Wood, Steel and Glass Winder Stair

As experienced fabricators, we know the importance of clear co-ordination between the shop, the job site and other trades and our work is central to that communication. Fabricators often defer to us for their construction problem solving and we then model/draw as if we were building it ourselves.

In this extreme winder stair, every piece of steel and glass was CNC cut and formed from this 3D model resulting in fewer than 4 days installation of the structure.

(Click on the drawing for 3D view)

The finished stair as shown below:

(Click on the drawing for 3D view)

If you really care to know about immigration, ask an “immigrant”

Apologies for the soapbox, this isn’t about politics, but about people – people like so many of our great-grandparents who came through Ellis Island. Hopefully some of this immigrant’s experiences can help to dispel some myths:

The mindset which demonises immigration is so destabilising to everything democracy stands for.
Being one of those “immigrants”, I feel it important to share the experience and hopefully dispel some myths:
My wife is from the UK, I am from the US. We moved here 4 1/2 years ago to support/assist with her family and her ageing parents. Every 30 months, we have to re-apply for my family visa. The cost for each 30-month re-application is roughly £5000 to £8000 – with a substantial part of that fee an NHS surcharge. The application is 70+ pages (it grows every time) and requires a massive amount of supportive documentation (requiring all originals and often 20+ years old). We cheerfully accept all of this as a consequence of our commitment of our lives together as we’d lived in the US for 10 years prior and had a somewhat similar process there for my wife’s. We respect the overall process, we accept its costs and its complexities.

Our business brings quite a lot of money into the UK, we don’t displace UK workers, we don’t claim benefits, yet literally every day my wife and I live in fear of the next visa application being rejected because someone behind a desk is having a “bad day”. This results in working doubly hard to integrate oneself into society and to invest oneself completely into this adopted place now called “home”. Personally speaking, this “place” I am totally committed to, it is my home and my family’s.
It’s a human necessity that we all take the definition of home for granted as it is our lives and our harbour from life’s occasional stormier days. Yet, if someone knocks on our door and says “you have to leave” ……. I ask that you please think very deeply about this and really take the time to truly imagine it. Imagine becoming completely divested of your home, your business, family pets, automobiles, furnishings, tools and most of all, your family. And if you and your spouse are of different nationalities, what are they to do? What are they left with?

So this is my family’s personal example and I apologize for the details, but feel they are relevant to illustrate an “immigrants” experience. On one hand, these people from away are working doubly hard to integrate themselves, but on the other hand, the goal posts are shifting so fast with callous and frequently deceitful indifference based mostly on easily marketed, political hot-topics.

We must recognise the lies and demonising for the evil that the attached posting reflects and combat it with facts starting with our shared experiences as the most genuine validation of truth:

For example, as family visas state directly on the document;

“NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS” (though I personally never have and never would never seek them anyway).

Again, we went through this as well with my wife’s processing in the US and although the forms and protocols are different, the policies share similarities, so unless fraud is being committed (and I believe that most people who undertake such a massive upheaval, are trying hard to build new lives and be productive contributors to society), the majority of crimes to be most watchful of are those of misinformation and ignorance.

So again apologies for the soapbox, but ask that you be wary and be truly informed before closing your door to others.

And if you really care to know, go to the source and ask an immigrant.

Not just CAD…..

Shoreline Parametrics Ltd is a small highly skilled company created by Rufus Cooke assisting other companies in the custom woodworking industry. Having a strong understanding of 3D geometry has lent itself well to the stair industry and as notable builders and architects have recognized this resource, more diverse projects have evolved – including cupolas, domes, eyebrow dormers and architectural metalwork. Having a joiner’s background merged with the developing technologies of both CAD and CNC we can offer a wide array of services from:

  • 3D CAD (using SolidWorks®)
  • Stair building and tangent hand railing
  • CNC integration
  • Cutting List Strategies based upon
    • extensive prior use of both Cabnetware® and Cabinetvision®
    • AlphaCam®
    • Cadcode®
    • Microsoft Access®

“spoil the ship for a ha’porth of ta”

Or for us in the States, it translates to:

“don’t spoil the ship for a half penny’s worth of tar… “


So what’s the relevance? Plenty.

Lately, I hear “I don’t need anything fancy, I can just draw that in …. (sounds like what you put on a hamburger/hot dog). Well, if you can, than you’re either missing something or you enjoy living dangerously.

Ask yourself are you willing to spend +30k on a project facing a rigid deadline with other jobs to follow based on a tool that rhymes with ketchup? Can it flatten your twisted parts into machinable components that consistently fit? Can it adapt to dimensional changes? And can you trust those changes to be accurate and still maintain proper tangency?

Words of a wise uncle…

Sometimes simple words of wisdom resonate for a lifetime.

My uncle John carried a well worn cutting from a newspaper around with him in his wallet, he was very pleased with this worn scrap of paper and would occasionally bring it to our attention, it read:

It read:

“If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you’ve ever got”

This would be followed dryly by “but I’m not sure what it means”…. But the reality was that he knew (he was a gifted MIT mathematician).

So what’s the relevance?

Say your company is asked to price a job that you have never done before and therefore are not so sure of, does it really it makes sense that you turn the job away? So, applying the logic of the newspaper cutting in Uncle Johns wallet:

By use of 3D computer models we can:

♦ → break the job down into manageable entities

♦ → flatten complex curved surfaces

♦ → create stronger joinery like never before

For the last 20 years we have been helping small businesses increase their capacities and strengthen their niche markets by taking complex jobs that would have been sent to the B1N file, and making them possible.

As a trained joiner, I understand the work involved.

A stairbuilding colleague and I had just finished an ornate radial stair project when the contractor asked if we could build the dome ceiling above. All of our schedules were already full and to do this this required expediting. After some head scratching and lots of coffee, the project was completed a week later followed by a very simple installation.

So in the words of a dear uncle, we took on things we had never done and we got so much in return, not just money, but the chance to work together, build experience, confidence, new skills, and of course a greater standing in the marketplace and (hopefully) perpetuating more work.

And of course ……. never stop moving forward.

Flat Packed Cantilevered Stairs?

Lately, we’ve been working very closely with BLUBLK Inc. a company specializing in beautiful ornamental metalwork. Often times, these projects require that finished work be shipped ‘flat packed’ for onsite assembly with minimal tools. This particular project was an entire contemporary stair with treads cantilevered off of wood framed walls. These sorts of stairs are usually reserved for masonry walls, but were resolved with the addition of concealed steel stringers and verticals. An added (and very substantial) challenge was that it had to be delivered ‘flat packed’ in kit form for bolting together only (no welding). Hence, this required all part drilling/tapping to be clearly executed in the fabrication stage.

SolidWorks® performed brilliantly for this task and the project was substantially assembled on-site in just over 2 days.

And, we’ve just received a few of the builders photos below courtesy of Cheney Brothers Construction:

  • Upper Cantilevered landing

What do you use for CAM?

Sure programming at the machine is ideal for the last-minute changes, but what about the rest of the project? Do you:

  • manually generate the geometries and then assign the tool paths?
  • import geometries and then manually assign tool paths?
  • set up macros to automatically import geometries, let the CAM software read the geometry and assign tool paths?

Perhaps it’s time to consider utilising your 3D model data more for CNC and optimized cutting lists.

“The time’s they are a changing

What other roles do shop drawings perform in your company? The ones listed below are what we see to be the most typical:

  1. General Arrangement/Approval Drawings
  2. Detailed Construction set
  3. Setting out
    • Part Listing
  4. Parts manufacturing
    • CNC
  5. Outsourcing
  6. Assembly
  7. Project Coordination
  8. Installation