Category Archive: Uncategorized

In The Press: New Name, New Vision

Over the past year, we’ve garnered attention about the transformation under new US-based ownership and the investments to increase our operating speeds and capabilities. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Archdale based metal crafters under New Ownership, gets new name and vision.

Steve McDaniel, local business developer, announces his completed acquisition of the assets of the former Speed Metal of Archdale, NC. Returning the company from Chinese to US ownership, the acquisition means an increase in opportunities for manufacturing in the Triad. The rebranded business will operate as US Metal Crafters, LLC.

US Metal Crafters is now an ISO 9001:2015 certified metal crafting company with many capabilities including laser cutting, metal stamping, and roll forming. Original equipment manufacturers in North Carolina will have a trusted partner in a company with several laser cutters, EDM machines, press brakes, and seasoned fabrication capabilities.

From company owner Steve McDaniel: “We saw a void in the industry for a responsive, American-owned and -operated metal crafting company. This acquisition provided us with the foundational equipment, personnel skill-set and positioning to grow that company right here in the Triad. It’s a win for the industry and the area.”

US Metal Crafters has already invested over $1.5 million in facility, equipment, and software improvements since the change of ownership. The company expects to continue to grow over the next five years by adding over 100 jobs for welders, fabricators, computer-automated machinery operators, engineers, and office support. 

Read Additional USMC Press here: 

Inquiries? Contact info@us-metalcrafters.com


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Cigars & Metal Crafting: The Perfect Blend

Crafting Cigar Barrels

On my first tour around the US Metal Crafters shop, I learned about some of the unique parts we make. One that really stood out to me as unusual was our cigar barrel clamps. These were not your typical furniture or machine part and another reminder as to how pervasive the metal crafting world is.

 

Cigars have been in the Americas as early as the 10th century and have become a pop culture reference hearkening back to the roaring 20’s or symbolizing a life of luxury to becoming synonymous with mobsters and politicians. Think the Great Gatsby, Scarface, and Churchill.

 

  

  

 

Cigars get their flavor through the chosen mix of tobacco leaves, wrapper, binder & filler but also the aging process. USMC makes a barrel band that secures barrels for aging, as shown above. This process was taken out of the winemakers’ book, as a unique way to influence flavor based on wood selection and the unique longer shape of the barrel is to allow for optimal space usage. While this process is not as widespread as it once was, US Metal Crafters crafts these barrel clamps for one of the last oak barrel-aged cigar makers in America. These cigars are appreciated by cigar connoisseurs for their enhanced flavors and the attention to detail, just as USMC crafts each barrel band with attention to detail and precision.

Want to learn more about Cigars? Check out these awesome articles.


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Beginner’s Guide to Laser Cutting

After diving into the three main processes of metal crafting in my previous post “Metal Crafting Guide For Dummies,” I found that lasers had grabbed my focus (pun intended) and wanted to dive deeper. I was, after all, not previously aware that lasers formed a new type of energy, and I wanted to understand more about the origins of laser cutting and how it has influenced our society.

HISTORY:

Lasers were invented in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories through optical amplification of light by radiation. Which helps to explain how the acronym Laser got its name “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Five years later, the first production laser cutting machine was developed to drill holes in diamond dies.

 

 

LASERS IN POP CULTURE:

Within the next few years, laser cutting began to be applied to more materials such as metal, textiles, wood, and glass. This cutting edge (another pun. I’m on a roll) technology became a part of pop culture with spy classic films such as Goldfinger the third installment in the James Bond series and has remained a part of pop culture with films like Star Wars and Austin Powers.

 

 

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

LASERS IN FASHION:

What do James Bond and Fashion Houses have in common? Lasers! Beyond its impact on film, laser cutting has made a huge influence in the fashion world. Laser cutting techniques have been applied to a variety of textiles, including wool, cotton, nylon, polyester, silk, leather, and more. Initially, laser cut clothing was as an exclusive design technique reserved for top fashion houses but has become commonplace and a trend that can be found across the fashion industry.

