Win the metal you need to turn your clamp creation into reality!

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

Today we’re launching an exciting competition where you could win all the metal materials you need to build one of your very own creations – and then have it featured on the Metals4U website.

Not only that, but we’ll also make it available as a package so other customers at Metals4U can order all the components together and assemble it for themselves.

What are the details of the competition?

A few weeks back we blogged about the surge in popularity of the humble tube clamp. Put simply, we’re looking for people to submit designs for projects that feature tube clamps.

Whether it’s a chair, a table, a bed, a bookcase, a clothes rail or a completely new invention, it doesn’t matter how big or small your project is – all that we ask is that it features tube clamps as part of its design.

How can I enter?

All you need to do is sketch your designs, which should show us how you plan to use the tube clamps, along with approximate measurements. They don’t need to be professional sketches, but if you want to provide us with a more detailed ones then you’re more than welcome! (See our example sketches below.)

Use your mobile phone to take a picture of your sketch and post it to our Facebook page. Alternatively you can post it on Twitter using the hashtag #M4Utubeclamps (and mention us @metals4U_uk) – and that’s it, you’ve entered!

 

When’s the deadline?

The competition is already open – so send us your ideas before the closing date of Friday 14th August to be in with a chance of winning the metal materials you need to make your idea a reality.

Once we’ve received all the entries we’ll assess them and pick a winner! So keep an eye on our website in the days that follow to see which creative customer will win the metal to make their project.

We’ll also be choosing runners-up who will get their project featured on our website as a package for others to order.

Rewarding the imagination

When you see a tube clamp, what do you think of? Send us your ideas of what you could build using tube clamps today and you could win the materials to build your vision and have it featured on our website!

The reasons why tube clamps have surged in popularity

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

A structure is nothing without the things that hold it in place. Traditionally those are the nuts and bolts, but let’s not forget about tube clamps – they give structures their strength and shape.

Tube clamps have been used for years in the construction industry, effectively acting as a T-junction or 90 degree joints for metal tubes. The range of types and sizes means different directions and gradients can be catered for, so structures like handrails, warehouse racks and shelves, exhibition stands and safety barriers can all be fixed together exactly as intended.

With most things that are modest, dependable and functional, they often miss out on the glory. But more recently we’ve seen a trend of tube clamps being used by designers and even furniture makers as they strive to achieve a more authentic look.

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Those who use them to make ‘industry chic’ furniture tend to go for tube clamps with the smallest diameter to match the small tubing. That tends to be our Size A, which is 27mm in diameter and manufactured from galvanised mild steel.

So they’re now being used at home as well as in the industry. Perhaps one of the reasons why their reputation has shifted is down to how easy they are to use. Basically you don’t need to be a welder to work with them – it’s simply a case of tightening a couple of grub screws.

Tube clamps provide a temporary or permanent solution, and they can be used outside as well as in. They’re durable, long lasting and easy to fix. When you piece it all together you can see why they’ve grown in popularity.

They’re also available in sizes B to E, which range from 33.9mm to 60.3mm in diameter. These are all hot dipped galvanised steel and suitable for bigger structures.

We also supply tube clamps to fit handrails that comply with the Equality Act 2010, and they meet the requirements of the Building Regulations 2010 Part M, British Standards BS 8300. Don’t forget – we can also supply you with the steel tubes, handrails and balustrades too!

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Next time you’re out and about, see if you can spot these tube clamps in action. If you’ve bought them from us to use as part of your project, let us know.

Jim puts time, energy (and metal) into restoring a couple of British classics

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

The ability to bring something from the past back to life requires great vision, skill, time, energy – and bucket loads of commitment. Let’s not forget that it might need some metal too!

Metals4U customer Jim Perkins is currently restoring two classic Austin cars from the 1930s – an Austin 7 Pearl Cabriolet and an Austin 12/6 open road tourer. Those of you who have an interest in classic cars will know how well loved these models were (and still are).

The Austin 7 was nicknamed the ‘Baby Austin’ and gave British families in the 1920s an opportunity to own a motorcar because it was made genuinely affordable through mass production. But of the 290,000 made, only 8,000 remain – in various conditions – and Jim has one of them.

He tells us that it’s being fully restored and has been replacing metal on the body and around the rear wings because the original metalwork had succumbed to rust. He’s using a metal plate to hold the check strap on the driver’s door.

 

The Austin 12/6 is also being fully restored, although this is more of a challenge since Jim bought the vehicle as a ‘basket case’.

“Someone had stripped it right down – possibly to restore – but never got round to putting it back together,” he says. “We purchased it as a load of parts. Some parts were missing and there were a few parts that weren’t even for this vehicle.”

Jim and his team are in the process of putting it back together themselves – and when the project is complete we’re sure it’ll look magnificent. We’re certainly keen to see how our metal has helped to restore a couple of British classics!

