signing to unveiling was 17 months. An excerpt from the customer’s thank you letter: “…Speechless… most spectacular piece of art in the house is the stairs.” Approx. labor time: 3,500 hours (plus 1,800 hours finishing and 1,900 hours installation).



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Driveway Gates – Nonforged Ornamental Gate & Fence — Gold Mead, WA A landscape architect provided a picture of an old motorcycle and said the customer, a motorcycle collector, wanted a gate to look like the motorcycle had been left there years ago (see related story, page 54). The gate was fabricated mostly from mild steel and parts left from different jobs. The rolled pipe was a start when the outside diameter matched the actual tire size that was needed. Not having any idea how the job would end up, hunting for parts around the shop to convert into motorcycle parts was fun. The motorcycle was sandblasted, smoked, wire wheeled, and then clear coated. The gate is powder coated. The front LED light illuminates the address; another LED is in the taillight for the nighttime. The finishing touch was powering it with a Hy-Security Swing smart operator. It has a DoorKing telephone entry. Approx. labor time: 200 hours.

Emerald Ironworks Inc. — Silver Woodbridge, VA

This imposing, impressive driveway gate was fabricated 100% from aluminum. The design, based on an architect’s rendering, was finalized by the fabricator. The frame, an 8 x 3-inch rectangular tube, has a ½-inch radius on all four corners. The top horizontal pieces were made by waterjet cutting the front and rear elevation view design element, then creating the box by using flat bar top and bottom. This was fully seam-welded and routed to have a ½-inch radius. The vertical has a 3/8-inch, 45-degree bevel. Faux strap-hinges and bolt-heads were affixed front and back. The finish is glass-bread blasteded, then had a multistep latex paint “washpatina” process in which paint is thinned and layered numerous times to create depth and interest in the finish appearance. Each gate lead weighs about 500 pounds. Approx. labor time, including finishing: 280 hours.

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METALfab 2012, Orlando Art’s Work Unlimited — Bronze Miami, FL This gate was fabricated from 3/8 x 2-inch flat bar, so it is a substantial gate pair that was fun to work because of the freedom the company had. Each leaf was different and work was done off a basic sketch and improvised. The gate opens along the leaf borders, so it was pleasing to see the uneven divide. On a quick look, it’s hard to see that the gate splits in the middle. All the components were curved with a Hossfeld or similar tool, or around pegs by hand. The customer wanted an open, but structural design. All the pieces were welded by beveling, and then the welds were cleaned up for a finished look up close. The finish was similar to aged copper. Approx. labor time: 80 hours.


In addition to our handrail fittings & custom pipe & tube bending services, Sharpe is proud to now offer Fiber Optic Tube Laser Services. This state-of-the-art 3,000 watt BLM Fiber Optic Tube Laser allows for costly traditional fabrication processes to be done in a much more time efficient and cost effective way. Saving you time and money on your custom projects! Capacity for this tube laser is up to 6” O.D. round tube & up to 5” square tube. Expected delivery date is set for May!

Unique Capabilities of Sharpe’s Fiber Optic Tube Laser Include: • Increased Production Speed • Cuts Copper, Brass, Bronze, Galvanized Pipe, Steel, Stainless Steel, & Aluminum • Makes Copes, Slots, Holes, Notches, Cuts & More in Seconds!



2550 South 170th Street | New Berlin, WI 53151 | 38

Fabricator n May / June 2012

“I designed and cut this bench from an actual butterfly photo. My machine paid for itself in 3 months making products like these.” -Ken Garcia, PlasmaCAM® machine owner (

Call for FREE demo video & catalog showing lots of amazing projects you can cut on this robotic machine. (719) 676-2700 • fax (719) 676-2710 PO Box 19818 • Colorado City, CO 81019

METALfab 2012, Orlando Interior Railing — Ferrous, Nonforged Custom Iron by Josh — Gold Westlake, LA This is an interior railing for a new home. The company textured all the material and used a scroll machine to create its design. The railing was TIG welded, and all welds were polished and heated. Most of the welds were hid with banding. Challenge: It was important to line up the double post with the upstairs and the stair railing on a pitch. Designed by the fabricator, the skeleton was drawn on AutoCAD, plotted full scale, then freehanded the scroll design for the clients to approve. Materials used: ½-inch-square bar, banding, cast shoes, medallions, and a few knuckles. Installation techniques: A mock-up of the skeleton frame before fabrication. Finish: Wire-wheeled and painted with clear. Approx. labor time: 4 weeks.



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

DESIGN & SALES: 800-635-2596 FAX: 828-333-5551 OFFICE: 800-541-8065 •


Eureka Forge — Silver Pacific , MO This three-level balustrade was designed and created by the fabricator for clients seeking a departure from traditional scrollwork. The armature (or frame) was created in the field with a portable pyramid roll and fitted to steel embeds set in the rough framed curb. The intersecting ovals were first coldformed and bent to match the curb radius. The intersections were marked and mortised on a vertical mill so that the ovals would set in a single plane. The vertical edges of the ovals were then cut, fit, and welded to form a continuous focal element. “Echoes” were hand-formed to finish each panel. The finish was accomplished by sandblasting (tool marks were not removed per client request), priming, base and stipple coating, and finishing with metallic silver overspray and clear coat. Approx. labor time: 301 hours. Fabricator n May / June 2012

Produce More Work With Less Manpower Fabricate Your Own Architectural Components

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Hebo Machines were started by German Blacksmiths, with you the fabricator in mind. Their mission has been to partner with you, to provide you with a mechanical advantage to speed up your processes, in order to help make you as fast, efficient, and profitable as possible. Hebo invented their first modern wrought iron machine in Germany over forty years ago, and since then has continued to be recognized as the worldwide leader in this field. The multi-functional Hebo machines can: twist, bend scrolls, endforge, emboss, texture, edge hammer tubing and solid bar, make baskets, and press belly pickets. The machines work with: steel, aluminum, bronze, copper, and brass.

See more machines and video clips at: STM Motor Unit Can Twist Up To 1.5’’ Hebo Scroll Machine Scroll Up To 3/4’’ Square

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In these challenging economic times, it is now more critical than ever to be fast, productive, and efficient. Your customers are now expecting more value for less money. The Hebo Machines are the absolute fastest way to add value to metal. Can you afford a Hebo? A better question is, how can you afford not to? Make Your Own Parts - How much are you spending in parts every month? Good chance it is more than a lease payment would be. Labor Cost Goes Down - Your least expensive employees become the most productive. Less than the cost of one $10/hr employee, with a useful life of over 25 years.

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Speed Up Turnaround - You will no longer be waiting on parts or paying for shipping. Reduce inventory. Manufacture Unique Ironwork - Gives you the ability to produce ironwork that is not cost effective to produce any other way. Tax Savings - Ask your CPA about Section 179 Federal Income Tax Deduction, which allows you to deduct up to $112,000 in equipment purchases.

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US Representative, Robert Rayson, Stratford Gate Systems, Inc. Phone: Office 503-722-7700 Cell 503-572-6500 Email: or Websites: Hebo Maschinenfabrik, Am Berg 2, 35285 Gemunden-Grusen, Germany Phone ++49 6453 91330 Fax 49 6453 913355 Email: May / June 2012 n Fabricator


METALfab 2012, Orlando Metal Head Inc. — Bronze Lafayette, LA This symmetrical grand stair was designed by the fabricator. The framework was assembled onsite and returned to the shop for infill. The infill scrollwork was all fabricated in shop from ¾-inch flat bar and rolled to fit. The railings were hand finished in gold, bronze, and black washes, and installed in five sections. Approx. labor time: 240 hours.

Check Our

Out Online

y Video Librar One of your greatest benefits as a NOMMA member is complete access to our online multimedia library: ☛ 12 NEF “How To” Training Videos ☛ Past webinars (building codes, social media, etc...) ☛ Podcasts (recordings of past Roundtable calls) ☛ NEF mini tutorials ☛ Gulf Coast Chapter Measuring Video To access the videos go to the NOMMA website, click on “Support” and then “Members.” Not a NOMMA member? Contact Liz Johnson (888-516-8585, ext. 101, or visit 42

Fabricator n May / June 2012

May / June 2012 n Fabricator


METALfab 2012, Orlando Interior Railing — Nonferrous, Nonforged



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Big D Metalworks — Gold Dallas, TX This corporate guard- and handrail system is about 140 linear feet of patinated bronze cladding, curved railing, art panels, and balcony railing. Eight art panels were fabricated at three different radii. The railing was made from solid bronze bars, patinated, and accented with polished bronze custom castings. Accent rings were cut from plate and polished. Posts were captured by custom-fit escutcheon plates, milled from solid bronze bar stock, and rolled to required radii. All parts were attached with hidden fasteners and welds. The art panels were fabricated from custom castings and hand-polished or patinated. The infill mesh was cut from solid bronze plate. All polished bronze was finished to a #8 finish. Patinated and polished parts received different matte lacquers to reveal desired colors and sheens, so the different finishes were taped off and shot separately after assembly. Approx. labor time: 8,100 hours. Fabricator n May / June 2012

! rs so on sp r ou to ks an th A 12 0 2 ab Lf A MET Moving Forward in a Changing Economy!

