January 16, 2014

New equipment and projects

December was a very busy month for us with finishing up a few projects and with year-end.  That is the reason for the lull in blog posts.  However we have some new equipment and projects to show.  There should be a greater frequency of blog posts in the future.  We are in the process of developing a new product that will take some time to prove out, so stay tuned for future details!

We didn’t take many photos in December of the projects worked on, but this one turned out really nice.  It’s cut out of 10ga steel, weighs 10.5lbs and is 30″x18″ in size.  The small detail that isn’t seen is that there are two center marked/punched areas on the top of the sails.  They are each 4.5″ on either side of the COG (center of gravity) of the part.  So that way when the holes are drilled out and it is hung, it will be put even tension on either chain/cable/rope when it’s suspended.

cnc viking ship

We have also been busy taking note of our clients requirements over the last year and acquiring more equipment in the shop to fulfill those needs.  We’re setting up a refrigerated air dryer to ensure that our compressed air system in the shop is as dry as it can possibly be.  We’ve had the odd issue here and there when cutting material and having a bit of moisture pass through the nozzle of the plasma torch.  It’s sometimes enough that we have to recut the part, reset the origin of the CNC table, etc…  Basically wasting time and material, this air dryer will solve that problem and ensure that our CNC table, bead blast cabinet, powder coating  and any other air tools in the shop receive moisture free compressed air.

refrigerated air dryer

The parts to the left of the air dryer is a DIY hydraulic finger brake kit.  Once TIG welded together it’ll be stationed in the 50 ton hydraulic press and allow us to bend in steel (aluminum will be rated slightly higher and stainless steel will be rated slightly less):

  • 19″ = ≤ 3/16″
  • 15″ = 1/4″
  • 13″ = 5/16″
  • 11″ = 3/8″
  • 6″ = 1/2″
  • 3″ = 5/8″

This brake will allow the bending of heavier materials (at limited width), however we have another brake showing up that will allow us to do up to 12ga steel (16ga stainless steel) at 40″ in width.  After quite a bit of research it was settled that the best option would be a Baileigh Industrial BB-4012F box and pan brake.  Here’s a photo of it from Baileigh’s website. We’ll be sure to snap some photos when it arrives and makes its new home next to the CNC plasma table.

box and pan brake finger

In the past we’ve been able to get by slitting seams during the CNC plasma cutting process in order to reduce the amount of effort required to bend a piece of material.  However this isn’t practical in all applications, and due to feedback from our clients we are always striving to improve our final product or find deficiencies in our processes that could be improved.  Bending plate or sheet was something we had to improve on and we did!

Keep posted for setup pictures of the new equipment and new service pages added once we get everything dialed in and running.

December 19, 2013

Game of Thrones and powder coating

We’ve been busy working on a few NDA projects and lots of Christmas gifts.  So the blog hasn’t been updated in a while.  However we had a few neat projects come through.  Here is a Game of Thrones snowflake that we cut out for a client.

First we got the .jpeg images from here.  Then they were converted to vector format and then CNC cut out of 14ga steel, acid dipped, bead blasted and then powder coated.  Here’s some of the shots of the process.

LannisterIMG_1584 IMG_1585   IMG_1597 IMG_1598 IMG_1599  IMG_1601 

A few other items that were cut and powder coated at the same time.

IMG_1596IMG_1600   IMG_1575IMG_1580IMG_1574IMG_1583

Speaking of TV shows, we’ve got a pretty cool Breaking Bad Heisenberg that will be CNC cut, TIG welded and powder coated in the new year.  Follow us to keep up to date!

Heisenberg _ Breaking Bad

November 15, 2013

Powder coating booth

We’ve so busy in the shop lately we’ve managed to slip our new powder coating booth in the queue.  We modeled it in SolidWorks to ensure it will be the right size for our use, as well as maximize the use of all the material purchased.  It will allow us to powder coat multiple parts while being hung from the copper grounding bar.  The hangers will have swivels so it will allow the part to rotate in place as well.

