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Industrial Express Welding and Machine Shop

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Hey Guys,

I am in the process of moving my shop to a new space, and I figured now would be a good time to start a shop thread.

I've lurked on this forum for many years, always reading and learning. I've been encouraged and inspired by a lot of you guys, and I really love the community and knowledge here. Wheelie, Ox, CNC Toolcat, JP, David N, Ewlsey, all of you guys and more have been very educational and helpful in getting me to start my own shop.

Just a little about me. My name is Jake, I've been working in the trades for my whole career in some fashion or another. Most of my career has been in welding and fabrication, but I've done a fair amount of machining along the way.

Industrial Express is my company, a metalworking job shop. I started my business as a side hustle shop about 4 years ago, and went full time in March of 2018. I hired my first full time employee in June of this last year. Things are humming along nicely right now, we have a part time welder as well to keep up with the work.

We do mostly welding and fab work at present, but there is a steady diet of repair work and manual machine work, as well as plenty of strange one off prototype widgets and machine parts. My primary customers are food and beverage producers. Ice cream plants, breweries, bottled water, things like that. We also make parts for product testing equipment, coatings companies, ultralight aircraft, worker safety, and a wide variety of other industries. My only "rule" is I don't work on cars. Heavy equipment and industrial machinery is fine, but I hate working on passenger vehicles. We specialize in aluminum and stainless welding, but we do plenty of plain old MIG on steel.

I recently purchased a used 98 Hurco BMC 4020 VMC to augment the shop's machining capacity, so I feel like it is finally appropriate to have a shop thread on the Practical Machinist, vs just my paltry small manual machining department.

Anyway, here's a few shots of the new digs. I just got keys a few days ago, so we're still moving in. I have most of the smaller machines moved, but I need riggers for a few things. The shear and VMC, mostly. I also have to move the stock rack, pallet racking, office, and a number of other small things.

New shop is about 4000 square feet, give or take a few feet. I have 480V and 208V 3 phase panels. I believe this suite has 200 amps of both, I'd have to check the breakers to be sure. Plenty of power for me anyway. It feels absolutley HUGE, my last shop was half this size, and I could only use about half of it for machines and work space. So this is a massive upgrade.

The shop is kind of a mess right now, nothing is really set in place permanently right now. I have (mostly) everything wired up so we can keep working while we move. I need to keep things somewhat mobile in case the riggers need the room for their forklifts moving the big shear.

I have a 5 ton bridge crane over half the shop, and 2 jibs in the center of one bay, 1 ton each.

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Some of the manual machines. I still have to move the drill presses and a lot of tooling. 19" x 80" Leblond Regal, 10" SB Heavy 10, standard issue Bridgeport.

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This corner behind the welders will be sheet metal equipment. Right now its just a staging area.

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I'll keep updating as I go. I'm sure I'll be leaning on you guys for CNC help as I get moving with that machine.

Thanks for looking.
 

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McClure Machine

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 22, 2018
Hey Guys,

I am in the process of moving my shop to a new space, and I figured now would be a good time to start a shop thread.

I've lurked on this forum for many years, always reading and learning. I've been encouraged and inspired by a lot of you guys, and I really love the community and knowledge here. Wheelie, Ox, CNC Toolcat, JP, David N, Ewlsey, all of you guys and more have been very educational and helpful in getting me to start my own shop.

Just a little about me. My name is Jake, I've been working in the trades for my whole career in some fashion or another. Most of my career has been in welding and fabrication, but I've done a fair amount of machining along the way.

Industrial Express is my company, a metalworking job shop. I started my business as a side hustle shop about 4 years ago, and went full time in March of 2018. I hired my first full time employee in June of this last year. Things are humming along nicely right now, we have a part time welder as well to keep up with the work.

We do mostly welding and fab work at present, but there is a steady diet of repair work and manual machine work, as well as plenty of strange one off prototype widgets and machine parts. My primary customers are food and beverage producers. Ice cream plants, breweries, bottled water, things like that. We also make parts for product testing equipment, coatings companies, ultralight aircraft, worker safety, and a wide variety of other industries. My only "rule" is I don't work on cars. Heavy equipment and industrial machinery is fine, but I hate working on passenger vehicles. We specialize in aluminum and stainless welding, but we do plenty of plain old MIG on steel.

I recently purchased a used 98 Hurco BMC 4020 VMC to augment the shop's machining capacity, so I feel like it is finally appropriate to have a shop thread on the Practical Machinist, vs just my paltry small manual machining department.

Anyway, here's a few shots of the new digs. I just got keys a few days ago, so we're still moving in. I have most of the smaller machines moved, but I need riggers for a few things. The shear and VMC, mostly. I also have to move the stock rack, pallet racking, office, and a number of other small things.

