HGR In The Community

Q & A with furniture designer and F*SHO Founder Jason Radcliffe

Cradle cradenza by Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel

What was the first piece of furniture that you created in 2005?

I built quite a few pieces for friends — things like tables and what not, but the awning I built for a friend’s house in Tremont really stands out the most. It was the first time I realized that I could create and make things useful and functional.

What got you interested in furniture?

Functionally, I needed a desk. I like functional art and things that have a use. Also, I visited my the furniture store where my friend worked, and a customer wanted stainless table with a glass top for a party but if they ordered one for her, it wouldn’t have arrived in time. My friend said, “Here’s my friend who makes furniture. He can make it for you in less than six weeks.” Four days later, she had a stainless-steel frame with a glass top which was the start of my business. My friend asked for two pieces in three sizes, and it just took off.

What did you do as a career prior to your business at 44 Steel?

Welding and fabrication, which I still do, and the furniture business is similar in that I change industrial items into shapes that work.

How and why did the F*SHO come into existence in 2009?

In 2008, I had shown my first pieces of furniture in a solo gallery exhibit then I planned to go to New York for Design Week because I wanted to see what people thought of my work but it cost $5,000 for a booth. I decided that wasn’t affordable. In January 2009, the coordinator from ICFF, part of Design Week, emailed me offering 4’ x 10’ booth for $1600, and I took it. I took the Mousedesk that’s on my website there and kept hearing, “You’re from Cleveland? There’s nothing going on in Cleveland.” When I got back form New York, I had a conversation with five of my furniture friends about what New York was saying about Cleveland. We all decided to give New York a big middle finger and put our own show together and so it came to be. I got five friends together, and we did the show at 78th Street Studios. We had 350 people show up. The next year we needed a bigger space. F*SHO is a contemporary furniture show featuring work by local designers, furniture makers and students from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

How many exhibitors and attendees do you usually have?

In 2016, we had 30 exhibitors and 3,000 attendees. Most of the visitors are from Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.

How are the locations for the moving show selected?

I drive around or someone offers. We are going to continue moving it to different locations until 2019, then we’re handing it off to someone else to pick up the torch.

How do you market the show?

We’ve had articles in Fresh Water Cleveland and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, an interview on Kickin’ It with Kenny and NPR’s Around Noon, word of mouth and social media. People like its style, the romantic feel of only one night and if you’re not there you missed it for the year. It’s a five-hour guerilla show that’s always on a Friday night in September from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. SoHo does the food. We have beer and a coffee bar. Everything is free to the public though we do suggest donations/tips to offset the costs of the food and beer. There’s only a $50 exhibitor fee because we believe in getting us all together, and some new designers don’t have the money.

How and when did you hear about HGR?

I work for my father’s business, Berrington Pumps & Systems, and they are a customer. Then, I made a chair for Ingenuity Festival and a competition called “Chair and Tell.” My dad helped to film the entire process, from walking through HGR buying materials to the fabrication and finishing.

What kinds of things have you bought at HGR?

Mostly stuff for Berrington, not 44 Steel and the furniture business — pumps, parts, filters, storage bins. Then I get to take home scrap and salvage from the business.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working or making furniture?

My wife and I enjoy riding bikes, travel (most recently to Peru), our dog, being outdoors, boating on the lake, and skiing and snowboarding in Colorado.

Which artists inspire you?

Jean Prouvé (French), Pierre Koenig (American) and Viktor Schreckengost (American). Their bodies of work are astounding and groundbreaking, especially Schreckengost!

What was a unique opportunity that you’ve had?

In 2014, two months after Amanda and I were married, I left the business in her hands to go to California to film a furniture-maker reality TV show and competition on SPIKE that was hosted by Hip Hop Artist Common. It aired in 2015. It’s been an exciting journey.

How did you learn to be a furniture designer and maker?

I’m self taught! I found styles and materials that suited what I liked and then started putting it all together. I was always thinking about how I would want to use a desk or a cabinet or a credenza, and that is where my personal fingerprint comes from. If you look at the furniture designers here in Cleveland, we all use similar materials, but we all have our own look and idea of how those materials fit together.

 

Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel in his welding gear

Machinery designer and die maker by day, mad scientist the rest of the time

 

restored high school chandelier
Restored chandelier at Cleveland Heights High School

(Courtesy of HGR Customer and Guest Blogger Christopher Palda)

Christopher Palda

How I became an HGR customer

I heard of HGR Industrial Surplus mainly from word of mouth. I used to deal with McKean Machinery where my boss sent me until it was bought by a New York firm and they got rid of the odds and end. As a result, they lost some customers. Many people that buy the little stuff at HGR see the large ticket items and send others they know who need these items. Employees left McKean to start HGR; so, it was a natural transition. You’ll see some of the things I’ve bought at HGR mentioned in the story below.

Recently, my workplace bought a MIG welder at HGR for the construction of Dan T. Moore Company’s plastic extrusion and rolling machine that is the size of a room. It’s for extruding plastic and rolling it into film. What they had at the welding supply store was not what we needed. We required a 100-percent duty cycle machine that could run all day long and found one at HGR.

