Precast Concrete Construction

In the mid-nineties, I was heading a civil design department for a large EPC contractor in South East Asia. We had received an order to build a paper plant.

The primary building in a paper plant is the paper machine building. A typical paper machine building is about 300 m long. The building typically has two floors, one at ground level, and one at about 7.5 m level. The paper machine is installed on a foundation that is not connected to the building. The machine is accessible from the machine hall at 7.50 m level. This building houses other complex and heavy machinery and has very stringent requirements with respect to quality, structural design and stability. The roof is high up and some of the sections of this building are subject to temperatures between 50 to 60 0 C. A large overhead crane straddles the upstairs machine hall. The differential settlement in the paper machine foundation has to be less than one mm and overall settlement at any point less than 1.25 mm. This building, with all its components and the equipment foundations, normally takes 18 months to build.

Our managing director was an innovative man and constantly sought ideas to speed up construction. One day, he called me to his office and showed me an article narrating about a company in the US that had developed techniques to build a paper machine building using pre cast elements. This paper machine building was completed in a record time of 6 months, said the article. We appointed the US company as our consultants and they did the engineering with the help of our engineers in our office. We built our paper machine building in a year cutting down the time by about six months. This was despite a delay of about three months due to the learning curve and the time required for setting up a precast plant.

Thus began my twenty two years long association with pre-cast concrete. My old company has built several large industrial plants and other structures since then.

In many first world countries pre cast elements for bridges, culverts have been standardized. Pre-casting units are located near major cities that supply these elements to the construction sites. This not only reduces the construction time but also the design time as one uses standard elements whose properties are known.

There are variations of the precast concrete construction such as tilt up construction, module fitments etc.

I have often wondered why India, with so much construction needed in the all the sectors of construction, has not embraced this technique. Apart from other issues like need for repetition, unfriendly taxation, requirement of transport or lifting machinery etc., I think our engineers have not given a serious thought to developing this technique.

I would like to share some of my learnings.

1. Planning is Paramount: The structure to be built from precast elements has to be broken down in elements, in a pre-determined configuration. It is like making the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that when put together will form the completed puzzle. It can be a combination of standard and non-standard pieces.

2. God is in details: Each element thus planned has to be detailed out to fit all the elements on all its sides and the embedment required for utilities.

3. Design the Construction and Construct the design: Normal structural engineering practice of designing the final product and leaving the “How?” to the construction personnel, does not work in precast. The structural engineer has to stay involved in the process of pre casting, erection and placement.

To the best of my knowledge, IS codes do not have specific provisions for pre cast structures unlike ACI or BS codes. Some of the clauses in ACI can be substituted by provisions in their supplementary publications. Such provisions have to be applied judiciously after a proper assessment of the stages in the service life of the element. A foremost expert on pre-casting once said “Applying provisions of R.C.C code to pre-casting would be like playing tennis with a baseball bat”

The structural design for a precast element is done for various stages of in its early life. Multiple level checks are required till the element is placed, more checks are required if it is a pre-stressed element with partial un-bonding of tendons.

4. Joints can cause headaches: Resolving and configuring a joint between precast elements can be an arduous task. It becomes a heuristic process to balance between the structural requirement, functionality with respect to basic consideration as water tightness, and the size of the elements to which an element in consideration is attached. Joints have to be constructed the way they have been envisaged.

5. Cutting off ears because they stick out, not only impairs hearing but also creates difficulty in wearing spectacles: This is known to occur frequently where architectural requirements are of primary importance. Typically some architects do not like some essential arrangements created for better joints. Doing away with these “hindering” details may lead to reduced functionality of the joints or the elements. Expensive alternate arrangements are required to restore functionality.

6. Construction Methodology can make or break a project: Many years ago, a large bulk warehouse with pre-cast pre stressed concrete bow string girders as roof trusses was being constructed in India for a fertilizer plant. Out of twelve bowstring girders, six broke while being lifted while the others were erected smoothly. Designs were checked and double checked and checked again. This was before the easy availability of the sophisticated finite element analysis that we have today. It finally dawned on someone that the bow string girders broke because a girder while being lifted in tandem by two cranes, twisted out of plane due to different rates of lifting. A structural engineer designing precast elements should, therefore, have the knowledge of the lifting process.

7. Quality is the watchword: Consistent Quality of production is one of the arguments put forward by the advocates of precast. But many a mismatches, rejections and failures have occurred due to watching only the quality of concrete and giving less importance to placement of reinforcement embeds and the dimensional tolerances.

8. A one rupee increase in the production cost can mean a crore of rupees at the end: Due the repetitive nature of the cost of pre-casting a lot of thought has to be given to use any “nice to have” component. While the most obvious cost elements related to concrete are watched vigilantly, a small embed or a detail, that is incorporated in the design and casting of an element for a probable use, escapes attention. Such an embed that was proposed to be used and has been cast in the element has already added to the cost of producing the element. When a number of such elements are cast, the expenditure can be substantial. If such redundancy if not eliminated in time, it can waste lakhs of rupees.