 

 

LASER CUTTING AT US METAL CRAFTERS:

Once I knew everything about lasers and pop culture, I wanted to see how they applied to US Metal Crafters. I discovered that we offer precision laser cutting services to customers across a spectrum of industries such as the furniture, energy, and general metal manufacturing industries creating custom fabricated components to meet their needs.

I learned that we are also ISO compliant (meaning we follow guidelines and standards established by the International Organization for Standardization) and that due to our advanced laser cutting system, we can have multiple configurations. I also discovered the importance of lead time to our customers and that our team of seasoned professionals can create parts of numerous geometries with typical lead times of just 2 to 4 weeks.

Excitingly, we have also just purchased a Mazak Optiplex Champion 3015 Fiber laser which will allow for faster operations speeds meaning parts will get to you faster! Watch the video below to see it in action.

 

Comment with your favorite movie or show that features lasers below. Mine has to be Toy Story “To infinity…and beyond!”

Metal Crafting Guide for Dummies

In its simplest terms metal crafting, otherwise known as metalworking, is the process of creating or fashioning metal parts and objects. It gets a bit more complicated as you get into how these parts and objects are actually created. Through my journey to learn more about metal crafting, I discovered there are A LOT of ways to fashion metal…which was a bit overwhelming at first. To help trim things down and understand the “important stuff” I dove into researching the main processes of metal crafting, I’ve broken it down below and created a quick “Metal Crafting Guide for Dummies” based on my learnings.

Metal Crafting experts- have a family member or friend who never quite understands exactly what you do? Share this blog post with them and problem solved!


Metal Crafting Guide for Dummies

I discovered that there is a hierarchy of metal crafting that begins with a group of main process with a larger number of sub-processes (or techniques) that fall within the main process. The three main processes in metalworking are Forming, Cutting, and Joining. I’ll briefly cover these processes and some of the main techniques that allow each process to be accomplished below.

FORMING:

The number one thing I learned about forming is that it is only a process of reshaping, and no material is gained or lost. There two types of forming: hot or cold working process. The process chosen is typically based on the metal type and end product goal. Bending and forging are two of the oldest metal crafting forming techniques.

 

 

  • Metal Bending

    • Is often a cold working process but can be hot. It is typically used to create a desired geometric shape and to remove sharp edges.
  • Forging

    • I’m sure you think forging must be a hot process well…drumroll…it can also be cold. Forging is just utilizing compression to shape metal. Forged parts are touted for their strength.

CUTTING:

Cutting, in its simplest terms, is taking an object and removing parts to make a new shape. Think about those snowflake paper projects. For cutting metal, it’s pretty much the same as your grade school project, but the tool by which the cutting is completed is very different, and there are several variations for cutting.

 

 

  • Laser Cutting

    • I was surprised to discover that when lasers were created an entirely new form of energy was developed. The laser cutting process is typically automated and allows for elaborate and detailed cuts that are exact; easily cutting through metal as if it were butter.
  • Blade Cutting

    • Think about the wood saw used for that diy pallet wall you saw on HGTV. It’s the same concept for blade cutting metal, but the blade itself is typically much stronger and often requires water as part of the process to keep the metal cool and to help extend the life of the blade
  • Water Jet Cutting

    • Your earth science courses taught you about the power of water and erosion think Grand Canyon. Water jet cutting harness the power of water into a high powered jet that allows the metal to be cut through easily.

JOINING:

Is exactly what it sounds like. Joining is the process of bringing multiple materials together. Joining can be temporary or permanent. These joining processes include bolt & screw, clamping, soldering, brazing, welding and more. Welding is distinct in that it melts both the base metal and the metal that is being joined.

 

 

  • Gas/Oxy welding

    • This type of welding uses, yep you guessed it, gas…but also oxygen to weld or melt both materials together. Typically a torch is used to direct the heat at the joining point.
  • Arc Welding

    • An electrical arc is used to create intense heat which is hot enough to melt both metals so that they can melt together and then form a strong joining point as it cools.

