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How to Choose a Welding Table

Light-Duty Welders

Whether you’re an experienced professional or a beginner in welding, the quality of your welding table can significantly impact your project results. These work surfaces are built to withstand incredibly high temperatures and support high-power machinery.

Choosing the right table for your needs can be daunting, at times, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what to shop for in the first place. Today, we’ll cover some of the most common welding table styles. We’ll also explain how to find one which one which works best for you.

For Light-Duty Welders

Those who only occasionally take on small, simple welding projects have a much easier time finding a suitable welding table. A thin sheet of aluminum or steel placed on some particle board or a wooden table will do the trick. Plywood may be cheaper, but it isn’t ideal, due to how curved large pieces are. Consider finding a foldable table to hang on your garage wall if you’re low on work area.

 

There are two primary drawbacks of this basic setup. One is the inability to clamp anything to the table without damaging it tightly. These types of “jury-rigged” tables can’t withstand much heat. Avoid rosebud welding if at all possible. Otherwise, this is an inexpensive table that will suit almost any light-duty welding job.

 

Stainless Steel Welders

welders professional

If you’re primarily working with stainless steel welds, you’re going to need a more specific setup. Stainless steel doesn’t react well with other metals, so you must purchase a table made from the same material if you want to prevent cross-contamination. Welding on a carbon steel table will produce iron particles that will cause your end product to rust.

If you’re making food industry equipment, your guidelines are even more specific. The law requires welders making food industry equipment to weld on a stainless-steel table only. Anything else can result in fines or even lawsuits.

 

Buy a Brand Name Table

Brand name tables are hands-down your best option if you are wanting your dream welding table as opposed to some wooden pallets and bricks. Their prices vary widely, depending on what you want, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands. It’s a significant investment but is well worth the money!

We hope this guide has helped you decide on what type of welding table is right for you, but, if you’re still struggling to make a decision, reach out to us at Quantum Machinery Group. We’ll help you find a high-quality name brand table that won’t break the bank. We have a great selection of welding tables for welders of all experience levels.

How to Weld Stainless Steel

welders professional

Welding stainless steel can be incredibly complex; it isn’t really anything like welding other metals. The core techniques used aren’t drastically different, but there are many differences with the setup and preparation for a job. If you’re just getting started or you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available out there, we want to help you make sense of it all. Here are some essentials you need to know about how to weld stainless steel before you start a project for the metal.

Preparation

This is perhaps the most crucial step when it comes to working with stainless steel. Cleaning your work surface before any welding job is mission-critical, but it’s especially crucial with stainless steel. It doesn’t get along well with other metals, so any trace amounts of carbon steel will cause your end products to rust.

Only use tools such as hammers and brushes on stainless steel stables. Don’t use any stainless-steel brushes you’ve used to clean carbon steel, either, as they will result in cross-contamination. Avoid hammers and clamps, and don’t grind any carbon steel in the same area.

Next, it’s time to design your product. First, ensure your workplace is free of any carbon steel from tools or outside influences. Double-check to see if all the pieces are flush and fit together before you begin welding. Then determine the types of welds you’ll make for each component.

One great way to prevent heat damage is to clamp some brass or aluminum behind the weld area. These materials are heat sinks and will save your stainless steel if things don’t go according to plan.

Finally, go over any instructions that came with your supplies. Make sure you fully understand the process before you get started, to avoid mid-project issues.

 

Variations of Stainless Steel

There are five broad types of stainless steel. Each one has many subtle variations under that branch that differ in chemistry and how it’s worked with. The microstructure of each variety determines its strength, malleability, and other attributes. The first three types we’ll cover are the most common.

Austenitic is the most popular type of all stainless steels. It’s used in standard machining and fabrication settings. Hard martensitic is another alternative that’s used mainly in high-wear heavy-duty applications. Finally, ferritic stainless steel is the least expensive variation, which makes it ideal for many consumer products.

Filler Metals

The two other types of stainless steel aren’t as widely utilized. Duplex is a mixture of austenite and ferrite microstructures. It’s much stronger than both of them, but it’s also much harder to work with. The last type is precipitation-hardening stainless steel, which mixes in various metals elements like niobium. Duplex and precipitation-hardening stainless steel are very strong, yet costly variations used in high-performance situations. They are typically used in the aerospace and processing industries.