New shop is about 4000 square feet, give or take a few feet. I have 480V and 208V 3 phase panels. I believe this suite has 200 amps of both, I'd have to check the breakers to be sure. Plenty of power for me anyway. It feels absolutley HUGE, my last shop was half this size, and I could only use about half of it for machines and work space. So this is a massive upgrade.

The shop is kind of a mess right now, nothing is really set in place permanently right now. I have (mostly) everything wired up so we can keep working while we move. I need to keep things somewhat mobile in case the riggers need the room for their forklifts moving the big shear.

I have a 5 ton bridge crane over half the shop, and 2 jibs in the center of one bay, 1 ton each.

269022d1572816784-industrial-express-welding-machine-shop-img_7269.jpg


Some of the manual machines. I still have to move the drill presses and a lot of tooling. 19" x 80" Leblond Regal, 10" SB Heavy 10, standard issue Bridgeport.

269024d1572816804-industrial-express-welding-machine-shop-img_7272.jpg


This corner behind the welders will be sheet metal equipment. Right now its just a staging area.

269025d1572816827-industrial-express-welding-machine-shop-img_7273.jpg


I'll keep updating as I go. I'm sure I'll be leaning on you guys for CNC help as I get moving with that machine.

Thanks for looking.

Congrats all around, starting a business, providing employment and service to your customers.. nice looking shop and equipment.
You will have a very profitable and enjoyable venture if you are willing to keep at it.
Thanks for sharing
Mike
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
You have the makings of a damn fine shop there! Very nice!

Thanks Wheelie. Your shop thread has been a huge benefit to guys just starting out. I really like your perspectives and outlook on running a small machine shop business. You tell it like it is, and show the good with the bad. Really helps with getting a real world picture of what it takes to make a buck in this business.
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Sorry I haven't been super diligent on my updating this thread. I'm working hard to get my shop all moved and it sucks up a lot of time. I'm gonna work on that.

We had some rigging adventures a week or so ago. About 2 years ago I bought this shear and stored it in my buddy's storage building until I had a shop big enough to use it. Its a Pexto 10-U-10. Capacity is 10 foot of 10ga steel. I know it will do 10 feet of 11ga stainless, which is all I will ever need to shear. My neighbors have a 10' hydraulic that will do 1/4", and flat bar is sheared in the ironworker. I really have a soft spot for old mechanical shears, they are really cool machines that just work so well.

On the far right is my buddy Mark, he has a very nice CNC shop about an hour's drive from me. Driving the Hyster is my dad and my employee Ben is on the left.

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When we unloaded the shear two years ago, I wasn't overly happy with how Pexto didn't really provide any good lifting points. Mark and I looked the machine over, and decided to make these lifting eyes that bolt onto the main actuator arms. These are basically the connecting arms that connect the shear arm to the crankshaft, and are plenty capable of supporting the machine's weight. We cut the plates on Mark's waterjet and I welded them up. Back beveled and 2 hot tig passes followed by a real hot pulsed spray MIG bead to finish. They worked like a champ, and saved us a TON of sketchy rigging.

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We lifted the machine up one end at a time and put it on Hillman skates. Then we used the sideshift on the forktruck to shift the machine over in front of the door.

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Once in front of the door, we were able to get a forklift on either end and get it outside.

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Once outside and in the driveway, we were able to re-pick so the trailer could back under the shear for the trip to my shop. Mark's forklift fleet includes the old Clark he has named Bertha. Bertha is a 16k capacity truck with 8' forks. A few years ago the Hercules threw a rod through the cylinder wall so he swapped in a Cummins out of a Dodge pickup. Made up a bellhousing adapter and some engine mounts and she's a runner again.

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We really didn't want to make two trips and bring Mark's Hyster, so I ended up hiring riggers for the unload and final movement of the shear and VMC.

A rare photo of yours truly running the crane on one end of the shear while the riggers were on the other end.

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The Pexto's final resting place. I have it about 6 feet off the back wall so we can still shear full sheets in half if needed, and there's enough room to walk between the squaring arm and the wall. Now I need to bolt on the front supports, square up the squaring arm, and calibrate the back gauge. But it is powered and shears nice.
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The VMC I bought was from my landlord, so all the riggers needed to do was move it into my suite.