What I do for work

I’m a die maker and do die repair, hydraulics, welding, machine tool wiring, basically an industrial maintenance technician who handles anything electrical, hydraulic and mechanical. I work for Mahar Spar Industries. A spar is the main strut in a sailboat, and the founder’s name is Mike Mahar. He started out making spars and sailboat masts in his garage in his spare time, and the business evolved from that point. Many ask me the origin of that unique name. I’ve been there for 20 years, and prior to that I was at NASA Glenn Research Center doing composite metallurgy research for jet engine applications and at the same time on a joint project working at Cleveland State University doing metallurgical research in the chemical engineering department where I built the metallurgy lab.

Some of the things I’ve built

One of the items that I am proud of that mostly came from HGR is a hyperbaric chamber. My doctor said that it would be helpful for my health to use one, but medical insurance wouldn’t cover treatments for this off-label use that was proposed; so, I came to HGR and built my own from used air compressor parts for pennies on the dollar. A new one for medical purposes costs $75,000. They usually are purchased by hospitals and medical facilities to treat diabetic patients with wounds that won’t heal, necrotizing fasciitis, carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning, and scuba diving accidents and are used in clinical studies and trials to increase brain function in people with autism and a few other applications. I am a diver, but luckily haven’t had an accident yet and have not had to use it for that purpose. It cost me about $4,000 to build mine. By dumb luck I found a medical air compressor at HGR normally used in a dental office for the chamber along with a $1,200 medical oxygen regulator for $15 that just needed to be rebuilt. It basically functions as an isolation chamber, and you breathe pure oxygen through a mask as the oxygen regulator increases its output by using the chamber pressure as a reference point.

compressor tank from HGR before it was converted into a hyperbaric chamber
compressor tank from HGR before it was converted into a hyperbaric chamber
hyperbaric chamber side view
outside of completed hyperbaric chamber
inside of handmade hyperbaric chamber made from surplus at HGR Industrial Surplus
inside of finished hyperbaric chamber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bike trail cutting machine
bike trail cutting machine

We do projects for the Dan T. Moore Company, who also is an HGR customer. Dan believes Cleveland doesn’t have enough bike trails; so, he dropped off a small bulldozer and wanted it converted into a bike trail cutting machine. With our custom attachment it became something that looked like a bulldozer, meat grinder, snow blower hybrid. Some of the hydraulic parts came from HGR. He also wanted to build a steel mill in Bolivia at one point in the past, and we were doing a mockup of the process. We needed a large blower. His people were going everywhere else looking for stuff. I found one at HGR that looked and roared like a jet engine that was 125hp, and it worked great!

bakery oven
bakery oven

Additionally, I do maintenance work at a bakery that has a huge electric oven made in Italy that you can’t get parts for; so, you have to manufacture the parts yourself. Its internal electric flash boiler caramelizes the bread giving it that hard crust by explosively filling the deck with wet steam at the beginning of each bake cycle. The original boiler could not keep up and self-destructed. I copied the basic design with some improvements and made one five times larger. Some of its parts came from HGR.

I also work for Whitney Stained Glass Studio doing artistic metalwork restoration and conservation along with fabricating window frames. Projects include the windows at Stan Hywet Hall and the restoration of the outside stained glass lamps for St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood after a bird built a nest in it. The owner turned it on, and it caught on fire, which melted the solder. I had to strip the patina to fix it, which is considered a no no because it was covered in plastic. I said, “Watch me age this thing 100 years in minutes.” I stuck it in bleach and salt water and put power to it like in a plating operation and totally corroded the thing in 40 minutes.

welder from HGR
TIG welder from HGR

To put the hyperbaric chamber together, I needed to purchase a large TIG stick welder. I found a Miller at HGR for a fraction of the cost of a new one. It didn’t work and needed a little TLC, but if I buy it and it doesn’t work out it’s nice to know I can return it within 30 days. I got it for the cost of the copper scrap, gave it a bath, found a simple control issue and brought it back from the dead. It pulls 105 amps at 240 when I’m welding heavy aluminum. I would turn it on and watch the neighbor’s lights dim. Is the problem 2B solved or not to be? That’s the question. A trip down HGR’s Aisle 2B for some capacitors solved the problem, and the neighbor’s lights didn’t dim anymore. The effect is like pouring a glass of beer. You want the beer but not the foam. These capacitors get rid of the electrical equivalent of the foam.

You know the big speaker in the opening scene of Back to the Future? I said to a friend, “Cool, let’s build one.” A 5-hp stereo system was born! The neighbor would call me for requests when I fired it up in the summer while he was cutting his lawn as long as I played his stuff. The neighbors didn’t like heavy metal, and that’s when the heavy metal station Z Rock was on the air and when I hit the heavy-metal stage in my development.

Building a fire-breathing dragon for the play “Reluctant Dragon” at a children’s theater in 1985 was a blast. When I adapted an old CO2 fire extinguisher and put red lights in the mouth and eyes, it worked first rate. My electronics business in my parent’s basement when I was 10 or 11 aided in paying for this lunacy.

broken chandelier
mangled chandelier prior to restoration

Cleveland Heights High Schools auditorium has huge 300-pound chandeliers. One of them dropped about 35 feet while they were trying to change the light bulbs and smashed into smithereens — a mangled, twisted mess. Redoing all the artistic metal work was a challenge while many others at Whitney Stained Glass restored the stained glass globes.

