Posts filed under: Tools

Here at the Foundery we want to provide our members the tools, education, and encouragement to build anything they can dream. And while we will do our best to educate and support members in their endeavors, it’s all meaningless unless we provide the right tools for the job. To that end we have amassed quite a collection of tools. From the simple, but versatile, hammer all the way up to the Abrasive Waterjet, and everything in between. Today’s post, however, will pull from the higher end of that spectrum and aim to educate you as well.

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CNC Plasma Cutter

What you see here is a CNC plasma cutting system. And while I already know your first question, why is it red, I’m not going to answer that question just yet. But what I will do is answer the first question you should have asked, which is what does CNC mean. CNC stands for computer numerical control, which is just an elaborate way of saying that a computer controls this machine. This, of course, is only half the puzzle to understanding this machine. The other part being what is plasma cutting.

I could go into a long explanation about how plasma cutting works and an even longer explanation into plasma (The Fourth State of Matter), but I’ll leave you to research those topics for yourself. But in the simplest technical sense, plasma cutting utilizes an accelerated jet of hot plasma to cut through any electrically conductive material. In layman’s terms, super hot gas slices through metal like a hot knife through butter! Pretty cool, right.

Photo by Brown Photography – Retro Systems LLC (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Photo by Brown Photography – Retro Systems LLC (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Putting this all together, what we have here is a machine that is computer controlled and can cut through metal. Basically this machine can be used to cut almost any 2-dimensional shape out of metal.  Again, I already know what you are going to ask, don’t you already have a machine that can do that. Yes we do, but there are major differences in the capabilities of these machines and that is why we have both.

Plasma Cutting System Abrasive Waterjet
Faster Slower
Can only can metals Can cut just about anything
Cheaper to operate More expensive to operate
Lower precision High precision

 

Beyond the basic differences of the two systems, there are more specific differences in our machines. For example, our plasma cutter cannot cut metals thicker than half an inch. While the waterjet can easily cut materials which are much thicker.

This post is getting pretty long and I still haven’t even covered the question I know you want answered, why is it red? The answer is quite simple; to make it watertight. However, the explanation for why we decided to do this is a bit more involved.

When using a plasma cutter, a lot dust and smoke is generated in the process. This dust and smoke must be captured and redirected away from the operator and occupied spaces. Our plasma system had a downdraft ventilation system. Basically, the bottom of the table had a large hole which was hooked up to an external exhaust system used to pull all the smoke and dust away. When Jason purchased this used system several years ago our current location and facilities didn’t exist. Once the new location was established Corey and Jason quickly realized that using a downdraft ventilation system was not a viable option. But fortunately for us there is more than one solution to this problem.

Corey, having personally built a smaller CNC plasma cutter in his garage several years ago, already had the solution. Convert the system to a water table. A water table will capture the dust and smoke before it’s able to leave the cutting area.

There were, however, several issues with this approach. Firstly, filling the table will 1,000+ lbs. of water would exceed weight capacity of the table. So Audrey put on her welding helmet and welded several additional support members to the table and frame.

Secondly, what should we use to make the table watertight? After much research and debate, we decided to use an unlikely material. RedGard® is a membrane typically used in construction for waterproofing under tile flooring. (That is spelled RedGard not Redguard for all you Elder Scrolls fans out there) But, as it turns out this product was perfect for our waterproofing application. So we plugged the bottom of the plasma table, leaving only a small drain hole, and proceeded to add several layers of RedGard. And finally we ended up with a watertight and very red plasma cutting system.

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The first coat

Ok, this post has gone on long enough, and you should now know why we have a red CNC plasma cutter. I also hope you learned something about plasma cutting systems. I know I didn’t cover any of the motion control hardware, software, or general repair of aspects of the system that we performed to get this used equipment back up and running. If you’re interested leave a comment and I can always write another post on those topics.

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I wanted to tell everyone about the welders we will have in the new shop! We will have 6 Miller 211 MIG welders as well as 2 Miller Diversion TIG Welders.

Here is the Miller 211:

These welders are super versatile. They have pretty user-friendly controls. Another cool feature on these welders is that you can change the plugs on them from 120 to 240, something that has definitely come in handy while we are still getting our electricity in the new space and running most of our tools off of extension cords. I’ve welded over 30 table frames with these welders in the past few months, and they are extremely reliable even running on 120. Highly recommended if you’re in the market for a welder, or if you are in the market for a welding class taught by yours truly 😉

Here’s an example of some of the welds made on these welders:

(disclaimer: I found this image on google images! Not my welds!)