 

Choose Your Filler Metals

Another essential consideration when working with stainless steel is which filler metals you’re using alongside it. You’ll need to know the base metal you’re working with before you choose the filler. It’s often as simple as using a metal with the same number as the base, but that depends on the type of weld you’re doing. In other cases, you’ll need to decide which filler metal is more compatible with the base and less likely to crack.

 

You need to do a little more prep before working with stainless steel, but the results you can achieve make the effort more than worthwhile. Need to access the best stainless steel on the market? When only the best will do, browse Quantum Machinery Group’s stock to find the exact materials you need.

The Most Important Things You Should Know About Press Brakes

Press Brakes

Press brakes are a necessity to almost any metal fabrication shop. Unfortunately, despite being one of the most important and desired pieces of machinery in a shop, they’re still misunderstood—even by professionals. To help you better understand press brakes, we put together this short, layman’s-level guide.

What Are Press Brakes?

Press brakes are machines that form lengths of sheet metal. These sheets are typically used in manufacturing, industrial applications, or as components for other devices. Most press brakes are rated by their capacity to press metal and their overall bending length; this is expressed in numbers (e.g., total PPI, or pounds of pressure per inch). They come in many forms and often are equipped with tooling and add-ons designed to create highly customized components. Press brakes fall into two main categories: mechanical and hydraulic. In the next sections, we’ll break down the difference and explain the prominent features of each style.

 

Mechanical Press Brakes

Mechanical press brakes operate via a motor inside the device. This motor spins a large flywheel at high speeds. The machine operator controls the flywheel through a clutch, which then sets the rest of the parts into motion to bend the metal. The mechanical press brake is much more straightforward, especially regarding its electronics, making maintenance and operation easy. They can also handle tonnages two to three times higher than their inherent rating, due to the nature of the mechanisms. The primary disadvantage of using mechanical press brakes is that the ram inside the machine must complete a full cycle when engaged and cannot be reversed. This creates some safety concerns if the operator makes a mistake and sets some limitations on the machine. One possible hazard is the potential for the press brake to become locked if the ram travels too far.

 

Hydraulic Press Brakes

Hydraulic press brakes apply pressure via hydraulics to force the ram down, instead of relying solely on mechanics. They may have more than one cylinder and give the operator more precise control over the bend. The result is a highly accurate and customizable bend. Like mechanical press brakes, hydraulic press brakes do have some specific disadvantages. Primarily, they cannot exceed the range of their rated tonnage. If your project requires flexibility, mechanical press brakes may be preferred.

 

Press Brake Controls

Early generations of press brakes only had one axis of motion to make bends. They were much more limited compared to modern machines with 12 or more programmable axes of movement. Modern press brakes are highly precise and create graphical representations of the end result to aid the operator. Newer computers have dramatically reduced the setup time as well. They’re able to quickly calculate optimal settings based on materials being used, its dimensions, and the desired results. These calculations used to be done by hand, back in the day.

 

Types of Bending

There are two ways press brakes can bend metal. The first is called bottom bending because the ram will press the metal to the bottom of the die. Bottom bending results in highly accurate bends and relies less on the press brake machine itself. The downside is each tool is they're made to create one specific bend, so you’ll need to purchase a new one for every angle you want to make. Air bending leaves an air pocket between the ram and the bottom of the die. This allows the operator to accommodate for any spring back the material might provide. These types of dies only need to be changed if the material’s thickness is too much. Air bending’s drawback is the accuracy of the angle is affected by the material’s thickness, so the ram needs to be changed out accordingly.

There’s no denying that press brakes are one of the most useful tools an industrial-grade metalworker can have. Does your practice need an excellent press brake? Quantum Machinery Group has everything your business needs to succeed.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Involving Metalworking Machinery & Equipment?

Machinery-Injuries

Working in a metal fabrication or machine shop poses certain risks due to the types of metalworking machinery and equipment used. Whether you operate a machine on a daily basis or simply oversee work being performed on the production floor, you need to take the proper precautions to avoid getting injured or causing injuries to others. To give you an idea of what types of potential injuries that occur, the following is a list of the more common ones within this market segment.