Near-death experiences

Back in the caveman days, there were only five TV stations. You had to have a movie projector to watch movies. My dad got two 35mm machines from a drive-in that went out of business and modified the optics to work in a house. We had a movie theater in our basement. I was born with mechanical ability, but I learned and worked with my dad who also was handy and was a self-taught mechanical and electrical and hydraulic engineer. He designed tooling and stamping dies along with pollution control in power plants. I could set up and operate these machines as a kid, and when my dad took off the TV back to work on it I saw that there was what looked like a small roll of film inside the that I thought had the Bugs Bunny cartoons on it. He yelled, “Don’t touch that! That is the fly back transformer and has 15,000 volts on it!’

He fixed the TV but left back off. One day, while I was watching it, the picture got odd. I realized the cat was inside. When I went to grab the cat so she would not get hurt, she jumped out and my hands landed on the flyback transformer and lit up blue. Afterward, I felt like lightning had hit me. I woke 15 minutes later across the room and had a revelation — that’s why it’s called a flyback transformer because when you grab one that is what you do!

Christopher Palda as a child working on a car
Christopher Palda as a child working on a car

Another time, as a little kid in the car at the gas station, I asked my mom why the man had a garden hose and was putting water in the car. Mom said it was gas but she wished it was water because it’s cheaper. At home, I put five gallons of water in the car to save mom money after I noticed the spout on the lawn mower gas can fit the end of the garden hose. We ended up stranded the next time we drove it.

I’ve had eight various experiments with electricity. It’s amazing that I’m still alive. I wondered how a vacuum cleaner worked. My dad explained the process of how it worked starting with electrons moving in the cord. I had to find out what an electron looked like; so, I opened up paper clips and was determined to go to the outlet and pull one out. I had two paper clips, one in each side. When they touched, there was a fiery explosion that burned my hands. I got to see a lot of electrons!

My vaporizer broke when I was sick. My dad fixed it by making a new part on his lathe. I saw how it opened up when he took it apart. When everyone was gone, I took it apart while it was plugged in and threw handfuls of salt at it with water to watch the explosions. The power main want “bang” as everything went dark in the house. A voice from downstairs yelled, “Christopher, what did you do now?”

HGR’s 2017 STEM scholarship winner visits for lunch and tour

HGR's 2017 STEM scholarship winner

On June 14, Connor Hoffman, winner of HGR’s $2,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) scholarship, took time from his day before lifeguarding to visit HGR, meet its owners and staff, take a tour and have lunch with us during our Wednesday cookout.

As a recent graduate of Euclid High School, he plans to attend the University of Cincinnati this fall as an information technology major. He chose the University of Cincinnati at the recommendation of his teacher because his college credit plus classes in Cisco networking align with the university’s program.

Connor hopes to work in networking or cyber security. When not studying or working, he enjoys gaming and watching Jeopardy in order to challenge his mind and learn new things.

Cleveland artist creates home décor products from reclaimed materials

Susie Frazier in front of welder

I know that your career in reclaimed art started when you rescued broken slate roofing tiles being torn off of buildings. Why did you do that?

I saw the tiles leaning on the side of a random building as raw material that was neglected. There was something so beautiful sitting there broken. It prompted me to buy an industrial-grade wet saw so that I could cut the fragments into small pieces that could be used for creating mosaic surfaces. I guess that I saw myself in the tile as I went through periods of neglect and wanted to be scooped up and turned into something new. It was subconscious. We learn and heal by doing. It was the beginning of my therapy. I went on to create an entire product line of picture frames, mirrors, benches, and tabletop accents that I sold through stores and galleries coast to coast. Now, 20 years later, I design products in a wide variety of reclaimed materials, including wood, steel and glass.

Did you create art prior to that time? Were you always an artist?

I have been selling my handmade creations since I was 14 years old. Eventually, I began freelancing as a graphic designer and worked in sales and marketing. In 1997, I was between jobs and bartending at night so that I could have time to make and sell my functional art during the day. Starting and growing is thematic for me. I found that I missed the process of building with my hands when using a computer all the time, but working with reclaimed construction materials was a bit of an education back then. This was before the term Going Green had been coined or the Maker Movement was a thing; so, people had to be taught about why industrial salvage was so amazing.

How did you go from being an artist to having a business and a fabrication shop that sells to top U.S. companies?

I spent many years selling my handmade art, furniture and gifts at festivals and trade shows across Ohio and beyond. Every year taught me something new about consumer buying habits, my products’ unique selling features, and how to drive more sales. In 2010, I grew out of the festival scene and set up a permanent showroom inside 78th Street Studios. Once I presented my work in a more sophisticated manner with an actual point-of-sale system, I was able to attract more serious customers who wanted me to create custom furniture, wall features, corporate gifts, and high-end home décor. Once the demand grew, I had no choice but to farm out aspects of production to various fabricators I trusted. That was the only way for me to scale.

How has your work evolved?

I went from being known as just a fine artist to being a successful product designer to now expanding into interior design services. Recently, I curated the two-bedroom model suite of a 306-unit multi-family housing development at The Edison at Gordon Square, filling it with custom art and furniture that I designed with the help of many local makers in Cleveland.

Who is your favorite artist?

Andy Goldsworthy, a prominent eco-artist of our time, works with found organic materials to create biomimic outdoor sculptures. He then takes photos as they decompose over time. It’s stunning work. Since I’ve been focusing more on accessories and small furniture these days, I have been very interested in other product designers and what they are doing. I’m a huge fan of Nottingham Spirk and all the products they’ve invented for major brands around the world. They design for function not just beauty, and that’s very important to me.

The Cleveland Bolo, jewelry by Susie FrazierWhat kinds of items are you currently making?