Cotton – An Old Master Mold Makers Studio Trick

When creating a large mold using alginate (dental impression material)- think a face casting or torso casting as our example, a mother mold or shell mold is required to support the alginate mold once it is removed from the model. That is because alginate is rubber-like and not rigid and will collapse on itself. With alginate mold making, a mother mold is made either by using overlapping plaster bandage strips, or in a second technique, cheese cloth impregnated with rapid setting plaster. Either method is satisfactory.

However, in either method the shell mold will not remain attached to the alginate. This means that when demolding, the shell mold most likely will come off without the alginate mold being attached. Then, no matter how careful one is in demolding, putting the two back together again for the casting step can be a nightmare in registering. The two pieces will not fit perfectly together as they were first constructed. Mis-registering leads to unsightly mold flaws such a ripples, wrinkles and tears.

However a number of experience mold makers have solved this problem by an embedding process using a special soft cotton fiber sandwiched between the alginate mold and its plaster shell. Since alginate does not stick to anything, embedding fiber into the alginate surface before it sets will give the shell mold of damp plaster, something to bind to when the plaster has set.

The process begins by is to spraying the surface of the alginate with an alginate retarder to keep the alginate from setting and maintain its tackiness long enough so it binds to the cotton when the cotton is touched to its surface. Thus, when the alginate has cured cotton fibers are actually held fast by the alginate itself. Then as the plaster bandages set, both materials will capture the cotton fibers between them and lock the molds together so both the alginate and plaster shell can be removed as once piece.

But not any cotton fiber will do. Most cotton is rolled too tightly to be fluffy enough to give up its cotton fibers to the alginate surface. We have found that veterinary cotton is by far the best material to use for this process and we use it exclusively for its excellent properties. Its fibers are extremely supple and will easily embed into uncured alginate surfaces.

The following are instructions in how to prepare the cotton fiber for use with the best practice alginate mold making method The first step is to unroll about six inches of the cotton roll and cut it into a six-inch square. Then separate the square into two halves by peeling them in half and exposing its centers. The inside surface of the square has the fluffiest texture fiber. Spray the surface of the alginate liberally with the alginate retarder and gently pat the fiber square to the surface of the alginate. Don’t apply any pressure as you will disturb the alginate surface. Just a gentle touch is enough to pull the fibers from the square to the mold surface. When the alginate surface is covered, the technique will leave behind enough fiber to secure the shell mold. One half of a 6-inch a pad of cotton is all that is required for a torso mold. If the alginate has set, this method will not work. However, by spraying the cured surface of the alginate mold with an alginate retarder, the surface should soften enough to stick to the fiber, as the retarder will actually temporarily dissolve the surface enough to embed the cotton fiber.

What Are the Benefits of Using Plastic Injection Molding?

Plastic injection molding is one of the most efficient methods for producing complex plastic parts at high volume. It is not only extremely efficient, but also very flexible in use with the option to make changes to the base material throughout the production process. Let’s take a look at a few of the most pleasing qualities of using plastic injection molding:

High accuracy

Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing method that is highly accurate provided a precise mold is used. On average, the accuracy level is likely to be in the region of about 0.006 inches.

Fast and efficient

The fast and efficient nature of this type of manufacturing makes it the most popular option for producing a high volume of plastic items. However, the actual time to create each piece will vary with the complexity of the actual mold. A typical time to create each item is in the region of 15 to 25 seconds.

Keeps labor costs to a minimum

The automated nature of plastic injection molding helps to cut labor costs because this type of machinery only needs a minimal workforce to keep going. Once the actual mold is created, the machinery will keep running successfully with appropriate supervision in place.

Minimize waste

The ability to minimize waste and benefit the environment is certain to be an appealing quality for many. This type of machine is not only very efficient, but is also appreciated for the very small amount of waste produced at the time of production. It only needs to use the set amount needed to create each molded piece. Additionally, if there is any waste, this can easily be recycled elsewhere on a different project.

Easy to change production

Plastic injection molding is designed to offer great flexibility with the option to make changes throughout the production process. Several of the things that can actually be changed include the type and color of material used.

High-strength parts

The parts produced using this production method can easily vary in strength. A simple way to improve on the all-round strength of a part is to add a special type of filler to the base plastic material. This has the benefit of reducing the volume of liquid plastic which results in great strength and durability of the finished item. The ability to control the plastic strength makes plastic injection molding a great option for any industry that needs the super strong products.

Biodegradable Products Online – The Green Business That Helps Other Businesses Go Green

Many online biodegradable product distributors are strongly committed to environmental sustainability. Their major focus is the slow decomposition of garbage in landfills and its devastating effects on the environment. That is why they sell 100% biodegradable, eco-friendly products to speed up the breakdown of trash and to reduce our negative effects on the earth.

'Eco-friendly' or 'Environmentally friendly' means that their products pose no harmful effects on the environment or its inhabants. This includes the methods being used to produce merchandise. Unlike petroleum-based (traditional) plastics, biodegradable plastic does not produce greenhouse gases as it is formed because it is made from plant fibers. Since the aim to have as little affect on the earth as possible, these companies ensure that all products are made in a way that avoids clear-cutting forests, wasting water, using insecticides, burning fossil fuels, etc. They support the use of eco friendly products and encourage others to pave the way for a brighter, cleaner future.

