full time metal fabricator/artist

Production run of furniture brackets

I picked up a new client that comissioned me to make a set of eight steel plates that had countersinks in each side at specific locations, she already had the plates and was going to machine them herself because she’s already a woodworker and had adequate tools, she started out with making the 5/8″ radius corner on 1 of the 8 plates she wanted and realized this project was bigger than she wanted to take on since her shop is set up for wood, after a brief discussion including drawing out plans, I got to work.

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I started out by squaring up all the plates and welding them together so I could round out all the corners consistently, then I took an angle grinder with a disc cutting wheel and cut all the corners off, making sure to not cut inside the radius line already defined by the top example plate. The following is what one of the corners of the plate stack looks like after being cut, notice the outward angle, this is fine, all I want to do is knock off the corner so it doesn’t destroy the sanding belt.

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Once all the corners were cut off, I knocked down all the rough edges with the vertical sanding belt, then I started the finishing process by using the disc sander that has a base plate square to the disc.

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I started by using the outside of the wheel, that’s where the wheel spins the fastest and takes metal off the most aggressively, then I continued to float the plate stack into the sander, being careful not to apply too much pressure so everything begins to blend together, something that looks like this.

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Tollerances can be tighter or looser, for this job, the corners are more than adequate.
I then made all my marks for where the holes belong, manually punched out the marks perfectly at the cross hairs, then sent 1/8″ pilot holes in all the locations where holes were to be drilled.

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When drilling holes in steel, it’s important to keep your bits cool by using lubricant, I easily get 5x the life out of these bits compared to other users, a slow hand and understanding of pressure goes a long way.

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After the pilot holes have been drilled, I’m ready to send the full sized bits for the plates through, at this point, it’s cake, the pilot holes took the slow hand, now it’s time to finish off the holes, I start by, “kiss cutting” the holes to make sure the bit is centered, the bit naturally wants to fit into the slot once you get the feel.

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After seeing equal spacing in all sides, I send the drill bit down using allot of lubricant to keep the drill but cool so it doesn’t loose it’s edge.

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I then used larger drill bits to create the countersinks a cording to the bolts required, this project had the drill.press running for a long time.

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Two stacks of the same plates, each side has its own countersinks, the client was ecstatic about the plates and how well they fit into her furniture build.

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Hand machining helps me build my skillset as an artisan, I appreciate these jobs because they are profitable and continue refining my ability to do precision work.

Thanks for reading.
More to come.

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