Here is the 3D model before we cut any wood.  We haven’t modeled a vent hood for the filter just yet.  That will be the next part of this project.

powder coating booth

And here is the booth assembled on the workbench and almost ready to go.

do it yourself powder coating booth

We typically work with thousanths of an inch or tenths of a millimeter, so working  with wood which is not dimensionally accurate at all is a test of our patience.  However this booth came together pretty easily and really at a minimal cost.  The vent will most likely be something cut off the CNC table and welded up.  It will be nice once it’s done and this booth will get a lot of use in the shop.

Take a look at our powder coating services page for more info on what we can do for you!

October 22, 2013

Wellhead casing project

We always have new and interesting projects come through the shop.  This one was a wellhead casing project which consisted of a few tasks:

All these steps were done in house to reduce lead time and improve quality control.


The design of this project was based loosely around the existing prototype developed.  The prototype was quickly reverse engineered in order to have a 3D model to compare our new design against.  This will allow us to compare the range of motion and limitations of the prototype vs the new proposed design.  There was also a list of requirements that the new design had to achieve that the existing one couldn’t do or perform, one example is the lack of a guard on the sheave/pulley.

Here is the prototype, ready to be reverse engineered.

wellhead casing

Here it is modeled up and mocked up on a small wellhead.  The hardware was not modeled as they wouldn’t add any value to the new design.

wellhead casing saskatoon

Now we began our design process taking the reverse engineered prototype into account.  Here is the preliminary design compared to the prototype.  The new design took requirements from the client as well as added a few other features to compact the design as well as make handling and setup easier.  The handles on either side make carrying the unit easier as well as adjusting the position of the sheave.  The handle is also located very near to the COG (center of gravity) of the part so it makes it very easy to carry.  Here you can see the prototype and the new proposed design overlaid on top of each other.

solidworks saskatoon

Since the functionality of the new design is different in a few ways than the prototype, it is submit for a design review and no modifications were needed.  The 3D model is then set it up for FEA (finite element analysis).  The initial design is to show the concept of how it will work, now with taking loads into account we can factor in how it will actually perform and meet all the requirements of the client.

Here you can see a stress concentration on the arms, this was the final design, prior to this the concentration was higher around the radius as it was tighter.  Just a simple tweak in the design and we minimized this stress to an acceptable level without any real added weight.

fea saskatoon

The design could have been optimized further by reducing the material thickness of members under low stress, however the design also considers the cost of fabrication.  The minor cost increase and weight to a part being thicker than necessary outweighs the cost of having to load multiple sheets of various thickness material onto the CNC table to be cut.  In this case everything was designed to be cut out of 1/4″ plate except for the top of the guard which would be done out of 10ga steel (1/4″ would have made it far too heavy and cumbersome).  Here is the final design mocked up.

mint design solidworks

Now that the design achieves the clients requirements and has been approved, the project proceeds to the fabrication phase.


Once the design was completed all the parts were exported to our CAM software, nested and cut out of 1/4″ 44w steel plate.  Hardware was brought in based on the hardware selected in the design.

CNC Cutting Mint Design

Next the pieces were acid dipped to remove the mill scale to prepare it for welding and eventually powder coating.  The TIG welding process does not cooperate well with burning through mill scale and it takes a tremendous amount of time to media blast mill scale off.  Our in house acid bath works quick and takes little effort.  The parts are susceptible to some light oxidization due to the steel being stripped bare, no protective coating is applied since it would have to be removed prior to welding and the part is going to be blasted prior to powder coating anyways.

acid bath Mint Design

Here the parts are being welded and tacked up.

TIG weld Mint Design

These plates were sandwiched together and a groove was CNC cut in two locations, these locations were TIG welded to secure these pieces all together.

TIG weld Saskatoon

TIG weld wellhead

All the parts are 100% welded up, blasted and ready for powder coating.

wellhead casing project

These parts were powder coated with RAL 3016 Coral Red.  Here is one of the arms ready to be cured in the oven.

powder coat Mint Design


And here they are out of the oven, assembled and ready to be used.

powder coat Saskatoon

wellhead casing pulley wellhead casing

This project started with a physical prototype and ended up with a commercial functioning/looking product.  This project combined mechanical design, CNC cutting/engraving, TIG welding and our latest powder coating service.  Everything with this project was done in house to reduce lead times and achieve the highest quality product for our client.

