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Ideas on growing business

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michmetalman
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Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:38 pm

Hey guys I have a question. I have a great business going (7 years on my own now) doing metal art. It's going so good, I have no doubts that I can grow much bigger, but of course the roughest part is grinding metal. We were gonna open a storefront, but decided not to last Fall. This is my dream, and I just can't dismiss it because I am 100% positive we would do awesome.
My question is, in order to keep up on stock means a ton more grinding. Does anyone have any ideas an easier way to get through this part without hiring a bunch of "grinding" help? I know people would get sick of it even if we were to hire them. We wholesale to quite a few stores and they sell our stuff like crazy, but wholesaleing sucks. Would a sandblaster get the slag off?
Any ideas would be helpful, thanks

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby tcaudle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:02 pm

There is no magic solution . A wide belt sander might work but it can also snag a corner and do ugly things to belts and machine. A belt fed drum sander or "stroke" sander would speed things up BUT one thing I found that really made things go faster was to use Muratic acid bath and then when the slag has turned a dull grey hold the piece about chest high and drop it on a smooth concrete floor as flat as possible. The shock knocks off the heavier slag, Usually what was left came off with a few passes of a disc sander . For stubborn slag instead of trying to grind it off we took a cheap wood chisel with the wedge turned down and a mallet and chipped off the slag. The trick is to slide the chisel so it wedges under the edge of the slag and it will pop right off

I thought a pneumatic needle descaler would be the ticket. After the astounding level of noise it did not work as good as the simple chisel. Sandblasting is out as well. Sandblasting works better on hard surfaces and it tends to bounce off the softer slag. The chisel needs to stay pretty sharp so you need to have several and run them on a belt sander to keep the edge,

Average time to descale a 24 X 24 cutting and use the disc grinder was about 5 to 8 minutes. About the same amount of time to load and cut the next piece so it was part of the process unless it had to go in the acid so then you pulled them out of the acid after a couple of hours and worked on it while the table cut.

The finish work on any project is always the most tedious and you have to get enough to cover that.

My hat is off to you in selling that volume and though retailers. The retailers here wanted too big a markup even on consignment (horrible way to have to sell things) and in our area you can drive to Mexico and they can hand cut the popular shapes and sell them for a fraction of your cost. Yes, they looked like crap but the customers sees one for 125,00 all nice and painted and a rough cut the same size finished in hot motor oil for 25.00 retail and they pick the cheap one. The only thing they could not compete on was custom cutouts and the retailers had no interest in spending any time selling to a customer.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby plain ol Bill » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:24 pm

I made an extra wide chisel blade that fits into a pneumatic chisel gun. Takes care of the slag a lot faster - wear safety glasses.
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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:29 pm

tcaudle wrote:There is no magic solution . A wide belt sander might work but it can also snag a corner and do ugly things to belts and machine. A belt fed drum sander or "stroke" sander would speed things up BUT one thing I found that really made things go faster was to use Muratic acid bath and then when the slag has turned a dull grey hold the piece about chest high and drop it on a smooth concrete floor as flat as possible. The shock knocks off the heavier slag, Usually what was left came off with a few passes of a disc sander . For stubborn slag instead of trying to grind it off we took a cheap wood chisel with the wedge turned down and a mallet and chipped off the slag. The trick is to slide the chisel so it wedges under the edge of the slag and it will pop right off

I thought a pneumatic needle descaler would be the ticket. After the astounding level of noise it did not work as good as the simple chisel. Sandblasting is out as well. Sandblasting works better on hard surfaces and it tends to bounce off the softer slag. The chisel needs to stay pretty sharp so you need to have several and run them on a belt sander to keep the edge,

Average time to descale a 24 X 24 cutting and use the disc grinder was about 5 to 8 minutes. About the same amount of time to load and cut the next piece so it was part of the process unless it had to go in the acid so then you pulled them out of the acid after a couple of hours and worked on it while the table cut.

The finish work on any project is always the most tedious and you have to get enough to cover that.

My hat is off to you in selling that volume and though retailers. The retailers here wanted too big a markup even on consignment (horrible way to have to sell things) and in our area you can drive to Mexico and they can hand cut the popular shapes and sell them for a fraction of your cost. Yes, they looked like crap but the customers sees one for 125,00 all nice and painted and a rough cut the same size finished in hot motor oil for 25.00 retail and they pick the cheap one. The only thing they could not compete on was custom cutouts and the retailers had no interest in spending any time selling to a customer.


Thanks, didn't think there was a magic solution...lol I do drop my pieces on the concrete after the acid bath.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby DXF » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:57 pm

I have used a pneumatic chisel for years and it makes the slag fly off easily. Then I grind both sides using a 4.5 grinder with 50 to 80 grit discs. If I could afford a laser cutter this process would not be needed. Using muratic acid is unsafe in my opinion.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby little blue choo » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:48 pm

I do very little grinding. Cut, soak in muriatic acid over night and there's very little if any slag left. What little is left can be removed in less than 60 seconds.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Metriccar » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:04 pm

I use a wire brush on an angle grinder. Grinders just grind it in whereas a brush just flakes it off. Have you considered just leaving the dross on there?

