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5 Must-Have Metalworking Tools for Beginners

5 Must-Have Metalworking Tools for Beginners


5 Must-Have Metalworking Tools for Beginners

Whether you’re starting a new hobby or a new side-hustle, metalworking is an excellent way to create custom decor or art pieces for your home. Developing your skills to fabricate metal into one-of-a-kind pieces can be a unique way to create conversation pieces for friends, family, or for sale. 

How do you get started? What tools do you need to cut, shape, and finalize metal into furniture or decor? Keep reading to learn about the five must-have metalworking tools for beginners.

1. Marking Tools

Many metal pieces begin as flat pieces of sheet metal. To form these blank sheets into your designs, you must cut and shape the pieces.

You’ll quickly find that marking your measurements or designs on metal with a pencil or pen is ineffective for precision work. Some designs require intricate and exact cutting. When marking metal, use a razor knife or scribe with a sharp point. 

These tools put a subtle indentation in the metal to help you make a better cut.

2. Band Saw

After you’ve marked your design, you need a band saw to cut your metal pieces. These metal fab tools allow you to cut almost any design or shape—including curves—while holding your sheet metal on a flat surface. 

While a band saw can be safer and more effective than using a hand saw for cutting metal, make sure you follow proper safety tips. If you aren’t comfortable cutting sheet metal, consider ordering pieces from a critical laser metal fabrication vendor.

3. Flux Core Welder

When you have the pieces for your design, welding is the best way to connect them. Using glue, screws, or other fasteners won’t hold your pieces together in a way that keeps them together. 

Welding fuses different pieces of sheet metal to form the structure of your final design. A flux core welder is one of the simplest welders for beginners.

4. Press Brake

Flat pieces welded together might not be the final shape you have in mind. You’ll need to bend the sheet metal to create your inspiration.

A press brake is an essential piece of metalworking equipment for bending metal. In many cases, you’ll bend cut pieces before welding. In other cases, your design might call for bending connected pieces after you’ve welded them together. 

5. Angle Grinder

Welded joints and metal edges need polishing to finish your piece. Most welded joints are rough and the cut edges are sharp and uneven. 

Use an angle grinder to smooth joints for a flat finish. Polish sharp edges with the grinder for a finishing touch.

Get Started With Basic Metalworking Tools 

Use these five must-have metalworking tools to begin your new hobby! As you develop your skills, you can expand your arsenal of tools to enhance your craft and final products. 

If you enjoyed learning about metalworking tools, we hope you’ll check out more of our DIY articles! 

Business

The Best Team Collaboration Tools for 2019

The Best Team Collaboration Tools for 2019


The Best Team Collaboration Tools for 2019

Did you know workers who are primed to act collaboratively stick with tasks 64 percent longer than those working alone? Also, they achieve higher levels of engagement, a higher success rate, and lower fatigue levels.

If you are looking for effective ways to encourage collaboration among your workers, consider using some of the best team collaboration tools. These not only encourage your team to work together but also help to make it easier than ever before.

Keep reading to find out what the best tools available are.

Huddle

This is one of the earliest document collaboration tools created. It offers users a high level of security that makes it a smart choice for teams that need to manage projects, work on documents, and collaborate with external clients. It’s a popular option for government organizations.

Some key features of the Huddle platform include:

  • Manage, discuss, share, and co-edit documents
  • Automatic synchronization
  • Workflow tracking
  • Branded client portals
  • Integrated with Google G Suite and Microsoft 0365

Huddle starts at just $10 for each user per month. This is the starter plan and requires a minimum of 10 users. There is also a Huddle Plus plan, which offers free licenses and advanced collaboration features.

Slack

Millions of people, from all around the globe, currently use Slack. It’s a smart platform available for use on desktop and mobile devices. It allows users to send DMs (direct messages), along with files to one person or an entire group.

It also offers the ability to organize conversations into various channels. For example, if you have different projects, one for a general chat, technical support, etc.

Slack also offers video calling, allowing users to speak with colleagues about work and projects in-depth without having to convey information through a DM. This platform isn’t a replacement for cloud storage, but it is possible to drag, drop, and even share files with team members using Slack. It’s even compatible with Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

Perhaps the most appealing benefit of Slack is the free version, even though it has limitations. It allows you to see if this platform is right for you.

Addin Work Hub

This is an Office 365 productivity and collaboration tool that’s uniquely designed to help workers get things done more efficiently and faster. It provides a fully personalized dashboard, which makes it possible to work alone or with a team.

A unique benefit of the Addin Work Hub is the ability to set it up for use with delivery orientated, customer-facing, or operational roles. Some specific benefits of this collaboration tool include:

  • Personalized workspace
  • Easy knowledge transfer
  • Allows staff to work together from any location

With this work hub, you can feel confident that your team can work well together, regardless of location.