October 3, 2013

Powder coating and building mounts

We’ve been busy working on a variety of projects, some powder coating and building mounts for a 50″ light bar on a Dodge truck.  Nothing too sophisticated with this project, just took some time and some careful measurements to ensure that everything lined up and time wasn’t wasted.  We only had a few hours to knock this project out so there wasn’t really time for progress photos.

Here you can see the cardboard template on the left.  The template is strictly to dictate the CNC cutting shape and bend locations.  The template took 60-70% of the time to produce as the metal versions are exact replicas of it, so it had to be accurate.  Once the cardboard template is acceptable it is redrawn in CAD and the new pieces are cut out of steel, the bend locations are slit 95% of the way.  This makes manipulation of the steel easier in order to get the correct bend angles.  Once the bend angles are determined from the temporary steel brackets, the final units are cut and formed to match the temporary steel brackets without the slit bend lines for maximum strength.

Dodge light brackets

The customer had the parts painted and installed.  Here is the final product installed (thanks to the customer supplied photos).

Dodge roof light barDodge roof light bar

Another project we’re preparing for requires a fair bit of powdercoating, so before we shoot any production parts we did a bit of testing.  Here is the first part we’ve powdered.  It’s shot with a wrinkle red, super common for use on valve covers etc…  We also have wrinkle black in stock as well.  We just shot a simple part to begin with (it’s one of our custom box re-sizing tools, a variation of this one can be seen prior to powder on our Mannequin blog post).

Mint Design Powder coat wrinkle red

We’re preparing powder coating for this project working it’s way down the line.  More to come…

CNC cutting

September 19, 2013

Powder Coat and Astro Boy

In the shop we’re setting up for a powder coating station, working on a few design projects and doing some fabrication work.  Here was a super simple job, 1/4″ 6061-T6 plate CNC cut and TIG welded to a 6061-T6 square tube.  It’ll be used as a hitch cover for a very avid Astro Boy fan.  We prep every welded joint as if it’s safety related, this ensures that we produce high quality (strength) and that also look good.  In this case the weld is purely cosmetic and most likely won’t be seen once installed.  In any case our clients expect the best and we provide the best no matter how simple the job may be.

Powdercoat and Astro Boy

Astro boy

Sans pin hole, lightly sanded and slightly dusty.

The hitch cover will be media blasted and then sent out to be powdercoated a vibrant York Red by Sean at Jamison Automotive Services.  This will buy us some time to set up our power coating booth and allow us to learn the controls and have a bit of practice.  We only learn new processes with projects around the shop, we don’t gamble or experiment with customer’s products.  We have a design project that will be done in the next few weeks that will be built 100% in house, CNC cut from 1/4″ steel plate, TIG welded, powdercoated, assembled and ultimately delivered to the customer.  Bringing the powder coating process in house is just one more step to becoming a one stop shop, from working on a design concept all the way to producing a high quality final product.

Powdercoat Saskatoon

We carry various color swatches to help with choosing a color that we may not have in stock.

Mint Design Powdercoat

Some of the equipment to get started. A variety of powder, powdercoating equipment, color swatches and silicone plugs (keeps powder from plugging threaded/straight through holes).

We are starting with a variety of vein powder coats, super durable outdoor rated powder as well as super common wrinkle red and wrinkle black.  We have the ability to bring in any powder needed based off our in house color swatches or from our supplier’s website.  Keep posted for the many powder coated parts leaving our shop in the near future.

September 16, 2013

Aluminum chimney support

Sometimes we’re too busy to take photos while building custom designed products for our clients, in this case we’ve got photos from the client once they’ve put it in use.  In this case it’s an aluminum chimney support we built with some 2″x2″ 6061-T6 aluminum tubing with some 1/4″ 6061-T6 aluminum plates TIG welded on.  We also produced some triangular brackets that were all CNC cut on our plasma table out of 14ga steel and formed in house.  Here are some photos of the installed product.

aluminum chimney support

This is the base of the support bolted to the house. The tube furthest from the house extends approximately 12′ above the roof line to support the chimney.  There are also ladder rungs to be attached by the client to allow for any potential servicing.


chimney brackets

And here it is installed.