Did you know that a plastic beverage bottle takes roughly 450 years to decompose? Take a look at the numbers found by the US National Park Service:

Time it takes for garbage to decompose in the environment:

Glass Bottle ————————— 1 million years

Monofilament Fishing Lines ——– 600 years

Plastic Beverage Bottle ————– 450 years

Disposable Diaper ——————– 450 years

Aluminum Can ———————– 80-200 years

Foamed Plastic Buoy —————- 80 years

Foamed Plastic Cups —————- 50 years

Rubber-Boot Sole ——————– 50-80 years

Tin Cans ——————————- 50 years

Leather ——————————— 50 years

Nylon Fabric ————————– 30-40 years

Plastic Film Container ————— 20-30 years

Plastic Bag —————————- 10-20 years

Cigarette Butt ————————- 1-5 years

Wool Sock —————————- 1-5 years

Plywood ——————————- 1-3 years

Waxed Milk Carton —————— 3 months

Apple Core —————————- 2 months

Newspaper —————————– 6 weeks

Orange or Banana Peel ————— 2-5 weeks

Paper Towel ————————— 2-4 weeks

Information Source: US National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, FL.

Humans are producing more garbage than the earth can handle. Waste has gotten harder, and harder to decompose since the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to modern science, a new type of plant-based plastic has been formulated that quickly and completely decomposes. Biodegradable plastics are the solution for environmentally-conscience homes and businesses to reduce landfill waste, and reduce green house gas emissions. In the right conditions, they decompose like fruits and vegetables because they are derived from raw renewable materials. With the same reliability, look, and feel as traditional plastics, corn fiber products can decompose in less than 2 months in the right conditions. An example of such online distributor is SunTerra.us. They offer the following Biodegradable Products [http://www.sunterra.us]: Biodegradable clear plastic cup, eco-friendly plastic bag, environmental friendly plate, trash bag, biodegradable packaging, plastic deli container, leaf bags, garbage bags, biodegradable cleaner and solo cups

Composting is a vital part of maintaining our environment's balance. Now that scientists have formulated biodegradable materials, almost anything can be made from it such as eco-friendly: trash bags, cups, cutlery, deli containers, packaging and more. Starch and limestone have also become popular replacements for traditional paper plate products and soup bowls. These products look and feel just like old non-biodegradable products, but reduce your negative impact on the earth. Take advantage of environmentally friendly products [http://www.sunterra.us] online and go GREEN now!

Eco Friendly Tips For A Green Halloween

Kids and adults love Halloween, there is just something fun about the spooky decorations, costumes and candy. But the downside is a lot of waste, luckily it is possible to have a green Halloween with just a few eco friendly tips and some forward planning on your behalf.

1 Choose Your Halloween Candy Wisely

The first place to start is with the Halloween candy, here you need to be thinking about the safety of your children as well as the environment. Try and go for organic treats and candies that aren’t stuffed full of artificial ingredients. A trip to your local health food store should present you with a wide number of options. Of course you could also start a new Halloween tradition and bake the treats yourself. The kids will have great fun helping you to bake and decorate Halloween cakes and cookies. Just make sure you have enough to go around when word gets out to those trick or treaters!

2 Be Creative With Your Decorations

Eco friendly decorations are so much more fun than store bought ones. Leave the plastic decorations on the shelf and opt instead for the more natural look. You can decorate your home with pumpkins, apples, leaves and candles. A little imagination is all you need to give your home the Halloween wow factor! If you are hosting a party then stick to reusable plates and cutlery instead of throw away items so that you can do what is best for the environment. If you are worried about using your best crockery pick up some cheap plates from the local dollar store, you can use them for other occasions such as Christmas so they’ll work out cheaper than disposable items in the end.

3 Recycle Your Halloween Costumes

No one wants to wear the same old Halloween costume year after year, but buying new costumes isn’t very eco friendly. Instead of buying new why not see if you can swap costumes with friends and family. Or take your old costumes and turn them into something new. You can re-use parts of old costumes and pick up new items from charity and thrift stores to create a wonderful unique Halloween costume that your friends will envy.

4 Reusable Halloween Loot Bags

If you’re heading out trick or treating then you will need a loot bag to carry all of the treats and candies you’ll collect. Avoid the plastic bags that most stores have to offer and instead opt for a canvas bag that you can use for years to come. You can have some great family fun if you buy some plain canvas bags and use your craft supplies to decorate them in a spooky fashion.

5 After The Halloween Fun Is Over

To make sure your Halloween is really eco friendly you need to keep thinking green even after the Holiday has finished. Don’t just throw everything away, you can use that pumpkin for compost and pack away the decorations that will keep for next year. Make sure you clean your Halloween costume and put that away safely for next year too. If you think you won’t wear it again then offer it to a friend or donate it to charity.