Backlog

This is a powerful, feature-rich, yet lightweight team collaboration tool. With this in use, your team can easily organize, discuss, and track the work being done in a single location.

Some key benefits offered by Backlog include:

  • Easily break-up tasks into smaller jobs
  • Easy collaboration
  • Add comments, questions, and suggestions
  • Provide encouragement

Backlog is a free service for up to 10 users. After that, it’s $35 per month for up to 30 users, and you can also opt for self-hosted versions, which starts at $1,200 per year for up to 20 users.

Asana

This is a team collaboration tool that has been around since 2008, which makes it a veteran in this arena. Large companies like TED, Pinterest, Uber, and Intel all use these as their core method of communication.

Asana was designed as an easy-to-use platform that allows companies to easily track employees’ work and ensure the best possible results are achieved. By using the platform, an individual can create to-do lists for any ongoing projects, set reminders for any upcoming deadlines, and even send requests to colleagues.

It’s possible for team members to assign comments to various posts in the app, too. It’s an effective way to remain organized and facilitate conversations regarding the progression of the work.

Wrike

This is considered one of the leading project management software options available today. It allows users to keep track of work, discuss projects, prioritize tasks, and schedule work in real-time. This helps to improve the efficiency and speed of work in distributed and co-located groups.

With Wrike, you have full control and visibility over your tasks, and the system delivers powerful collaborative functionalities and project management capabilities in an intuitively crafted user interface, allowing you to set priorities, align your team to complete projects smarter and faster across your entire organization.

The purpose of Wrike is to help make modern businesses operate more efficiently and productive and make collaboration between remote and in-house workers easier than ever before. When Wrike is used, you have access to a system that lets you plan and make adjustments in real-time from your office or any other location around the world.

Team Collaboration Tools: Which One is Right for You?

If you are looking for the right team collaboration tools, the list here should help you get started. Evaluate each option to find the one that best meets your needs and the needs of your team.

If you are looking for more helpful information about your business, make sure to check out our blog regularly. Our goal is to provide you with the most updated information for your needs and ensure you can find the solutions that benefit you and your entire team.

 

Business

10 Marketing Tools and Supplies You Need to Boost Business

10 Marketing Tools and Supplies You Need to Boost Business


10 Marketing Tools and Supplies You Need to Boost Business

As we are fast approaching sci-fi world standards with things like virtual-reality, smart homes, and digital currencies, there are still some constants. For one, offline marketing tools are still necessary. The standard is now a 50/50 share of digital and offline advertising and marketing investment.

That means that your business needs to incorporate a strong offline and online strategy to succeed. Neglect either one and you could get left behind. Startup or established, your business stands to gain a lot from a variety of marketing tools.

You don’t need a lot of money to acquire a strong marketing suite of tools. A lot of what’s out there can be done with free apps or minimal investment. Most of the offline marketing investment will come from pure hustle.

Are you ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level?

Online Marketing Tools

For the first half of our marketing strategy, we’re going to focus on digital marketing. While there are comprehensive online marketing services, you can automate a lot of it. These are just a few examples.

Buffer for Social Media

Social media marketing is a huge time-sink. Even with a dedicated social media manager, you may not be reaching your full potential. That’s because it’s a delicate balance between too much activity and not enough.

You want to be on multiple social media platforms, but you also want to take advantage of each one’s potential. Duplicating content sharing on each platform isn’t inherently bad, but you definitely want to mix it up. This is where Buffer can help.

All your accounts can be connected into one dashboard. There, you can schedule a balanced ‘drip feed’ of content for each account. This lets you be able to queue up a month’s worth of content in one evening and then just focus on engagement.

Buffer is also great for studying which types of posts work and how frequently you should be posting it.

Growth Hacking

If you’ve never heard of the term “growth hacking” before, don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal. This is just a cool phrase to describe the online version of networking up. Normally, making connections online with experts, industry leaders, and B2B deals happens very slowly.

With tools like Sniply, you can start forming strong bonds with other influencers and industry experts. This platform lets you share content to and from influencers, building rapport, feedback, and trust. Sniply is a two-way street, allowing you to tap into bigger audiences while aligning yourself with interests for long-term benefits.

Website SEO

The tried and true formula of gaining more traffic to all of your accounts is strong SEO. Your website should be checking all of the boxes off for organic SEO:

  • Balanced keyword density
  • Strong meta-description
  • Web page speed optimization
  • Daily content updates
  • Responsive webpage design

Your website’s SEO is important for keeping and retaining the attention of your visitors. It should contain a cohesive theme of branding, promotional materials, unique content, and business information. First-impressions are very important for any long-term marketing strategy.