The sponsors for 2012 are a very special group of suppliers. In challenging economic times they are going the extra mile to contribute to the success of METALfab 2012. Their support is greatly appreciated. Platinum Sponsors Industrial Coverage Corp. 62 South Ocean Avenue Patchogue, NY 11772 Tel: (631) 736-7500 Toll Free: (800) 242-9872 Website: Industrial Coverage is the NOMMA endorsed insurance administrator. The Wagner Companies P.O. Box 423 Butler, WI 53007-0423 Tel: (414) 214-0444 Toll Free: (888) 243-6914 Website: The Wagner Companies is a manufacturer of metal products – including handrail fittings and systems - for architectural and industrial applications. Special focus on railing products and services related to railings, such as bending, fabrication and polishing. Gold Sponsors Julius Blum & Co. Inc. P.O. Box 816 Carlstadt, NJ 07072 (800) 526-6293 • (201) 438-4600 Website: Components for architectural metalwork, which are available in aluminum, bronze, stainless steel, and nickel-silver. Products include handrails, guardrails, brackets, tubing, bars and shapes. Lawler Foundry Corp. P.O. Box 320069 Birmingham, AL 35232 Tel: (205) 595-0596 Toll Free: (800) 624-951 Website: Lawler Foundry serves the fabricator and forger with high quality castings and forgings at popular prices. Silver Sponsors Colorado Waterjet 5186 Longs Peak Road, Unit F Berthoud, CO 80513 Tel: (970) 532-5404 Toll Free: (866) 532-5404 Website: Colorado Waterjet Company is Colorado’s oldest, largest, and most experienced job shop specializing in abrasive waterjet shape cutting. Equipment includes a Dynamic WaterJet the most advanced waterjet available. 72

EPi, Electrochemical Products Inc. 17000 W. Lincoln Ave., New Berlin, WI 53151 Tel:(262) 786- 9330 Website: EPi provides an extensive line of chemicals used in the area of finishing and cleaning metals. Antiques finishes, black oxide finishes, and cleaning processes for all metals. Bronze Sponsors Carell Corporation P. O. Box 850 Stapleton, AL 36578 Tel: (251) 937-0948 Website: Carell Corp. was founded to fill a need for tough, dependable machines capable of working day after day with minimum down time. Carell provides a range of models, options and tooling to match almost any budget. They also have an in-house machining shop for custom tooling. King Architectural Metals 9611 East RL Thornton Dallas, TX 28787 Toll Free: (800) 542-2379 Website: www. King Architectural metals provides numerous products and services to the ornamental metal industry such as forgings, castings, access controls, stair, railing & fence components, plasma designs, etc.

Get ready for METALfab 2013

METALfab 2013 March 20-23, 2013 Albuquerque, NM “Focus on Success”

Fabricator n January / February 2012

METALfab 2012, Orlando Wiemann Metalcraft — Silver Tulsa, OK This residential commission consisted of 93 feet of carefully fabricated brass railing. Each of the 125 balusters consists of 19 individual parts. The components, waterjet cut plate, custom brass extrusions, and machined dimensional material, were patinated prior to assembly and used 2,500 hand-set rivets and more than 2,300 machine screws. The mounting system consists of vertical steel bars set on fabricated angles and plates. The mounting plates and angles, installed early in the process, were critical to the success of the project. Challenges: The tight tolerances required to assure all adjacent materials and baluster components aligned. The finish is oxidized with a wax top coat. Maintaining consistency of the 2,400 individual parts finished over a three-month period was also a challenge. The project’s success was due to hard work and craftsmanship of our crew from the first sketches to final touch up. Approx. labor time: 3,000.

Your Partner in Access Control


Art’s Work Unlimited — Bronze Miami, FL

This job required tapered teak wood posts with cable running through, and a polished stainless cap rail. The existing floor was wood, and the customer wanted no visible connection at the bases. This was done by making flat plates with four ¼-inch screw holes, with a 7/8-inch pin that penetrated 8 inches into the post. The base plates were installed with long screws. Then using a very heavy, nonslopping epoxy, the posts were set over the pins, braced, and plumbed. After the epoxy cured, cut-off stainless lag screws connected the top rail, having screwed them into the top of the wood, cut, and welded the top rail on site. The top rail strengthened the posts enough to assemble the cables snugly. Challenge: Keeping the posts plumb and square during the epoxy process. The floor was uneven, so work was quick, bracing and aligning. Approx. labor time: 130 hours. Fabricator n May / June 2012

3-3/8”w x 4-7/8”h

Interior Railing — Ferrous, Forged Vasquez Custom Metals Inc. — Gold Tampa, FL The customer for this job gave the company freedom to design what it thought would be the most outstanding handrail for the man room. The project began by texturing round tube for the trees and rail top. The rest of the material came from the scrap pile and was forged into each detail. A favorite part of the project was the lizard that is looking at the spider eating the bug. The intention was to bring the handrail some life in a not-sonatural habitat. Approx. labor time: three weeks. Disenos Ornamental Iron — Silver Detroit , MI The material was hot-rolled channel for the top and bottom, cast-iron ornaments, and forged steel scrolls. MIG welding combined the cast-iron ornaments with in-house steel material. Forged steel material was combined with forged leaves. A pin was welded on the bottom of the post to secure into floor with epoxy. Additional clips were welded to the top channel to bolted sections into the wall. Challenges: One was welding cast-iron and steel together. The welds tend to break easily so the process was delayed. It is hard to fabricate when the rails are curved and have different angles. Approx. labor time: 800 hours.

May / June 2012 n Fabricator


METALfab 2012, Orlando Exterior Railing & Fences — Nonforged

Royal Iron Creations — Bronze Jupiter, FL The original design is from the client’s Italian architect, drawn with 6–8-inch spaces throughout and modified by the fabricator to meet 4-inch code. The railing is curved at both corners of the stair, with a serpentine balcony. The 1-inch valance and bottom bars penetrate through the intermediate hexagonal posts by cutting the intermediate post into sections and then reassembling with all-thread. Next, the void created from the larger intermediate posts was welded and sculpted back to a point on each side of the railing. Hexagonal top and bottom pieces were custom milled with stepped reveals and were designed to be removable to plate them and reassemble at installation. The leaves were custom designed and cast to fit together seamlessly over about 12 different curves. The newel post is a custom milled solid brass flute section with turned brass hubs. The railing was sandblasted and painted; all brass balls, collars, and bronze leaves were made to attach after painting. Approx. labor time: 2,900 hours.

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Wiemann Metalcraft — Gold Tulsa, OK The project above was more than 500 feet of solid bronze railing with more than 20 custom bronze castings, each prototyped from 3D models based on the architect’s renderings. Over 1,100 individual castings created this work. Other components were fabricated using standard extruded bars and cap rail, waterjetcut mounting plates, machined spindles, and custom-spun brass escutcheons. All surfaces were hammer distressed and antiqued with a chemical patina finish. Challenges: Scheduling work to meet client’s changing needs and increased cost of copper alloys from contract award to purchasing. Approx. labor time: 7,000 hours. ncludes installation). Fabricator n May / June 2012

Hess Ornamental Iron LLC — Silver Felton, PA This project, designed by the architect, is 61 feet of aluminum railing with curved pickets and polished bronze cap incorporated many techniques. First, pickets were rolled to a 30.250-inch radius so that the spacing worked out to be 315/16 at the largest opening. Then notches were machined into the pickets so that they overlapped and remained flush. MIG and TIG processes welded the project. TIG welded the bronze

and MIG the aluminum railing. Challenges: The rolling of the pickets. If the radius was off 1/16 inch, the spacing would be off and the notch location would move. The following were used to fabricate this project: 1½ inch aluminum square bar for posts, 1½ x ¾-inch aluminum flat bar for horizontal rails, 1½ x ½-inch aluminum flat bar for pickets, and 2¼-inch-wide bronze top cap. The railing was sandblasted and powder coated matte black. Approx. labor time: 400 hours.

Categories I-Q to be featured in future issues. Iron Décor — Bronze Tulsa, OK This rail design was a joint effort between the customer and the fabricator. The steel and cast iron fabrication was field measured and fabricated in the shop. The customer’s home had a four of these rails, only two of which were accessible from the inside. Challenge: Integrating the stock forged panels into a flowing design that fit the available space. Integrating the custom centerpiece located above the rail was an unusual design feature and required thought and effort to make smooth transitions. The painted finish was sprayed and antiqued. Approx. labor time: 24 hours for each of the four balconies. May / June 2012 n Fabricator

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METALfab 2012, Orlando

Exhibitor report n

NOMMA’s annual METALfab Trade Show and Convention, held March Feb. 29–Mar. 3, 212 at the DoubleTree Universal in Orlando, FL, is the only trade show for the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. As a reader service and a reminder for our attendees, below are some of the products and services featured this year by our exhibitors. To find out about METALfab , contact NOMMA: --,

Carell Corporation Carell’s MT150 Ornamental Bar Working machine creates unique ornamental elements, fast, easy and economically. Tools are included to twist, scroll, bend, and fold in manual or in automatic modes. 60-inch Bed with open collets allow working with bars to 20 feet long. Contact 251-937-0948, Century Group Inc. The company is a manufacturer and supplier of precast concrete stair treads for the ornamental metal fabrication industry across the U.S. Century specializes in the custom manufacturing of concrete stair treads for spiral and circular stairways. The company works with metal fabricators, architects, engineers, and contractors to manufacture concrete stair treads to meet their specific project design and specifications. With more than 75 years of experience, Century Group says no other company offers more diversity, advanced technology, and service providing precast concrete stair treads than it does. Contact 800-527-5232 ext 110, 50

CML USA Inc. Ercolina’s portable 050KD, featuring an easy-to-use programmable control, is ideal for bending pipe and tube squares, rectangles, solids, and other profiles. 050KD is capable of bending ferrous and non-ferrous materials from ¼ to 2½ inches and accepts Ercolina’s optional two-axis A40/P positioning table for multiple and sequential bends. Standard tooling available from stock. Contact 563-391-7700, Colorado Waterjet Co. Colorado WaterJet Co. can create custom railing infill panels like this panel cut from 1 inch aluminum. Any design, any material can be cut. You can deliver to your customer a unique design at a reasonable price. Let your imagination run wild. Cold cutting process avoids warping, hardening, and slag. Eliminates welded joints. Colorado Waterjet is dedicated to detail and committed to quality. Serving NOMMA members since 1998. Contact 970-532- 5404, www.

Fabricator n May / June 2012

Custom Ornamental Iron Works Ltd.

