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.
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:
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:
David Bird decided the best place for his bike was to perch it delicately on the front of his caravan!
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:
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:
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!
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.
Our relocation has already had a 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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Sir Bradley Wiggins (winner of Tour de France in 2012) has confirmed his intention to ride in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in May. He’ll be leading his own Team Wiggins development squad after leaving Team Sky (12 March 2015): http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/31851489
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last 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!
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”
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.”
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.
Chrissie has been using our metals to mount animal skeletons, one of the more unusual tasks our materials are used for.
Here are her project photos. In the first picture Chrissie has used brass rod threaded through the spinal canals of the Great Dane and the Alligator.
She quickly left acrylic rod behind after these two, and in the second picture an Alpaca you can see brass uprights with mild steel sheaths attaching the uprights to the brass spinal support rod.
This picture is Chrissie’s current project, a Swan using the same materials. the biggest hold-up to her work is having to wait for someone to come along and weld the uprights to the spinal rods.
And here it is finished
In all cases Chrissie starts by using a mild steel rod to bend into a ‘pattern’ for the final brass rod and, if the animal is large enough, she will re use the mild steel on decreasingly smaller animals until there isn’t a straight bit left.
We recently received this email from Jonathan Fewings.
My project is a 1/4 Scale 1984 Landrover 90 – for my Nephew to enjoy on the farm. Based roughly on a ‘Toylander‘ style design, however, only the basic Plywood shell has been used (with a multitude of alterations).
Power is provided by an Electric-Start 344cc Vertical Crank Briggs & Stratton Engine with a belt driven rear axle – incorporating a braking system. The exhaust system is made from Mild Steel Tube (Metals4U) sections (Lobster Back Style Bends) into a silencer from an Aprilia RS50 that was in the garage – and is pretty much an exact scale replica of a standard Landrover Part (who would’ve guessed?). The chassis is completely designed by myself and is made up of Rectangular Section Steel, Flat Bar and Tube purchased from Metals4U. The steering rack is borrowed from a Micro-car but heavily modified to suit its new use and the front Stub axles have been machined from EN24 – the steering system even includes Toe-in/Toe-out alignment! The body was originally going to just be painted ply, however, I chose to rivet an Aluminium sheet skin onto the ply in classic Landrover production style (originally riveted to a steel frame). The Aluminium was shaped by hand using a length of steel tube and a lump hammer……oh and a fair amount of elbow grease. Once this body had a touch of filler and a coat of paint the look was complete – especially the dipstick poking out the bonnet, or the OVH (overhead valve) sticking out the grill.