Metalshop Rising

In 2006, I started learning about metalwork and experimeting with welding, bending, cutting, grinding and related tasks. I've built steel benches, brackets, custom machine parts and more. 



I am bender, insert girder

Seeing as how this is the only real project I'm working on at the moment it made sense to formally launch it as such within these walls. So here ya have it!

I've been learning about working with metal for a couple years now. It's been my dream for a while to have equipment like a welder and metal sawing tools and so when I came into a bit of cash in August I bought a decent welder and have just recently acquired a metal bandsaw with a dry-cut metal circular saw on the way.

Today, I needed to bend 3/8" steel for some brackets I was making for a clients tradeshow booth. After much humming and hawing I went to midland tools with the intent to spend $100+ for the compact bender there. As fate would have it, my bank account was a few dollars shy of the total, and I came home empty handed. This evening I designed and built my own compact bender with steel from my inventory. It's not as versatile as the one at the store but it served my purpose and worked spendidly to make pretzels out of thick steel round stock.

I also finished my new welding bench recently. It weighs in excess of 100 lbs. and gives me 12 sq. ft. of working space. It's perfect.



Storage Racking Installed

The shop's looking better all the time. Recently I finished fabricating the wall brackets, painted them and installed them on the wall. It's so nice having sturdy storage for all my metal pieces, tools, etc.

Eventually I'd like to have all of my tools in a rolling cabinet but the bottom shelf is for their use until that point. I imagine in no time that I'll be wanting to have all of the shelves for metal storage though.



Sheet Metal Bending Brake

It may be ugly ... but it works. That's right ladies and gents, I can bend 16ga steel sheet metal with this homemade doohickey. It's in no way precise or easy to setup or built to last, but I made it all by myself in my shop. In fact, if the two larger sides of a piece of sheet metal are exaxtly 24", it's also a box brake.

The hinges are mating pieces of 7/8" OD steel tubing (1/8" wall) and 5/8" cold rolled steel bar. The top piece is a 3/16" thick piece of 1"x2" channel and the bottom pieces are 1.5"x1.5" angle that are also 3/16" thick.



Behold, the Multi Press

Ok, so who hasn't wanted a hydraulic instrument to bend, shear, punch, brake and press whatever their heart desires?

This big daddy in production at XylemSci Labs is 42" wide, with a 37" space between uprights. So if it all works out, it'll be hopefully at least capable of shearing 36" wide pieces of 20 ga steel and then putting a 90 degree bend on said piece and then punching holes into said piece and then pressing bushings into the holes. Ok maybe the last one is pushing it but you get the point : It'll be versatile.

Fabricated entirely out of 1/4" steel, it'll be quite strong too (not to mention heavy!!).



Revised Designs

So it's been over a year since my first forray into the world of fusing metals with electricity. It's been a great learning experience. Recently I've done some stainless steel welding and hope to continue with steel, stainless and try out aluminum too. I've built several contraptions in recent times, most worked, some didn't.

Here' s a new design for a contraption (not entirely original, but with original features) and updated design for another tool.



Full Workshop

After enormous amounts of research, purchasing and some trial and error, I've finished the layout for all of the equipment for the shop in the garage at my house.

It's to be mainly a metalwork shop, but includes a CNC zone and a tablesaw on casters for woodworking projects. I've purchased a bunch of the steel for this project already but will still need lots more.



Full-Extension Steel Drawers

Tonight I remembered to lug my camera to the shop and got some shots of the progress of my "workbenches with extreme storage" project. There's currently three benches that are nearing completion and another two that will be built after that.

Each bench has 10 sq. ft. of benchtop area and 17 cu. ft. of drawer storage volume. I can't wait to get them painted and start stuffing them full of all my junk that's currently scattered around the shop.