4 Proven Techniques to Excite Your Woman Using Manhandling

Women love to be dominated by a man in bed. One technique you can use to excite your partner beyond her wildest dreams is manhandling. By giving her a little pain by physical stimulation, you will be able to maximize her psychological stimulation by making use of manhandling. One thing you can do is when your girl is standing by a door is to slam her back into it. The force of the blow will be distributed through her back, meaning that she won’t feel much pain. As the door will slam shut and make a loud notice, it will excite her even further due to the dominant element.

Another great way is to rip her clothes off. If she wears old panties you can put your hand into it and twist it around to rip it with more ease. Then hold her down with one hand as you rip her panties of with the other. Make sure you’ll pull hard and sidewards so that the force of the rip will go into her hip, instead of any sensitive area. Like slamming her back into a door, this is very dominant.

Another awesome way to convey more dominance is by pulling her hair. In order to use this you need to grab her hair as closest to the roots as possible and pull her head in whatever direction you want. When performed well, women will love this sensation. This is great when you are standing behind her sucking her neck. You can also do this to make her look you in the eyes when having sex which will add more emotion to your lovemaking as well.

Finally, a good way to manhandle your girl is by spanking her. If you two start to play wrestle you can put her over your knee, bring her pants down and spank her hard. As this part of the body has a lot of muscles and fat it’s able to take quite a punishment before it hurts to much. You can spank her any time her ass is exposed.

These are just a couple of examples. Use your creativity and your woman will quickly love how dominant you’ve become.

2 Powerful Orgasm Tricks to Make Your Woman’s Body Quiver With Powerful Sexual Climaxes!

Do you know that you can make any woman that you have sex with to experience powerfully intense sexual climaxes? Yes it is very possible for you to give your woman multiple orgasms every time you make out. It doesn’t take much from you. You just need to know the simple things that you should do that would drive your woman crazy with sexual pleasure. These simple acts will enable you to be able to bring out the wild and naughty side of your woman, even if she appears and behaves like a perfect “good” girl in real life.

Trick 1 – Be A Slow And Masterful Lover!

The number one reason why most guys ejaculate before their women achieve sexual climax is because most guys are impatient and jump right into thrusting their woman the moment she is naked. Instead of heading straight for penetration, do this instead: for about 15 minutes, spend time on all your woman’s erogenous hot spots. Kiss, lick, nibble, caress and fondle her lips, neck, ear lobes, arms, inner thighs, lower belly and breasts (and anywhere that she loves being touched).

Most guys don’t sexually arouse their lover before penetration. The key to giving your woman powerful sexual climax is to ensure that she is fully aroused and wet in her vagina before penetration begins. By doing this, your woman’s body will be prepared for one explosive orgasm and you would be able to give her orgasms while thrusting.

Trick 2 – Please Her With Oral Sex!

Did you know oral sex can drive any woman crazy? Try this technique of spelling your woman’s name with your tongue – alphabet by alphabet. Doing this will drive your woman wild with sexual anticipation. Vary the intensity of your tongue strokes and keep her guessing on what exactly you are trying to do with your tongue. Continue with this for 10 minutes to stimulate your woman to the level that she would not be able to take it anymore. I am sure this is quite easy enough for you to try with your woman. Make sure your woman achieves a sexual climax through oral sex before you penetrate her and give her more orgasms.

However there is one thing that might prevent you from giving your woman sexual climax during penetration. This is the issue of a small penis size. Women prefer bigger penises to small ones! This is a fact that you must accept if you really want to become a master lover. If you are really interested in getting a bigger penis, then a combination of natural penis exercises and herbal penis enlargement pills can add 1 – 3 inches to both your penis length and thickness.

Ironing a Shirt, the Best Way!

There are not many people who look forward to doing the ironing: especially the shirts. Some lucky tykes have a domestic cleaner, who swooshes in and does the ironing for them. The rest of us just have to battle – or iron – on.

The industry knows how unsuccessful ironing can be and has bent over backwards help. Sturdy tables replaced wobbling, flimsy ironing boards. These days, boards keep the chord away from the iron; there are a wonderful few that have a socket attached.

Steam irons and a plethora of products mean the once arduous job can now fly by, but absolutely you still have to actually do the ironing – like it or not!

So, how do you iron a shirt? Well, you'd think it would go without saying, but you need an iron – and to be in a well-lit area. Cleaners set their ironing boards up near a socket, with the wide end under your dominant hand (wide to the left if you're left-handed, to the right if you're right-handed). The board levels most comfortably at your waist.

It's best to iron as soon as possible after washing, but this is not always practical. A little 'cleaner's tip': for really crumpled tops spray on a little water and leave it in a plastic bag for 30 minutes or so. This will release the wrinkles a little and the slight damp will make ironing easier.

Nothing beats a steam iron for getting a shirt perfect. Pour filtered or distilled water up to the 'max' line of the iron's reservoir. Calcified water will jam up your iron, preventing the steamer working properly. Even worse, a calked iron drags rusty stains over your clean clothes.