 

If you’d like to tell us about how you’re using our metal products, please get in touch and we may feature your project on this blog.

Metals4U bikes on show during inaugural Tour de Yorkshire

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

A few weeks ago we made 35 iconic bikes to give away to cycling enthusiasts who could display them in a show of support for the first ever Tour de Yorkshire. The winners did us proud as we saw plenty of them along the various routes of the three-day event – and we’ve got the pictures to prove it!

More than 1.2 million people lined the streets to watch some of the world’s best cyclists compete in the very first event of its kind – the legacy of what was a hugely successful Tour de France Grand Départ last year.

The first overall winner of the event was Norway’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug, of Team Sky – which is worth knowing (and remembering), just in case the question pops up in a pub quiz!

The routes, which ran from Bridlington to Scarborough, Selby to York and Wakefield to Leeds, took in some of the best sights our great county has to offer. Our special bikes were constructed from bright yellow plastic, so they were pretty easy to spot (and a lot of fans must have been wondering where they came from!).

Lisa Gair, one of our 50 winners, sent us this photo of her bike displayed on the gate to her driveway in East Bramhope near Leeds:

Lisa Gair - East Bramhope Leeds

Here’s another bike sat proudly outside the Chocolate Factory in Thornton le Dale, just east of Pickering on Day 1 when the riders were approaching Scarborough:

@VisitTld - Visit Thornton Dale - Thornton Dale

David Bird decided the best place for his bike was to perch it delicately on the front of his caravan!

@davidjgbird - David Bird

David Church left his yellow bike in a place where other real ones have no doubt rested over the years – just outside a shop in Pickering:

@starbuys2014 - David Church - Pickering

And here we have Richard Jones securing his bike to a lamppost at a junction just before the Cote de Goose Eye along Stage 3, just west of Keighley:

Richard Jones - Just before Cote de Goose Eye- small blog

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to display their bikes over the three days – and to have sent us your pictures. Unfortunately we couldn’t include them all, but we were impressed with how many of you brought them out for the big occasion!

Metals4U relocates to Wetherby

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

Metals4U relocates to Wetherby.

While most of the country was enjoying some lovely weather and relaxation time over the Easter break, here at Metals4U we were busy relocating from Pontefract to a newly refurbished and extended warehouse covering 21000 sq feet in Wetherby. At Metals4U, we have seen our business triple over the last two years. This growth meant we rapidly outgrew our premises in Pontefract where the business started over a decade ago.

Located on the Sandbeck Industrial Estate, Armitage Works has enabled us to double our warehouse capacity and plan to incorporate a shop within the spacious open plan sales office area. The customer experience is set to improve, with dramatic increases in the amount of stock we can now hold and improved opportunities for interaction between our friendly and knowledgeable sales team and our valued customers.

metals4u Armitage Works Wetherby

Armitage Works, Sandbeck Industrial Estate, Wetherby.

 

Our relocation has already had positive impact on the local community with the employment of additional staff from the local area. As the company continues to grow, more job opportunities will be created in the near future to maintain the high level of quality service customers have grown to expect from the UK’s leading online metal and plastics supplier.

Managing Director, Paul McFadyen said, “The move to Armitage Works has enabled the company to expand to better meet customer demand, increase the range and quantity of stock we offer our customers and provide employment opportunities within the local community”.

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The newly refurbished and extended warehouse nearing completion.

Intricate planning and really hard graft ensured the move went smoothly. We kept customer delivery disruption to an absolute minimum while our stock was being transferred to the new site,  and we would like to thank our loyal customers for their amazing support and patience over the Easter bank holidays.

Win a unique Metals4U bike to celebrate Tour de Yorkshire

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

This competition has now closed!

The Grand Départ was such a success that organisers were keen to replicate the feel-good factor (which did a lot to revive the bunting and yellow paint industries). So this year we have the Tour de Yorkshire – three days of cycling that will again attract some of the top professionals in the sport to race on our shores, taking in places like Bridlington, Scarborough, Selby, York, Wakefield and Leeds.

Sir Bradley Wiggins says he’ll be there. Not only that, he says he’ll be leading his own Team Wiggins development squad for the event, since he’s leaving Team Sky at the end of April.

We’ve been excited about this ever since the event was announced in September last year. It’s the first of its kind, so we wanted to do something special for it.

A bike like no other

We’ve made 40 bikes for people to display outside their homes, offices or any other building they like, as a show of support for the Tour de Yorkshire. It’s around 60cm high and 100cm wide – and a unique memento for what is, after all, a unique event.

yellow bike

How to win

We’re not selling these bikes – we’re giving them away. So if you’d like to win one, all you have to do is let us know what Yorkshire means to you.

