April 17, 2015

Cadillac Exhaust System

It’s always enjoyable building functional art and in this case it’s a Cadillac exhaust system built for a straight up show car.   The requirements for this project are:

  • everything must be 304 stainless steel
  • everything must be tucked tightly to the underside of the car as it can lay on the ground (has bags)
  • all welds must be blended and not visible
  • must be polished

And that’s it!  Working with raw materials and getting it to this level of quality takes a considerable amount of time.  Building a stainless exhaust alone requires the material to be TIG welded, properly backpurged and with the additional requirement of blending the welds, sanding and the final polishing.

The Cadillac was dropped off with a donor floor pan on it, many mock up parts and a simple primed frame.  This allowed a clean slate to allow fitting this 2″ tubing as tight as possible to the underside of the car and snaking it through the rear axle area.  First off we unload all our materials to begin!

vibrant stainless

Second was unloading the car off the flat deck and onto the hoist.  We had to get a bit creative as the rolling chassis didn’t have any springs in place and only had wood blocks to keep the wheels from rubbing and the rails from completely dropping to the floor.

automotive fabrication saskatoon

Fabrication

This system was built in four separate sections to allow for easy assembly/disassembly.  Below are a few photos of the hours of mock up, tacking, welding and blending process.

TIG saskatoon

Take special note at the Kapton tape on the flex section.  This is for two purposes, one to protect the woven stainless steel from arcing while tacking/welding and also eliminating snags and potential damage during sanding/polishing.

exhaust stainlessmerge stainless tubing tig welding prep TIG weld delisle

Cadillac Exhaust System

Since the exhaust is tucked so tight there has to be minimal movement, one mounting location the exhaust will be hard mounted to is this bushing location.  First a cardboard template is made and then it is CNC cut on the plasma table, and then welded on.  With the CNC cutting the hole is slotted to allow for some wiggle room during installation.

exhaust hangercnc cut cardboard templatemint designmint design exhaust  mint design exhaust stainless

Note the existing hole right just above the rear exhaust tip.  That hole was already existing, instead of drilling new holes along the frame that hole was used (along with a necessary one drilled adjacent to it) to allow for securing the rear of the exhaust.

fabrication saskatoon

Prepping the rear section for final welding.  Kapton tape used to ensure no air is brought inside the tubing during purging, and also to reduce the waste of argon.  Kaptop tape has a decent temperature rating, so if it’s close to another weld and gets a bit warm, when it’s removed it doesn’t leave any adhesive behind.  This saves time having to clean up adhesive residue and just allows us to get on with welding right away.

sanitary weld saskatoon TIG weld saskatoon

Once the welding was completed the tip was polished prior to the hanger being welded on.  Once the hanger is installed it is very difficult to polish the pipe, so all the hanger sections have to be pre-polished prior to the hangers being welded on.  Then the area is protected and ultimately repolished when the rest of the exhaust system is polished.

cnc cutting welding saskatoon

And welded on.  The hanger was also CNC cut and is slotted to allow for some movement during installation.  The hardware threads into two Rivnuts installed on the frame rail.

polish saskatchewan

One last modification.  Removing a bit of material and welding in a section to allow the pipe to tuck tight enough under the car to allow it to sit on the ground.  Material removal is done with a handheld plasma cutting torch, then the surface is sanded flat and deburred.  The hole is then transferred to a piece of paper and then ultimately to a sheet of stainless that is cut by hand in the bandsaw.  It is welded on with a taller than normal bead to allow for blending.

plasma cut saskatoontig weld saskatoon fabrication work mint design polish tig weld

Once the system is fully welded and all the hangers are on, then the bulk of blending, sanding and polishing comes into play.

tube sanding

Some of the many many belts that were used to sand and polish the tubing.

tube sander belts

A neat trick to share.  Spray machinist layout fluid on the tubing in order to see where you have sanded and where there may be small divots in the tubing (you can see one easily in this picture).  the layout fluid is essentially like very thin quick drying spray paint.  However unlike spray paint you can take it off with a remover as well, in this case it was just sanded off.  It’s thin enough that it doesn’t clog the belt even at the finer grit levels.

machinist layout fluid machinist fluid sanding  polishing stainless tubing seamless stainless exhaust

Not a lot of exhausts get this form of treatment but when you’re building a piece for a show car, it has to shine!  Here’s a picture of the car (courtesy of the owner __dekay__ on Instagram) at the first car show it was entered in:

show car cadillac cadillac custom car

This car will be insane when it’s completed.  Thanks for looking!

