The first Stronghand Metal Fabrication table I ever saw “up close and personal” was at the AWS welding show in Chicago. I thought it was awesome… not just because of the welding table itself but because of all the tooling that was designed to work so well with the table.
Every type of clamp imaginable was displayed in a way that made me stop and remember all kinds of jobs I had done in the past where I could have used some clamps like that. Little innovations like magnetic V pads and reversible clamps that apply pressure both inward and outward would have really made a difference for me on those jobs.
I have a friend who owns a small machine shop business and I do quite a bit of welding and metal fab work for him.
We just set up a BuldPro welding table up as the main metal fabrication table for his new welding area. So I downloaded this PDF file from Stronghand tools to make sure I understood how it worked with the tooling package he got.
stronghand buildpro table brochure
I noticed what it said on the cover …
• Faster Fixturing
• Consistent Results
• Greater Productivity
I got to thinking about that…
Faster than my awesome 10 step process for building a fixture?
1. Scratch head for ideas on building a quick fixture
2. Search thru scrap pile and metal rack for pieces of metal
3. Cut metal to size
4. Tack weld fixture together
5. Break tack welds and start over after learning part wont come out after welding
6. Scratch head and wonder how many parts I could have done already without a fixture
7. redesign fixture to allow for removal of part after welding
8. cut my best C clamp in half to use for part of the fixture
9. weld all the parts
10. store fixture in corner where it can serve as a reminder not to do that again
But seriously, I thought back to the 300 Blanchard ground Stainless steel brackets for holding plate glass windows I welded a few years back…and the 50 fan belt guards and brackets I made that went on rubber grinding machines…and the 500 stainless steel metering devices that took 5 minutes each to square up while I tacked them. Each one of these jobs needed fixturing but I didn’t have a table like this to use back then…so instead, each one of those short production runs kind of followed my 10 step process for fixturing…
I mostly deal in what are called “short production runs”. In other words, after the 20, 50, or 500 parts are done, I might not see that job again for a year or more…or maybe even never. Building a fixture for jobs like that is necessary but not always practical… like what do you do with it when your done? Can you charge the customer a one time tooling fee to get paid for your time and material for building a fixture? Sometimes…but not always.
Modular fixturing is a better way for short runs of metal fab.
Fixturing that can be adapted to most any job. It’s a one time investment that can pay dividends in the long run. Its not for everyone. But a lot of small businesses would benefit by having a metal fab welding table like the BuildPro.
The most popular modular fixturing kit …
Comes with several straight edge stops, V blocks, right angle plates, riser blocks, and a whole bunch more stuff that I haven’t quite figured out yet…but I will.
Anther cool thing is that any hole on this table can become a threaded hole in a bout 2 seconds by using the threaded adapters. They have small powerful magnets that literally suck them into place really quickly.
Using the modular fixturing kit, once you get a setup done , parts can be tacked and welded consistently.
Not having to rework parts that are crooked, being able to set up a reliable fixture with quick clamps, V blocks, swivel V pads that align themselves to all kinds of shapes, all translate into greater productivity….not to mention that most of the clamps can be easily worked with only one hand…like the table mounted vice grip type camps…the post slips into one of the precision holes and baam. It grabs because the tolerance is just right to let it tilt and bind. Then the force can be set quickly with the crank handle. Once you use these welding clamps with the crank handle, you will never want to go back.
Who really needs a precision welding table anyway?
• Mom and Pop welding and metal fabrication shops wanting to take it to another level( having a Stronghand BuildPro welding table would make a great first impression to prospective customers who drop by to check you out before giving you that big purchase order)
• Aviation repair stations that get audited by the FAA and other regulatory agencies (this welding table screams quality and accuracy)
• Machine shops that do welding and metal fabrication ( any machinist worth his salt can grasp the usefulness)
• Any serious metal fab shop that is embarrassed to let customers see the welding area.