Tell us why you love Yorkshire – or show us in a picture – on Twitter by tweeting us @Metals4u_uk and using the hashtag #Metals4ubikes. Alternatively you can tell us what Yorkshire means to you by posting on our Facebook page.

We want these specially made bikes to be with the winners in time for the Tour de Yorkshire, which begins on 1st May, so please show us your passion for Yorkshire before Friday 24th April and we’ll pick our favourites and send the bikes to you.

The celebrations are already underway

Welcome to Yorkshire – who are running the event with Amaury Sport Organisation – have organised a Tour de Yorkshire Festival, which began on 1st April. It’s showcasing the county’s great arts through 200 exhibitions and performances.

If you want to know more about the race, visit the Tour de Yorkshire website. Welcome to Yorkshire have also made a rather cool video that shows the key points of the race from the air.

Around one million people are expected to watch the race along routes that total more than 500km (over 310 miles) – with plenty more watching on TV. Get your unique Metals4U bike and make sure you’re part of the first ever Tour de Yorkshire!

 This competition has now closed!

References

 

*All competition rules & guidelines are at the discretion of Metals4U*

The Dash-Hound and the Black Knight

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

While metal is strong, it’s also remarkably versatile. From tall buildings to intricate sculptures, it can be practical or used creatively as integral parts to some impressive projects – even ones that aim to set new world records!

When customer Tony Lovering got in touch with us to tell us about his project – to build a remote controlled car that aims to set a new land speed record and earn itself a place in the Guinness Book of Records – well, we were seriously impressed.

Tony is chairman of ROSSA (Radio Operated Scale Speed Association), which was formed some years ago to run radio controlled (RC) cars for land speed records. The current world record, by the way, is 202.12 mph, which is held by American Nic Case.

Every year Tony organises the ROSSA World RC Speed Championships, which are so popular that they take place in countries all over the world, including Australia and USA. As you would expect, Tony doesn’t just organise the events – he takes part in them.

He’s building two cars for this year’s championships – the Dash-Hound and the Black Knight.

Here’s what they look like:

Dash hound & black knight

The Dash-Hound is 2.4m long and powered by a B300F jet turbine engine, with 320N of thrust (72lbs). Tony tells us that he’s agreed a deal with RAF Cosford to run the car on 28th and 29th May for an attempt at the land speed record. We wish him all the best with that!

The Black Knight is a hybrid rocket car that he’s been running since 2008. It’s reached a top speed of 174.83 mph and was the winner of last year’s fastest vehicle. Tony was able to capture evidence of this on video – and you can get a sense of how fast that really is by watching it on YouTube.

Tony has high hopes for the Dash-Hound. It’s a scale model of the Bloodhound Project (a full size car that’s jet and rocket powered). His goal is to incorporate the rocket engine from the Black Knight into the Dash-Hound, so it has a fully working jet and rocket engine.

The jet should take the car up to 200 mph, which is when Tony will fire the rocket. If all goes to plan, that should see the car accelerate from 200 to 400 mph in around five seconds! At that speed, Tony needs metal that is aerodynamic, lightweight and robust.

We really do hope Tony achieves the success he’s been working so hard for when it comes to race day – and we’d love to hear from him to let us know how he gets on.

The ROSSA World RC Speed Championships will be held in the UK at Shakespeare County Raceway, at Long Marston Airfield in Warwickshire, on 4th and 6th September. Good luck to all that take part, and here’s hoping the Guinness Book of Records has a new entry to write!

 

Metals in creation and restoration projects

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

 

Creating something from scratch takes vision, skill and – above all – patience. We’re inspired by the level of ingenuity our customers show when working with metal to create things they’re passionate about. Take Ben Talbot, for instance, who is aiming to make a bicycle that’s sustainable, affordable and easy to manufacture on a large scale.

It’s what he calls the ‘Sustainabike’. It’s mostly wooden, but it’s all pieced together using various joining brackets made out of steel. It’s a work in progress – all the brackets are cut and welded according to the design. Now he’s got to finish tapping the holes and then make the wooden components before bringing it all together.

BIKE

BIKE 2

Ben has decided to use larger wheels and based the design more on a road bike – the image above shows this new design complete with forks.

Meanwhile another of our customers, Eric Rawcliffe, is using a flat brass bar and brass angle to restore the droplight window of a first-class carriage, which was built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1880.

The flat brass bar is mounted on a door with a 3/16th spacer and the brass angle is mounted on the underside of the window (which is called a droplight). To hold the window closed, the 1/8th inch angle sits over the flat bar.

BRASS ANGLE

To allow the window to be opened, it’s fitted with a leather strap that is recessed into the window frame. This clears the angle from the flat bar, allowing the window to drop into the door casing (controlled by the strap, which is yet to be fitted).

Eric is also encasing a steel tube within a wooden channel, which will form a guide for the passenger emergency cord.