April 4, 2015

Charcoal Air Filter Housings

With this project we had a client come to us with respiratory issues and had a very strict requirement for clean air.  These are two projects rolled into one, one of which we had something to improve, a premium OEM passenger vehicle pleated paper filter which is charcoal impregnated.  And the other we had to create from scratch, creating a charcoal filter basket to fit an existing housing that would be secured to the top of a motor home.

Housing number one was fairly straightforward, measuring the existing filter, mocking it up in CAD and then creating a sheet metal part that will be a slide in replacement.  The one thing to note (that the pictures don’t show) is that with a slide in metal box, there would be a concern about vibration noise, so we made the part smaller and lined two of the edges (like the OEM filter) with black felt.

Charcoal Air Filter Housings

Here are the 18ga 304 stainless steel pieces cut on the CNC table, lightly orbital sanded to give a consistent finish and self-clinching fasteners CLS-440 (otherwise known as PEM’s) installed.  Note you can lightly see the plate marked bend bend lines for the piece on the right.  It makes bending material so much easier and faster!  It beats having to create a flat pattern drawing and dimensioning all the bend locations, then using a pair of calipers and scribing those locations onto the part.  It’s all done during the CNC process.  Also due to the small size of hardware (#4-40) and the tolerance on the hole needed for a self-clinching fastener, all the holes were centermarked with the plate marker and easily drilled out to the correct size.  The piece of the left had the holes drilled and countersunk to allow the countersunk undercut screws to fit flush and ensure no binding when it is installed.

self clinching fasteners stainless steel

The OEM piece and the custom piece (still need holes drilled in the cover).  Onto the next one!

plasma cut stainless steel

There are a few projects sitting on the table, what to take notice of is the three round pieces and the long flat piece on the right.  The flat piece is slip rolled and is used to attach two of the rings (the top two rings) together.  Then the ring on the bottom will get secured with #4-40 screws.  Note the use of slots on the bottom ring, the cover, this allowed the perimeter to be cut in one shot, allow for some adjustment while screwing the hardware in.  This will also eliminating a post drilling operation, which saves time and the customer money.

cnc plasma cutting mint design

Here’s the welding time lapse video of the welding process. Just a quick 30 second snippet!

And here’s the fabrication completed and test fitted part on the housing for the motor home.  Just making sure everything fits and nothing was overlooked prior to prepping the part for powder coat.

motor home filter housing

The parts are now blasted and have silicone plugs installed to prevent powder from building up in the threads.

rv air filter

It worked out perfectly having two sacrificial #4-40 screws to allow the entire piece to hang horizontally during powder application and when it goes into the oven.  Note: MIG welding wire makes great disposable hanger material.

powder coat filter

Here are the final products.  Brushed 18ga stainless steel and 14ga steel powder coated with super durable wet white powder.  Both using #4-40 stainless steel screws and self-clinching fasteners.  The client will cuts out a cotton filter which is reinforced with wire mesh that will go on the bottom of the filter cartridge, the filter is filled with high quality charcoal and then another cotton filter is placed on top.  The cover is secured and the cartridge is put in the air stream and ready to be put to use!

charcoal filter

Thanks for reading and we’ve got a lot more to show!  So please hit that follow button if you want to keep up to date of the projects we’re working on.  Or browse through our list of services to allow us to help you create your next project!

April 2, 2015

Stainless Steel Urn

This project was for my wife.  She whole heartily supports Mint Design and understands the long hours required to build awesome projects for our awesome clients.  So I show my appreciation in many ways, but fabrication is how I do it best.  This is a small urn for my father-in-law that passed away from cancer in 2013.  I only had a few days to make the urn that would be buried, which can be seen in this blog post; Stainless Steel Urn.

Since that time my very patient wife wanted a smaller version that would be used to keep a small part of his ashes safe and secure in our home for all of time.  I took the original model, scaled it down 3:1 and changed how the text would be laid out.  Since it was three sided it seemed quite fitting to have his first, middle and last name engraved on each side.