I just launched a new jewelry item a few months ago that I can’t keep in stock – The Cleveland Bolo. It’s made from real leather and scrap pieces of .5” square steel rod from my buddy’s metal shop. It’s very simple but modern. Other makers in town build tables out of reclaimed wood, and, sometimes I will dig through their piles of scrap for discards that I can repurpose into some small product. I call that polyclaiming, when the material is on its second or third generation of being repurposed.

Why did you locate at 78th Street, and why Cleveland?

In 2010, I went out to look for a location where people were already starting to migrate for art and design. 78th Street had the only thing going with dozens of makers in one place, as one destination. Plus they had the marketing and programming to back it up rather than simply being a sleepy live/work building.

I’m from the Southwest – born in Los Angeles but grew up in Scottsdale, Denver and Boulder. The desert and the mountains have definitely influenced my aesthetic. Right out of college in 1992, I married a man from Cleveland, and through that experience I also fell in love with the city. Before that, I had never been further east than the Mississippi. Ultimately, I became fascinated with the organic and industrial paradox of Cleveland, which has inspired my design aesthetic from the beginning. We truly are a forest city.

What made you decide to make Movers & Makers, your TV show that was piloted locally on WKYC and is being shopped to networks right now?

Having been in business for 20 years with a distinct brand around handmade, artistic products, I felt it was time to share my story with a broader audience both inside and outside of Cleveland. The purpose of Movers & Makers as a TV show is to propel the Maker Movement and my role in it through an entertaining platform. I see great value in giving more air time to the creative process and not just to the before and after. Besides, there’s a huge audience of women out there who are strong DIY champions and who are capable of things their mothers weren’t. Through woodworking, welding, and computer technology, they’re making all kinds of things and becoming entrepreneurs in the process. That’s what it’s all about. I love the instant gratification skills, like welding, and showing women how easy it is to try something new without fear. By following the furniture or art projects my team and I work on, Movers & Makers shows America that when you apply your creative mind, amazing things are possible. People don’t have to be intimidated.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working in your studio?

I really enjoy yoga, which grounds me physically and spiritually, but I’m a huge fan of horses, hiking, walks along the beach and dancing. I was also an all-state shortstop in high school; so, I love throwing the baseball around. Three years ago, I got behind an indie folk rock band as a manager and helped them produce and promote two albums. I have three kids — 15, 13 and 12; so, I guess I just wanted them to see by example how to experience the richness of life.

Have you shopped at HGR?

In 2010, I became a customer when I heard about HGR from a guy in my building. I told him that I was looking for a rolling cart. He sent me to HGR where I met Tom Tiedman, my salesman, with whom I’ve worked all these years. I’ve repurposed carts, cleaned them up, and inlaid reclaimed wood to make killer side tables. Recently, I bought a bin of washers that were welded into a sculptural award for Crain’s Cleveland Business. I’ve also purchased practical things like filing cabinets and office equipment.

What’s next?

In the coming weeks, my partners at Mont Surfaces and I are launching a webisodes series about my Reflective Design philosophies for creating a sense of calm through various home improvement decisions. I’m a big fan of designing mindful spaces, so the furnishings, the materials, and the colors support well-being. Sourcing salvage items that hold special meaning for the homeowner is a huge part of that. The series will be posted at www.susiefrazier.com, or you can come to one of 78th Street Studios art walks, called THIRD FRIDAYS, taking place on the third Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. We will most likely run this on a monitor throughout the night.

What is your philosophy?

Making the brokenness beautiful.

coffee table from recycled wooddriftwood wall design

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Shipping Department

HGR's Shripping Department on a ship

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Doug Cannon, HGR’s transportation coordinator)

What does your department do?

Our department works in concert with the sales team and customers who require shipping services. We provide a shipping cost that we honor, and then proceed with the preparation and logistics of transportation when the opportunity is granted. We network with outside providers, such as a 3PL, specialized trucking brokers, LTL carriers, private long-haul carriers and local delivery services. They are, in turn, the marketing partners that complete the final leg of the sale. We select the appropriate mode of transportation as dictated by the nature of the products being shipped and the receiving capacity of the customer.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

There are six employees in our group. Collectively, we all serve the goal of safely and economically transporting products to their ultimate destination in a timely manner. Doug Cannon and Dan Farris help to guide the sales staff on selling transportation and then executing the arrangements. Donovan Barton, Audley Wright and Dane Ferrell serve as custom carpentry designers for surplus. They build crates and pallets customized for the items being shipped by applying their creativity to condense the footprint and thus decrease the cost. Their skill sets are impressive. Jim Gubics is the LTL coordinator for shipments leaving on common carriers. He is the gatekeeper for ensuring these orders are accurate prior to leaving the building. Jim also works in several software programs where he updates in-house information, as well as emailing our customers their tracking numbers. He communicates with LTL dispatchers and drivers and loads them, as well.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

HGR buys and sells thousands of different items. They come in a great variety of weights and dimensions. So, success in our department requires individuals to possess many qualities. “Attention to detail” tops the list as no compromise. Then, to achieve success, we need to be highly organized, flexible, communicate well, and exercise imagination and creativity to provide the best solution to each purchase. No two shipments are the same; so, cookie-cutter solutions are far and few between.

What do you like most about your department?