These MIG welders are a H U G E upgrade from our previous flux core welders that we were using in the old space which give you welds that look like the image below:

Not to hate on flux core welding, but I am so happy we get to use these new welders in the new space and with our new welding class! I know my previous students and future students will enjoy the ease and precision that comes with these Miller machines.

We also will have 2 TIG welders in the new space! TIG is great for aluminum and thin/thick metals – as well as standard steel. TIG allows for way more manual control than MIG and many people prefer it! There is virtually no cleanup needed with a TIG welder (once you get good at it).

Here is the Miller Diversion that we will have:

And this is an example of a TIG weld on mild steel with the Diversion:

Wowie! *_* That’s a beautiful weld! TIG has a lot steeper learning curve than MIG – but once you get good it is a lot of fun! Kind of like learning to drive a manual transmission car when you are used to an automatic!

What do you think of the welder upgrades? Have you used any of these welders before? Are you as excited as I am to get time in on these machines?!

*** A big shout out to our welding equipment partner, Earlbeck Gases and Technologies. If you want to go 211 as well, tell Jim and Joe that the Foundery sent you! ***

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It’s been quite a while since my last post. So many things are happening so quickly that I could post several times a day and not run out of topics, but I never seem to find the time to write something in the heat of battle.  I’m making a promise to myself to do better.  Perhaps the last thing I do before heading up to bed is to share a few of the amazing things happening every day during our buildout.

One of our goals is for the Foundery to be the place to go when you need a special tool or capability to accomplish a task.  A good example is our new spot welder/soldering station.

Our new combination spot welder/soldering station

Our new combination spot welder/soldering station

This machine makes it easy to weld tabs to batteries.  I used it to repair the lithium battery pack in one of our portable AEDs (defibrillator).  A new battery pack costs $150, but instead I just bought replacement cells for $15, cracked open the case, and used the spot welder to rebuild the pack.

Closeup of some tabs I spot welded onto new batteries.

Closeup of some tabs I spot welded onto new batteries.

 

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How to save $135 in 20 minutes

I would have loved to have this machine when I rebuilt about a dozen 18 volt cordless tool battery packs a few years back with a soldering iron and a roll of electrical tape.  It would be difficult to justify buying one just for my occasional use, but now every Foundery member will have access to it any time they want.  That really hits the spot!

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We have made a few posts about the used tools that we have been purchasing. We are pretty happy with how our acquisitions have turned out, but we are definitely aware of the extra work that needs to go into some tools to get them to a clean and shiny functioning state. As an aside – we have also bought a TON (literally) of brand spankin’ new tools and machines, but that is for a later blog post… once I take pictures of them all.

One of the first (and only?) blog posts that our fearless leader Jason has made was about our used Dake band saw. View that post here. This baby is awesome, a 41″ throat, an auto-feed table, and a blade welder all in one neat package that pretty much matches our existing color scheme! Here’s a nice picture of it:

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Looks great! Right? There were, however, a few minor issues with the bandsaw. Nothing to dissuade us, though! There was a mysterious leak from somewhere inside of the base, a few knobs missing, and the e-stop button was missing.

After a few phone calls in to Dake – which has great customer service – we found that they had some parts that we needed and they also did not have some parts that we needed. So in true makerspace form…we decided to make our own! Okay, we bought a replacement e-stop, but that’s all!

First up: The missing knobs.

For those wondering why a bandsaw has a welding option – there’s a few reasons. The main thing that we will probably use it for is to buy blades in a bulk roll, and then cut them to desired length, and weld together for both of our metal cutting band saws. You can also use the bandsaw welder to cut center holes in metal: drill a hole bigger than the blade, thread the (broken) blade through the hole, and weld it together to cut!

Back to the matter at hand. In the above image you can see the left hand knobs are missing. Good thing we have a 3d printer! We realized we could just print those babies out instead of ordering them and waiting for them to arrive. We’re all about faster-than-shipping gratification over here. Plus, how could we call ourselves a makerspace if webought something we could make?? So, our new addition to the team, Jess, made up a knob file that pretty closely matched the existing ones. Then we sent the file over to the Flashforge printer and voilà! We had some knobs.

Here is a video of the printer in action:

The piece that is chipped on the bottom is part of the raft that the printer lays out as a base (we chipped it when trying to pry the piece off the bed). Eventually the whole raft came off of the knob. Once the knob was cleaned up, we printed a second one and put them on the machine! They look and function great! We were super excited to put our 3d printer to practical use – and plan on doing it much more!