The company offers a beautiful scrolled baluster called the 40-516A. This steel baluster comes in ½-inch-square material and is offered at 37½ inches or 45½ feet long. The company creates this product in-house and hammers out the edges to give it a rustic look. The length of the scrolled design is 14¾ inches. Pair this baluster with any of the company’s plain hammered balusters, or with the 40-713 l twisted baluster. Many powder coating colors are offered. Contact 480-921-2259, D&D Technologies The SureClose Adjustable Gate Closer & Hinge is a stylishly designed hinge gate closer, using high-strength aluminum with stainless steel components. It s not only lightweight and noncorrosive, it’s a workhorse testing to 500,000 cycles with a 1,500 pounds (680kg) point load capacity, self-closing gates up to 260 pounds (120kg.), making SureClose good for use in commercial, custom residential, and estate gates, according to the company. Contact 800-716-0888, D.J.A. Imports Ltd. D.J.A. is not your typical distributor. With an eclectic catalog of products, D.J.A. is a leading nationwide distributor that supports high quality products and a small business attention to detail that understands its customers’ needs. D.J.A. continues to diversify its inventory with a large selection of cantilever gate systems for sliding gates, adjustable hinges, heavy duty overhead tracks, ornamental steel components, hard-to-find bar stock, unique forged Components, “golf ” pickets, and balls. As an architectural steel, gate hardware distributor, D.J.A. brings together artisans and ideas from across the world to your projects. Contact 718-324-6871, Doringer Cold sawing is the fastest growing method of steel cutting in this country. There is no faster, safer, or more economical way to cut steel, stainless, or aluminum than with a Doringer Cold Saw, the company says. Every cut comes out square, with a smooth finish, and burr-free. Imagine going directly from sawing to welding or assembling. No secondary deburring operation. All Doringer machines are manufactured in America. Contact 800-962-6800, May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Eagle Bending Machines, Inc. Eagle presented its latest generation 3 Roll Universal Profile Bending machines including the new CP30E. With 1½ inch angle and pipe capacity, the CP30E has foot pedal controls, horizontal/ vertical operation, and fully universal tooling. The CP30E is the most affordable and widely used Ring Rolling Machine available, according to the company. Contact 251-397-0947, www. Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC Elite Architectural Metal offers hand forged and cut lambs, tongues, and scrolls in bronze, aluminum, and steel all made in the USA. These rail ends are made from Wagner handrail but can be made from other handrail molding. The company also has a custom line of 1-piece cast aluminum and iron newel posts and caps, along with many custom patterns available for casting. Elite recently added 316 alloy Stainless Steel Railing Systems by Lavi Railing to its product line, which already includes hammered and textured bars, Grande Forge and Lawler steel forgings, Regency railing panels, and Heritage cast iron gates and fences. Contact 847-636-1233, ETemplate ELaser is the newest addition to ETemplate’s line of award winning 3D measuring technologies. ELaser dynamically draws a 2D/3D CAD drawing as measurements are taken with the system. Measurement points can also be seen in jobsite photos using ETemplate Photo. The ELaser system represents the latest laser technology, including live video through the laser head providing several enhanced capabilities. These include photographs for job site documentation, a crosshair for precise targeted measurements, and the ability to move the laser via a remote wifi connection. Contact 866-877-6933,


METALfab 2012, Orlando Industrial Coverage Corp. The company offers an exclusive commercial insurance program through Zurich Small Business. Coverage can be provided for general liability, products and completed operations, building, contents, equipment, and commercial vehicles. Policies are available in all states and can only be purchased through our office. Contact Joey at 800-242-9872 ext. 120, and click on NOMMA. King Architectural Metals King Metals stocks over 9,000 items, ready to ship from Los Angeles, Dallas, and Baltimore. The company says exceptional value, quality, customer service, and same-day shipping are its trademarks, making each order its most important one. Contact 800-542-2379, Lawler Foundry Corp. Lawler’s natural finish, highquality iron castings and steel forgings are sold to fabricators and forgers to design, fabricate, finish, and install residential and commercial ornamental metalwork. Lawler introduced the “QC Forgings” in 2007, and this line allows fabricators and forgers to offer high quality at reasonable prices. The company says it is the preferred supplier to more than 1,500 full-time fabricators and forgers of ornamental metal products in the U.S. Contact 800-624-9512, Marks USA Marks USA Ornamental Iron Locksets are available in US 26D, US 3, US 15, and US 10B finishes. These locksets feature a 9 Series mortise lock body, thru-bolted solid brass trim assemblies, and spring loaded captivated spindles. Marks USA locksets are backed by a lifetime mechanical and electronic warranty. Contact 631-225-5400, 52

Ransburg No. 2 Process Handgun/Deuce Unit is the most efficient indoor/outdoor on-site finishing system on the market today, Ransburg says. The Deuce unit, using the No. 2 Gun, is a total on-site finishing package: No. 2 Gun, bell, high voltage cable, power supply, fluid hose, and cart. Everything is pre-package and ready to go to work for you. Transfer efficiencies are in the 95% range, Drift and waste are virtually eliminated! Impossible on-site furniture refinishing is a breeze, the company says. Contact 800-909-6886, Sumter Coatings The Metal Master brand is composed of primers and topcoats that are specifically formulated for use on ornamental and miscellaneous metals. The company’s most popular product is the “Satin Shield,” which is a fast drying, direct-to-metal paint. This product is both primer and topcoat built into one paint. The first coat acts as a primer, and second coat yields a beautiful satin finish. Contact 888-471-3400, The Wagner Companies LEDpod illuminates in an asymmetric distribution without the need to tilt the handrail, thus eliminating unwanted and disturbing glare. With an individual driver for each LED, failure is limited to a single LED in each instance. LEDpod is suitable for curved handrail (subject to radius). The LEDpod has an optically designed glass lens and a large heat sink with excellent mass and surface areas for efficient heat dissipation. Contact 888-243-6914,

Fabricator n May / June 2012

D e m o n s t r at o r s • t e a c h i n g s tat i o n • c l a s s e s

The ABANA 2012 Conference in South Dakota is a “MUST-SEE” event and will include:  Top Demonstrators  Business Card Exchange  Saturday Evening Dinner  Lectures & Workshops  Portfolio Display Area  Tailgate Sales  3-Day Iron Smelt  Iron-in-the-Hat  Blacksmith Vendors  Poster Displays  Saturday Auction  Open-to-the-Public Gallery  Family Programs

Claudio Bottero will be

working by hand and power hammer with a team of blacksmiths to create a large sculpture.

Knife Makers will make and pattern a

damascus billet Making Mokume Gane (Copper, Brass, Nickel Silver) They will be demonstrating other interesting and exciting variations of knives.

Becky Little will create a coat rack with her whimsical style. I cannot wait to see what else she has prepared for us! Ellen Durkan will talk about her passion for ‘unique’ ironwork products. Håvard Bergland will make a true Viking Axe. Håvard’s book, that has been translated into English, will be for sale.

Patient Order of Meticulous Metalsmiths will be making a Scandinavian

style door with custom engraved hardware. They will be available to answer questions as they work

Punzo Family Coppersmiths will take scrap copper and turn it into beautiful copper vessels. All work is done by hand with very few tools. “Bill Fiorini Memorial Teaching Tent” Mark Aspery, Darryl Nelson and Gerald Boggs have the teaching station well staffed.The guys will be instructing the National Curriculum along with other projects.

2012 Conference July 18-21, 2012 Central States Fairgrounds Rapid City, South Dakota


on the

GReat Plains

From passıon to passıon Member Talk


Non-traditional work and office environment expand the boundaries of opportunity and fun for Rick Nelson at Ornamental Gate & Fence.

Rick Nelson with his wife and business partner Jeannette, right. Every year the family gets Christmas card pictures made. “We usually take a lovely picture of us and tell everyone about how great life had been the past year,” Rick says.

By Molly Badgett

For your information


What you'll learn n Being licensed for electrical brings a point of distinction and more business. n When fate or luck stares at you, stare right back. n Business skills are secondary to hard work and determination. About the author Molly A. Badgett is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. She often covers issues related to U.S. manufacturing.


For 16 years, Rick Nelson’s goal was for his machinery to be tuned finely enough to spew out 100,000 pizza crusts, every day. As maintenance manager at an H.J. Heinz food-products plant in Spokane, WA, his job depended on that machinery’s performance. While the early days had been discouraging — “I was making about $6.50 an hour, and I was scraping stuff off the floor, and I was just sick to my stomach that I went through school to be doing that” — the work evolved into “an absolute dream job where I learned a lot of stuff and I got to travel a lot.” Then the bottom fell out. Nelson can’t say he wasn’t warned. During his time there, Heinz had previously shut down for a year, forcing him to find work as a trainee at a sawmill before the pizza factory reopened and he was called

back. Several years later in 1995, virtually all of the company’s 50 employees were let go again; Nelson and just one coworker were allowed to stay to maintain the place in case the news got better. “We spent three years in this plant, just dinging around, not really doing anything,” he said. “Every day we never knew if we were going to be out of a job or not.” By 1998, it was clear that the plant would never reopen, and he, too, was let go. It was a depressing time, he said, and “I didn’t think my life would ever really be like it was when I was working there.” Fate? Karma? Grace? Somehow, Nelson turned his misfortunes — even the year at the sawmill — into positives. As a result, he now owns and operates Ornamental Gate & Fence, Mead, WA, which has installed some 200 automatic gates, as well as railings, fences, and other artfully functional objects over the past 14 years. Nelson said he has always had an artisFabricator n May / June 2012

tic bent, but hadn’t thought about pursuing it. Instead, the ornamental metal business seemed to pursue him. Before his layoff from Heinz, he hired his down-on-his-luck brotherin-law to build a gate at the mouth of the long driveway leading to the house where Nelson and his family — wife Jeannie and two sons, now grown — lived. The brother-in-law bought some supplies, but did not do the work. “I ended up building a gate for myself,” Nelson said. “It was right around that time that the (Heinz) place was shutting down, and I knew that I either had to move to keep my job with them, or to stay in Spokane and do something different.” He didn’t relish leaving his Spokane hometown, so “we decided to make this gate business. Part of the thing that we were good at in our plant was building equipment,” Nelson said. “So building this gate just kind of came naturally. My wife and I are Christians and we kind of looked at it like, well, maybe this is what God wants us to do.”

Fabricator David Shoesmith, left, shows off the pieced-together vintage motorcycle that serves as a gate element, below, for a client who asked that the bike appear to have been abandoned for years. The piece is among Nelson’s foray into 3D metalcraft, taking some 200 hours to build. Said Nelson: “. . . the fun was hunting for parts around the shop to convert into motorcycle parts.” The gate was a 2012 Top Job Gold Award. See full description, page 37.