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby jimcolt » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:19 am

Depending on the plasma cutter, the material you are cutting and the cnc machine you are using....slag removal should be minimal. Improve your cutting techniques and minimize the dross for the best result.

Give us info on what you are using for equipment, maybe pics of dross on your parts and we can likely help. When I cut (withing the thickness range of my plasma cutter) I get virtually no dross....except for a little bit of low speed dross where the machine slows for corners and holes. I spent a few seconds on each piece cut with a wide concrete chisel....generally no grinding. Jim Colt Hypertherm

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby ben de lappe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:55 am

For me the best solution for removing slag/dross is a 4.5" angle grinder with a knotted wire wheel cup brush. As previously stated a fine finished product relies heavily on a properly cut piece without excessive dross. Grinding is horrendously slow where a proper wire wheel will actually knock the dross off very rapidly without grinding marks or creating sharp points etc. Safety glasses are a must. The Mrs. refers to the wire brush as "The Wheel of Pain" LOL...but to me the time saved more than makes up for any slight discomfort experienced.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:44 pm

jimcolt wrote:Depending on the plasma cutter, the material you are cutting and the cnc machine you are using....slag removal should be minimal. Improve your cutting techniques and minimize the dross for the best result.

Give us info on what you are using for equipment, maybe pics of dross on your parts and we can likely help. When I cut (withing the thickness range of my plasma cutter) I get virtually no dross....except for a little bit of low speed dross where the machine slows for corners and holes. I spent a few seconds on each piece cut with a wide concrete chisel....generally no grinding. Jim Colt Hypertherm

Its not really the dross removal, its more just constant grinding of parts to get it ready for powder coating. I was just wondering if there was an easier, faster way, but I kinda knew there wasnt. It would be awesome to take a piece out of the acid bath, rinse it, and put it on a treadmill through a machine where it came out nice and reay for powder coating lol

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Metriccar » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:19 pm

Wait, are you talking about mill scale on hot rolled? Maybe you just need to spend the extra $.10 per pound and get cold rolled?

You may also want to look into the "timesaver" machines.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Gamelord » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:32 pm

I acid dip overnight, then hit the edges with a grinder if necessary, then sandblast and then powder. Normally I can do 20-30 parts in an hour.
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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:41 am

Gamelord wrote:I acid dip overnight, then hit the edges with a grinder if necessary, then sandblast and then powder. Normally I can do 20-30 parts in an hour.


What kind of sandblaster do you have?

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:43 am

Metriccar wrote:Wait, are you talking about mill scale on hot rolled? Maybe you just need to spend the extra $.10 per pound and get cold rolled?

You may also want to look into the "timesaver" machines.

Your probably right. What are the timesaver machines?

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby hemichargersrt8 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:35 am

FLAT BED BELT SANDER

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby krymis » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:32 pm

for most of the plasma stuff people do the 1200 (1221-13-08 37" bed 2 head series) does work well. A new machine total out the door is 70,570 for the machine, dust collector, dust collector ducting, 12" magnetic chuck, and facility start up and training. Mine will be here any day. This is the same machine that Redline Steel uses in their massive production line.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Gamelord » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:11 am

I have this one. Started out with a harbor freight one which was very inexpensive, upgraded the gun and it worked great. Only issue was that it took a bit longer to blast items and the door was too small for a lot of my larger items. The HF cabinet worked ok, lighting was poor and needs to be upgraded, hard to see through the glass without a vacuum system(very small shop vac works good). The Bad Boy is a huge improvement and I highly recommend spending a bit more and getting something that works awesome. Time saved is worth every penny of the upgrade.
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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby michmetalman » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:17 am

Thanks all! That machine seems the way to go, but a bit too exp. for me at this point. I'll get there though!!

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby tcaudle » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:31 pm

You can get cheaper alternatives. Baleigh and Grizzly sell the sanders although anything over 24" is going to be pretty pricey. For 70K you can hire a full time grinder man for 2 years. (or part time for 4), The belts are not cheap and it still may not get the slag off . My experience is that sanding just heats up the slag pools and makes them bond even better. While it may beat doing it with a flap sander after the heavier slag is removed, it may not be a total solution .

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby BensPlasmaAu » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:28 am

+1 for the cup wire brush on the grinder.

I have my settings dialled in now that when i take the parts out i can drop them on the ground straight off the machine and the dross pops off. What does't' comes off really easily with the wire wheel. I am about to invest in a magnetic chuck (used for things like surface grinders) to hold the pieces so they don't get flung like a ninja star across the workshop.

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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Merica_Metal » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:40 pm

You can pickup a used TimeSaver for pretty cheap if you look around. That's your best bet.
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Re: Ideas on growing business

Postby Doc Hollywood » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:57 pm

I've too have seen what Redline does...cool set up that guy has going. I've taken to slamming my pieces on the workbench, popping the dross off. Its messy as heck, but works great. I've also done and still do the chisel method, which is pretty fast. I wear eye, ear pro, as well as respirator when cleaning parts to avoid the black boogers.


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