Now I will speak briefly on the leak in the base of the machine. We made parts to fix this as well. I had some 1/8″ acrylic laying around the shop, so I used our laser to cut out a perfect little washer for the coupling:

Then, we put the washer in place and used RTV (room temperature vulcanization silicone) to seal the plug.

There you have it! Now all we need is to get power to this machine and we can really admire all our repairs! The electricians have been hard at work wiring up our space, and we are chomping at the bit to be able to plug in all of our toys machines. Patience is a virtue! I should really win an award for how patient I have been with all this construction!

How do you think we did on the knobs? Have you used a 3d printer to make replacement parts for a tool or machine that you own? Let me know in the comments below!

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We recently got a vinyl cutter at The Foundery.  After a quick test run, cutting out some Foundery Logo stickers, I figured I’d move onto a real value-added application….a vinyl sticker featuring my face!

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The software I used for this was all free or commonly available.

  • Microsoft Power Point
  • Gimp (free)
  • Inkscape (free)

I think you could accomplish this entirely with Inkscape but since I’m not that tech savvy and love to make tasks harder than they need to be, this was how I did it.

The first step was taking a nice picture of myself.  Since I’m so photogenic this step was really easy.  I could have had my wife taken the photo for me, but she was REALLY against the idea of me making a vinyl sticker of my self.  Her response when I asked her to take my picture was something on the order of “Damn it corey! you just really love yourself don’t you!”.  At first I didn’t know if that was a “yes” or a “no”…it was a “no”.

The next step after deciding on which super awesome selfie to use, was to copy-paste the image in Power Point so I could remove the background

Format > Remove Background

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Once the background was removed I right clicked on the image and saved-as a JPEG file.

Once I had the image as a JPEG without the background, I imported the image into GIMP to convert to black and white and customize the contrast.  Gimp is a photo editing tool similar to photoshop, but entirely free!  We use Gimp regularly at The Foundery for modifying photo’s for laser or plasma cutting.

First step in Gimp was to remove any part of the remaining image that I didn’t want in the vinyl sticker.  For this photo, I had to remove any part below my chin area using the lasso feature in the tool box (see arrow in below image)

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Once I had the image cropped down to what I wanted in the photo, I used the threshold feature in Gimp (Colors > threshold).  Using the slide bar in the threshold tool you can adjust the contrast to highlight the features you want the sticker to be comprised of.  The trick is to remove enough features while still leaving the important components.

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Once the image represents what the vinyl sticker should look like, you’ll need to save that image as a new JPEG file.  Right now we still have an image file which we’ll then need to convert into a file type that the vinyl cutter can read as a cut path.  The technical term is “vector graphic”.  Right now the image we have created is the type of image you would send to a common printer.  The common printer goes line by line dropping ink to create the image.  When cutting an image on a vinyl cutter, the cutter needs just the profile of the image to cut out, which will create our image.  That’s what is called a “vector graphic”.  The go-to file type for a vector image is a .dxf file.  ANY computer controlled cutting system can read a .dxf file.  CNC laser cutters, vinyl cutters, plasma, waterjet, routers, they ALL will read a .dxf file.

To create my vector file I used Inkscape.  It’s free and a must-have for all hobbyists.  Anytime I buy a new PC, the first software I’ll install is Inkscape and Gimp.  With Inkscape, open the image file created in Gimp.  Don’t worry about sizing the image throughout these steps.  You can size the image when you go to cut it out on the vinyl cutter.

Using Inkscape, go to Path > Trace Bitmap.  When the Trace Bitmap toolbox opens, check the box for “Edge Detection”.  This will trace the image and create a new image of just the outline of our picture. You can adjust the threshold of the Edge Detection to change how much roughness the Edge Detection will smooth out.  The smoother the better but you don’t wan’t to lose any important detail.

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When Inscape creates the new edge-detected image it’s placed overtop the existing image so you might not see it.  You’ll have to click on the image an drag it over to the side.  You can delete the original image and just leave the newly created outlined image.

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And that’s pretty much it!  Just go to Save-As in Inkscape and select .dxf as the file type and BOOM!  You’ll have the vector file that you can open in any vinyl cutting software to cut out.  Looking at the profile picture doesn’t really look like the image, but once it’s cut out on vinyl it will look exactly like the image created in Gimp.