First, plug in the iron (right back to basics!) And let it heat up to the right temperature for your shirt – check the label! Enjoy some cleaner's wisdom: if you have several shirts to iron, heat the iron to the coolest level needed first (the synthetic shirts), and increase the heat as you go. Cotton shirts need the hottest temperature.

Unbutton each shirt and turn dark shirts inside out – ironing on the outside will make the shiny.

Assume the position: the wide part of the board and your iron next to your writing-hand.

Most professional cleaners that count ironing among their tasks, start from the top of the shirt and work down.

Lay the collar on the board, inside facing up. Iron from the points to the center; do the same on the other side. Fold down the collar, in the line that you wear it, and press – so it will snuggle comfortably to your neck.

The shoulder yoke comes next – the fabric that stretches over your shoulders! – iron in from the tip of the shoulder to the middle of the back; flip over the shirt and press the other shoulder.

First iron the inside of the cuff, then the outside.

Follow the seam to guide you and smooth the sleeve down as straight as you can with your hand before you run the iron over it. Work from the cuff opening, up the sleeve, pressing out the creases as you go, using your hand to flatten it before the iron gets there – being careful to not iron your hand!

With one side of the sleeve ironed, the other side is much easier. Turn it over and repeat. Iron right into the shoulder seams. If you want a crease, and you're ironing the outside of a light shirt, glide the iron along the fold in a smooth moment.

Do the same with the other sleeve.

Almost finished now – go you!
Lay one front panel over the narrow end of the ironing board. If you have pockets, sort them out first. Although you're almost finished, do not start to rush – rushed ironing will result in new creases, which are harder to get out.

Start from the bottom of the shirt and work up to the collar, making sure you press right into the seams. Detail around the buttons before moving to the other front panel.

In a flurry of delight, woosh your shirt up and lay the biggest, last part of the shirt – the back – out on the board, keeping any other parts of the shirt away. Do not go ironing in a massive crease simply because you wanted to finish.

Again, push right into the seams and cover the whole of the back area.

There you go, all done. Stick it on a hanger and hang it in the wardrobe if you're not wearing it right away. It makes a lot more sense to do all of your shirts in one hit, so you do not have to set the board up and heat the iron up every day.When you get good at it, you'll even be able to watch the TV – some domestic cleaners even considering doing the ironing as a break!

Buying CNC Plasma Cutters

CNC Plasma Cutters use a computer and a special coding language called G-code to program projects. The cutter then carries out the cuts you desire. This type of machine can increase your productivity by 1000% or more. So, what are you waiting for? Oh right! You want to know what to look for when you are buying one.

Recent improvements in technology and manufacturing have created an excellent buying environment. Plasma cutters are cheaper than they ever were and they are also more advanced than ever before.
First, you will want to be familiar with the plasma cutting process, since this will help you understand the different ways to classify plasma cutters. If you know your way around a plasma cutter already, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

In order for plasma cutting to work, plasma has to be created. Inside a plasma cutting torch, plasma is created by firing an electric spark into the torch nozzle while pressurized gas (often air) surges out of the nozzle onto the metal to be cut. The spark heats the gas to 15,000 degrees Celsius at which point the gas turns into plasma. Plasma is the fourth state of matter; it is both a liquid and a gas at the same time (this is analogous to how visible light is a wave and a particle at the same time). The electrical spark is created when the plasma cutting torch is touched to the cutting surface. This closes an electric circuit between the plasma cutting machine and the work piece.

Automated plasma cutting machines come in two flavors: conventional and precision. These classifications are based on the properties of the cutting flame. Conventional plasma cutting systems are slower than precision systems and they produce more kerf (the volume of metal cut out) and bevel. Being the superior system, precision plasma cutting equipment costs considerably more.

Buyer beware, manufacturers often mismatch power sources and machines. The machines come in two parts: the base machine (with the table, computer terminal and bridge or gantry) and the plasma cutter (precision or conventional). The power sources for those two components are separate and they have to be matched properly. The mismatches are often the manufacturer's fault, but you the buyer have to keep your eyes open to make sure that it does not happen. In the event that you do have mismatched hardware, do not start running it because what will ruin the machines. Contact the company where you bought the equipment and figure out a solution to the problem.

Today's automated plasma cutter market is dominated by two different models of machine, bridge style and gantry style machines. And the machines are generally made from two types of metal, steel (fabricated) or aluminum (extruded). The extruded aluminum machines are "light duty" and they are found in the realm of the artist and the hobbyist. They are best for doing limited amounts of cutting on thinner metals. The industry-strength machines are the ones made from fabricated steel; they can cut continuously all day as well as devour thick metals.

You will want to decide what sort of drive system you need for your projects. If you are a hobbyist or artist, using a conventional machine, a single-side drive system should be all you need. You may also consider a single-motor, dual-side drive system. The higher level drives increase precision which is not what conventional plasma cutters are built for so you would be throwing your money away if you bought higher-level drives. A precision plasma project will require a dual-side two-motor drive system to reach optimum performance.