All potential customers and curious minds should find it easy to navigate your website. Draw them in with your story, make it memorable and relatable. This is an opportunity to create value that goes beyond expensive PPC campaigns.

PR Management

“Big data” is a marketing tool that is actually very accessible to the average business. All you need to do is plug in keywords related to your business (name, products, niche, etc.) and you’ll see in real time how successful your marketing is.

With Google Alerts, you can get email updates for every mention of your brand on the internet. This might be useful for sharing bragging rights on your social media or responding to complaints online.

Social Mention is another powerful tool that does alerts, plus things like Sentiment Analysis. This lets you know off the bat whether there’s positive or negative publicity brewing. It won’t completely replace a PR manager, but it will make the growing pains much easier.

Autoresponders

The most important link in the automated online marketing chain: automated messaging. Email marketing tools are necessary if you want to build a massive following that isn’t tied to just one platform. Email isn’t going to lose relevancy anytime soon.

In order to get a large, active email list, you need an autoresponder. MailChimp is a good one, of course, but we’re going to go with GetResponse. It does everything MailChimp does, including email marketing tools, advanced analytics, surveys, and segmentation.

Add this onto webinar and landing page management, plus web event tracking. It’s just a much bigger ecosystem with a ton of growth potential. GetResponse is like having a team of virtual assistants at your beck and call.

Offline Marketing Tools

The bread and butter of marketing strategies that work. These traditional forms of getting your name into the mouths of others require dedication. The biggest obstacle to making these methods work is ambition.

Cold Calling

Why would someone want to speak with a stranger about products or services they never asked about? Well, people have conversations about things they never considered buying all the time. Cold calling gets a bad rep, mainly due to transparent marketing strategies.

Cold calls can be highly personalized and tailored to never feel predatory. Besides, you know your brand is honest and authentic, it’s just about conveying it to potential customers. Cold calling is also a great opportunity to make strong industry connections.

Use exploratory questioning, respect the recipient’s time, demonstrate value, and don’t ask for the sale. You want the person on the other line to feel in control and voluntarily commit.

Flyers, Posters, and Ads

Traditional advertising is all about getting your brand in front of the most eyeballs as possible. The volume of printing isn’t necessarily what’s most important. Start with a good printing service like New Era Print Solutions, then figure out where you’ll get the most receptive audience.

You can hire a few kids to distribute flyers in public spaces, put up posters in high-trafficked areas, or on windshields (strategically!). Share your ads with various print publications, don’t waste a good ad. We recommend community papers and college papers for the budget-minded.

You can run ads for much longer on the same budget as a single ad in a major newspaper.

Guerilla Marketing

This is probably one of the more precarious forms of marketing. It’s a bit of a gamble, but the payoff can be life-changing. You’ll need to brainstorm a really solid and cohesive strategy here. A publicity stunt needs to be more than just naked advertising, for example.

Do something thematic, engaging, and please incorporate it into some sort of social media activity. A simple hashtag is fine, just make sure you push to get it trending.

Some safe forms of guerilla marketing include theater and dance, pranks, stunts, political satire, and creative graffiti.

Business Cards

Don’t underestimate the power of a good business card. There is some solid science behind the effectiveness of a business card. Making a good first impression starts with being accessible.

By not opting for your standard black and white card with flimsy card stock, you’re telling that person that you value your longevity. You don’t want your business card being filed away with the other dozen or so cards at a convention, for example.

A sturdy, textural, and eye-catching card will stand out. Men who carry wallets will also likely “make room” for your card in their wallet. Survival of the fittest (or the thickest in the case), as they say! New Era Print Solutions has some great designs with high-quality printing that will feel like a piece of art.

Seminars, Events, and Activism

This last category of marketing tools comes in the form of classic networking. Face-to-face connections with real people is how you succeed in life. No matter how great your business plan may be, if you aren’t meeting the right people, it could fade into obscurity.

Seminars are great for obvious reasons: you get to hear pitches or give your own and see real feedback. Expos, conventions, and other related events are just giant punchbowl situations where you can connect with potential partners and clients.

The last category of face-to-face networking is more of a recent trend. By getting involved politically, you can position yourself as more than a business. You don’t even need to be in the midst of the most controversial topics and risk alienating your base.

Just put your name on a few universally-good initiatives and be a brand that is more than business.

Diversify and Grow

We hope this article inspired you to try out a few new marketing tools and strategies. Nothing is worse than that ‘stuck’ feeling of being unable to invest financially in more marketing, yet seeing that flat line of growth. You can work smarter, not harder, by incorporating an array of marketing tactics.

You’ll find more business tips like these on Article City, as well as content opportunities for your brand. Remember to keep adapting and moving, so that your brand never feels stale or outdated.