Here we have the four pieces cut out of 18ga 304 stainless steel.  The paper templates on the top right are used as guides to show where the bend lines should be.  The Baileigh sheet metal brake we have has been modeled in CAD (it was done the first week we had it in the shop) in order to allow us to see bend sequences or raise any red flags if there was any issue with forming a part in the brake.  As you can see on the printout, there is no way to do it as one piece (which was obvious), however it did allow us to figure out the best place to split up the sheet metal piece.

sheet metal urn

Here we have all the pieces formed and ready for TIG welding.

forever urn metal urn

Before welding the final result known was that all the welds would be blended away, so in order to ensure a nice radius’d corner the weld puddle was deliberately made a bit tall.  This allows for a bit more material to remove, but ensures there won’t be any divots or shallow spots on the radius being blended in.  The welds were also made short and back stepped in order to minimize any distortion, of which would be very noticeable on a brushed surface.

urn saskatoon

Here it is completed.

stainless steel urn

Rest in peace Larry.

March 27, 2015

Steel Crate – Industrial Client Part II

Here’s another project where we’ve built another steel crate used to secure oxygen tanks on the back deck of a truck.  It has specific requirements from the customer in terms of loading capacity as well as transportation requirements.  It is using 1.5″ steel tubing, has a 14ga steel top, 10ga steel floor and horizontal support as well as flattened expanded mesh side panels.  This tank is specifically built to transport oxygen tanks and so there are steel sleeves welded into the horizontal support as well as the floor to keep the tanks steady during transport.  This will also allow for easy insertion and removal of the tanks and ensure that no tanks will be loose during transport.  This is the approved CAD model (sans mesh, handle and chain limiting strap).

Open Final Configuration

Here you can see the frame being welded up.  The use of a square (not shown), 3/8″ steel scraps, ratchet strap and clamps are to ensure that everything is square prior to tacking.  This will keep everything nice and square and ensure it won’t need any tweaking before or after welding.

mig weld saskatoon

Some portions of the frame are MIG welded for speed, others are TIG welded for cosmetics.  Gotta love TIG…

TIG saskatoon

The 14ga cold rolled steel lid welded to the lid frame and mocked up on the crate.  The 14ga sheet was cut on the plasma table, then the edges were formed in the box and pan brake to give it a nice radius edge prior to being welded into the lid frame.

fabrication saskatoon

Here the floor and horizontal support are cut out from a 4’x4′ sheet of 10ga steel.

cnc saskatoon

Here we have the steel tubes welded in place on the 10ga horizontal support.

fabrication saskatoon

Here it is mocked up sitting on top of the crate.  The crate will get flipped upside down and the horizontal support will be blocked the correct distance and then it will be welded into the frame.  The smaller holes on the horizontal support are to allow for the optional use of a bungee cord.  There is some clearance between the tube and the tank (as seen on the right), and the use of the bungee cord will pull the tank to the side of the tube and eliminate any vibration or noise.  Also notice the drain holes in the steel floor, just a small detail, but the last thing we’d want is the tubes on the floor to collect and pool water!  The feet were also CNC cut from 1/4″ steel, they’ll distribute the load of the crate as well as the strapping load across a larger surface on the wood deck of the truck, the pounds per square inch were calculated to meet the customer requirement.

mig weld saskatoon

Here’s the crate with it’s first coat of paint.  Notice the mesh is missing?  That’s because you can’t easily paint the inside once the mesh is in place.  So the inside needed to be painted first, then the mesh welded on and then the entire crate gets another final coat of paint before it’s ready to go.  The masking tape is to avoid over spray onto the flat surfaces that the mesh will be welded onto.

custom fabrication saskatoon

Here’s the completed crate (sans latch) still drying from paint.

steel crate oxygen tank oxygen tank steel crate

Thanks for looking!  If you have any questions or a future project you want us to work on, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our Contact page.

March 25, 2015

AVHC Torch Lockout Update

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a blog post!  After a few big transitions and a few more to come we’ve got lots of exciting things in the works to show.  So all excuses aside, there will be more blog posts to come about the work that has flowed through Mint over the last while!  There have been a few people asking about more detail and video about how the AVHC corner/torch lockout works on our table.  So this is a continuation of our AVHC Corner Lockout for Holes blog post.