The mutual understanding and respect the group has for each other and the tasks at hand. We genuinely like each other and the company we work to keep.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

One of our biggest challenges occurred several years ago when HGR totally revamped the process by which it does international trade. This has had a large impact on shipping. We now devote extensive amounts of time on export compliance issues as we work under the guidelines of the Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security. The purpose is to protect The United States’ security and interests. The focal point at HGR is to identify machinery that could have “dual purpose” and to screen the international buyers to verify that they are not on our government’s “denied parties list.” Dan Farris has spearheaded this facet of shipping responsibilities and has served as both a mentor to Sales and a guardian to HGR and our community.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

Changes have been made in the way we service our sales staff, our customers and our community. Processes have been implemented to ensure our sales staff is provided with a transportation quote for every sales transaction that is not a customer pickup. We even provide quotes for items not sold, where customers are simply shopping and trying to determine their total “all-in” costs. These services are of tremendous convenience to the customer and help them to make a more informed decision. We take care to quote accurately and honor all quotes. Changes in international export help us to make sure we make our country a safer place to live.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

The future is today. Every employee in our group is dedicated to continuous improvement. It is one of HGR’s core values. We don’t rest on yesterday’s success, and know that we are only as good as we are today.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The Euclid, Ohio, facility is a beehive of activity! A collection of 70 employees perform specific roles while networking with other departments to achieve our end goal. It is a setting of perpetual communication among employees, both verbally and electronically. In the forefront is a revolving carousel of industrial surplus entering the building to be inventoried, displayed on our showroom floor, sold, and loaded on a myriad of outbound vehicles, trailers and containers.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

Primarily, I view HGR as the liaison for vendors that possess material assets and for those that seek them at an economical cost. HGR provides the service of immediate asset recovery to its vendors and spares them the distraction and expense of seeking an interested end user, as well as the logistics of the transfer. Buyers around the world can visit our showroom or browse our website and economically secure machinery, parts and unique items not found elsewhere. By virtue of its business model, HGR is a participant in the world’s interest of recycling.

Former Walsh Jesuit High School student designs industrial products

Brenna Truax

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Brenna Truax, a sophomore University of Cincinnati industrial design student)

I am a 2016 graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School, where I excelled in math and sciences, while developing my interest in the visual arts. I became interested in photography and co-founded the school’s Photograph Club. I completed several sets of senior pictures for my peers. The art teachers at Walsh Jesuit, Mrs. Doreen Webber (emeritus), Ms. Karen Forfia, and Ms. Cheryl Walker provided guidance and unique perspectives.

The University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning Department is nationally recognized in industrial design and architecture. I originally planned to pursue a career in architecture and learned of the industrial design program while on a tour of the university. I immediately recognized my deep interest in product design.

In early May, I was contacted by Mr. Eric Dimitrov, my former physics teacher at Walsh Jesuit, regarding the opportunity to design industrial-themed office equipment and art for HGR Industrial Surplus’ newly renovated offices in Euclid, Ohio. After meeting with Gina Tabasso, HGR’s marketing communications specialist, we toured the facility and collected various items to use for my projects and for Walsh Jesuit’s Fabrication and Engineering clubs. So far, I have used the materials to design a series of desktop organizers, a coat rack, and a planter. Thanks to Mr. Dimitrov and Akron Makerspace, I am working to complete these projects by the end of July.

Stay tuned for future photos of how they turned out!

Grammar tips: Homophones

homophone meme

Homophones comes from the Greek words “homo” meaning “same” and “phone” meaning “voice or utterance.” They’re words that sound the same but mean something completely different. You know them well – aloud and allowed, compliment and complement, threw and through, paws and pause, pale and pail, ate and eight, knew and new, rode/rowed/road, scent/sent/cent, flew/flue/flu, buy/by/bye, their/there/they’re, your and you’re, it’s and its, two/to/too, and very similar words that are not quite homophones, such as loose and lose, then and than, effect and affect, ensure and insure, and definitely and defiantly. Some homophones are also homographs because they are spelled the same: rose (the flower) and rose (got up or ascended) or bear (the animal) and bear (to tolerate).

Now, we’re getting somewhere. That was fun, wasn’t it? You could keep going with that list. Some others probably came to mind right away.

I bet you might say, “Nah, I don’t have that problem. I use spell check in Word.” Guess again. There are about 25 homophones that most spell checkers won’t catch, according to grammarly.com. Nothing beats knowing the meaning of words or using a dictionary when in doubt. Sometimes, it’s about what part of speech the word is as it’s used in the sentence.

Here’s a small list of common homophones so that you can avoid sounding silly and impress your friends on Facebook and your coworkers in email:

  • Than (making a comparison) or then (sequence of events)
    • You ran faster today than you did yesterday.
    • You ran fast then you took a rest.
  • Two (the number), too (also) and to (toward)
    • I gave two dollars to Sarah, too.
  • Your (possessive) and you’re (you are)
    • You’re very protective of your new car.
  • There (place), their (possession) and they’re (they are)
    • Their home is something they’re proud of. We enjoy going there.
  • A while (noun phrase)or awhile (adverb)
    • It’s been a while since they hung out but they didn’t mind waiting awhile until the next time.
  • Everyday (adjective meaning common or routine) or every day (means each day)
    • He wore his green everyday shirt every day of the week.
  • Accept (to receive) or except (to exclude)
    • Everyone except Jim could accept that the fishing trip was cancelled.
  • Affect (to influence) or effect (something that was influenced)
    • They didn’t realize how the scary special effects would affect the kids.
  • Compliment (noun) or complement (verb)
    • The winemaker received a compliment on the red wine that seemed to complement each dish on the menu.
  • Ensure (make certain), insure (protect financially) or assure (everything’s okay)
    • I want to assure you that my priority is to ensure that my kids stay healthy; so, I insure them on my medical plan.