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The mill's home is right outside the office. That way I can keep my computer in the office and run a CAT5 cable out to the mill and keep the dust and crap off the computer. I hope. I may end up getting a dedicated laptop for the mill, but for now this will work. It was also the only place it would fit well. :D

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Still gotta move my stock rack and a few other things, then I have a bunch of skids to unload and put away, all while trying to keep work moving out the door. Haha, moving sucks.
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Update! Not a big one, but and update nonetheless. I'm still getting things finagled into their "final" homes. Shop is still more cluttered than I would like, hoping to get that taken care of this weekend.

Anyway, the reason for my modest update is a text message.

Just got this text from my welding supply salesman.

49535894331_0f42480018_b.jpg


It's a Miller Invision 450 MPa with the S-74 MPa Plus feeder and Aluma-pro push/pull gun. Just landed on his dock this afternoon. Going to be delivered Monday, he and the rep from Miller will be out to my shop Tuesday to give it a work out.

I am gearing up to do some production aluminum MIG welding, and my customer and I really wanted a machine with the ability to do what Miller calls Profile Pulse, basically a pulsed spray transfer weld that has the "stack of dimes" look without gun manipulation. It's a feature Miller includes on their "heavy industrial" line of wire welders, which unfortunately my 350P doesn't have. According to Miller, it will output up to 600 amps of welding power at 60% duty cycle, and is rated for 100% duty cycle at nameplate amperage of 450 amps. It also has built in pulse programs for up to 1/16" diameter wire. :shocking: And due to some electronic wizardry, it can do all of this on only a 30 amp breaker of 480v 3 phase. My Syncrowave 350 takes double that input amps on the same voltage, and does half the weld amps!

We're hoping to do some "soft automation" (positoners and machine guided gun) on these parts, so consistent, quality welds are key. These parts are a safety product (sorry I can't elaborate, NDA) and we're working with a welding engineer and inspector to develop a procedure and qualify myself and my staff to weld these parts to the AWS structural aluminum code. I want to make sure that we're putting our absolute best foot forward on these parts, therefore a new welder was in order.

I am very excited, if it does what we hope on these parts it will have a permanent home in my shop.

I realize this is a machining forum and not a welding forum, hopefully I don't get shunned for being a hillbilly welder. But, never fear, these products have some stainless and aluminum parts that are a component of the assembly. Hopefully I can get the Hurco making chips on these parts as well as making the weldments. I am looking forward to cutting my CNC teeth on these parts, providing I quote the machining right.

Strangely, there aren't any reviews or any sort of easily found feedback on welders other than home shop stuff that I can find, so plan to do a full review and write up of this machine after we've had some time on it. But for now all I can do is wait...

Thanks for looking.
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Ok!

I apologize about the long intervals between updates. We have been just BURIED in work, and it has made it very hard to find the time to make such an involved post.

I have spent the entire day tidying up the shop, clearing clutter, and just plain cleaning. It's nowhere near perfect, but it is WAY better than it has been for the last few weeks. I figured now is as good a time as any for a set of update photos.

Standing on the mezzanine above the office, this is the loading/unloading area and the bar stock rack/saw area. The new Mitsubishi forktruck has been an absolute blessing, not sure how we got by with the old one as good as we did. I guess any forklift is better than none, but man, it's sooo much better to have a good one.

49761637573_7ac932e7f8_b.jpg


Above the bathroom now, looking out over the rest of the shop.

49762168721_9d30c24cbf_b.jpg


The Hurco VMC fits really well opposite the stock rack area. There is already air on the crane support post, so all I had to do was run electrical power. It is basically right outside the office so I can run an ethernet cable out to the machine from the workstation on my desk. Also, if a cutter starts making some kind of abnormal noise, I can get to it somewhat quickly. It is leveled and powered up, but I haven't had much time to really get to know it. I have some fixtures I need to machine for a part we make for a customer, so hopefully in the next few weeks I will get some seat time on it. Fortunately the spindle doesn't need to be spinning to pay the rent so I can take my time. I bought it to expand our offerings as a machine shop, and hopefully grow a good CNC machining department, as there is lots of secondary ops and and parts that would compliment our other departments well that I sub out now if we can't do them profitably on the manual machines.

49762168406_326d9006b0_b.jpg


49762168371_cee235ceaf_b.jpg


The main welding and fab area. We have 3 workstations here, each with a MIG machine and a TIG machine. It is set up so the Syncrowave 350, Millermatic 350P and the Invison 450 can reach both tables on the right for heavier work, and the table off to the left by my orange toolbox is designated for lighter work, as the machines over there are smaller, a Dynasty 200DX and a Millermatic 255. We also have 2 Maxstar 161 STH machines that are floaters, can be used at a bench or out on the road.

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Looking back at the manual machine shop. I have an island set up in the middle with my machinist toolbox, tooling storage, the surface plate and my arbor press. The TIG filler rod and abrasive cart are here too, but I need to spend some time organizing that stuff, its a hot mess right now.