Few are ever fully prepared

Despite his talents, running a business was tough. Nelson self-deprecatingly said that he is “a jerk of all trades and a master of nothing.” And, he said, “I’m pretty much an idiot when it comes to business stuff.” Still, his motives were right and things were falling into place. Someone had told him once to “start where you want to be. In other words, don’t be doing junk work and then be trying to work into something better.” That seemed right to Nelson, so he strove to do his best work, often at the cost of spending more time on a project than he planned, or providing supplies for free. Two years after starting the business, Nelson got caught doing electrical work without a license. The moment was less painful than it might have been. Coincidentally, Washington state was offering something of an amnesty at the time. If he could pass a test, he’d be set with a license to do limited work, such as installing a gate operator. He had to take the test a few times, but he finally passed it. Business saved. The limited license, however, still didn’t permit him to run electrical conMay / June 2012 n Fabricator

duit between a gate and a customer’s house. Once again, good fortune was on his side. During his year at the sawmill, Nelson had racked up about 7,000 of the 7,600 hours of training he needed for an electrician’s license. The state at first denied it had any record of his training, but the eager electrician pursued the matter and was credited for the hours. He then hired a licensed electrician for whom he could apprentice for the remainder of the hours and ultimately got his license. “That has been the key to our business — getting licensed to be able to run the electrical out to the gate,” Nelson said. “We’re the only (gate) company in Spokane that can do that.” He has been happily installing gates, fences, railings, and other items ever since. Well, for the most part happily.

“When I’m out here shivering in the cold, I think back to those days when that pizza plant was always warm. Of course, I kind of miss that,” he said. “My wife thinks that this business has been a nightmare until I start reminding her about how, if I wanted to go to a kid’s soccer practice after school, I went to them. If one of our kids got into trouble, we went to help him get out of it or help him,” he said. “So this business has allowed us to really do some nice things.” Another perk began a few years ago when Nelson found himself swamped with business. What might’ve seemed like too many hours away from home are often mitigated when Jeannie travels with him on service calls. Especially during the late-day or early-evening excursions, she’ll read history books aloud as they travel from one place to another. 55

Nelson not exactly a ‘paint by numbers’ kind of guy Rick Nelson doesn’t mind telling it like it is, even if he’s on

the raw end of a painful truth about his business. For example, when asked to name his biggest challenge, he doesn’t hesitate. “I probably, in my personal life, have been a slob; I think I found that doesn’t work out too well for running a business,” Nelson said with unapologetic humility. He’s referring to his occasional resistance to following that age-old advice, “measure twice, cut once.” “When you go out and measure for a job, getting sloppy measurements just doesn’t cut it,” Nelson admitted. “We’ve made things wrong, then powder-coated and had to redo it.” Willing to try something new to avoid repeating the problem, Nelson eventually stopped doing everything himself and let employees do their own measurements. And he slowly but surely moved his shop to AutoCAD. “That’s created its own headaches,” Nelson said. Again, acknowledging his reluctance to take things step-by-step,

The ‘50s-style Texaco gas station — a life-size collector’s item and office. From left to right, Ornamental Gate & Fence fabricators Dwight Cook and David Shoesmith, with owner Rick Nelson, along with Rick’s wife Jeannie, granddaughter Hayden, and son Nick.

ensuring a few costly glitches while getting things running. “I was depending on someone else to do part of it; it was my own sloppiness,” he said. “I wasn’t paying enough attention to things. I made a rough drawing with rough dimensions, and let it get down to the shop without getting the exact dimensions we needed. I should’ve been more on top of it; we’re just learning about it all.” Learning is painstakingly slow when business comes at a welcomed pace. Nelson’s son Nick, who has worked at the shop for 10 years, was tapped for the AutoCAD training. Soon, however, advanced classes were taken off the trainer’s schedule and moving forward slowed. To stay on top of things, Nelson said he knows what’s next. “I’m 51; I don’t want to go to class in my after-hours, but, I know I’ve gotta do it,” he said. His biggest motivator,


he added, is seeing money that he let get away. For Nelson, it’s a bit like starting over. “Our lives are so busy; there’s so much stuff going on. To learn something new — it’s been hard for me,” he said. Plus, most of the five-person staff at his company don’t have ornamental shop experience; they’re still learning on the job. “None of us has really had any experience in working in the ornamental business,” he said, citing the exception of some welding experience his staff had. “We’re having to learn our own way. Other companies have had the opportunity to learn off what they did in the past.” Asked if NOMMA was a resource for training he needed, Nelson tossed out, “Maybe if NOMMA did it with a coloring book and drew pictures,” he laughingly said. They don’t balk at hard work

Fortunately, he and his employees aren’t afraid to work hard to figure things out and get things done. Nelson considers himself lucky to have his current staff, considering the employee base he often must choose from. “Another challenge is knowing how to hire right,” he said. “We think we can teach the guy how to be a good employee, (but) I don’t think people have been taught how to work hard for what income they’re getting. They’ve been led to thinking they’ll get a computer job and make money without putting effort into it.” It’s simple, Nelson said. “Being a good hard worker is a good characteristic to have. “You see someone who’s on the ball, you compliment them; you have a good feeling that person is going to go far in their life. They’re keeping themselves on the ball,” Nelson said. Sometimes, it’s a matter of physical exertion. “My wife and I walk a two-mile walk every morning. . . . You’ve got to keep busy, keep active,” Nelson said. “I’ve had younger employees tell me that they shouldn’t have to go home from work tired; that they’re ‘having to go to bed at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.’ because they’re tired.” To Nelson, it makes no sense, and he doesn’t like things that make no sense. Take the government. “I’ve butted heads with them,” Nelson said. Aside from the license and certification problems, Nelson found himself having to appease OSHA over technical training his wife is required to have just to feed him conduit on a job. “I think in-class training is a good thing, but for her to touch a wire and take a risk of getting a fine for handing me a piece of conduit — guiding wire off a spool — that isn’t right,” he said. Giving it a second thought, however, Nelson can point to the advantages of the government’s seal of approval. “I fought the government because I didn’t have the license. Now that I’ve got it, I use it to my advantage. I don’t want to be competing with someone without a license,” he said. “I want to make sure that when we give a bid on a gate system that the people also giving a bid are doing it legally like we are. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Nelson said, “but I play it.”

Fabricator n May / June 2012

Work shows diversity

Nelson’s work can be seen throughout the Spokane area, which is in the far eastern part of Washington State, and in northern Idaho. One of his gates features a bear that has just caught a salmon in a fast-running stream. Others show a three-dimensional duck in flight; cutouts of deer, elk, horses, and a great blue heron; homeowners’ monograms; and address numbers. His gates depict tall grasses, cattails, and trees. A copper rose, surrounded by hand-forged leaves, adorns another. One indoor railing features cutouts of a pheasant and partridges. Recently, Nelson has endeavored to stand out from the crowd by forging three-dimensional gates. At one home, it appears that a tree has fallen across the drive. Look more closely and you see it’s a fully operational gate. Nelson found a dead cedar tree, stripped it of its bark, bleached it, and installed a gate operator inside the trunk. A remote control allows the homeowner to fully raise the top side of the “fallen” tree, much like a tollbooth gate rises when a driver deposits coins. Nelson said he moved into threedimensional work because “I always want to try to stay one step ahead of the game. . . . When we were first getting into it, the flat cutouts that you see a lot of — the nature scenes that are more or less pieces of metal that are plasmacut — were kind of ahead of what other people were doing in our area. (Now) I’m trying to move it more toward doing the three-dimensional stuff like the motorcycle.” Most of the work originates in Nelson’s shop, a conversation piece in its own right. It’s a restored, 1950s-style Texaco gas station, one that Nelson happened upon on an Indian reservation. “Everybody thought I was nuts,” he said about his decision to buy it. But buy it he did before taking it apart, transporting it to his property, and rebuilding it. “I kind of dressed it up with a bunch of different signs around it,” he said. “Gas station stuff has really been a big part of my life. It’s pretty cool.” In fact, Nelson had collected gas station memorabilia for years; he was always on the lookout for items when he traveled for Heinz. He sold that first May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Blue heron gate, left, and an an adorning rose, below. Nelson’s work doesn’t stop at the ornamental-metal designs, which typically present nature at its most iconic. His company also provides customers with the entire gate, right down to the operating mechanisms. And he will use his customers’ artwork, such as birds perched among tree branches.

gate — the one he had to build when his brother-in-law failed to do so — to have the money to buy a vintage gas pump. He built up quite a collection, only to have to sell most of it to overcome some financial woes. Now, he said, he is done with that hobby and on to the next one — boating. Again, things fell into place. Nelson recently landed a great deal on a power hammer and other machinery from a factory that shut down about a decade ago. He retooled his shop with some of those machines. He sold the rest at a handsome profit that allowed Jeannie and him to buy a cabin cruiser. The boat will be used on weekends and vacations, however; Nelson figures he still has a number of years in the ornamental gate business, where he plans to work until retirement.

Things continue to look up for Nelson. He recently secured a $200,000 contract — four times the size of his previous biggest contract. “Of course, I was just shaking in my shoes, dealing with that kind of money and wanting to make these guys happy,” he said. “It was pretty nerve-wracking.” Nelson said he doesn’t know that he’ll pursue other big contracts; he would prefer the business to grow slowly. Besides, after some difficulties with previous employees, he is pleased with his current crew of three. “I would love to find a way of making it so that all of our employees had about the same amount of interest in it so that we could all grow old together and make this business run profitably,” Nelson said. “I would love to find out how to do that.” 57

Inventor Weaver Spotlight


In his 2nd career, mechanically-inclined, 75-year-old Phil Weaver works in a shop built in 1831 from split logs. He’s had time to invent a portable bender and help hundreds of fabricators.

For your information


What you'll learn n How a NOMMA member began a new, successful career, without mentors. n How using instinct and talent can pay off with a patent-pending invention to sell to other fabricators. n A sure way to ensure customer satisfaction. n How a small metal workshop used basic techniques to find work. CO NTAC T

Phil Weaver Weaver’s Iron Works 931 North Wooddale Road Knoxville, TN 37924 865-932-2636 About the author Peter Hilde­brandt is a long-time senior writer for Fabricator. He specializes in writing company profiles.