These two video’s show how well the AVHC lockout performs with having the CAM portion setup correctly and that information being fed to the TM4 software and ultimately controlling the CNC plasma table.  Long story short the lockout allows the torch to run at 60% the recommended straight line cut speed.  The reason for slowing it down is to allow for a straighter hole with less to no taper.  Imagine hanging a bat by holding the end with two fingers, the bat is the plasma arc and your hand is the torch.  If you move your hand quickly the bat is going to lag behind the movement of your hand.  Now do a quick circular motion.  You’ll see that the tip of the bat (furthest from your fingers) will naturally want to point to the center of the arc.  Now the stiffness of the arc is like changing the weight of the bat, in most cases we can’t change that, but what we can change is how fast our hand or torch moves.  So slowing down the movement keeps the tip of the bat lagging behind your hand less.  This is the same principle as with the torch and plasma arc, slower movements in area where there are tight arc’s or heavy directional change features that are critical to the function of the part (bolt holes, slots etc…) warrant slowing things down.  This is why high definition plasma, laser and water jet have very good cut quality, it’s due to the stiffness of the arc or water jet, however at an increased cost.  Take a look at our videos and enjoy.

Cutting Video

TM4 Controller Video

The holes were lightly chamfered, no drilling or grinding of the ID of the hole was necessary.  These are all blasted and ready for powder coating.

AVHC Torch Lockout

Fresh out of the oven after being powder coated wrinkle black and ready for customer pickup!  The items on the left will have a glass sheet put inside the part and it will be installed and used as a flame inspection port.  The items on the right are a badge to be installed on an old school Toyota truck.

laser cutting saskatoon

Stay tuned for more blog posts!  If you like these posts please subscribe, if you’re interested in a future project, please contact us on our Contact page.

October 10, 2014

Steel Crate – Industrial Client

We’ve been a bit a bit behind here with the blog!  This was a project completed a little while ago for an industrial client who needed a prototype crate to be custom designed with specific loading criteria and to meet certain Transport Canada requirements.  Once we had all the requirements listed from the customer the project was modeled in SolidWorks to present the overall design.  It only needed to go through one iteration during FEA (finite element analysis) to meet all the requirements.

mint design saskatoon

This image shows the loads on the crate when strapped onto the deck of a truck (in the worst case scenario) while the cage is fully loaded.  The mesh panels are not intended to be load bearing and would have made the FEA process unnecessarily complex, so the panels were omitted.  However they do add some additional strength and rigidity to the design.

FEA mint design

Once the FEA is completed, the tubing is cut to length as per the mechanical drawing, the 1/4″ thick feet and 10ga steel floor are cut on the CNC plasma table.

tube cutting

C-clamps and scrap 3/8″ steel plates from the CNC table make great guides.  They are used to align the lid to the top of the crate before the hinges are tacked and welded in place.

welding alignment

Weld on hinges with built in grease zerks may be overkill for a lid, but our customers expect the best and we make sure they get it.

weld on hinge saskatoon

Loaded and ready to deliver to the customer!

steel crate designsteel crate saskatoonsteel crate

Thanks for looking!  If you’re interested in following the Mint Design blog, click on the bottom right of your browser on the follow button!  We’ve got quite a few more projects that have already been completed or are nearly finished to be posted in the next while.  Posting items to the blog have been a bit slow due to us moving!  The move has allowed for more room in terms of mechanical and electrical project design, but the fab. shop will stay put for now, but there are future plans in place!

July 10, 2014

TIG Welding and Powder Coating

Lots of parts passing through the Mint Design shop in the last few weeks.  Lots of TIG welding and powder coating, and even showing off The Can Carabiner at a trade show!  We sold quite a few and had a lot of interest in it.  There were also a few “What the heck is that?” and after explaining it we got a lot of, “Whoa that is awesome!”.  After some field testing and feedback from our customers we’ve got some very minor tweaks in store for future units and the presentation down the road.

The Can Carabiner

Now back into the shop!  We have a custom 1/8″ 5052-H32 radiator shroud for a custom 2JZ Toyota truck project.  The fabricator/client provided the dimensions and the requirement for the “Teq” and “Supra” logo to be engraved into the metalwork.  It was easy enough to do and model in Solidworks and then create the flat pattern.  The CNC cut part was provided to the customer to form, weld and finish.  Note: you can even see the 1/2″ tick marks to indicate the bend line location.

