For apprentice metal fabricators, learning on the job alongside an experienced fabricator is an experience of a lifetime. You get to learn tricks of the trade that are essential to navigating your way around workshop operations. However, while it is vital to stick by your trainer's instructions, learning a few tricks on your own is useful. Additionally, self-learning will send a message to the trainer regarding your willingness to learn. This article highlights a few valuable skills that you can use around a metal fabrication workshop.
Use Angle Grinder for Cutting -- When it comes to acquiring or repairing metal cutting saws, metal fabricators prefer approaches that are cost effective. The reason is that metal fabrication equipment is quite expensive including repair costs. Also, when the metal cutting devices fail, delays are bound to happen since restoration takes time. However, you can prevent such delays by substituting the metal cutting saw with a cutting disc and an angle grinder. Remember that although a cutting disc and a grinding wheel don't perform the same functions, the former can easily slot into an angle grinder. Notably, when a metal cutting saw fails, slot in a cutting disc into the angle grinder and continue with the cutting process.
Alternating Left-Cut and Right-Cut Snips -- When cutting a long sheet of brass metal, the sheet tends to rise on one side depending on whether you are using a left-cut or right-cut tin snip. The reaction makes it difficult to follow a straight line, which can compromise the quality of the cut. To prevent a large piece of brass metal from rolling and rising on one side, use the left-cut and right-cut snips in an alternating fashion. For instance, if you start cutting the sheet with the left-cut snip, the metal sheet on the right side of the tool will begin to rise. At this point, alternate the snips and start cutting adjacent to the first cut. Make sure that you alternate the snips all the way to the end. This brass cutting trick ensures that you only have to deal with a narrow rolling strip rather than a more significant piece.
Lubricating Table Saw -- When cutting non-ferrous metals such as brass using a table saw, you might need to lubricate the cutting blade. If the blade is already installed, spraying a dry lubricant can be messy since you will be forced to wipe the excess lubricant off the table which might take some time. A simple solution is to take a piece of cardboard and make a cut the size of the blade in the middle. Slot the blade through the slit so that the cardboard settles on the surface of the table. You can then spray the dry lubricant without messing the table top.