All the tubing was cut to length on the bandsaw, clamped to the welding table and TIG welded.

September 10, 2013

Powder Coating and Tube Bending

While working in the shop we are constantly listening to our clients and always making moves to fill the niches that they look for.  There are processes and fabrication techniques that we do that we don’t readily advertise, but it’s usually because we haven’t mastered it yet or don’t have all the necessary tooling in place to be as efficient/cost effective as we should be.   So after a few successful projects we will then officially offer the service on the site.  In this case we are now ready to offer tube/pipe bending and in a few weeks powder coating services.

The tube/pipe bending has a slight learning curve so we wanted to ensure that what we design in CAD could be accurately produced, this took a bit of time and the quality showed on the roof rack project.  On that particular project the tolerances from bend-to-bend is within ±0.063″ and from bend-to-edge is within ±0.015″.  These types of tolerances are tighter than most so this is the reason why

One service we have not had the chance to work with is powder coating.  However due to the demand for this from our industrial and automotive clients we have decided to bring this service in house.  This will reduces the ultimate cost to the customer as well as lead time.  In the coming weeks we plan on setting up and carrying a variety of durable UV stable high salt spray resistance powder, different color wrinkle powder and vein powder along with a variety of RAL colors.

Keep tabs on the Mint Design blog for more photos of future projects that will be powdercoated in house or tubing structures being formed.  In the meantime take a look at our two new service pages; Powder Coating and Tube and Pipe Bending.

September 4, 2013

Stainless Steel Urn

These are not projects we want to work on, it’s something we have to work on.  Here’s a stainless steel urn produced in the shop for my father-in-law, Larry Mortenson.  This urn was designed in SolidWorks, converted to a flat pattern and all pieces exported as .dxf’s for the CNC table.  It is made out of 14ga 304 stainless steel, the perimeter is one piece that is slit with the plasma cutter along the bend lines, which is subsequently TIG welded closed.  The top is a separate piece that is TIG welded on, the bottom is a separate piece that is attached with three #4-40 screws.  Prior to any cutting the part was engraved on the CNC table.  Warpage was a big concern so the use of a damp cloth was used to help dissipate heat without imparting any heavy scratches on the urn prior to final brushing.  All the welds were ground down and the entire part is finished with a fine scotch brite pad and cleaned with a stainless steel cleaner.

stainless steel urn

Here’s the urn after welding. The top has the welds blended in.

Here is the urn ready for the funeral and to protect Larry’s ashes at his final resting spot.  One personal touch is that all Larry’s immediate family’s signatures are engraved on one of the three sides.  The signatures were scanned, converted to vector format and engraved.

IMG_0926_2Stainless Steel UrnMetal urn

Rest in peace Larry.

August 27, 2013

Custom built roof rack

We’re building almost anything and everything.  This time we’re working on a custom built roof rack.  We had completed the design work for this roof rack a few weeks ago, it was a collaborative project with the customer as he had quite a few requirements.  Once all the requirements were listed a 3D model and subsequent drawing was created, the drawing was reviewed and the build process began.  The advantage of designing it is that we could figure out the actual mass, in this case 47.55lbs (not factoring in the weight of welding filler).  The rack uses a Ø1-1/4″ perimeter hoop and seven Ø1″ horizontal crossbars.   Here’s the 3D rendering of the roof rack.  The tab at the rear is for an LED powered flood light, the two tabs at the front are for a LED light bar.


All the plate pieces were cut on the CNC table and prepped for welding to the rack.

Mint Design

Here are the pieces laid out on the shop floor prior to tacking and welding the main hoop and the coped Ø1″ tubes.  Also notice all tube ends/mating faces are sanded prior to TIG welding, this ensures a high quality structurally sound weld.  All joints were wiped down with alcohol prior to welding as well.

custom roof rack

There are a lot of things we can do at Mint Design, some of which we don’t advertise until we have a few projects go through using the new piece of equipment or technique.  In this case it’s tube and pipe bending.  We will be adding this to our list of services in the near future.