Supra Radiator ShroudTEQ radiator shroud

Here we have a house sign being fabricated out of some 1/8″ 304 stainless steel sheet.  The customer chose the custom font and determined the overall size.  First the part is cut out on the CNC table, then the backside was lightly brushed and the corner areas were prepped for welding the 5″ stainless steel rods.  The rods will be slid into the wall and secured with construction adhesive, ultimately allowing the sign to float from the wall 1-2″.  Clamping here may seem overkill, but the more work spent now means less work sanding the front.  Reason being is that stainless steel warps very easily and with having a perfectly brushed front surface, any uncontrolled warpage from the backside will make that much more work sanding the front.  The polyimide tape is heat resistant tape and also protects the backside from unnecessary scratches.

TIG weld house sign

Here’s the front side, the HAZ (heat affected zone) is very minor and will brush out quite easily.  The stainless is wiped with isopropyl alcohol to avoid any oils or contaminants to come into contact with the sanding belt.  The belt also never touches or sits on anything, unless it’s clean stainless.  No need to grind in contamination which will only show up over time when the sign is exposed to the elements.  Also by “coincidence” the dowels have the perfect spacing that it can drop into the fixturing holes of the table.  Which makes sanding that much easier as no clamping is needed and there is 100% access to the entire top surface of the part.

Stainless Steel house sign

And this is what it looks like when it’s done.  No signs of welded dowels and they are spaced wide enough to make the sign sturdy, but also narrow enough that they’ll be fairly hidden when the sign is floating a few inches from the wall.

brushed stainless house sign mint design saskatoon

These projects make me sad, however I do get joy and satisfaction when it’s done and I can see how happy it makes people feel.  This was CNC engraved, plasma cut out of 1/4″ 304 SS plate and the use of some 1/2″ stainless steel rod.  The rod is TIG welded and allows the cross to be buried in the ground and secured in place with concrete and lightly covered with dirt.  It is not blank after “Baby” and “October”, it blurred out for privacy.

2014-06-27 17.32

Powder coating…where do we begin!  Did some really cool script font lawn ornament in 10ga steel which was powder coated in Desert Charcoal (same as The Can Carabiner).

TIG welding and powder coating

Then we got these 7M-GTE parts in needing to be degreased, blasted, baked, blasted and then powder coated.  There is quite a bit of prep work required as anything that is cast and has been around oil just requires that much more work to ensure a quality finish.  Powder coating is the easy part, it’s all the work prior that takes the time.

7M-GTE powder coat

Once again our favorite tape around the shop.  Polyimide tape, heat resistant and leaves no residue.  Super useful as we use for everything from powder coating to welding.  And it kind of makes everything look like it’s meant for NASA.  These parts are all masked, trimmed, plugged and ready to go.

Supra powder coat

Notice the pin holes in the masking, this prevents plugs from popping out in the oven and just allows the part to “breathe”.  This intake manifold is ready for the powder to be applied.

intake manifold powder coat

All the finished parts.  The wrinkle black and desert wrinkle white turned out awesome!

Supra engine powder coat wrinkle black powder coatwrinkle white powder coat Supra coolant fittings powder coat

Coming soon…Cadillac 304SS exhaust system, our Arduino project powered by Newark Electronics, some custom steel crates and much much more!  If you like what you see please subscribe to our mailing list and you will be able to get up to the date content in your mailbox, just click on the “Follow” tab at the bottom right of your browser.  If you are interested in any of our services please take a minute to browse our site and contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss a future project.

April 16, 2014

CNC cut signs, powder coating, TIG welding

Lots of projects on the go, everything from CNC cut signs, powder coating, TIG welding stainless steel/aluminum parts to MIG welding a 280# steel pipe rack.

Most projects we supply the material for the job at hand, however we also accept customer supplied material too.  Here we have some 2″ and 2.5″ SCH40 pipe dropped off and ready for processing.  We had a design submitted from the customer and it is now time to get to work!

steel pipe welding

We took the customer design, modeled it in Solidworks to get an idea of weight and to help with creating coping templates for the “v” section of tubing.