Additional Metal Crafting Resources

Now you are an expert on the three processes of metal crafting: Forming, Joining, and Cutting. Hopefully learning more about each of the main processes of metal crafting sparked your interest. If you’re like me, and you want to keep digging in and learning more, I’ve included a list some of the best resources I came across during my research for each process:

Forming Resources:

Cutting Resources:

Joining Resources:


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

History of Industrial Metal Crafting

What better place to start than the beginning? I’ve learned how much of an impact metal crafting makes in our daily lives, but how did it start and where is the industry headed?

If you’re like me, you’ve only heard about Eli Whitney as the inventor of the Cotton Gin in grade school. So I was surprised to see his name EVERYWHERE when researching the history of manufacturing. In fact, postmodern manufacturing can be traced back to Eli Whitney, the War of 1812, and a contract from the government for 10,000 muskets.

The rapid increase in demand for these muskets led to innovation that would influence the outcome of the war and change our society as we know it.

History- Interchangeable PARTS Make the Difference:

 

 

Whitney implemented the mass production of parts to specific dimensions through tooling, eliminating the need for expensive craftsmen needed for the usual specialized fittings.

So you may be thinking ok…but what’s tooling? My thoughts exactly! Glad we’re on the same page.

Well, the answer is pretty simple…industrial tooling is the part of manufacturing where you design and engineer the tools that are necessary to manufacture parts or components you need for your end product.

Talk about a game changer! Not only could end products now be rapidly assembled from standardized parts, but repairs could be quickly made by ordering and replacing a particular part rather than creating an entirely new end product.

Whitney’s developments in machining set the path for what we know as the modern machine shop which continues to grow and develop to this day.

Today- Poised for Rapid Growth:

 

 

Kelly Clark highlights just how rapidly the Metal Crafting Industry is set to grow in her recent Fabtech article: “…production in the U.S. is estimated to grow 2.8 percent from 2018-2021 (a faster increase than other segments of the general economy), and manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in. The metalworking industry is poised for growth.”

Read more here.

Metalworking today is typically divided into the following categories: forming, cutting, and, joining -each of which contains various processes.

Whooo! That’s enough processes to process for now! Time for a latte break. Check back soon for the next blog, diving into each of these categories.


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Not So Heavy Metal Comment Policy

  

  

Let’s face it the internet is a bit like the wild west nowadays. To keep things a bit more lassoed in, let’s have some guidelines for comments here to keep the Not So Heavy Metal Blog a safe haven from buckaroo spammers and yeehaw trolls…you know the kind.

Just follow our golden rule for commenting: “Keep Calm and Comment with Courtesy” and we’ll be sure to have a welcoming community for metal crafters and metal newbies alike. Not quite sure what all that means? Check out the version of our comment policy that lawyers prefer here.

Thanks for the Crafter Courtesy & Comment on!

 

 

Meredith’s “Journey To Metal”

Meredith, here, your newest employee at US Metal Crafters. But my story starts a bit earlier than that, growing up in Suburbia I had never stepped in or knowingly driven by a manufacturing plant. My hometown was full of golf courses and equestrian centers.

A few days after being hired, I had my very first tour of a manufacturing facility, and to say I was blown away is an understatement. The variety of products being created, and their purpose was impressive.

I was quickly learning just how much of a daily presence manufacturing had in my life regardless of growing up in a Suburban area. From my morning iced latte to every car ride or door handle I touched metal crafting was influencing the way I lived my life, and it’s influencing yours too.

Coffee Meredith

My tour of US Metal Crafters sparked an interest I didn’t know I had in learning everything there is to know about this industry, which is the foundation of our modern society. As a way to channel my excitement over this new found interest, I’ll be sharing what I learn monthly and would love to have you follow along on my journey and hopefully learn some new things about metal crafting and what we do here at US Metal Crafters. So go ahead, subscribe below. 

And check back soon for my next post. Off to keep learning everything metal! By the way…did you know it all started with Eli Whitney and a war?

 

 


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.