By Peter Hildebrandt An intricate metalwork chandelier hangs from the ceiling of Phil Weaver’s busy shop at Weaver’s Iron Works near Knoxville, TN, testament to his incredible talents at reassembling. On a nearby table is the original chandelier from a University of Tennessee sorority house foyer — a carbon copy of the reproduced work dangling nearby. Weaver loves understanding how things work; he has an uncanny ability to assemble anything. He readily reminds people visiting his shop that they are welcome to hand him a box containing a recently disassembled machine, and he will have the gadget reassembled in short order. Figuring out how things work is his nature. He points to a nearby piece of equipment. “If you take this completely apart and bring it to me in a box, I can put it back together.” Weaver has always been mechanicallyinclined. He even welded transmissions for Euclid trucks used for hauling stone material out of quarries. “They busted their transmission and I welded it back for them years ago,” Weaver says. “One guy brought me a piece of faucet today that was made out

of nylon because he couldn’t find a replacement for that. I can make one for him out of metal.” One Minnesota customer, in addition to requesting an iron gate, asked for a decorative but authentic metalwork cannon. Genuine enough to actually fire, Weaver tested the cannon in a neighbor’s pasture, which was nearly two miles in length. The cannon worked just fine. Weaver showed off a round-cylindered pistol that he crafted, from scratch, from solid stainless steel. It contains tiny intricate notches inside that turn the cylinder as it fires. “I made this pistol just for the challenge,” he says. “I wanted to see if I could do it. But Weaver brings out a binder filled with his metalworking projects over the years. Gates, railings, stair rails, sunbursts, and other clients’ projects. These have been his bread and butter during this second 25-year metalworking career, after cafeteria work. Starting a new business

Weaver’s father was in the cafeteria business “but he was not a mentor in this work I’m doing now,” he says. “I really have done it all on my own. I’ve met a whole lot of nice folks with NOMMA Fabricator n May / June 2012

Little Giant hammer machine used to shape the metal. This equipment will hammer out the metal, flatten it, and get it into the shape you need it to be.

Disassembled chandelier from University of Tennessee sorority house. The original chandelier was obtained overseas, but could not find a second one. Weaver was asked to duplicate the original.

who I can share information with.” After 30 years in the cafeteria business, Weaver welcomed retirement. But soon he was looking for something else.

Weaver discovered comfort working with pure stainless steel that could be crafted into something new. He found he could bring ideas to life. Following his short-lived retirement, it was no surprise that Weaver started his own business: Weaver’s Iron Works. Chandeliers, curved stairways, cannons, and even surgical instruments are what Weaver mainly does,

800-526-0233 • 631-225-5400 • Fax: 631-225-6136

May / June 2012 n Fabricator


but he’ll do anything asked of him. During his first year of retirement, he did little. “Then someone asked me: ‘Can you build me a bed?’ So I made the bed. Then a woman in Flintstone, GA, wanted one for a wedding present. I, in turn, made ones for people in Miami, North Carolina, and Minnesota.” “It mushroomed from that point,” Weaver says, “because they could give me a picture, and I could make something based on the picture. One time, I made a table from a picture no bigger than a postage stamp. From that point, my work in metalworking became a whole other fulltime career.” Business challenges

All of Weaver’s work comes from word of mouth; in 25 years, he’s never advertised his metalworking services, with the exception of his invention,

Shop where Weaver spends most of his time, tinkering on all kinds of projects that he’s been working on over the years.

the Porta-Bender (see sidebar, page 61). Philip Weaver has done it all himself, with some help from small work crews over the years. The most workers he’s ever had has been five at one time.

“I still feel like I need to be around them to make sure that they do the work right,” adds Weaver. Weaver Iron Works is not a production shop, so there is no particular need for a workflow plan. “It’s not repeat, repeat, repeat, but instead a situation where it’s one job we are working on completely different from any other. What we do is not the same as production of straight rails or straight fences. “But as far as regular jobs I’ve worked on over the years,” Weaver says spiral staircases “have been the most challenging for me. . . . The PortaBender makes them really easy to do.” Weaver’s greatest challenge is making payroll and paying bills. He used to have jobs for new, high-dollar houses, up to $5–6 million. He often made chandeliers or anything that customers wanted. “The downturn in the economy has hurt me a lot,” Weaver says. “I haven’t had any big jobs lately. Everyone’s just trying to survive and is waiting on things to turn around. Any homes that are being built use wood where metal used to be the norm. My success over the years perhaps comes from the fact that I always did as good a job as I could. If I wasn’t happy with it, I figured they wouldn’t be happy with it.” Customer service secret: Samples

Another challenge for Weaver is giving the customer something unusual, which he always tries to do. If a customer provides an idea, Weaver will make them a sample of what he proposes. For example, a sample might consist of two pickets with a rail or channel on it in which to place the wood top rail. This helps ensure that he can make the required bends and that the client knows what they will get. “This prevents clients for having the problem of asking, ‘well I thought you were going to do it this way’ or ‘this isn’t what I had in mind’,” Weaver says. “I try to make it just like what they would get. It doesn’t take much time to pack one up to show them. The welding doesn’t have to be real good; I tell them it would be on the final product, as the sample is just for 60

Fabricator n May / June 2012

Weaver has sold 1,000 Porta-Benders to fabricators Phil Weaver places a piece of metal in his Porta-Bender and shows how it quickly, precisely curves the metal. He created the Porta-Bender 15 years ago. Weighing only 18 pounds, it can easily be taken to jobs. Weaver noticed that as he did the metal work on stair rails sometimes the metal would bend too much, and he had no tool for the bending. The metal would be bent more than the amount it needed to be bent. And the metal always had to fit the carpenter’s specs. Weaver took three years to develop the Porta-Bender. Another two years went by before the tool started selling. “Usually it’s a hassle to get any over-bent metal back into the position it needs to be,” Weaver explains. “But

everyone’s been happy with my invention. They say they can’t get along without it. They cost $539, but they also usually pay for themselves on the first job, when someone’s working on a stairway. Some 1,000 have been sold over the years. The patent is still pending.” On one job, Weaver anchored one piece while at the same time the job had two different radiuses. If the specs require the metal in the railing to be four inches from the edge as it goes up, the bender can accomplish that. “When I started doing these stairways there wasn’t anything to do the curves in the metal with,” Weaver says. “After I came up with my bender, it was something able to be done quickly, easily and accurately.”

demonstration purposes. it, that you’re not physically “Another thing I do is try pumping, you don’t have to come up with the finish that control you have with my customers want, whether the Porta-Bender; you can add just a little bit of bend it’s a rustic finish or some or quite a bit more. You are other. I make it look old, or in control and you can do if it needs to be one that can bends that can’t be done have chemicals put on it, I with anything else.” will do that too. Whatever He also has an electric the customer wants and will bender that twists pickets be happy with is the imporand does curves. Custom tant thing; the customer is Phil Weaver’s house on his property across from his shop. This original custom dies added to this who you are working for.” split log house was constructed in 1831. Even the interior walls on this equipment allows the maHowever, Phil Weaver house are nearly one foot in thickness. chine to do other types of has turned down requests, rolling and bending that the for example, for window ponents for the Porta-Bender, putting manufacturer didn’t have. It will roll burglar bars because of the liability. grooves on some parts so that they circles, for example. “They may keep people out of a house. are able to grab. The components of “On some of the bends you had But they also keep people in if there is the bender equipment are formed on to make your dies to bend a special a fire. If a burglar wants to get in he’ll lathes and mills in this shop. radius, ” adds Weaver. “I was able to do just find a way in anyway.” Weaver has another bender that he that now. doesn’t use as much now. He now uses Weaver has numerous pieces of Other tools of the trade his Porta-Bender because it is lightequipment. His Little Giant does the Weaver bought his shop in 1970. weight, highly transportable, and can same thing as the Big Blu Hammer. He points out a house atop a hill that do the bends on site that usually have Other equipment includes torches, he had built. Below his shop is his to be done in the shop. The Portawelders, and a bandsaw. authentic square log timber house Bender can also do certain bends in But no powder coatng equipment. built in 1831. Interior walls in the tight radiuses, Weaver says. “I take work to a shop that specializes house are some 12 inches thick. “There are certain radiuses that in powder coating because it’s a Above his main shop is a smaller simply can’t be done with other bendspecialized field. I don’t have facilities shop for farm and bender assembly ers. You can also see directly what you here to accomplish that.” work. Here he makes individual comare doing. With a machine that’s doing May / June 2012 n Fabricator



Ask Joe

In partnership with Industrial Coverage Corp.

NOMMA sponsors new insurance plan Coverage is with Zurich Commercial Insurance Editor’s Note: Joe Romeo of Industrial Coverage Corp., Patchogue, NY, NOMMA’s insurance administrator since 1988, will answers questions about the insurance program in this new column for Fabricator. Fabricator: Tell us about NOMMA’s sponsorship of a new commercial insurance program. Joe Romeo: At the March 2012 Board meeting in Orlando, the NOMMA Board of Directors agreed to endorse Zurich Small Business as their exclusive insurance carrier. Their program provides a comprehensive package of coverage at a competitive premium. Zurich is an A+ rate national carrier.

Joe Romeo, Industrial Coverage Corp.

Coverage Corp. Although Zurich Small Business will accept ornamental fabricator business from its other agents, the policy issued will be substantially different in many key aspects. For example, coverage is provided for design professional liability, the residential exclusion is deleted, the welding hazard exclusion is deleted and coverage is provided in 48 states only on policies issued through Industrial Coverage Corp. Simply go to our website at or call 800-242-9872 to begin the quoting process. If you’re really happy with your current Broker, but would like to participate in the program, we will work with him.