Local photographer has an eye for urban decay

Model at HGR for Steve Bivens Photography

Collinwood Photographer Stephen Bivens stopped by HGR’s offices on May 23 for a Q&A and to conduct a photo shoot with his model, Felissa. He chose HGR for the juxtaposition between elegant and industrial/urban. He will be using the photos on his new website and social media.

Tell us about your style of photography.

I’m interested in industrial spaces, old bridges, urban decay, condemned houses or vacant houses. I learned on film and in black and white. I still tend to shoot that way. I send my film away to be developed. I have a studio in my home but I do not have my own darkroom.

How did you hear about HGR?

I talked to Industrial Artist Larry Fielder of Rust, Dust & Other 4-Letter Words when I was looking for an industrial space in which to shoot models. He’s an HGR customer and suggested the location.

When did you seriously get interested in photography?

About 12 years ago I bought a 35mm pocket camera with film and started taking pictures of people. People thought it was cool and began to pay me to take their portraits. I started reading books and buying cameras.

What brought you to Collinwood?

I worked in Tampa for Progressive in sales and marketing. I was promoted and moved to the headquarters in Cleveland. At first, I lived in Mayfield Village close to the office. My then-girlfriend, now-wife lived in Collinwood. We used to go to a coffee shop and an art gallery there. We volunteered to be sitters in the gallery to keep it open for visitors. The area is really cooperative with artists, and the artists are cooperative with sharing locations, methods and secret sources. After I left Progressive, we moved back to Florida to follow my ex-wife and kids, but when they moved out West, we moved back to Collinwood.

Who have you photographed?

I got in with a group of artists and bands then did tour photography, mostly hip hop and rock. To do so, I had to take vacations from work. About five years ago, I left Progressive to do photography full time. For three months, I had no work then slowly it picked up. To supplement my income, I shot portraits. I take photos at The Beachland Ballroom and drive to regional concerts now. I shoot the photos for the bands to use promotionally. I’ve worked with local businesses such as Six Shooters Coffee and at The Crossfit Games.

Who is the most memorable person that you have shot?

I was LeBron James’ party photographer during his rookie year. I also loved shooting Alternative/Folk/Country Artist Jessica Lea Mayfield.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t shooting photos?

I’m a former Marine. I like to shoot guns, too. I love music and concerts, especially grunge.

Model at HGR for Steve Bivens Photographyblack and white photo by Stephen Bivens Photography at HGR Industrial Surpluscolor photo of aisle at HGR Industrial Surplus by Stephen Bivens PHotographyModel in front of graffitt at HGRPhotos provided courtesy of Stephen Bivens Photography

Fabricator makes metal sculptures from gears, machined parts and scrap

steampunk gun
Steampunk gun

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger and HGR Customer Merritt Geddes, Creative Designs & Customs)

My love of art started at a very young age. Before I was able to read, I also enjoyed looking at movie posters and comic books that my brother had. I loved the use of many bright colors and the way the characters were drawn. I would often draw my favorite Star Wars characters Darth Vader and Boba Fett. My mother was a great help in this in that she taught me how to draw by using simple shapes to make a complex picture.

art deco lamps
Art Deco lamps

I love doing what I do because I find it fun to make something from nothing and the challenge that it brings. I’ve worked with markers, watercolors, oil paint clay, wood, and steel. I like working with steel the most because of the unlimited possibility with it and the fact that I’ve been a welder and fabricator for more than 15 years. I started out just making stuff for myself and found that a lot of people really like my stuff and were willing to pay the prices asked for them.

So, after a while, I started my own side business of making my metal sculptures and selling them in my friend’s art studio. This took off, and I began selling in other studios in other cities and states about 10 years ago. I still work as a fabricator because it’s a steady pay check.

My current project that I’m working on is an 8-foot shark and a 12-foot robot. The shark should only take a couple of months but the robot might take a year or more because I am still in the process of getting parts. I get about a third of my parts from HGR because it’s less of a hassle than digging through the scrap yard. I get mostly gears and machined parts that I use to make my pieces of art look more interesting. I get my inspiration from watching Sci-Fi movies and Anime.

When I’m not working on one of my sculptures, I am usually riding my bike through the bike trails in Oberlin or in the parks. I guess what I could say to other makers is that you should do what you enjoy doing and learn from others as much as possible. It will make you better at what you are already doing.

metal skeleton
Skeleton warrior

Hot dogs and hamburgers return to HGR

graill cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers

On June 7, Chef George Carter, HGR employee Jesse Carter’s brother, will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for our traditional free cookout for HGR customers every Wednesday this summer from 11-1. Chef Carter worked for more than 40 years as a chef for Holiday Inn and still works nights as a chef at The Cleveland Improv. Stop in to say hello to him and grab a hot dog or hamburger while you shop.

 

Enter to win HGR’s June 2017 “guess what it is” Facebook contest

Stitcher for sale at HGR

Head to our Facebook page to guess what piece of equipment or machinery is pictured. To participate you MUST meet the following three criteria: like our Facebook page, share the post, and add your guess in the comments section. Those who guess correctly and meet these criteria will be entered into a random drawing to receive a free HGR T-shirt or other cool items.