Start thinking of custom vinyl sticker ideas you’ll want to cut-out, in a couple months you’ll be able to swing by The Foundery to use our vinyl cutter to cut out anything you can think of.  Corn-hole Board decals?

— Corey

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We have been acquiring lots of new tools (read: toys) for the space over the past few weeks. Many of them we have found through secondhand sources. That means they may come in our door looking a little worse for wear, but it also means we have more money to spend on some new, specialized equipment for members (like the OMAX Waterjet). So, Corey and I have been sharpening our restoration skills and seeing that a little TLC can go a long way!

Check out some of the transformations:


The Acorn Table

This is our large welding table. I could probably write a whole blog post about how awesome it is, but I will save that for another time and just show you some makeover pictures! We wire brushed the top of it and masked it off to paint the sides. We only wire brushed the letters on the sides of the table.

Here is the top half-way through cleaning it off:

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Before shot of the sides of the table (the top is masked off at this point):

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And after – what a difference paint makes!:

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The Air Receiver

This was already primed when we acquired it:

BEFORE & AFTER:

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I guess we will have to call it Big Bird now!


Moving along in our makeovers – lets get into some more detailed restoration. We found a machine shop in Baltimore having a big auction, with some awesome machines up for grabs. We ended up leaving with two big material storage racks as well as some little work stations and our two most exciting finds – a Jet metal shear and a Tennsmith metal finger brake.

The Jet Metal Shear

Here is a look at the shear before we moved it to our space:

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Dinged up, bent in, and generally not to easy on the eyes. It works like a charm though! We wiped it down and cleaned off the years of gunk that had built up on the surface.

Here is an intermediate shot, it is a little blurry but it shows how rusty the work surface was before we cleaned it up. At this stage, we had removed the face sheet metal and finger guard.

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Next up, we wire brushed the rust off of the work surface to make the steel nice and shiny again and found that, yep, indeed, this tool goes to 11 (4+4+3, we can’t make this stuff up!):

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Then it was time to remove accessories and mask off our newly clean surface so we could paint the rest of it:

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We got the paint color matched at our local paint store. Jason and I like to call it “Baby Puke White” while Corey likes to call it “Not that Bad” and I guess it was originally called “Jet White.” Now for the fun part!

Here it is after the full-body paint makeover.

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Now that’s a good looking machine! Let’s go through the rest of the accessories and their makeovers as well.

It was pretty easy to sway Jason and Corey into keeping the sweet colorful retro design on the front of the shear, we just touched it up a bit. We also did some quick hammer work to straighten out the dings and bends in the sheet.

BEFORE:

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The paint was pretty scratched up. We masked off each of the colors and re-painted them:

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After allowing for proper drying time between paint colors and coats, we masked off the whole design and gave the rest of the metal a new coat of baby puke – I mean Jet White.

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And a shot of the other accessories getting made over (I forgot to take a picture of the yellow finger guard, but you will see it in the final picture):

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Such a lovely shade.

Now for the final reveal!

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Awesome! Right? Restored to its full 1985 glory. That’s right, this baby is 31 years old…its been cutting metal for longer than I have been alive!


The Tennsmith Finger Brake

Okay so I don’t have a full shot for a “BEFORE” picture, but I do have a close up comparison between the clean side and the dirty side, so you will have to use your imagination from there.

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As you can see, it was pretty grimy. We also decided to clean each of the ‘fingers,’ here is how they looked before:

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Look what I found on Google – this isn’t OUR brake but this is pretty much what it looked like before we cleaned it up:

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We wire brushed all of the fingers and gave them a nice coat of glossy clear:

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Having fingers on a shear is great becuase you can adjust the size of the bend that you need. If you only want 2 inches of a piece of sheet bent, you can do it! You have a lot of adjustability with fingers, which means more projects to think up 😉

Now check out the “AFTER” shot of it!

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Not too shabby! We also cleaned the weight (upper left hand corner of picture above) and painted it glossy clear. It was white before, I think clear really makes it look sleeker! I’m a big fan of (seemingly) bare steel.


I think I have just made the longest blog post ever so I will leave it at that.

How do you think we did on the makeovers? Have any questions about the process? Let us know in the comments below!

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I recently came across a used, 14″ Bolton cold saw on craigslist at a price that was too low to pass up.  I was a little skeptical at first due to the off-brand, but figured that performance is what matters.  Since the saw was powered, I could try it out and make the decision first hand.