Pipe Rack

Most tubing can be coped with a hole saw in a tube/pipe notcher.  However with SCH40 material of this size coping it on the bandsaw is much quicker and more cost effective.  Notice the c-clamp at the bottom left of the photo.  This ensures a consistent cut location by allowing the tube to butt up against it prior to cutting.  Repeatability just makes things so much easier and quicker.

coping pipe

Here’s all the tubing processed (except for the “v” sections), the ends are cleaned down to raw material to ensure a good quality area to weld to.

processing pipe

And here’s the final product ready to head back to the client’s shop.  It will be used to drop in various pipe via forklift and then allow it to be easily banded and removed as a whole with a forklift.

fabricated pipe bundler

Here we have a modern sign made for a local home builder cut out of 1/4″ steel.  This is after it is cut, acid bathed and media blasted.  It has some weight to it and is now ready for powder coating.  This is the first time we’ve powder coated a part that has been previously engraved.  Notice the engraving near the bottom of the part?

Saskatoon house sign 

Here it is after having bonded silver vein powder applied to it.  And the engraving disappeared…

powdercoated house sign 

Powder looks really good and has a slight texture to it, which is why it filled in the engraving.

silver vein powder coat 

So here’s the solution.  Engraving and cutting a 16ga 304SS piece to be secured with the two bottom mounting holes.  Looks much better!

2014-04-23 17.03.05

Here we’ve got a few 304SS pieces that need welding, a few alignment marks  from the customer and some tweaks are needed prior to welding.

stainless steel welding saskatoon

No problem!  Everything stainless steel is backpurged to ensure that there is 100% penetration and to ensure that the inside of the weld is just as protected, strong and as beautiful as the outside weld.

Saskatoon stainless 

Miscellaneous parts needing some last minute work prior to a car show coming up.  It’s not every day we can do same evening turnarounds…but in some cases we can make it happen.

fabrication Saskatoon  

All done welding.  100% backpurged as per usual.  The customer only wanted the first few inches of the tubing brushed as the rest will be covered up with ceramic exhaust wrapping insulator.

TIG welding Saskatoon Brushed stainless Saskatoon

The intercooler had some brackets welded on as well as another SS dump pipe having a flange welded on.

Fabrication work saskatoon 

Just some of the parts to pick up today before the Easter holiday!

cnc cutting saskatoon 

April 9, 2014

Welding table top, exhaust and powder coating

We’re always working on a variety of projects so nothing is ever dull in the shop!  Here are some of the things that have been cut and built recently.

Here a customer designed a slotted welding table top which will allow for the use of clamps in various positions in and around the table.  It is 3/8″ thick hot rolled 44w steel.

cnc cut welding tabletop

Nothing but the best!  Our CNC table allows for high quality cutting with minimal dross.  It allows for very quick clean up time which eliminates extra cost.

welding table top

Here we have a Subaru external wastegate (EWG) dump that will be merging back into the downpipe.  You can just slightly see the external wastegate dump to the right of the downpipe and just below the cross member.

subaru hoist

After finishing the wastegate tubing and coping it to match up with the downpipe it is tacked in place to ensure the whole system can be removed from the car (it is very close to the front CV axle). subaru wastegate 

Now with it being removed the dump outlet is traced onto the downpipe, the tacks are broken and is ready for plasma cutting, brushing, final tacking on the car and then finish welding on the bench.

tig weld stainless subaru tig weldssubaru exhaust

We also had a F20C (from a Honda S2000) valve cover getting ready for powdercoating.  It is washed, blasted and then pre-baked.  The pre-baking allows any oil in the grains of the aluminum casting to push out to the surface and be cleaned via another blasting process.  Not doing this step could result in oil coming out during the powder coating curing process, and if that happens powder coating defects will occur.  So cleanliness is very important.

It’s hard to see in this photo but there is actually a 4″x6″ rectangular tubing that fits just inside the valve cover to elevate it off the rack.  This doesn’t matter much for the pre-baking process, however during the powder coating curing process it is.  Nobody wants indentations along the bottom of their valve cover from a rack!

baking powder coat

All threaded holes, nipples and open fittings are plugged with silicone plugs and masked with high heat tape.

powder coat valve cover

The customer chosen wrinkle red powder is applied.  The powder coating equipment we use varies the charge voltage to the powder particles, so it avoids the faraday cage effect.  Essentially sharp corners or deep recesses will actually repel powder, so by changing the charge voltage differently charged particles will “stick” in different areas.  Thus allowing for a more consistent coverage and higher quality finish in the end.  Now it’s ready to go in the oven.