Here are the CNC cut mounting plates TIG welded from the underside of the rack.  The nice thing about designing with CAD is that everything just “fits”.  There is no slop and everything lines up.  The time spent on the computer saves us more time in the shop so in most cases it’s saving the customer money if it’s designed properly from the get go.  In this case the use of Ø1″ crossbar tubes along with the Ø1-1/4″ perimeter tube is that the 11ga steel plates fit up nearly flush with the outside tube once welded to the Ø1″ crossbars.

TIG weld CNC cut

100% TIG welded at all the connections.

TIG weld tubing

One thing to note, to speed up fabrication as well as improve accuracy and consistency we CNC cut a pair of tubing spacing jigs.  This allows us to make sure the rungs are evenly spaced from front to back and from side to side.  This eliminates any guesswork and makes fabrication work that much easier.  Here’s  a shot of the super simple jigs.


And here is a picture of the finished rack installed.  The light bar on the front wasn’t snugged down yet…  The customer is going to have the rack powdercoated.  One neat feature about the rack is that it can accept a double set of gutter mounts to distribute any extreme loads evenly across the gutter rail.


August 16, 2013

CNC Cut Skateboard

It’s always fun doing artsy projects that force us to be creative.  This is a CNC cut skateboard coat rack that was modeled, CNC cut, fabricated and painted in one day.  It’s constructed from 14ga 44W steel with TIG welded hangers on the back.  This pushes the deck 1/2″ away from the wall and gives it a 3D look.  The long horizontal slots were intentional because the TIG welding process will cause warpage these slots allow for this warpage to be dramatic.  This pushes out the text further than the area above and below the top and bottom slots, this giving a greater 3D look.  Also after the part was cut we forgot to form the tails on the 3D model, so we formed them after the part was cut.  Here’s the rendering before we began cutting any steel.


We didn’t get any photos during the cutting and forming process since this was something that had to be done quickly.  However here it is prior to paint.

CNC skateboard

The coat rack is based based off a few measurements from this old deck.


Since the mounting bracket is viewable from the front, they were necked down along the slots so when viewed from the other side they look like the axles from the trucks.  The bolt pattern through the deck and mounting bracket are the same as an actual skateboard so in theory you could bolt up a set of trucks to it.

CNC Cut SkateboardSteel skateboard

We used a rocker guard paint to finish it off as it’s textured to look like grip tape as well as being really really durable.

Metal Skateboard


Follow the links to our CNC cutting and welding capability.  Thanks for looking!

July 26, 2013

Behind the fabrication

We may give off the impression that that almost all we do is fabrication.  Which is not entirely true, which is why we would like to see what goes on behind the fabrication.  Here’s some of the last things we’ve gone through on the CNC table.  Lots of 1/2″ and 3/8″ lifting rings and turbo flanges.


3/8″ 44W steel


With jobs like that there is very little design work required, just nesting and setting up tool paths to cut them out as efficiently as at the highest quality possible with our table.  We do a lot of mechanical design that is either “behind the scenes” once the part is fabricated, like this roof rack we will soon be building for a client.


Everything is designed to ensure that it will be easy to fabricate and the CAD files are used to produce the flanges that will be welded onto the tubing.  It also allows us to determine the correct amount of material and reduce any amount of waste due to errors during the fabrication process.  It’s much easier to update a CAD model than it is to re-cut and re-weld pieces.  All of which waste time and money.  Here’s the flanges cut awaiting the tubing to formed, cut and welded.

2013-07-20 13.41.51

We also have many projects that are designed and sold strictly as a design, it is then left up to the customer to use those drawings and models to create what was designed.  Some of these designs have NDA’s signed or have potential for a patent application so we cannot post any of these, however here are some other examples of what we’ve designed.

Humminbird console mount behind the fabrication

Fish finder console for a 14′ aluminum boat.

Aluminum boat console

Paramotor design

Mint Design branded paramotor – think paragliding with a motor.

Skateboard Bench

Skateboard picnic bench for kids.

mannequin renderings

Mannequin renderings for scale purposes prior to slicing and CNC cutting.

welding table acorn

Shop welding table with loops for holding TIG welding filler tubes or clamps.

Rav4 hitch

Low profile Rav4 hitch.

intake manifold CFD

CFD showing how poorly a flat ended intake manifold flows to the final runner.