Fabricator: What makes this program different than the other policies on the market? Fabricator: Do I have to be a NOMMA member Joe Romeo: I have been insuring ornamental fabricators to qualify for coverage? since the early ’80s. This experience together with NOMMA Joe Romeo: Yes. We recognize that NOMMA members member input and Zurich’s quality coverage make an have unique industry qualities and have access to a world of unbeatable combination. knowledge through NOMMA’s Education Foundation. Zurich uses their Precision Trade Contractors policy as Through their vast national network, members share the foundation of coverage. This means that your installaideas and experiences that make them stand out in their tion exposure is included at no additional premium, where industry. as a manufacturer’s-based policy would This generally makes them more desireither not cover or charge additional preable as a risk to an insurance carrier and mium for installation. insures the profitability and longevity of Zurich Small Business is recognized in our program. the industry for having policies that are If you’re not a member, don’t worry. amongst the broadest in offering coverage, The premium savings may be more than Industrial Coverage Corp., Patchogue, such as business interruption, tools and enough to cover the cost of membership. equipment, rental equipment, and installa- NY, under the guidance of NOMMA, has created a Specialty Insurance Plan tion floater coverage at no additional cost. Next issue: In my next column of “Ask specifically designed for ornamental So, if you need to cover your building, Joe,” we will explore the problems with metal fabricators. contents, vehicles, general and products Certificates of Insurance. liability or require umbrella liability with Send any questions about Certificates Tools for a custom fit limits up to $5 million dollars, Zurich of Insurance to Fabricator editor Todd n Competitive premiums n Comprehensive coverage Small Business can do the job. Daniel at, and we will n Limited design liability Included answer them in future issues. n Blanket additional insureds Fabricator: How do I get a quote? n Per project aggregate Joe Romeo: Coverage is available n No additional charge for installation exclusively through my firm, Industrial

For your information



Do you need a commercial insurance quote? Call the Ornamental Fabricator HOTLINE for competitive pricing on custom quotes at 1-800-242-9872. Ask for Joe Romeo, Jr. at extension 120 or visit us at


Fabricator n May / June 2012


Nationwide Supplier Members Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (866) 252-4628

D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (718) 324-6871

Alku Group of Companies (800) 465-7143

DAC Industries Inc. (800) 888-9768

Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858

Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278

Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (800) 527-1318 American Punch Co. (800) 243-1492 Ameristar Fence Products (888) 333-3422 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444

DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233 EPi

(262) 786-9330

Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846

Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796

Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101

ProCounsel (866) 289-7833

The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427 King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 King Architectural Metals - CA (800) 542-2379 King Architectural Metals - MD (800) 542-2379

ETemplate Systems (919) 676-2244

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

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

Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225

FabCad Inc. (800) 255-9032

Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512

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

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

Lehigh Valley Abrasives (908) 892-2865

Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348

Gates That Open LLC (GTO) (800) 543-4283

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

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293

Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (800) 663-6356

Locinox USA (708) 579-0286

Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC (856) 205-1279

Glasswerks LA Inc. (800) 350-4527

Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537

Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926

The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549

Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510

The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961

Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227

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

Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948

Hayn Enterprises LLC (800) 346-4296

McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373

Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271

Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700

Metabo Corp. (800) 638-2264

Century Group Inc. (800) 527-5232

Heritage Cast Iron USA (918) 592-1700

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402

Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710

Artist Supplies & Products (800) 825-0029 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Banker Wire (800) 523-6772

Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. (866) 464-4766 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. (800) 716-0888

May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. (800) 242-9872 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (800) 371-4404

Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 NC Tool Co. (800) 446-6498 Ohio Gratings Inc. (800) 321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. (866) 985-9885

Q-Railing USA Co. (714) 259-1372 Ransburg (800) 233-3366 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (800) 841-8457 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (800) 745-4107 SECO South (888) 535-SECO Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418 South Camden Iron Works Inc. (800) 962-1029 Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245 Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612 Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400 TACO Metals (800) 653-8568 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 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 Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc. (847) 272-7400



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 May 11, 2012. *Asterisk denotes returning member. 3F Metalworks LLC Denham Springs, LA Edward Freiberger Fabricator Christopher Metal Fabricating Inc.* Grand Rapids, MI Christopher Maitner Fabricator Covington Ironworks LLC dba Stewart Iron Works* Covington, KY Marc Menne Fabricator

Super Thanks!!! 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 Nancy Hayden, Tesko Enterprises

n Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works (2)

n Will Keeler, Keeler Iron Works

Sponsored a member

n Stan Lawler,

n Julius Blum & Co. Inc.

Lawler Foundry Corp.

n Cuper Studios LLC.

n Rhoda Mack, Fine Architectural Metalworks

n FabCAD

n Gregg Madden, Madden Fabrication (2)

n O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc.

Living Design Studios Boulder, CO Claire Peterson Fabricator

n JR Molina, Big D Metalworks

n The Wagner Companies

R & H Co. Inc. Metal Fabricators Easton, PA Bill Kowalchuk Fabricator

NOMMA Gold Members

Tacoma Iron Work Tacoma, WA John Leskajan Fabricator Vulcan Fabricated Metals Inc. Birmingham, AL Michael McDowell Fabricator

n Lehigh Valley Abrasives n Sherry Thein

Congratulations to these following firms who will become NOMMA Gold Members this year (20 years): n n n n n n

Artistic Iron Works Inc. Beauty Craft Metal Fabricators Inc. Bower Welding Custom Iron Inc. Design Metals John F. Graney Metal Design

n Sorge Industries Inc. n Southwest Metalsmiths Inc. n Welding Works Inc.

We greatly thank these companies for their two decades of loyalty and support.

Help Take NOMMA To The Top Attention NOMMA Members - Help us to rebuild our membership while earning discounts for METALfab 2013. For every member you sponsor, you’ll receive $75 off your Albuquerque convention registration. Sponsor 4 members and your registration is free! Eligibility: Any NOMMA member who sponsors a member between April 15, 2013 and February 28 2013.

Photo credit: Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, 2009 Top Job Entry.


Congratulations to Eric Cuper of Cuper Studio LLC — he’s the first member to sponsor a company for the 2012-13 contest. Fabricator n May / June 2012

What’s Hot? n Events July 18–21, 2012 Artist-Blacksmith’s annual conference The Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA) holds its annual conference in Rapid City, SD, welcoming a diverse community of metalworkers from professionals to hobbyists. The conference includes several days of forging demonstrations, and a variety of classes, lectures, seminars, slide shows, vendors, galleries, family programs, and a poster contest. Registration fee is $275 per person. With a $50 discount for ABANA members, the fee is $225 per member. The fee for one’s spouse is $25. The Saturday banquet dinner is included. Contact ABANA, 423-913-1022, Aug. 1–5, 2012 Blacksmithing conference The Rocky Mountain Blacksmithing Conference XXII will be held at the Francis Whitaker Blacksmith School on the campus of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, CO. The conference will feature master blacksmiths demonstrating a variety of skills and styles. Also included will be a forging contest, gallery, open forge, silent auction and other activities. Attendees will see demonstrations by Clay Spencer, Mark Aspery, Alison Finn, Andy Morris, and Rod Pickett. Contact Rocky Mountain Smiths, 719-485-2327, www.

May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Industry News

Mobile app developed to calculate tonnage for punching steel The American Punch Company, Cleveland, OH, has released an app for mobile devices that allows users to calculate recommended tonnage needed when punching steel. The app makes calculations based on user input of punch shape and dimension, and thickness of material being punched. The recommended tonnage results are then presented for a variety of materials. The American Punch app for calculating tonnage is the first and currently the only app of its kind, says the company, and eliminates the need for using awkward or outdated slide charts, complex calculations, variables and multipliers. The app for calculating tonnage is a free download available from the iTunes or Android app stores.

American Punch Company has designed a new app for mobile devices that will calculate the recommended tonnage required for punching a variety of steel materials and thicknesses. It is available through iTunes and Android app stores.

The American Punch Company is a leading provider of punches, dies, shear blades and portable punching and drilling machines for the metalworking and fabricating industries. Its tooling is widely used in the structural steel industry. Contact American Punch Co., 800243-1492,

Eberl Iron Works launches new website Customers of all five divisions of Eberl Iron Works Inc., Buffalo, NY, can now find all the resources needed to specify and order products by visiting the company’s new website at The site unites under a single brand, Eberl Iron Works, the company’s five divisions: Metal Fabrication Services; Unistrut Buffalo Supports framing products; Systems Installation & Design; Traffic Safety Products; and Rooftop Support Systems. The new site adds rich content for all product lines. Customers can download CAD drawings to incorporate into their own

construction plans. Submittal pages, catalogs, and product tutorials are also available online. Online ordering capabilities also enable EIW to accommodate contemporary work habits. “Our customers might be purchasing at all hours of the day or night,” says John C. Eberl, CEO. “Now they have instant access to whatever they need, whenever they need it.” Developed by VertaSource, the new website is the culmination of a threeyear team effort led by Elizabeth Durand, EIW’s marketing coordinator. Contact Eberl Iron Works, 800-2853056, 65

What’s Hot? n Security Brands buys American Access Systems more than 17 years Security Brands Inc., with American Access Centennial, CO, has Systems as director of acquired American Acmarketing and sales cess Systems, a Denverand, most recently, as based manufacturer of general manager. access control keypads, Michael “Jay” Jernicard readers, and telegan has been promoted phone entry systems. to vice president of op“Our objective is erations, after working to continue to grow Jay Jernigan, left, VP of operations; Kevin Downing, president, Security in many positions the American Access SysBrands, Inc. last 18 years with Amertems while setting new ican Access Systems. standards for the care Security Brands, Inc., currently conand service for our customers and the sists of three divisions that all industry overall,” says Kevin Downing, relate to the perimeter access control newly appointed president of Security industry: American Access Systems, Brands, Inc. After 33 years in the industry, Amer- Summit Access Control, and Kodiak ican Access Systems founder, and presi- Black. Contact www.SecurityBrandsInc. dent and CEO Don Allen has retired. com and New president Kevin Downing served


Industry News

Brief Florida commissioner donates metal-working scholarship City Commissioner Ron Barnette, Dunedin, FL, has donated $500 to provide two welding scholarships for the underprivileged to take classses at the Institute for Creative Arts located in Dunedin. Barnette is following through with a campaign promise to return his commissioner’s salary back to the community. The Institute offers classes in metal sculpture, traditional metal working (blacksmithing), copper foil, stained glass, knife making and welding. Contact Bill Coleman, Institute for Creative Arts, wjcoleman@aol. com, www.instititutecreativearts. com.