Click here to enter your guess on our Facebook page by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 19, 2017. A winner will be drawn and announced the following week.

Q&A with Claudia Young, co-owner of Euclid pizzeria Citizen Pie

pizza oven at Citizen Pie

Who are the owners of Citizen Pie?

Vytauras Sasnauskas, Claudia Young and Paulius Nasvytis

 

What did you each do before forming Citizen Pie?

Vytauras (aka V) was the owner and chef at Americano in Bratenahl Place. Claudia was in the music business in Nashville. Paulius owns The Velvet Tango Room.

 

Why was Collinwood selected as your location?

Paulius grew up in Collinwood. Alan Glazen of GlazenUrban, a private community development corporation, brought us to the location, and we liked it. Collinwood, and Waterloo specifically seemed like a perfect spot for our first location. We could start small and grow with the community. We have grown to love and respect our neighborhood. It is filled with so many great people.

 

What made you decide to go in together and open a pizzeria?

We have been close friends of V, and he wanted out of the restaurant business since pizza was his 10-year hobby, and we just thought it sounded like a great idea to open a shop. Again, Alan Glazen was very instrumental in coming up with the idea to do the pizzeria. It just made sense. We all said “yes” and never looked back.

 

Of all the toppings that you can put on a pizza, how was the menu decided?Vyatauras Sasnauskas, chef and co-owner of Citizen Pie

That’s all V. He tends to get his best inspiration in the shower. But, really, V has a brilliant mind when it comes to food. He is an amazing talent.

 

I hear that your pizza sells out fast. When’s the best time to come by?

No slices are available. We sell 12-inch pies only. We rarely run out of dough, but it has happened about a dozen times in 18 months.

 

Do you have specials?

We always have one rotating special – about one per month.

 

How does V stay so thin eating all that pizza?

I’m not sure, but I hate him for it. Big time. (The man rarely stops moving.)

 

Why is the shop called “Citizen Pie?” I know V grew up under Soviet occupation.

The name came to me, and I just really liked it. The name Citizen Pie is really not about V’s life in Lithuania.

 

What do you do when you are not making pizza?

V is a busy man with two active kids and a big yard, but he loves to cook. It’s his true passion. He is also a big Cavs fan!

 

Any plans to franchise or open additional locations?

Yes. We are opening this summer on W. 25th St. We’re under construction right now.

 

Where do you buy most of your ingredients?

Every ingredient we use is seriously considered. You just have no idea… so, our sources are pretty spread out.

 

Where is the next place you want to travel?

Back to Italy

Pizza being made at Citizen Pie

Grammar tips: Apostrophes

Grumpy Cat apostrophe meme

Did you know that Aug. 16 is International Apostrophe Day? We’re celebrating early because we all could use a little grammar refresher to dust off the cobwebs that have accumulated since grade school.

HGR’s Marketing Department decided to create a regular grammar tip for our employees on common grammar errors that we see in written and email communications. As the resident writer/blogger, I decided, “Why not share that info with our customers and help everyone become more effective communicators?”

Let’s get to it! Apostrophes are a lot like commas and hyphens in the sense that they are a mark of punctuation that many people do not know how to use properly; so, we throw them in where they don’t belong and leave them out where they do belong. Usually, this happens when forming plural words or when showing possession, but I see it with contractions.

Here are some examples:

  • We are implementing managements new goals. (need an apostrophe in management’s to show it is possessive; whose goal is it? It’s management’s goal.)
  • We are one of the best company’s to work for. (companies not company’s since this word is plural not possessive; you would say, “We follow the company’s employee handbook.”)
  • Who’s goal is it? (wrong word; should be whose since “who’s” means who is)
  • Having perfect attendance deserves it’s own reward or Spring is on it’s way. (its not it’s since it’s is a contraction meaning “it is.”)
  • You’re valuables are safe in the locker. (wrong word; “you’re is a contraction meaning “you are” while “your” is a possessive pronoun showing who the valuables belong to)
  • Lets clock out for break. (apostrophe needed in the contraction for “let us” to form “let’s”)

You get the idea! You may think these examples are obvious, but they are actual examples that I have seen in the past. To avoid these mistakes and sound more professional in your (not you’re) writing, here are some rules of thumb when NOT to use an apostrophe:

  • In possessive pronouns (whose, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs)
  • In nouns that are plural but not possessive (CDs, 100s, 1960s)
  • In verbs that end in –s (marks, sees, finds)

Another tip: Make sure that you’re using the correct word in your writing because often they’re misused when you confuse their with they’re and you’re with your or it’s with its.

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing and rapid prototyping: What’s the difference?

Keyboard with 3D print key

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Liz Fox, senior marketing associate, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network)

If you type “additive manufacturing” into Google, thousands of results pop up, including everything from magazines to materials manufacturers to membership organizations devoted to the subject.

Many of these sites also use the terms “3D printing,” “additive manufacturing,” and “rapid prototyping” interchangeably, which brings up an important question: are these really all the same, or are crucial differences being overlooked?

Let’s start with the basics. Additive manufacturing is a methodology made up of new processes that have been developed during the last 30 years. While these vary on a technical level, all of them involve quickly building components layer-by-layer or drop-by-drop using printers and digital files. This differs from traditional manufacturing processes (such as CNC machining) because it builds up rather than takes away; thereby, constructing something from scratch instead of chipping away at existing material to form a specific shape or object.