Drilling rig platform in transport position Drilling rig platform Stairs FEA Exo-skeleton FEA Drilling rig platform

These are only some of the dozens and dozens of parts we have designed.  Please take a look through our gallery for more images of what we’ve designed.

July 22, 2013

Ford Ranger Exhaust System

We had the pleasure of building a Ford Ranger exhaust system a little while ago.  The system was all constructed from 304 stainless steel, TIG welded, backpurged and using existing holes on the frame for hanger mounts.  This truck has been stripped down to the bare frame and built up with care, so this truck is as clean if not cleaner than some new vehicles we’ve worked on.  The passenger side exhaust was very straightforward, but the driver’s side had an interesting header that dumped to the ground ahead of the transmission.  So with the driver’s side we had to use some mandrel bends to redirect the exhaust flow around the transmission and over the sub-frame.

Here’s the Ford Ranger up on the hoist ready for the exhaust system to be built.

Ford Ranger Exhaust System

Here’s the system tacked up and ready for polishing.

Adflo SS welding TIG weld stainless exhaust Vibrant TIG weld Fire Exit Exhaust

Once all the tubes are tacked, then the tube polishing begins.  This takes the raw 304 SS tubing and brings it to a #4 Architectural Finish, see more info here on our polishing page.  Tube polishing can be done before or after welding, however most customers like the look/coloring of welds on stainless steel so we typically polish prior to welding.  After polishing the tubing must be handled very carefully, wrapped, cannot sit on anything steel (due to embedding foreign material that could rust) or anything hard that could scratch the surface.  Here you can see the polished on the left and raw material on the right.

Tube Polishing

And here is the polishing completed.

Stainless Steel polished tube Polished turn downs Stainless Steel tacked exhaust

Now both tubes are tacked and polished it is time to tape all the joints and get it ready for backpurging and TIG welding.  Backpurging is when the inside of the tube is filled with an inert gas, in this case Argon, this protects the backside of the weld from contamination commonly known as “sugaring”.  Sugaring is an oxidized area of Chromium that combines with oxygen to form a hard thick porous oxide layer.  This oxide layer depletes the Chromium content in the stainless steel near the weld and if enough is depleted the corrosion protection can be compromised.  The oxide layer is porous so it leaves the inside of the weld open to corrosion and can disrupt exhaust flow.  This is why backpurging is important, especially on a high quality exhaust system.  Here is some prep shots prior to welding.

Kapton tape exhaust stainless steel kapton tapepolyimide tape exhaust polyimide kapton tape   Race truck stainless exhaust

Here’s the exhaust system all welded up (sans hangers).

stainless steel tubing architectural finish  stainless steel tig welding saskatoon tig welding Saskatoon stainlessstainless steel exhaust

Now to install it on the truck.  Here’s the tight hoop between the transmission and sub-frame.

mandrel bend TIG weld Ford Ranger stainless steel exhaust

Ford Ranger underside stainless steel exhaust

If you have any questions or further interest please take a look at our Services Page or send us a message through our Contact Page.  Thanks for looking.

July 5, 2013

Customer update

We always enjoy seeing photos of our custom products being used.  So here’s a customer update.  Nosakhare, a fashion designer and the owner of Nosakhari in London, UK received our mannequin packages and set them up for an expo.  It seems it was a very good time and we’re glad that we could have had a small part in this show.  If you haven’t read our build for these mannequins, it’s located here.  We created a 3D mannequin model, sliced it into pieces and then had it cut in our in-house CNC plasma table.  It was flat packed (to save on shipping costs) and assembled on site by our customer.

Enjoy the photos courtesy of Nosakhari.

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July 3, 2013

DSM general modifications

Lots of things going on in the shop lately, we just haven’t had much time to bring the camera in to take some photos.  We had a DSM that needed some general modifications to get it ready for dyno tuning.  We had to modify the IC piping, divorced wastegate dump as well as all the flanges for the exhaust system.  Here are a few quick photos of some of the welding and work that was done.  Nothing major made from scratch, but instead just ironing out any little kinks to get the car ready to really perform.

First we got the car up on the hoist and began by removing the existing exhaust system, divorced wastegate dump as well as disconnecting some of the IC piping.