You will have to think about what size of motor and gear box you require. If the mass of the motor and gear box are too small compared to the mass of the machine then the motor will not be able to effectively change the direction of cutting. This is important when the cuts go back and forth at high speeds. If the masses are not matched properly it will lead to unimpressive cut results and increase wear on the machinery, which may lead to premature failure.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Laser Cutter Machine?

Laser cutting is a technology which uses this light for cutting materials and is used typically for manufacturing applications in the industries. Many hobbyists along with small businesses and schools are also beginning to use this technology. This cutting technique aims at directing high power output of the gleam by a computer at a material that has to be cut. Material afterward, either blow away by a gas jet, vaporises or burns thus leaving an edge that has a surface finish of high quality. Industrial cutters are used for cutting materials of flat sheets as well as materials with piping and structure. It has become an important part of the manufacturing process. These are the share of merits.

Holding work in position and no contamination

One of the main advantages of using a laser cutter machine is that the work-piece is held right in position. This is quite a merit this technique offers over mechanical cutting. Holding is accurately placed and it is also easier. The cuts that are made by the laser machine are extremely precise and do not require too much time. Rather, the total process of cutting has not only become easier but the task is accomplished at a much lower time. Compared to conventional machines of cutting cuts by gleams do not have any kind of direct contact with the work-piece so that there is no contamination of material.

No warping and is versatile

Primary advantages of using a Laser machine includes that, in this cutting technique the heat that the area is subjected to, is small. This quite benefits because there are the reduction in chances of the material being warped. In most of the conventional processes there are huge amounts of heat generated that turns materials shapeless. The amount of energy used for this gleam technique is also comparatively lesser to any technology of plasma cutting even. It can be used for cutting a host of materials like certain metals, plastic, rubber, wood and ceramic. This is also one of the most versatile techniques for cutting or engraving complex to simple designs on a piece of work.

Best use of space and lower mishaps

There are many manufacturing units that one might find, with space constraints. Thus, installing such machines that use gleams can be a perfect idea. In fact, the reality is that the machines have more than one gleam which is capable of doing a considerable amount of work which is equivalent to work done by several machines. Since, it is all controlled by computer programs thereby the manpower amount is saved substantially. As this technique does not require any kind of human involvement excepting test runs and repairs, you can be assured of a reduced number of injuries or accidents taking place during work.

Efficiency is higher

The machine efficiency is much high and the replicas obtained from the required design are perfect copies of each other. Holes with small diameter involving quality of good edge and complex detail in box section, tube, plate and sheet can be achieved perfectly. The cost of manufacturing is reduced to the large extent and it is simply ideal for cutting products that are light metallic.

Shattered Glass, Shattered Dreams, and Accent Reduction Classes

What do shattered glass, shattered dreams, and accent reduction classes have in common? A lot- if you look at the end result.

While traveling over a holiday weekend, our family was brought behind several backups on the interstate. Trying to take a shortcut, we started down a smaller road where a deer suddenly jumped at the side of our van, shattering the window in the sliding door. Although it was scary at first, no one was hurt.

We had thought it would be easier and quicker to go down a different road, but our expectations were suddenly shattered. Riding home for several hours with a plastic bag taped over the hole, weave up on conversation because the wind noise was deafening. Its constant presence weighed on us the entire way, and we could not wait to get home and have a new, quiet window installed.

It made me think about some people I know who came to America as second-language English speakers expecting to blend in easily, not realizing that their accented speech would be an obstacle to their success. They had studied English for years, knew all the grammar rules, and felt secure in their ability to communicate. But, once they got here, people misunderstood them and kept asking them to repeat themselves, and their expectations shattered around them much like the glass in that van window.

At that point, they had two choices. They could put tape over the shattered windows of their dreams, fighting to be heard above the wind noise of their heavy accent.

Or, they could recognize that life was not exactly how they expected it would be, but that they could create a better life for themselves by replacing those shattered dreams with new ones. By taking accent reduction classes, some of them learned to reduce their accent and make their speech much clearer than before. Instead of struggling to be understood, they can now communicate clearly and easily with those around them. The shattered dreams are gone and have been replaced by new, clear speech patterns and new dreams of success.

Which choice have you made? Are you struggling to get through each day, repeating yourself and feeling more and more defeated as the "noise" of your accent drowns out what you really want want to say? Or, have you taken steps to reduce that noise, to improve your pronunciation, and open up the path to clear communication?

Do not settle for less than what you had hoped for. You deserve to be heard and not to be drowned out by your accent. It's time to put your shattered dreams and replace them with a window of hope. By taking accent reduction classes, you can get rid of the "wind noise" in your speech and begin communicating clearly and easily. That's a dream that really can come true.

Applying Protective Coatings to Foam Carving and Cutting Projects – 5 Things to Consider

If you're in the foam cutting or carving business, you know the importance of the protective hard coating process (and if you do not, you should). For those just getting started in the industry, be aware that it's often an overlooked step that does not get the attention it needs. To avoid cost product failures and rework, proper preparation is absolutely critical. Let's assume that your foam piece is cut and you've selected the most appropriate coating for your project. Before you start spraying, there are a few things to consider that will help you avoid some of the most common application problems.