powder coating saskatchewan

And here’s the final part after all the plugs and masking is removed.  Nothing but the best for our clients!

mint design saskatoon mint powdercoat powdercoat saskatoon F20C wrinkle red

Thanks for looking!  If you’re interested more in our powder coating services, TIG welding or CNC cutting please click on the links.  Or subscribe to the blog at the bottom right hand corner of your browser, click on the follow button.  Stay tuned for another future project…

pipe welding

February 26, 2014

Testing the new Brake

We’ve been busy working on a few various projects and we’ve finally had time to do some testing the new brake.  Here’s a project we just worked on and recently completed, this blog post describes the process that it took to build it.  The part was designed in Solidworks and then a flat pattern was created and then cut on the CNC table.

Mobius Threads Sign

Mint Design Saskatoon

The engraved marks indicate the bend line locations.  And the two barely noticeable centermarked locations are for two #4-40 countersunk screws to pass through to allow for an Arduino to be mounted inside.  The holes allow for 12v power and USB access for programming.

CNC cutting Saskatoon

The box is not a typical 90 degree box, it is tapered from the front to back so when it sits on the base it will tilt the sign slightly back.  So the first four bends are bent to 100.6°.

Baileigh Brake

Removing some teeth in the brake to allow for the secondary bends.

Testing the new Brake

These next four bends will be formed to 79.4°. which will close up the box.

Mint Design Saskatoon

Here it is finished forming.  You can see the four #4 holes for mounting the Arduino Uno.

Backlit light box

Next the box goes through an acid bath to remove the mill scale and then bead blasting to give it a nice finish to work with during testing.  Also the front panel is cut out of 16ga steel sheet.  Here you can see the Arduino mounted with a prototype shield installed.  This allows for quick wiring and testing of code.  In this photo the LED strip is a 12v white LED, however the final version will most likely have a RGB LED strip.  This is an overkill application for the use of an Arduino, however the cost of the electronics is a very small percentage of the project.

Arduino Uno Mint Design

Here is the preliminary testing to get an idea of how bright things will look and allowing some experimentation with the code.

Arduino Uno LED

Before final assembly the front panel is drilled in all the center marked location (center marking was done by the CNC table prior to any plasma cutting).  The corners of the box are TIG welded and ground down smooth.  Then the box is then powder coated with wrinkle black powder.  Here’s my daughter making sure all the rivets are accounted for prior to final assembly.

Mint Design Assembly 

All the pieces ready for assembly (sans Arduino Uno).

Mobius Threads

Here the Arduino Uno installed, wired and ready to go.  The Type B USB port is left open to allow for reprogramming of the Arduino, to the right of it is the power entry port.  That allows an AC-to-DC adapter (wall-wart) 12v power supply to run the Arduino as well as power the LED’s.

Powdercoat Saskatoon

Powder coat Saskatoon

This is just a prototype light box, once the design is solidified dozens of these will be made and sent out to retail shops carrying Möbius Threads line of scarves, headbands and breast feeding covers.

February 4, 2014

Setting up equipment and updating the site

Well we’ve been busy setting up equipment and updating the site as of lately.  We moved the Baileigh box and pan brake into position and it’s now ready to be put to work.  There may be a CNC backstop being built for it in the future (time permitting of course).  The press brake has been welded up and is ready to go as well.  Here are a few photos.

setting up equipment and updating the site

There is some clamping prior to welding the angle iron piece in place.  This will reduce the chance of warping due to all the heat.  You can also see the black tick marks to ensure consistent start/stop locations while moving from either side and end to end, to attempt to spread the heat out evenly to reduce the chance of warping.  After welding the guide rods needed  a little bit of a tweak but nothing a light tap with a rubber mallet couldn’t handle.

clamping brake pressTIG weld brake press

This will be loaded into the 50 ton hydraulic press and ready for any work that comes it’s way.  Check out our updated services page.  We have now added sheet and plate bending to the list of services available from Mint Design.

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.

Design

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.

Fabrication

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.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 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.

roofrackassembly

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.

IMG_0774

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.

IMG_0784

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.

Rendering

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.

Gusikoski

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 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 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

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