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My lathes. A LeBlond Regal and a South Bend "heavy 10". The SB is just a place holder until I can chase down a Hardinge HLV-H or similar. It handles all the little jobs that the Leblond can't do efficiently. The LeBlond does most of the work, its a 19" x 80" with a 3" spindle bore. It gets used all the time for all kinds of weird jobs. We do a fair amount of shaft fabrication and repair for local food and beverage processing companies, so the bed length is very handy. We also doo a fair amount regular garden variety turning, boring, threading, yada yada. What can I say, it's an engine lathe. I want to set a nice pair of Mazaks in here, a QT25 or so and an M4 or an M5 would compliment each other nicely, but we don't do enough turning work to justify the space and expense right now. Then again, we really don't chase turning work either.

49762168596_1b31ca9153_b.jpg


Manual mill and hole makers. Bog standard Bridgeport mill, the only thing I would mention is the Kurt power draw bar. If you are on the fence about getting a power draw bar, DOO IIIITT! It saves SO much time on tool changes its not funny. No more chasing down a wrench or having to clatter around over your head changing a tool out. Just brrrp, brrrrp done. The Solberga drill is the BEST small drill press I have ever used. We sold our Clausing belt drive last year and picked this up, and it has been sooo nice. The little radial is a Lux, and it is handy for the occasional weird job, or to use when the other DP is set up with the tap head or something. It's no Carlton but it works...

49762168651_43ae3c29fc_b.jpg


My modest sheet metal shop. I am still growing and expanding this area as often as I can find deals on equipment. But as it sits now I can do most small basic forming jobs. I am 2 doors down from a good friend's sheet metal shop and he has all the fun toys, so it is not a huge inconvenience to just run down there and use their equipment. But sometimes, for a one off drip pan or whatever, we just do it here.

The ironworker is for sale... A Marvel tilt frame is destined to be placed there in the coming weeks.

The Pexto shear used to be their shear, I bought it a couple years ago when they got their 10'x 1/4" Accurshear. This Pexto will do 10' of 10ga steel, or 11ga stainless. Which is more than I need 99% of the time. I just got the Hossfeld bender in the foreground, I am excited to get some tooling made up. We have a JDsquared bender for tubing, the Hossfeld will be for flat bar and structural shapes. Of which we seem to do a fair amount of. I need to make a proper mount for it so I can attach it to a weld table.

49761637078_9925fd5cd2_b.jpg


My brake is a Barth, bought it from my great uncle years ago. He got it from the local hospital maintenance shop in the 60's. It will easily do 4' of 14ga, and shorter lengths of 1/8" or flat bar. The Pexto notcher is a little undersized, but is good to 16ga. The B3 Beverly is a beast, will do up to 7ga steel. I recently got a new set of blades for it, the ones that were in it hadn't been sharpened since before 1991! It was due, and I didn't want to be without.

49762282451_7c0fbd438a_b.jpg


Well, that's my modest shop. Always growing and expanding as the jobs allow. Thanks for looking.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
You JUST moved into this building, and already you have to stack things on top of each other?
Good Grief! Why did you move into such a small place?

.. and you wunna fetch a cpl of Yamazaki's?
An M5 at that? :eek:


I doo like how you fit that shear into the pallet racking tho!


FWIW - I can swap R8 collets prett darn quick as I stood in front of one for several years.
A 3/4" wrench lives on my machine. DON'T wonder off with it!


------------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
You JUST moved into this building, and already you have to stack things on top of each other?
Good Grief! Why did you move into such a small place?

.. and you wunna fetch a cpl of Yamazaki's?
An M5 at that? :eek:


I doo like how you fit that shear into the pallet racking tho!


FWIW - I can swap R8 collets prett darn quick as I stood in front of one for several years.
A 3/4" wrench lives on my machine. DON'T wonder off with it!


------------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox

Haha, there’s more room than there looks like. And there is more roof easily had in this building.

It’s probably at least a year or two before we get CNC turning in here. When the time comes we’ll rent more sq. foot.

I moved into this space because there was room to grow at my pace. It’s just me and the landlord. And he has no interest in renting to more than one tenant.

I picked this shop because it had the best fit for us now and for the next few years. The location and square footage fits our operation with room to grow.

Other than the shear, VMC and the third weld bench, we had all this crammed in a 2000 foot building where 1/4 of the room was office... This space is positively roomy.
 

atomarc

Diamond
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Location
Eureka, CA
Everything looks like it's coming together well..nice shop. I do wonder about the air compressor dangling off the side of the wall though. Reciprocating pumps wiggle a whole bunch which makes me wonder if there shouldn't be an additional brace or two for that perch.