1. Thickness

Do not press that trigger until you know how thick you'll be applying your selected coating. The thickness of the coating will not only determine the durability of the final product, but it's also going to have an impact on the final weight of the piece and on your budget. Regardless of the type of coating, thicker coats are going to create a more durable final product, but this thicker coat will cost more in materials and will also add more weight. These kinds of factors must be considered so you know how much material is required to finish the job, and so you're not left guessing during the actual spraying.

2. Detail

Does your finished project require a high degree of detail? If it does, you'll want to ensure that you've exaggerated the depth of the foam carving to expect the thickness of the coating to be applied. Protective coating designs to smooth out details in the foam when it's applied, so deeper sculpting will help avoid the loss of detail in the final piece. Once the piece has been coated, intrete details can still be added with the use of materials like epoxy putty, but anticipating this detail prior to coating will save some time when it comes to manual sculpting.

3. Texture

Depending on the final look and feel you want for your product, there are a number of application techniques you can use. Before you start spraying, know the technique you're going to use and ensure that your work area is prepared for that particular technique. Perhaps your application technique will require you to stand at a certain distance from the piece, or maybe there are tricky areas that will require some creative spraying. Taking these types of things into account beforehand and planning ahead will help create a trouble-free application process, which translates into production efficiencies, less wasted material and a better end product.

4. Spraying environment

Even if you've considered everything you need to as far as technique goes, there are other external factors that can affect the quality of your coated piece. The environment in your spraying facility is one of these factors that can come back to bite you. When it comes to curing, some coatings can be fickle. Certain materials will not fully cure an an environment that's too hot, cold or humid. In some cases, weaknesses in your product caused by improper curing might not even show up until after the piece has been installed. Be sure that you know what conditions your coating material needs to be applied in, and ensure that the surfaces to be sprayed are properly prepared to accept the coating. Without adequate preparation, bubbling, cracking and peeling may be the result.

5. Equipment readiness

Ensuring that your equipment is operating properly would seem to be a no-brainer, but it's amazing how many projects run into serious problems thanks to misfiring equipment. Before every project, fully inspect your spraying equipment, checking all potential problem areas and running the required tests – including all health and safety considerations. Materials should also be inspected for proper mixing and temperatures. Do not forget to cycle material through your lines periodically to keep the lines primed. While you're spraying is not the time to find out that something is off, because at that point it's probably too late.

Like most things in life, problems with foam coating application can happen when you least expect them. Operators that get used to equipment functioning perfectly over a period of time can get complacent, and it's the one time when something is not checked properly that things go wrong. Unfortunately, things going wrong at the coating stage can mean the destruction of an entire project, so a little preparation goes a long way. With proper technique, training and preparation, your projects will be sure to impress.

How to Remove Scratches From Plastic

Scratches can easily be reflected onto plastic surfaces in your car as they are fairly soft in comparison to paintwork and other materials. These scratches can look very unsightly especially in direct light and if it is a clear plastic affected they can even detract from and obscure what is underneath or behind it.

Plastic surfaces in your car that may require restoring would include areas like gauge cluster and dial covers, stereo displays or trim details.

A designed plastic polishing product can be used to effectively remove scratches and restore the surface. It should be carefully applied with a soft sponge or micro fiber applicator pad, spread even over the surface and then worked in using both circular and linear motions. Once the product has been adequately worked in it should then be gently buffed off. It is very important that you use a clean, soft high quality micro fiber towel for removing the polish residue to prevent any more scratches from being inflicted. The process may need to be repeated in order to fully remove the scratches from the plastic.

If you can not use a designated plastic polishing product then an all in one polish product can be used to achieve similar results. The light abrasives in the product will help to remove lighter and fine scratches and the fillers in it will help to mask any deeper marks. It should be applied, worked in and removed in the same way as a plastic polishing product. You should ensure you do not to get any product onto the surrounding areas and trim as this would leave unsightly residual marks. Again, the process can be repeated if necessary until the desired result is achieved.

It should be noted that some newer plastic surfaces such as dial covers and sat nav screens come with an anti glare coating on them from the factory, this appears as a purple tint when viewed in the correct light. These surfaces should not be polished as the polish will remove parts of the coating and leave it looking very messy.

To help prevent any further scratches from being inflated, or from them even occurring in the first place, the correct cleaning technique needs to be utilized. Sensitive plastic surfaces should never be cleaned using harsh products. You should use a detailing spray, or an anti static cleaning product designed for cleaning computer monitors and similar, in conjuction with a clean, soft micro fiber towel. This is the most important factor to consider when cleaning plastic surfaces as this is when scratches are easily inflected.

5 Key Things You Need to Know About Extreme Sports Insurance

MOST TRAVEL INSURANCE PLANS DO NOT COVER EXTREME SPORTS LEAVING YOU UNPROTECTED!

Many of us enjoy doing sports and the best time to try out something new and exciting or spend time enjoying a favourite sport is during vacation! Travel providers attract with exciting promises: Bungee jumping, rock climbing, scuba diving, sky diving, perfect alpine ski slopes – that all is tons of fun! And potentially a source of future problems. In many of those cases you are not protected through your insurance at all! Let’s dig deeper today into extreme sport insurance!