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The 14″ saw is the largest commonly available cold saw size.  At 90 degrees, the saw can cut round pipe at 4.75″ OD and rectangle up to 5.5″ x 4″.  A 14″ equivalent cold saw by Scotchman retails for over $7,000.  Even at retail, new, the Bolton cold saw is ~1/4 the cost of the Scotchman.  For all that money we save we could buy 14 cotton candy machines (Audrey’s dream come true) or maybe even buy a used pick-up truck for staff and members at The Foundery to access…;)

Back to the Bolton Cold saw:  I went and check out the saw which is currently being used by a local artist/furniture maker.  The owner had various square tubing profiles in his scrap bin that I cut at various angles.  I tested the saw on steel tubing with wall thickness ranging from 0.065″ to 0.25″.

The saw’s performance far exceeded my expectations!  I have spent many hours on Scotchman cold saws and I could not tell a difference when looking at the cut quality.  If blindfolded while using the saws, I would not have been able to tell the difference between the Bolton or Scotchman.  When I cut two 45 degree pieces and lined them up on a flat table as if making a picture frame, the cuts were very precise along the full height of the tubing.  I could not have made as nice of a mitered cut on a band saw or abrasive chop saw.  SOLD!

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Now if you have an eye for detail you may have looked at this picture and been thinking “Corey, your driving around with a busted cab brake light. That’s illegal!”.

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Well funny story.  You see, that brake light was in perfect working condition when the seller began loading the cold saw into the bed of my pick-up.  I know, weird right?!?  I thought that since the seller had a small forklift on hand, loading the 450 lb saw would be a simple task…nope.  After loading the saw onto the bed of my truck, the fork lift was being used to slide the saw forward toward the cab when BAM! the saw slid off it’s pallet and fell right against the cab of my truck.

Because I’m a terrible blogger, in the heat of the moment I forgot to take a picture of the saw leaning against it’s impacted position and instead rushed to get the massive piece of steel of my trucks cab.  To help illustrate this fail, I used my cutting edge photo editing skills to recreate the cold saw’s resting position:

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Crazy to think that’s an edited image huh!? When you come into The Foundery to use the cold saw I hope you pay homage to the sacrifices my truck has made to the cause.

—Corey

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At The Foundery, we commonly have people ask what the best way to cut a piece of piping or tubing.  There’s 3 common tool choices for cutting metal tubing:  Abrasive chop-saw, Horizontal band-saw, Cold saw.  Each method has it’s pros and cons.  Jason and I spent a lot of time discussing which of these tools we wanted to procure for The Foundery to provide the best option for members.  Below is a short run-down for each method and what we decided to go with for The Foundery at City Garage:

Abrasive Chop saw

chopsaw

 

An abrasive chop saw is the most cost effective way for cutting metal tubing and Also by far the most obnoxious and inconsiderate to fellow co-workers .  These saws are extremely loud and generate a great deal of metal dust.  The abrasive blade also leaves a terrible bur on the cut part which requires secondary clean-up on a belt sander.With average blade sizes of 14″, they can cut through 3″ x 3″ square box with wall thickness up to 1/2″ thick if needed.  The principle behind the abrasive saw is more of a grinding then a cutting.

Chop saws are very cost effective for a garage hobbyist who needs to cut a few dozen pipes a month.

Horizontal Band-Saw

bandsaw

 

Horizontal band-saws are part of the work horse team that built America…and I’m completely serious.  That may sound like something else “Corey just made up”, but it’s true!  The band saw was first patented in 1809 by William Newberry.  Fun Fact:  Band saws weren’t really practical until Anne Paulin Crepin invented a method for welding flexible blades in 1846.  If Anne Paulin Crepin was alive today she’d be considered a “Maker” but since the trendy term hadn’t been invented yet, Anne was simple referred to as a “Badass”.

Horizontal band saws are relatively quiet and can produce a clean cut over large surface area.  Industrial horizontal band-saws can cut through a solid 10″ round bar of steel with out any problem.  Using the right blade and keeping the blade lubricated is crucial to making blades last.

The downsides to horizontal band-band saws is that the blade can drift over long cuts.  High quality saws can drift from their starting position 0.01″ for every vertical 1″ of cutting.  Another draw back is that having a mitering band-saw that can cut at various angles will add $2-3k to the cost of the saw.  For The Foundery, that’s $2-3k that could be spent on other tools which would provide expanded capabilities.