DSM general modifications

The Thermal Research and Development exhaust had all its two and three bolt flanges cut off and in their place would be a v-band clamps.  Here’s one of them after being welded up.  The entire tube assembly is put overtop the green hose (which is a back purge hose fed through the welding table) and the tin foil acts as a dam to keep the argon inside the cylinder while it’s being welded.  There is a few small holes in the tin foil to allow argon to flow out to allow for a complete purge and ultimately an inert environment.  The scrap tube on the bottom is to elevate the v-band assembly to keep it at a comfortable height during welding.

backpurge v-band stainless steel v-band

Here it is welded in place on the car.

TRD stainless v-band

Typically to prevent a silicone coupler from coming off, either end of the tubing that butts up in the coupler must be bead rolled (as seen on the left tubing) or have weld beads applied.  This “hump(s)” prevents the hose clamp from sliding and ultimately having the coupler blow off the intercooler tubing.  In this case the tubing on the right is actually a part of the intercooler, which is bolted up in behind the bumper.  The easiest way to retain the silicone coupler is to add a few evenly spaced beads, two of the four beads required some contortion skills.  These two were the easy ones.

intercooler bead hump

This was one of the tricky ones, the other was welded with a mirror so it was hard to get a photo.  In this case one hand through a duct in the bumper with the TIG torch, and another hand coming up underneath the car with some TIG filler.

DSM intercooler modification

June 3, 2013

Exhaust repair and custom tool

In among working with mannequins we had a chance to do an exhaust repair and have a custom tool built.  The exhaust repair was pretty straight forward, it was a crack that propagated around the merge of a stainless steel system.  The quick and simple way would be to run a bead over it…however the chances of it cracking are still there since the quality of the original weld is under question hidden under a nice TIG weld.  Not good.  So instead we grind the weld out all the way around, then run two passes around the collector with some filler material to make it strong.

The crack was more apparent on the other side of this part.

stainless steel exhaust crack repair

Once the weld is ground out the surface around the weld has to be cleaned and prepped prior to welding.  After that process the inside of the tubing has to be back purged with argo and then it’s ready to weld.  Here it is all welded up and ready to go.

stainless steel crack repaired


Here’s the custom tool that we made for another customer.  Two 304 SS plates with a bolt and pipe passing through them.  The bolt and pipe are welded to the smaller diameter plate, this allows the larger plate to be torqued down and expand the rubber gasket to seal the assembly in the pipe.  The pipe is then connected to a manometer or similar pressure gauge to monitor pressure in a piping system.  Perpendicularity of the bolt and pipe are important, otherwise binding would occur when torquing or disassembling the part.

pipe pressure tool

May 30, 2013

CNC Mannequin Production

Well we’ve been busy in the shop with a variety of projects.  Here we’re entering into a small CNC mannequin production run for a luxury fashion designer, Nosakhare Osadolor, based out of London, UK.  The website for Nosakhari is http://www.nosakhari.com.

We adopt a lean manufacturing process where we try to carry as minimal inventory as possible, so once the job was put in place the material was put on order and picked up on a rainy day.  It was all unloaded into the shop, the sheets were then cut in half to have it loaded onto our CNC table) and the CNC cutting could begin.

Mint Design CNC steel

This is one of five sheets that were CNC cut out of 44W mild steel to form the body of each mannequin.  With this order we are producing two mannequins, one male (first time we’ve made one) and one female.  The female weighs in at 47.8lbs and the male comes in at 70.8lbs, they aren’t lightweights!

We just recently got a set of laser crosshairs for our CNC table.  This allows us to easily square up material and to reduce waste, which will ultimately save our customers money and be more productive!  here it’s cutting the vertical body section of a female mannequin.

CNC laser cross hair

This job required five sheets of material to complete the two mannequins.

CNC fashion mannnequin

Once the pieces are cut up they are marked, removed from the table, dross is removed then they are ready for test fitting.  These are all the pieces required to make one male mannequin.