  • Injuries to the Hands

Workers use their hands to perform a variety of functions on machinery and equipment. If workers are distracted, fail to wear the right PPE (personal protection equipment), or attempt to use the machines in a manners they were not intended, their hands could get injured.

 

Typical injuries can range from simple cuts and scrapes to crushed fingers and loss of fingers or the entire hand. To avoid injuring your hands, always pay attention to what you are doing. If you are tired or distracted, do not operate the machine. Only use the machine for what it was designed to do.

  • Electrical Shocks/Burns

Burns can occur when working with metals, as some processes do heat it up to transform it. Shocks can occur when working with electricity, electric-arc welders, and so on. Take extra precautions and wear the right PPE.

If entering an area where someone is welding, do not distract them until they shut off the welding machine. Pay attention to any lock-out/tag-out hang tags on machinery.

 

Construction accident
  • Bodily Injuries

Machinery and equipment can have lots of moving and rotating parts and components. There have been accidents where workers were pulled into machines because of the types of clothing they were wearing. Part of the clothing got caught on a moving part and pulled the worker into the machine.

Do not wear neckties, loose fitting jeans or pants, baggy or oversized t-shirts or hoodies, and certain types of necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry. Your clothing should fit correctly, and there should never be any part of it or any jewelry that can get tangled or caught on the moving parts of the machinery.

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls

Workers can slip on wet floors, or trip on debris or tools left on the floor and fall down. Always keep your work area clean. If necessary, stop using a machine to allow time to pick up and help prevent an accident.

 

  • Injuries to the Eyes

Certain processes will create small shavings that can be projected through the air and potentially into the eye. Always wear goggles to shield and protect the eyes, whether you are operating the machine or overseeing other workers.

By taking the proper precautions and wearing the right PPE, the risks for the occurrence of workplace accidents and injuries can be greatly reduced and prevented. For more safety tips or help choosing your next new machine or piece of equipment, like press brakes, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 today!

Metal Fabrication and Machine Shop Manufacturing Trends for 2018

Manufacturing-Trends-for-2018

For 2018, there are several trends that are developing in the metal fabrication and machine shop manufacturing industry. In order to remain competitive and have a successful operation, it is worth your time to review the following trends and determine which of these could have an impact on your business, earnings, and revenues.

  • “Smart” Metalworking Machinery
Regional-Market-Opportunities

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not limited to consumer goods and households. Metalworking machinery is starting to feature “smart” technology enhancements to improve production processes. This trend is going to continue as IoT technologies continue to advance and machine learning improves.

For instance, a “smart” band saw would be able to save your most frequently used cuts. When you needed to perform one of these, instead of having to set up the machine, you would simply choose it from the list, and the machine would automatically adjust to those settings.

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR technologies continue to move ahead. These technologies allow you to develop and create finished goods in a virtual setting. You can set parameters to see how various factors could affect output, such as changes in humidity or temperature levels inside the facility.
You can also experiment with post-production features, like durability, to pre-determine the quality of your finished goods before they are even produced. In addition, these technologies can help reduce errors, improve quality, lower production costs, and increase productivity.

  • Robotic Automation

The use of automation and robotics is nothing new in manufacturing. As technologies have advanced, so, too, have the types of tasks robots can perform. Robots can take the place of a human worker to complete hazardous and dangerous processes, while a human worker safely oversees the production process. The use of robotic automation will also help increase productivity and shorten job run times, improving the overall efficiency of the business.

  • 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing)

Traditional machine shops and metal fabricators used to take raw metals and transform them into new products by shaping, bending, cutting, welding, and performing other such processes. 2018 will see 3D metal printing to continue to grow within the industry. These machines produce finished goods by slowly adding layer after layer of metal during the printing process.

The benefit of additive manufacturing is that the technology allows for complex and complicated pieces to be produced. At the same, overall waste is reduced because only the materials required to create the finished product are used.

  • New Regional Market Opportunities

Metal fabricators and machine shops will start to notice newer regional market opportunities. As production costs decrease and output increases, there is no need for businesses to source finished goods from overseas. Rather, they will be looking locally and regionally for suppliers.

These trends could benefit your business this year and into the future, as long as you start implementing now. To learn more about the latest metalworking machinery and equipment for your business, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 today!