Cold Saws

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Cold Saws are amazing machine tools.  They utilize a slow spinning course tooth blade which accurately cuts through metal tubing or plate.  The cold saw cut is more of a milling process then a typical saw cut, which provides an accuracy over the full cut length of +/- 0.002″.  Cold saws have swiveling heads, which can be easily adjusted for mitered cuts +/-45 degrees.

One thing I love about cold saws is that their clamps, grab onto the work piece at both sides of the blade.  This ensures that the blade can finish each cut without leaving a burr.

Conclusion:

After lots of research into these tools and the types of projects people create in maker-spaces, we feel that cold saws will cover close to 100% of member’s needs.  Additionally, cold saws are quite, clean and relatively safe to use.  Anyone who works with metal tubing and has never used a cold saw will be really impressed with their performance and cut finish.  Once we’re open, if we feel members require larger capabilities we could add a large, non mitering band-saw to our shop floor.

— Corey

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1 of the Foundery’s 6 new Millermatic 211 MIG machines

1 of the Foundery’s 6 new Millermatic 211 MIG machines

We just took delivery of our first 2 new Millermatic 211 MIG welders, courtesy of our friends at Earlbeck Gases and Technologies.  I was blown away by the features and capabilities, especially in such a lightweight package.  Since the Foundery opened nearly 3 years ago, we’ve only used flux-core wire-feed welders, so going to a professional-grade MIG is like going from a Yugo to a Tesla.  After a few minutes practice, Corey and I were both laying down beautiful beads on some scrap steel. (OK, Corey’s might have been a bit nicer, but he had more practice). The Auto-set feature makes it super easy to dial in your starting parameters, which I suspect is why my welds were presentable so quickly.  Check it out here:

We will have 6 of these machines by the time we open our doors, so even when a welding class is in session, there will be at least 2 stations open for members who are welding-qualified.  In the meantime, we’ll be putting these machines through their paces as we build out the shop tables, shelves, and any other reason we can find to stick two pieces of metal together!

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One of the first things that Jason and I acquired was a Caterpillar GP25 forklift.  This machine is capable of lifting 5,000 lbs to a height of 190″ (15 ft).  Before we got the Cat, I had never operated a real forklift before.  Shout-out to Hayne’s Antime Towing who delivered the forklift.  The tow truck driver was cool enough to give me a quick lesson on operating the Cat so I could at least drive it off the tow truck and into our shop (after some parking lot practice).  Below is a picture of the Cat…once we buff those surface scratches out she’ll look good as new!

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Buying the Forklift early in the game was one of the smartest decisions.  It not only allows us to unload all of our industrial grade new additions with ease, but it also has saved Jason multiple slipped discs and hernias.  (For some reason, Jason still thinks he’s a midshipman in his early 20’s.)

Immediately after getting the Cat in our space, Jason went out and impulsively bought a man-cage so we could lift each other up to gain access to our 25ft ceilings.  Hah!  Picture that, Jason strapping his harness to the man-cage and me lifting him up 25ft!  Christmas is coming early!!!!

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Shortly after Jason and I began using the forklift we realized that hydraulic fluid was leaking at a significant rate from the base of the forks.  Jason and I went back and forth debating who’s turn it was to fix a machine and then we both admitted that neither of us felt comfortable turning wrenches on a 2,000psi hydraulic system.  Jason and I have both been in the game long enough to be aware of the dangers of hydraulic pressure.  Do a google image search for “hydraulic fluid injury” and you will see TERRIBLE images of people getting limbs shredded from pin-hole leaks in hydraulic systems.

Lucky for us, I just met this guy, RJ, at a family cook-out.  RJ works on hydraulic systems for a living…and he’s dating my cousin Linsey.  I reached out to RJ and asked if he could come by after work and check out our fork lift’s leak.  I figured it’d be a two-for;  I get some one-on-one time with my cousins boyfriend (to check his man-card) and we get a professional opinion on the CAT.  Below is RJ checking the side-shifter cylinder on the CAT

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Turned out, RJ has a lot of knowledge related to fabrication and welding…and identified the leak on the forklift in about 2 minutes.  Seems that someone had bumped into something and knocked a fitting loose.  Took about a quarter turn with a 5/8″ box wrench to fix the leak.  And no, it wasn’t me that bumped into something and knocked the fitting loose.

I think RJ clipped a little piece off mine and Jason’s man-cards for wasting his time on such a simple fix.  RJ also went over all the hoses and made sure the CAT’s hydraulic system was in good working order, so it was a worthwhile visit for us.  I hope RJ comes by to use our tools once we open!

— Corey

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