Whole Lot of Something

For the past week and a half or so, I’ve been working on the same project at work.

To put it bluntly, it’s huge.

Not in terms of physical size. More in the number of pieces.

If you take 30-20ft long pieces of 3/8in x 6in flat bar and cut them into 4in pieces, you get 1780 plates of 3/8in x 6in x 4in steel. If you stack them neatly on a sturdy pallet, they look like this.


Next, you torture some poor pair of sods by telling them to deburr these pieces and then each make a jig so they can lay out a punch mark one inch in from the long side and three inches in from the short side. You then tell one of those poor sods to use the stud welder to attach a 3/8in wide x 1-1/2in long “wide head stud” to the plates where that punch mark is at.


This is a partial bin of approximately 500 of these plates.

You ask the other poor sod to build a jig so that he can tack two pieces of 2ft long #4 reinforcing bar (1/2in diameter) to the plates after the studs get attached.


Then you get the guy with the rebar cert to weld those on permanently, and when the stud welding sod is done welding studs, you get him to take an air needler to the welds to remove the slag and spatter from the finished piece and stack them on a pallet to be sent off to a galvanizing facility.


We’re about 1300 into the project. Hopefully we’ll be done by Wednesday or Thursday.

Just in time to start in on the other part of the order. 1410 pieces, of smaller proportions, but with two stud welded pieces of D-bar and only 1 piece of rebar (pics soon).

Apparently, there is a bridge being built in Hawaii, and they need a large quantity of anchors/embeds of two different types.

I bought one of those thick foam floor mats and brought it to work, because after the fifth nine hour day standing in the, relatively, same 3ft x 3ft square either deburring, transfer punching, or tack welding, you will want to remove your feet with an axe so that you will be in less pain.

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7 Responses to Whole Lot of Something

  1. richard says:

    Cry me a river. Not saying what you re doing/have done is not prodigious but am saying what if you were the shop owner and after the bidding was all over you realized you could had bid another 5% higher or suddenly costs were 9% higher cuz flood waters back east causing late delivery and higher transportation costs. Plus with the threat of liquidated damages hovering. BTDT.

    FYI: my employees always thought I waddled home with cash sticking out of my pockets. No matter my efforts, my offers to open my books to any taker, none took up the offer. Free pizza, gas for their trucks, company bought hand tools, paid days off, no incentive worked to increase performance. Sorry to piss on your parade. BTDT Never again.

    Now here I am without income, caring for me dear old mum. Wishing I could earn some work. Feeling like a cripple. Thank God you got something going.

  2. richard says:

    For all my sins I never not once skipped a pay check to my men. At least I can say I never, never ever bounced payroll. Go say your prayers you stiff legged working man. 🙂

  3. LibertyNews says:

    I see that and my first thought is ‘how do you automate that’ so that the skilled worker can move on to a more appropriate use of his skills.

  4. guy says:

    “…the rebar cert…”

    Why does rebar require its own cert? Tough/tricky to weld, or just really extra important to get right?

  5. Phssthpok says:

    Welcome to the (not so) glamorous world of ‘production’ welding! 🙂

    In my time I have spent many, many days making thousands upon thousands of little ‘fiddly -bits’ parts like that…from welding a cap on a 1.5Dx2.5L pipe (end pieces for massive hinges), to welding two small gussets on a piece of 3x3x1/4″ angle (sliding door stop for boxcars), and many many others. All of them critical in their own special way.

    Re: the foam pad… In my personal experience the thick, super soft versions can actually make things worse by forcing your ankles to constantly shift and adjust to maintain balance. Your best bet is first to invest in some top quality (read: high dollar) work boots, and then, if you still need more, look at the thinner/stiffer pads.

    My .02 😉

  6. Phil says:

    I’m not sure how to respond to all then, Richard. Didn’t mean to sound like I was complaining about anything but my feet.

    Trust me, News, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the process proceed faster. But automation is out of the question since the run is so relatively small compared to the costs of building machinery. The three of us have pretty much got an assembly line going, putting two people in the points where the process slows down and leaving one in the faster parts.

    Guy, rebar is a special composition of metals that make it less brittle and a little stronger, but it is a complete pain in the ass to weld properly. I compare it to surprise over steer in a car. Rebar resists the weld heat and filler metal and then gives in and blows out. The trick is to be able to watch for the one tell-tale sign that its about to give and then move on before the blow out.

    There is a structural certification for welding rebar. They offered to pay for the senior welder to practice and test for the cert before they asked me, and he took them up on it and I didn’t get to try.

    Phssth, I’m going for some orthotic inserts tonight. I can’t afford a new pair of my preferred Georgia Boot Wellingtons at this time. It’s mainly the right foot for some reason. The mat is really only about 1/2in thick and it has doubled the amount of time I’m able to stand without pain.

  7. Phssthpok says:

    1/2″ sounds about right… thick enough to cushion shock, yet thin enough to provide a ‘solid’ feeling surface upon which to stand. I wouldn’t mind one of those myself, but my work space is just to ‘dynamic’ for one..

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