Fabricator n May / June 2012

What’s Hot? n


New Literature Aluminum care and handling manual AAMA The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has just published “Care and Handling of Architectural Aluminum from Shop to Site,” (CW-10-12), updated from the 2004 version. The manual covers care and handling of architectural aluminum products from mill to fabricator to job site through project completion. “Fabricated aluminum used in architectural applications is highly Continued on page 68

Zirconia alumina grain abrasives Norton/Saint-Gobain

flap discs, coated abrasive belts and portable wheels, cones and plugs have been upgraded to the new grain. The current Charger depressed center and cut-off wheels and NorZon paper discs, nonwoven wheels and quick-change discs for portable grinding applications will be upgraded to the new grain over the next several months. Contact Norton/Saint-Gobain, 254918-2313,

Abrasives manufacturer Norton is implementing a performance upgrade across their “better” tier of metal fabricating abrasives products for portable grinding applications. Products in the tier will now be sub-branded as Norton BlueFire and feature a zirconia alumina grain with properties that are designed to enable significantly improved performance, the company says. Currently, Norton’s “better” fiber discs,

Fabrication center/punch press price reduction Kalamazoo Metal Muncher Kalamazoo Metal Muncher has announced a reduction in the price of all Metal Muncher units to 2008 prices for comparable machines. This price reduction was accomplished by improvements in productivity, while retaining the same quality of design, materials and manufacturing, the company says.

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May / June 2012 n Fabricator



What’s Hot? n Kalamazoo Metal Muncher consist of two basic types of machines: The Series MM is a five-station fabrication center in a single unit designed to deliver versatility, smooth performance and improved productivity in a smaller footprint compared to two separate machines. The two-cylinder/ two-person operation of the Series MM enables the punch and shear ends to operate separately, independently, or simultaneously at full capacity and full speed. The Series GB gap bed hydraulic punch press can be used as a dedicated punch press, but accepts a wide range of standard and optional accessories, or can be fitted with special tooling to al-



low shearing or forming for special jobs. Contact Kalamazoo Metal Muncher, 269-492-0268, www. Stainless steel tube finishing kits Rex-Cut Abrasives A new line of stainless steel tube finishing kits packaged to grain-in or polish railings from weld removal to final finish in three steps is being introduced by Rex-Cut Abrasives. Rex-Cut’s Stainless Steel Tube Finishing Kits include a selection of parts combined to provide a timesaving solution for grinding and finishing stainless steel railings to the desired

New Literature Continued from page 67 susceptible to damage from improper handling, storage, physical contact with other objects and contamination,” says Steve Wilkening (Apogee Enterprises/Tubelite Inc.), chair of the AAMA CW-10-04 Review and Update Task Group. “CW-10-12 provides recommendations for proper care and handling to ensure that aluminum products go through the entire manufacturing, finishing, fabrication, delivery and installation phases without incurring damage that could affect performance or appearance.” CW-10-12 was updated to contain new sections on visual inspections and care after building completion, as well as inclusion of information

Fabricator n May / June 2012

What’s Hot? n


New Literature regarding damage or defects found on aluminum materials. Other revisions to the manual include updates to tabletop materials in “Care During Fabrication” and the addition of language regarding necessary precautions to consider in “Care Prior to Building Completion.” Contact AAMA, 847-303-5664, Updated product catalog Carell Corp. Carell Corp. has released their new updated 2012 product catalog in PDF format. The full-color, illustrated catalog showcases plate rolls, angle rolls, pipe, tube, profile bendContinued on page 70

finish. An inside corner weld blending disc is also available. The Rex-Cut SS Tube Satin Finish Kit #749000 produces a No. 4 Finish (food grade) and includes: a 41/2-inch x 7/8-inch Fusion medium disc, a 41/2inch x 7/8-inch Unitized 25FN disc, and 11/2-inch x 23-inch Tex-Belt AO fine. For a highly reflective finish, Rex-Cut’s SS Tube Polish Kit #749001 produces a No. 7 Finish and includes: a 41/2-inch x 7/8inch Fusion medium disc, a 41/2-inch x 7/8-inch Unitized 25FN disc, a 41/2-inch cotton felt disc, and a 5-inch x 13/8-inch very-fine rouge stick. Contact Rex-Cut Abrasives, 800-2258182, Height control system for plasma arc cutting ESAB Cutting Systems ESAB Cutting Systems has introduced its new Smart Voltage Height

Control (SVHC) system, designed to improve plasma cut quality and maximize plasma consumable life by automatically compensating for electrode wear. The SVHC system utilizes ESAB’s PB-MB-1 plasma torch station, and integrates capabilities from the arcvoltage sample-and-hold feature pioneered by ESAB in the 1990s, and the electrode wear detection system patented by ESAB in 1998. The torch station features pneumatically balanced tool-tip sensing, magnetic breakaway crash protection, and an encoder for accurate Z-axis position control. The Pneumatically Balanced Magnetic Breakaway torch holder


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

Call for Free Catalog - 800/446-6498

NC Tool Company Inc 6133 Hunt Road Pleasant Garden, NC 27313 336/674-5654

May / June 2012 n Fabricator


What’s Hot? n allows accurate initial height sensing. It is combined with an electrical touch-sensor that also detects when the torch is in contact with the plate. This dual-sensor system provides accurate sensing of the plate surface, which is used as the reference for initial cutting height. The SVHC system uses an encoder in the Z-axis to precisely control the torch height for initial piercing and cutting height. Once the torch has fired and moved down to its cutting height, the arc voltage is electronically measured and digitized. The system then switches to arc voltage height control, and maintains it throughout the remainder of the cut. Contact ESAB Cutting Systems, 800-ESAB-123, www.esab-cutting. com. Low profile angle rolls Carell Corp.

Carell has introduced its latest advances in its angle roll machine lineup. The new “lower-profile” designs on 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch capacity angle rolls are designed to provide greater utility and ease of operation. Operators are given an enhanced vantage point with a more direct line of sight to the material during rolling and may eliminate the need for a pit in many circumstances. Maintenance is also facilitated by lowering the working height. The machines employ independent hydraulic drives direct coupled to each of the three roll shafts, thus eliminating gears and reducing maintenance and increasing efficiency. 70


Contact Carell Corp., 251-937-0948, Unthreaded standoff fasteners PennEngineering

PEM self-clinching thru-hole unthreaded standoff fasteners are designed for applications where exact spacing is required between two panels in an assembly. The fasteners install permanently and securely in steel, stainless steel, or aluminum sheets as thin as .040 inch/1 mm to achieve specified panel-spacing needs using minimal hardware. This family of self-clinching thruhole unthreaded standoffs is available in steel (Type SO), stainless steel (Type SOS), or aluminum (Type SOA). All can be ordered in lengths ranging from .125 inch/3 mm to 7.50 inch/20 mm. The standoffs install using the company’s Pemserter or other standard press by first inserting the fastener into a properly sized round mounting hole in the metal sheet and into the press anvil. With punch and anvil surfaces parallel, sufficiently applied squeezing force embeds the standoff ’s head flush in the sheet and the fastener is permanently installed without risk of loosening or falling out. No other hardware is necessary to accomplish the required spacing function. Contact PennEngineering, 800-2374736, Flux-cored arc welding gun Bernard Bernard has a new Dura-Flux Gun with replaceable power cable liner. This self-shielded flux-cored arc welding

New Literature Continued from page 69 ers, rebar benders, ornamental benders, shears, and vertical tank rolling systems, as well as important features, specifications, advantages, and available options. The catalog is designed to help potential machine buyers select the optimal machine to match their rolling, bending or forming application. Contact Carell Corp., 251-9370948, Bending machines catalog Eagle Bending Machines Eagle Bending Machines has published its full-color illustrated catalog for 2012, in PDF format. The catalog showcases the company’s entire line of section rolls and profile bending machines, including features, advantages, and options, as well as complete specifications and bending capacities for every model. The catalog covers all models and versions of the Eagle Bending product line of section benders, ring rolling machines, coiling machines and CNC profile benders. It includes the CP20, CP30 Classic Series, CP40 & CP60 Series, CPS Series, BA-CNC Series, CPD Series and the Z402 Series. A company overview is included, explaining Eagle’s philosophy, focus and purpose. Contact Eagle Bending Machines, 251-937-0947, www.

Fabricator n May / June 2012

What’s Hot? n


New Literature Guide specification for metal finishes Linetec Paint and anodize finishing company Linetec has published a new guide specification for factoryapplied metal finishes. “Section 05 0513 Shop Applied Coatings for Metal 3-part Guide Specification” is available for download from Linetec’s online Architect Resources section of their website. Prepared according to the principles of Construction Specification Institute and Construction Specifications Canada (CSI/CSC), the guide specification reflects MasterFormat titles and numbers as of April 2011. Linetec’s six-page document coordinates with Division 01 to address various sections pertaining to both polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) liquid paint coatings and anodize finishes for aluminum railings, metalwork, frames, louvers, sun screens, roof and wall panels, doors and entrances, windows and skylights, storefronts, curtainwalls, and more.

“This is the first-known, nonproprietary guide spec offering concise language for selecting and specifying high-performance PVDF and anodize finishing in CSI three-part format for shop-applied metal finishes,” says Linetec’s vice president of sales and marketing, Jon Close. Contact Linetec, 888- 717-1472,

May / June 2012 n Fabricator

(FCAW-S) gun is designed for quick power cable maintenance, and provides operators with 350 amps of welding capability at 60% duty cycle. The Dura-Flux Gun with replaceable liner features an advanced handle design that is said to reduce operator fatigue. It is available with an optional dual schedule switch, designed to allow easy wire feed speed adjustment while welding, and is integrated into the handle to protect it from weld spatter. The gun’s trigger is sealed to protect from outside contaminants and has been designed for simple replacement should it become damaged. The trigger also absorbs less heat than a traditional metal trigger to increase arc-on time, lower heat input and extend component life, says Bernard. Additional features include a lightweight, rotatable Hi-Viz neck to improve weld puddle visibility and internal trigger leads that prevent the trigger cord from becoming tangled on surrounding equipment. The gun also features the company’s Quik Tip Series consumables, designed with a threaded taper lock to increase contact tip life through enhanced heat transfer and electrical conductivity. They can be installed or changed over with a simple twist after a burnback. Contact Bernard, 800-946-2281, Fiber optic tube laser capabilities Sharpe Products Sharpe Products, a contract manufacturer providing tube bending services, has purchased a state-ofthe-art BLM Fiber Optic Tube Laser. The addition of the 6-inch O.D. fiber

optic tube laser complements the company’s use of allelectric CNC tube benders and allows for costly traditional fabrication processes to be more efficient and cost effective. This 3,000-watt tube laser is unique compared to CO2 tube lasers with its increased production speed and its ability to cut copper, brass, bronze, galvanized pipe, and aluminum in addition to steel and stainless steel. Capacity for this machine is up to 6-inch O.D. round tube and up to 5-inch square tube. Aluminum can be cut up to 3/8-inches thick depending on the outside diameter of the tube or pipe. Contact Sharpe Products, 800-8794418, fiberoptictubelaser.html. Vacuum lifter and flipper Anver Corp.