These mannequins could be used for modeling everything from scarves to jewelry to welding helmets or PPE gear.  Right now they are being test fitted to ensure that everything fits and there will be no issues when they are reassembled by our client in London.  Due to the high cost of shipping, these mannequins will be disassembled and flat-packed to be re-setup by the client just in time for a fashion exhibition in the following week.  Here are some finished photos.

Iron Man with his two Iron Maiden’s?  You bet!

Iron Man Iron Maiden

Mannequin gas mask

male mannequin

steel male mannequin unique

mannequin army

mannequin mint design

male female mannequin

Making custom boxes isn’t the most enjoyable task, however things go by quicker when you have custom built shop tools to create perforated folds.

custom box perforation tool

All packed and ready to go!  They are just waiting for the FedEx driver to arrive.

flat packed mannequin


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May 22, 2013

Pipe polisher and CNC cutting

We’re always looking to acquire useful equipment to increase productivity and quality so we can provide our customers even greater value.  We’ve been busy as we picked up a pipe polisher and been busy CNC cutting.  The pipe polisher allows us to prep tubing before welding to allow for a beautiful seamless brushed finish, or it can be used post welding to remove any weld lines or seams.  Also the tubing polisher will also allow us to sand steel tubing prior to welding to remove any mill scale that would otherwise contaminate a TIG weld.  Mill scale can be removed in many other ways, but with a tubing polisher it’s one of the fastest.

Tubing Polisher

Now we just have to stock a variety of belts for the various types of work we’ll be prepping, also keeping belts specific to mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum to avoid material contamination.  The last thing we’d want to do is embed steel into a stainless steel or aluminum part by cross-contaminating by using the same belt.  So once a belt is used for the first time we mark on the back what it is to be used for, likewise goes for polishing/buffing wheels.

This is one of the saddest parts I, Conrad, have produced.  This is a marker that I made for my grandmother who passed away early this year.  It has almost an hour and a half of engraving and CNC cutting, there were thousands of lines of G-code to have this part produced.  The sides are engraved with the words “Always Loved” prior to being TIG welded on.

Steel Grave Marker

It is left as bare steel so it could form a nice brown patina over time to allow it to blend in with the beautiful surrounding forest.  Even after being in the rain for 24 hours the dandelion, grass and birds had a gold like patina, it was really quite nice.  Rest in peace Grandma Anne.

May 13, 2013

Plasma Cutting

Here at Mint we’ve just been busy CNC Plasma Cutting, this time we’ve got a decorative part and some more mechanical parts.  The sign is made for ‘The Other Guy‘ a local business in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ran by Trevor G.  He does some very cool artwork pieces and was looking for an industrial looking sign to promote his business at art exhibitions and shows.  The sign is cut out of 10 gauge mild steel and measures in 12″ tall by 36″ long.  The sign uses custom font and really cool coffin shaped hanger mounts all designed by Trevor.

plasma cutting the other guy the other guy

We have a bath formula that works really well at creating a really nice industrial/aged patina that goes really well with this sign.

Here we’ve cut some more 3/8″ steel plate for an engineer who always has projects on the go and continuously coming up with new designs.  This will be for a hydraulic lift setup he has designed and will be fabricating together. He’s aware of how valuable his time is, and having these parts CNC cut means a lot less overall effort required and allows him to have a working design sooner than later, with a lot more precision than trying to make these pieces by hand.

3/8 plasma cut steelair plasma cut steel

May 9, 2013

Porsche Exhaust Repair

Normally we don’t do much repair work in the shop, mostly custom fabrication starting from raw materials.  However having the ability to fabricate parts from scratch means there are always going to be the odd repair or retrofit of existing parts that has to be done as well.  In this Porsche exhaust repair, it was repairing galled threads and some gummy welds from a previous “repair”. Overall the repair was quite simple using a angle grinder (with cut off wheel and flapper disc), plasma cutter, bandsaw and a TIG welder.

We plasma cut off the fitting on the exhaust (to the left) and cut off the entire section a bit beyond the previous welds (to avoid contaminated material).  In this case we used a 3/4″ JIC fitting, one male for the exhaust and a female for the EGR.  This made things very easy.

Porsche exhaust repair Porsche exhaust repair

All the customer has to do is apply some Loctite Nickel Anti-Seize and this problem won’t happen again.