Hey, Mom: Time to Order Some Laser Cut Metal

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At the risk of sounding like my parents, life was once much simpler. Take the Internet. When I was a kid, there was no such thing. The only time you heard anything even close to “online” was when you caught a fish, as in “Hey, I got a walleye on my line,” or when you answered the rotary phone, covered the mouthpiece, and shouted, “Hey Mom, your creepy cousin Ted is on the line.” She didn’t much care for that.

Today, everything is online. We exchange messages with people online, listen to music and watch movies online, receive phone calls from our weird relatives online, share photos and sign legal documents and search for Mr. or Mrs. Right online. If it weren’t for the Internet, it seems to me that life as we know it would come to a screeching halt.

A similar story can be told about shopping. My Mom didn’t like it when I made fun of Ted, but she sure did like bargains. Sears Roebuck, Piggly Wiggly, Woolworth’s—if there was a sale anywhere in town, she’d grab her purse, jump in her lime green 1971 Cadillac, and she was out of there. Unless she ran out of room in the Eldorado’s cavernous trunk, we wouldn’t see her again until dinner, which was usually a Swanson’s TV dinner on those gloriously quiet days.

Here again, shopping has changed dramatically, and thanks to the aforementioned Internet, is also online. You can load up a virtual shopping cart with everything from strawberries to a washing machine to a shiny new car (even a Cadillac), enter your credit card information, and have your items delivered by tomorrow or even this afternoon (the Cadillac might take a little longer, sorry).

And while you might not be able to squeeze the fruit or kick the tires, even Mom would admit that yes, there are still plenty of bargains. You can even sketch out a design for a metal bird feeder, upload it to an online sheet metal cutting service, and a day or two later, be watching the chickadees feasting on sunflower seeds in your back yard.

That brings us to the third part of this “Geez, look how old I’m getting” soliloquy. It goes hand in hand with the whole online shopping thing. Since I mentioned custom metal cutting, it’s only fair to reminisce about lasers for a moment. They haven’t been around as long as the rotary phone from which I fielded Ted’s phone calls, but close. Invented in 1960 by a braniac named Theodore Maiman (no, not the same Ted, unfortunately), lasers were quickly put to use cutting sheet metal. Those pre-Reagan era CO2 dinosaurs were nothing like the ones we have today, however.

That’s because metal cutting lasers have gone solid state, just like our televisions, computer hard drives, and yes, telephones. They use fiberoptic cables to transmit high-energy beams of coherent light, beams with enough power to quickly slice up sheets of aluminum, steel, brass, copper, and even titanium, or to slowly dissect British secret agents named Bond, James Bond (sorry for yet another childhood memory).

That’s what we do here at SendCutSend (cut up metal that is, not British agents). We turn metal into spiffy-looking storefronts, repair parts for machinery, sculptures for that special someone in your life, or yes, bird feeders for chickadees. It’s all done online, just like ordering something from Etsy or Amazon. And as Mom would appreciate, it’s a bargain—prices start at $29 per order, and delivery is free if you can wait a couple days.

How does it work? Just create an account and upload a drawing. It takes about five minutes, even less if you’ve managed to get your browser’s autofill feature to work (I’m still struggling). Once you have all that tedium behind you, our automated system will generate a quote. If there’s a hiccup, you’ll know right away, at which time you can correct whatever is messed up, request a custom quote, or just call us if you’re thoroughly confused.

It usually goes pretty smoothly, though, at which point ordering is as simple as entering a shipping address and payment information, then clicking the big red COMPLETE ORDER button. We’ll cut your creation on one of our fiber lasers, pack it securely, and send it your way. It might not be as much fun as shopping for day-old bread at the Piggly Wiggly, but it’s close.

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We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush Standoff, 4-40, .250" Zinc plus Clear Chromate

Thread Size4-40 x .250″
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).168″
Minimum sheet thickness0.040″
Maximum sheet thickness.125″
Fastener materialSteel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.230″
When determining the distance between two or more fasteners, you can calculate the distance by the formula, C/L to edge + 1/2 the diameter of the second mounting hole..314″
Recommended panel materialSteel/Aluminum
Coating typeZinc
Aluminum material ranges (5052, 6061, 7075)0.040″-0.125″
Steel material ranges (CRS, HRPO, HR)0.048″-0.119″