Restoring treasured items can be hugely rewarding and extremely satisfying once the job is complete. Paul Geraghty was able to email us about his restoration project, but once he’s completed it he might have to let us know in a letter!

That’s because he’s hand-building a replacement space arm and ratchet mechanism in 3mm stainless steel for his 1920s Underwood Standard Portable typewriter.

TYPE WRITER

The original space arm was lost to the mists of time, and the machine itself was sold as unserviceable for £20 before Christmas.

Apart from manually advancing each line, he says that the machine works beautifully – so he’s really pleased that he could find short lengths of good steel so easily. His ambition has been to get the typewriter up and running so he can write a novel in the traditional way!

Good luck to Paul, Eric and Ben with their projects – we’d love to see them when they’re complete.

Modified racing sidecar

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

One of our customers, Ginny Bourne, is a competitive sidecar racer. Using our CDS tubing he fabricated custom handholds for his sidecar (talk about putting faith in our products!), which propelled him and his partner to 2nd place in their championship.

To make them even more competitive, a second order of the same tubing was used to extensively modify a new chassis which they’re hoping will deliver the results needed to obtain their ACU National licence, and compete in Camathias Cup Championship races across France, Belgium, Netherlands, the Isle of Man and mainland UK.

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Case Study: Arcadia at Glastonbury Festival

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

The British music festival season may now be over for this year but the 5th October sees the return of the annual Glastonbury ticket sale for next year’s event.

73688Last year over a million people applied for 150,000 tickets which sold out in record-breaking time. Dolly Parton, Kasabian and Metallica all took to the Pyramid Stage during the summer and it would be no surprise to see a greater demand for the event in 2015.

For those who haven’t witnessed Glastonbury Festival first-hand, one of the most spectacular aspects of the site is the area hosted by Arcadia. The Bristol-based company combine sculpture, lighting, special effects, music and pyrotechnics to create of the most extraordinary audio-visual experiences you will ever witness.

Created using welded metals from recycled military hardware, some of the world’s biggest DJ’s have played the spider-like stage and Metals4U spoke to directors Pip Rush and Bertie Cole regarding the process of sourcing the metals, the importance of recycling…and dancing policemen!

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According to Pip and Bert, the creative process is very much a “chicken and egg” scenario were the materials they come across can often steer a creative idea in an all-together different route. Alongside the duo are a team of other creatives ranging from artists, technicians and performers (some from different companies) to feed into the process and make it what it is.

Experts such as Sir Henry Hot provide the know-how for the fifty-foot flames using computer-controlled techniques…and cause the ground to rumble! BlinkinLAB create the most incredible UV video mapping content for the spider legs, whilst overall the collaboration between the different disciplines is seamless.

Arcadia use a variety of materials to create their stages and these are all recycled parts from jet engines, helicopter blades through to customs & excise scanners.

“We go on a ‘scrap tour’ once a year, which consists of a UK wide motorbike journey taking pictures of everything we find that looks useful. Then we send a lorry round to pick up the good bits at the end (hoping they haven’t reached the crusher yet). We use a bit of everything… plastics, wood and all sorts of metals”

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Material testing is a vital part of any engineering project and Arcadia are no different. Ensuring the materials are safe with structural integrity is essential and Bertie further explained the process:

“Arcadia work with structural engineers to assess the type of metal the structural components are made from and then use computer modelling to calculate the structural strength of the components assembled into complete structures.”

With upcoming events in Thailand and New Zealand, the crew at Arcadia are continuing to push boundaries and create new ideas for the future. When asked whether they had any future creations in the pipeline the duo stated: Always… the world is full of scrap and we’re starting to travel further afield.”

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Many well-known DJ’s have graced the Spider.

Mary Anne Hobbs, Fatboy Slim and Norman Jay MBE have all claimed that it is one of the best and most bizarre stages they have played, which hosts the finest Funktion One sound system in the world. Pip and Bert don’t have a favourite act but they have many stories to tell, with dancing policemen being a particular highlight.

“We had a couple of exited policemen climb on it for a dance once which was pretty funny…not sure if they still have a job though!”

The 2014 event saw Arcadia claim their very own area adjacent to The Park which attracted an estimated 70,000 people for the main acts. Alongside the Spider stage, Arcadia built on their creative recycling ethos with a number of interactive structures in the Mechanical Playground.

Developed by American sculpture and artist Christian Ristow, ‘The Hand of Man’ is a 26-foot long interactive piece which is capable of picking up old cars and crushing them. Operated by a cyborg-like hand glove, the creation is open to the public and is one of the many mind-blowing creations which take the evolving world of creative recycling to a whole new level.

To find more information about Arcadia head to: http://www.arcadiaspectacular.com/

More information about Glastonbury Festival can be found at: http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

(Images supplied and used with kind permission from Arcadia. Many thanks to the team at Arcadia for their time and help)