Stuart
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Everything looks like it's coming together well..nice shop. I do wonder about the air compressor dangling off the side of the wall though. Reciprocating pumps wiggle a whole bunch which makes me wonder if there shouldn't be an additional brace or two for that perch.

Stuart

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to mention that. That compressor isn’t hooked up to anything. It’s just sitting up there because it is out of the way. My actual main compressor is a 10HP Quincy that’s under the stairs by the door.

The little 5 horse up on the wall is the backup. On the odd chance that I actually need it I’ll pull it down and plumb it in.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Arc-On,

I would suppose only a person such as myself who lives in a triple-junction seismic area would ever notice something like that.:)

Stuart


Edit. So this makes a bit more sense. Mendocino Triple Junction - Wikipedia


[tangent]

Taken from the link:

The Gorda plate is subducting, towards N50ºE, under the North American plate at 2.5 – 3 cm/yr, and is simultaneously converging obliquely against the Pacific plate at a rate of 5 cm/yr in the direction N115ºE.


Any chance someone can make sense of this direction nomenclature for me?

50* NE makes sense to me, but 115* NE sounds like ESE to me.

???

[/tangent]


-----------------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
I only remember one earthquake in west Michigan in my lifetime. Woulda been at least 12-15 years ago, my pops still had the farm seeing as how I was there when it happened. He sold that in the 08 crash.
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
She's a runner!

49875185937_39026641fb_b.jpg


As some of you might have seen in another thread, I recently acquired a new (old) saw for my shop.

We got after it pretty quick, it needed a few small details taken care of before we could put it to work.

We had a job that needed some 45° miters on some CRS bars. I probably could have done this in my cold saw, but it was right at the limit, I don't think I've ever attempted to miter 4" bar in that saw or not.

First order of business was to clean out the coolant system. It was full of nasty gross sludge and goo, and the pump was pretty sticky. We took it apart, cleaned it and replaced some hoses that were falling apart and leaky.

I also cleaned all the vise so it would be usable. It was pretty crusted up with old chips and coolant scum. I re-routed the coolant line so I could actually position the coolant where I want it, especially when the head is tilted.

49875185867_50d3d7ff07_b.jpg


49874345103_a67de0d3c5_b.jpg


This coolant pump is one of the most clever little mechanisms I've seen in a while. There is a housing with an oilite bushing that rides on the main drive shaft that has the bore off axis. This makes the connected output shaft wobble back and forth. When connected to this little plunger, it oscillates back and forth allowing it to pump coolant on one side while drawing in coolant on the other side, via check valves.

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I'm a happy guy, I've wanted one of these saws for a long time. Seems like they don't pop up very often, and when they do they're either very expensive or broken/missing half the parts. I feel lucky to have found this one when I did.

Thanks for looking.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
A) I am glad for you.

B) That is how the fuel pump in your old truck werks. (Lobe on camshaft)

C) Now you have 12' of mess to contend with.
I'd save the coolant for a saw that is going to cut all day every day.
Otherwise a shot of WD-40 occassionally is a LOT more fun to deal with!



---------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

atomarc

Diamond
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Location
Eureka, CA
Doesn't the saw have a catch basin beneath it..I see no coolant on the floor but I do see the basin capturing all the coolant. Maybe I missed something.

Stuart
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Yeah, there’s a full sump under the saw. It has a cover on it to catch chips. The two side wings move out to allow for tilt.

The little bit in front is splashing from where that piece of aluminum sheet is. The table drain doesn’t all make it back to the sump without another shield.
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
A) I am glad for you.

B) That is how the fuel pump in your old truck werks. (Lobe on camshaft)

C) Now you have 12' of mess to contend with.
I'd save the coolant for a saw that is going to cut all day every day.
Otherwise a shot of WD-40 occassionally is a LOT more fun to deal with!



---------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox

I hear you on the coolant making a big mess. But, we do enough sawing to justify the flood coolant. If I could get away with just a squirt of oil once in a while I would do it. But we do quite a bit of stainless as well as a pretty good variety of other stuff and the flood coolant helps a lot with blade life in my experience.

Granted, we're not running production sawing, but I'd rather deal with a small sump and the minor mess it makes than buy more blades than I have to.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Well, I run my saw pretty slow as I'm not normally in a hurry.
I can set it and come back later.
We doo a lot of bundle cutting, and with bundles of round bar - it's best not to push it too hard.
If you go easy, you don't git near as many spinners.
If it takes 1-1/2 hours to cut through a 4000# bundle, I'm fine with that....


-----------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 








 
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