1. UNDERSTAND HOW RISKY YOUR FAVOURITE SPORT IS

The variety of sports people engage in today is vast: everything from chess to base jumping is considered “sports”. For many insurers, sports fall into four general risk levels (s. list below). Already, sports from Level 2 are often considered as extreme sports. So if you are a passionate skier in Colorado, British Columbia or the Swiss Alps, an amateur rock climber, or adrenalin junkie enjoying skydiving at least once a month – you should consider looking deeper into extreme sport protection.

Insurance classification of sport risks:

  • Level 1 – Low risk sports: Aerobics, skating, volleyball, water polo, football, cricket, golf, baseball, basketball, tennis, badminton, archery
  • Level 2 – Sports involving more mobility and therefore more risks: Adventure racing, paintball, alpine skiing, canoeing, swimming, rugby, scuba diving, gymnastics, kayaking
  • Level 3 – Sports with elements of violence and action: Wrestling, boxing, hockey, martial arts, motor sports, bungee jumping, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, mountaineering, water rafting, water skiing
  • Level 4 – Most risky sports: Hang gliding, parachuting, paramotoring, skydiving

2. READ THE FINE PRINT 8 TIMES IF YOU RELY ON STANDARD TRAVEL INSURANCE

Sports-related injuries during vacations can be sometimes covered under Travel Medical insurance policy but more often they are not. So if you want to rely solely on your existing policy, be sure that you read carefully all the conditions or consult the insurance hotline. Often insurance companies offer additional protection for accidents associated with extreme sports. Remember consequences of sport injuries can add up to dozens of thousands dollars while you are treated abroad.

3. BE CLEAR ON HOW “PROFESSIONAL” IS YOUR SPORT ENGAGEMENT

There are also different ways you can engage in sports. And though your insurance might be still covering leisure skiing in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, it will very likely not pay for any medical expenses associated with injuries from Thai boxing fights in Thailand or professional rock climbing competitions in the Rockies. Here the basic rule should be: if you do anything, not for leisure only, but it has any hint of professional activity / competition, get a separate extreme sport protection.

4. ARE YOU AN “EXCLUSION” CASE? BE CAREFUL!

Even if you think you will be fine after getting an extreme sport insurance, have a more detailed look at conditions – typical exclusions in extreme sports insurance policies are: Those above a certain age are NOT covered (age limit varies) Pre-existing medical conditions Injury resulting from drug abuse during sporting activity Performing sports in unauthorized areas for particular activity Think about that while enjoying your extreme sport – ski race competition outside of the authorized slope might result in unpaid bills rejected by your insurer…

5. DEDICATED EXTREME SPORT INSURANCE EXISTS!

There is proper protection for all extreme sport enthusiasts out there! Often you can get an additional piece of protection, so-called rider on your policy that covers your “dangerous” hobby sports. Such insurance can cost you less than $100 for a month but save a lot of headaches in future. Anyway, the objective of this article is not to force you to stay at home but make clear to you what protection you might need to enjoy your favourite sports while covering all your bases!

Diamond Structure

Diamond structure is the simplest of all gemstones, when you look at it from the chemical perspective. It is the same substance as the soot left inside a glass candle holder after the candle has burnt up. Chemically, it is just plain, crystallized carbon, the same substance used in "lead" pencils.

However, the diamond is different than these two substitutes when it is in its crystal form. This form gives it its mostought-after properties, such as fire, brilliance and resistance, which accounts for its unsurpassed wearability. One should understand though that while diamond has the most severe natural substance known, it can be easily broken or chipped, if stuck hard from certain angles, or, if the girdle of the diamond (the outer rim of the diamond that forms the perimeter) was cut too thin.

In terms of diamond structure, the transparent colorless diamond, also often incorrectly referred to as white diamond, is the most fashionable variety. However, diamonds also come in different colors. When the color is noticeable enough it is called a "fancy" diamond. It is often found is such popular shades as yellow and brown. The colors that occur very rarely are lavender, light green, light blue, and pink. The normal colors seen in diamonds are what we refer to as pastel colors. The dark deep colors in hues of blue, green and red are extremely rare. Traditionally, most colored diamonds were sold for more than their colorless counterparts, except maybe, for light brown or yellow varieties. Many specials say that the brown and yellow diamonds in very pale shades should not be considered fancy diamonds, but rather off-color stones that are found commonly and sell for much less than totally colorless diamonds or those that have a true fancy color.

Here are the four major factors (4 Cs) that determine diamond structure and, consequentially, its value:

1. Carat weight, or the size of the diamond

2. Cutting, or the diamond's proportions (also known as the make)

3. Clarity, or the degree of flawlessness

4. Color, or absence of color

You should keep in mind though that the main factor to being happy with your diamond is how these four factors affect the stone as a whole. With just a little experience you would know which Cs are the most important to you, and you`ll know what to look for to satisfy your financial and emotional needs.