At the root of it all, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are one and the same. While most experts prefer “additive,” “3D printing” has become a buzzword that resonates more with the average consumer, as well as the new class of makers that’s emerged in the last 10 years. Some debate this theory, but in our experience, it extends little beyond personal preference, like calling soda “pop” or vice versa.

Rapid prototyping is a different story. While additive and 3D printing describe a process, rapid prototyping is a way to use that technology, specifically in a testing environment and/or for design purposes that have little or nothing to do with service applications. The phrase “fail fast, fail cheap” often applies to this practice, as additive tech allows manufacturers to experiment with different ideas, designs, and functions without worrying too much about the cost of materials. Some options include Color Jet Printing (CJP), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and Stereolithography (SLA), which have been used to create things as diverse as car components, toys, and surgical implants.

Regardless of its applications, 3D printing continues to revolutionize the manufacturing sector. As current tech is improved upon and new methods are developed, these innovations are impacting companies for the better by offering a faster, cheaper alternative to using traditional processes and materials.

Check out how MAGNET is helping manufacturers harness the power of additive manufacturing capabilities in their products and processes:

For more information, call MAGNET at 216.391.7766, visit manufacturingsuccess.org, or follow us on Twitter at @MAGNETOhio!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A-Tech Machinists soar to new heights at National Robotics League competition

National Robotics League competition

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jamie Joy, daughter of Ron Maurer, A-Tech Machinist’s coach and advisor)

I well remember the day. “Fighting robots?” I guess I had envisioned a tower of blocks with arms and legs throwing punches; I was skeptical at best. However, my dad had a completely different vision in mind. He’d just come home after visiting a National Robotics League competition. He imagined leading a group of young men and women, the next generation to enter the machining industry in which he’d spent his career, to construct from scratch a robotically engineered machine to face competitors with a high-speed, hardened tool-steel weapon. Though I wanted to be supportive, I can’t say I fully understood. That is until that first day of competition. It didn’t take long for myself, as well as the rest of our family, to realize the vision in which my father had spent countless hours striving. Even my two-year-old, at the time, came home battling his graham cracker halves against each other. We’d all caught the fever. Yet, behind the sound of grinding steel and robots sent flying through the air in three minute rounds, has always been the educational component.

Most schools are not fortunate enough to use classroom time to brainstorm, build and perfect their robots. However, A-Tech students, who are training to go into the machining industry after graduation, get the full spectrum of education from conception to final build, from battle to battle. They learn to meld ideas, strategies and concepts to create a robot that will withstand their competitors’ attacks. Throughout the school-year-long process, the students are hands on, machining raw material into each specific component of the robot’s assembly — weapon, axles, wheels, frame rails, base plates, etc. In addition to the parts it takes to assemble one robot, they compile enough for three complete machines, in the event that damage caused to the robot will call for a replacement component the day of the battle. Then the robot is assembled and analyzed on weapon speed, belt tightness, weight limits, drive control, etc. with adjustments made as needed. Finally, through a timed obstacle course, the drivers are selected, final tweaks made and the robot declared battle ready. With the investment of their time comes each student’s goal: Defeat the opposition, which makes success sweeter when it comes.

This year, A-Tech did just that, coming out on top for a second consecutive year at Lakeland Community College in the AWT RoboBots competition where they took home the first-place trophy from 25 opposing teams. This time, however, with the bragging rights of going undefeated throughout the day. At the National Robotics League competition in California, Pa., through a double-elimination bracket, the A-Tech Machinists tied for 13th place out of 64 teams. It was another great year of competition for not only the fans not only in the stands, but also those watching the live broadcast from home. 

Though, if you asked my dad, his greatest achievement wasn’t another trophy. It was the opportunity to instill in the next generation lessons in both the machining industry and in life, through a hunk of metal. In fact, 10 financial sponsors have backed that mission to be a part of the change in Ashtabula County: to teach through experience and personal investment the value of hard work. The hum of the weapon, sparks flying on contact, curling metal, bots rendered useless then reconstructed are just the surface. Behind all of it, is a draw for students to realize the necessity of the machining industry as they gain the skills to succeed within it. This year I brought home two excited kiddos who took foam building blocks, constructed their own “robots” with unique names and battled them against each other in makeshift rounds. I may be a little biased, but I’m so thankful that my dad had the foresight to see this thing through and the momentum from year to year to keep pushing his students to greater heights. It isn’t just the students who are all the better for it.

 

Teacher helps industrial arts student with projects

Brenna Truax welding

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Eric Dimitrov, Walsh Jesuit High School teacher)

I am a high school teacher (I see you help Euclid and other high schools) who has a student, Brenna Truax, currently enrolled in The University of Cincinnati’s industrial design program. In the program she will be in a studio space where she will working with various media, including wood, plastic and metal. Our school is great but does not offer industrial arts; so, I have been helping her prepare. I am a self-taught welder (actually bought my stick welder from HGR), and I have been working with her to craft some industrial-art-based projects. In the photo, we’re working to make a light from a cam shaft.

I told her about some of the art and cool furniture HGR has. And so, we will be making a trip to look at it. I cannot promise that the final project(s) would look nice enough for your new office space, but it is for a student to learn on and work with. I am thinking big nuts, gears, shafts — materials we can work to weld into a sculpture or shelving or table legs.

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