A new vacuum lifter-flipper for removing large stampings and fiberglass or rotationally molded parts from a mold and turning them upside down for the next process is being introduced by Anver Corp. The Anver Vacuum Lifter-Flipper features an offset beam that has suction cups for gripping a large tub-like item from the inside and is powered for flipping it 180 degrees for placement onto a table or into another process. Permitting one person to remove a large item from a mold, upend it, and rotate it 360 degrees, this 71

What’s Hot? n combination lifter, tilter, and rotator eliminates straps and hooks that can damage surfaces and saves labor. Custom built to match exact user requirements, the Anver Vacuum Lifter-Flipper can incorporate a variety of suction pad materials for handling hot products, along with different configurations. The offset is offered in varying lengths and can be balanced if necessary. Powered by 115VAC or compressed air, typical users include outdoor architectural specialty pool fabricators, plastics rotational molders, and fiberglass boat builders. Contact Anver Corp., 800-654-3500, www.anver. com.


Shearing/ flanging machine Cole-Tuve Inc. Cole-Tuve Inc, is now offering a combination shearing/flanging machine — Model EFM — with up to ¼-inch x 118-inch capacity in steel and aluminum and up to 5/-inch in stainless steel, for flat and crowned, round and elliptical and double “D” heads and bottoms, as well as for some other non-symmetrical shapes. This model is offered in addition to the company’s lines of other shearing and flanging machines for flat and crowned, round tank heads and bottoms with capacities of ¼-inch, 5/16-

Restoring the Past. Building the Future. Questions? Call Peter H. Miller, President: 202.339.0744 x 104. Or email

inch, ½ inch and 1 inch. Some of these models are available for heads without a center hole. As optional accessory equipment for the larger flanging machines, dishing machines are available with capacities of 165 to 400 tons, with or without manipulator. Contact Cole-Tuve Inc., 877-989-0700, www. Gate roller

International Gate Devices International Gate Devices has announced an addition to its cantilever gate hardware – the “Pro-Glide” gate roller. This graphite-impregnated mono cast nylon roller is available to fit 2½-inch round pipe frame gates and 2-inch square tube frames. The universal pressed steel hot dipped galvanized chassis fits 4-inch round or 4-inch square support posts. IGD offers an introductory price of $59.90 each for any size or quantity. International Gate Devices specializes in cantilever slide gate track systems with its E/Z Slide Gate Kit. Contact International Gate Devices, 800-557-4283,

72 Fabricator RM house ad.indd 1

Portable magnetic drill with swivel base CS Unitec CS Unitec’s new MAB 845 portable magnetic drill features a swivel base that has 30-degree movement left and right and ¾ inches forward and backward for drilling in hard-to-reach areas. With infinitely variable torque control and full-wave electronics, this heavy-duty drill cuts holes up to 4-inch diameter in structural steel and other metals. Additional capabilities include twist drilling and reaming up to 1¼-inch diameter, tapping up to 1⅛-inch diameter, and countersinking up to 2 inches. A stroke length of 10 inches makes the MAB 845 ideal for steel engineering and plant construction, says the company. The 16-amp, double-insulated, reversible motor has a four-speed oil bath gearbox (40-110, 65-175, 140-360, 220-600 RPM) for applications requiring high

power. Integrated sensors in the MAB 845 include magnet overheating protection, visual magnet adhesion indication and an electronic safety shutoff sensor to automatically shut down the drill motor if the magnet loses contact with the material. Contact CS Unitec, 800700-5919, www.csunitec. com. Fabricator n May / June 2012

10/14/2011 12:45:08 PM


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


  Pg Company


66 Alloy Casting Co. Inc...........................................

36 Hopper and Sons......................................................... 951-306-5991

46 American Access/ Security Brands

69 Hougen Mfg. Inc...................................................

9 Apollo Gate

76 The Iron

19 Architectural Iron Designs 53 Artist-Blacksmith’s Assoc. of North America 68 Atlas Metal Sales............................................. 32 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co. / Oak Hill Iron 33 Blacksmiths Depot / Kayne & Son Custom Hardware Inc......................

33 International Gate 49 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co.............. 31 Kalamazoo Machine Tool.................................. 36 Kalamazoo Metal Muncher................... 75 King Architectural Metals............................. 40 Laser Precision Cutting..................................... 27 Lawler Foundry

48 Blue Moon Press.....................................

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

34 Julius Blum & Co.

66 Lindblade Metal

24 The Cable Connection.................

59 Marks

67 John C. Campbell Folk

42 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool......................

15 Carell Corporation...........................................

69 NC Tool Company

13 Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co......................

16 Pat Mooney

37 Colorado Waterjet

39 PLASMA CAM Inc..........................................

25 CompLex Industries

47 Regency

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

38 Sharpe Products....................................

7 D.J.A. Imports Ltd...........................................

43 Stairways

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

30 Sumter Coatings

60 Eberl Iron Works

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

26 Encon

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

11 FabCad Inc...............................................................

68 Universal Entry Systems Inc.......................................216-631-4777

23 Feeney Inc. (Feeney Architectural Products).....................

44 Vogel Tool & Die LLC........................................

37 Goddard Manufacturing

44 Weaver’s Iron Works........................

29 The Wagner

41 Hebo - Stratford Gate Systems

Your advertising contact for O&MM Fabricator NOMMA Buyer’s Guide NOMMA website CO NTAC T

Sherry Theien

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

May / June 2012 n Fabricator

Advertise in the 2013 NOMMA Buyer’s Guide Your one-stop resource for shop and office personnel The Buyer’s Guide is available in 3 versions: 1) print, 2) online, and 3) database. Closing date November 30, 2012 Contact Sherry Theien, 815-282-6000; 815-282-8002 fax; 73


Metal Moment

Maintenance-free hinge is no mess I have yet to find a customer who will regularly lubricates their gate hinge or pays us to lubricate it. We have had to replace a number of frozen-on, pin-type hinges, especially if the pin is positioned downward. The pins get water in them, then rust, and freeze-up. Lubricating them is a messy bother since the ball bearing often seals at the top of the barrel and prevents the grease from getting to the pin. Thus, we have to lift the gate to grease them. But the grease pushes the pin up, and the gate needs to be opened and closed several times so it will lower down into position and force out all of the dirty grease. We have installed hinges on gates and had the pressed-in grease fittings fall out when on site. I can report that drilling them out and tapping them for ⅛-inch pipe threads on-site is a real pain.

The bearing seal did fail

We designed our own barrel-type hinge with sealed flanged ball bearings until our bearing supplier said the bearing seals will fail — guaranteed. It is just a matter of time. We removed a gate last summer for repair that had the sealed bearing type hinges and found the hinges completely rusted together — proof that our bearing supplier was correct. We have developed a completely maintenance-free hinge. Take a piece of 1½ x 2 x 3¼-inchlong flat bar and drill a 1¼-inch-diameter hole through the 1½-inch thickness, 1 inch from the end. Into this hole, insert a fiberglass sleeve bearing: McMas-

Vertical loading is ter 6365K255. This is easily handled by the the part that welds to Oilite thrust washer the hinge post. smoothly running on Cut two 3/8 x 2 x the stainless steel sur3¼-inch-long flat face of the fl at washer. bars. Snip the corners If you need to galvaoff and drill 1 inch nize the components, diameter, 1 inch from drill the holes ⅓-inch the end. Drill and tap diameter oversize and a ¼–20 hole into one ream them after galvaof them, ¾ inch from nizing, if necessary. For the centerline of the larger gates, larger fiber1 inch diameter hole. glass sleeve bearings These ears weld to the are made. gate, the top ear has the hole drilled and Less replacement necessary with tapped in it. Use two maintenance-free hinges. Some hinges are field-adjustable ears at each hinge, 2 inches inside between the ears. We have also made field-adjustable Cut a piece of 1 inch diameter stainhinges that hold the sleeve bearing in a less steel round x 3 inches long. On piece of 1½-inch-square bar x 1½ inches one end, weld a ¾-inch stainless steel long. We use them on the lower hinge, washer (McMaster 98019A520). Drill a with shims for final adjustment. 5/16-inch-diameter hole into the washer It always seems to be raining or ¾ inch from the centerline of the pin. snowing when we want to touch-up This is the hinge pin. paint after field-welding Secure the hinge pin the hinge ears onto the to the top hinge ear using hinge post, so we are a pin-in-Torx screw, Mcmoving towards welding Master 91900A537. Don’t the hinge ears onto the forget to order a driver, hinge post in the shop, McMaster 7377A48. bracing the hinge post On top of the 1½ x in the hole, and hanging 2-inch flat bar of one of the gate before we pour the hinges, insert a 1-inchconcrete. diameter stainless steel It was a bit of a learnflat washer, McMaster ing curve with the first 92141A038, and a 1 inch one, but the rest should Dan Donovan Oilite thrust washer, Mcgo easy. Since some of our Allform Welding Inc. Master 5906K524. gate locations have been P.O. Box 175 Now you have a a six-hour or longer comCarlsborg, WA 98324-0175 360-681-0584 1-inch-diameter hinge mute, this will allow us to 360-681-4465 fax pin running on a mainmaintain a first-class tenance-free fiberglass ish with our end product. sleeve bearing.

For your information


By Dan Donovan, President Allform Welding Inc.


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 May / June 2012

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