Events: Call For Entries

The 2014 Seattle Design Festival is fast approaching! But even sooner is the deadline for entries into Showcase 2014, which will manifest in the form of a gallery and pop-up shops this year.  Who should consider entering into Showcase 2014? All designers in all media!

With a theme of Design in Motion, the jury will be looking at “everything from architecture to furniture, products to toys plus interactive and graphic design, film and video design.” So, we know that our Maker community has a lot to offer here.

Monday, August 4th: Application deadline at 12 midnight (PDT). Call for Entry applications can be found at the Showcase 14 website.




SDF2014 Block Party | Sept. 6th – 7th |Occidental Plaza, Occidental Ave. S

The design festival itself will take place September 5 – 19th, and includes a variety of workshops, tours, talks, films and gatherings. Some of the fun public events include a block party at Occidental Plaza, scavenger hunt, and a dance with live music and performance art. There will also be many lectures, displays and of course the pop-up shops!

Find the full event list at the DesignInPublic website.

New! Brass Square Tube

Brass Square TubesWe’ve checked around and this is a very hard-to-find product!  Which of course makes us happier than should be reasonable to offer a large range of sizes, all cut-to-size, of new Square Brass Tube.

Square Brass Tube is commonly used by architects, interior designers and hobbyists. It has great qualities for marine applications, and as a complement to other materials in woodworking and furniture making.

OnlineMetals is offering Square Brass Tube in sizes ranging from .25″ x .032″ to 4″ x .062″ and, of course, it is also available in custom lengths, from 1″ up to 8′ long.

Shop for Square Brass Tube Now >>

DIY: LED Light Storage Box

This custom box was designed and constructed by an OLM team member to store and display Skylander game characters in style.  Watch the video to see how the LED lightshow, with remote control of course, creates the perfect mood for any gamer haven.

The wooden box was fitted with materials from OnlineMetals, including a Polypropylene 3/16″ sheet – natural; Brass Angle; and 1 strip of 12v LED lights (Lights with remote available on

The hinged lid allows for the characters to be stored inside the box, when not on display on the lighted surface. A small hole bored in the front (top left) edge of the box allows the remote signal to pass to the LED lights. Brass handles also make it easy to get the box and characters out for play time!


DIY: Make a Copper Bangle

copper-tube-jewelry-makingCrafting your own metal jewelry can be a satisfying obsession. A great place to get started is with a simple copper bangle. One piece of material and a few household tools are all you need!


  • One piece copper tube - select the diameter equal to the width of the bracelet you want  (for example a 1″ diameter tube will be 1″ across when flattened.)  A thinner wall will also be easier to flatten.)
  • Saw
  • Rolling pin - or a wooden mandrel if you’re fancy
  • Sledge hammer or heavy mallet (hand sized – no cement breaker needed!)
  • Safety goggles
  • Vise – or steel plate
  • Sand paper


  • Measure your wrist and cut the piece of copper tube to the same length
  • Secure your goggles!
  • Place tube on steel plate base and strike it with the sledge/mallet
  • Continue hammering until the tube is flattened
  • Hold flattened piece to rolling pin and roll it around the pin until a “C” shape forms
  • Sand off any rough edges from cut ends. Marks from hammering can also be removed with fine grit sand paper.
  • If you like your bracelet shiny and untarnished you can paint it with decoupage lacquer or special metal polish. Or, you can let nature take it’s course and see how it patinas!


Events: Contests & Fairs Happening Now!

Summer is a great time to get outside and explore some DIY fun!  Whether attending a Maker Faire or spending more time in your shop, here’s some ideas on places to go and contests to enter in the next week.


Image from

1. Maker Faire Detroit

WHEN: July 26-27, 2014. 9:30 am – 6 pm

WHERE: The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.

WHAT: “An award winning, family friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability and more.”

You’ll have a chance to meet entrepreneurs, see live demos and performers, watch races and tour the expo!

2. Instructables | SummmerMikeHacks (#mikehacks)


Oil Drum BBQ Smoker – one of many contest entries to-date!

WHEN: Open for entries now through August 25th

WHERE: Online at

WHAT: Show off your best hacks for summer and enter to win prizes! Entries range from delicious recipe short-cuts, to wearbles and handy home-smoker plans.

We’d love to share your inventions too!  Send us a photo of your projects and your story at

Is Metal Sustainable?

Being in the new metal materials industry, I often wonder about environmental sustainability. Where does it come from? Where does all the scrap go? Is it recycled into anything useful?

recycled-aluminum-sculptureI recently reconnected with a guy I grew up with, and it turns out he works for CASS, Inc., a metal recycling company that works to take scrap aluminum, steel, copper, nickel, and zinc and processes them into ingots and usable metal materials for customers. They are ISO 14001 certified, and committed to re-producing environmentally sustainable materials.

Their processes use less energy and create less pollution than the production of new materials. CASS is based out of Oakland, California.

They have several quotes on their website that are worth sharing:

metal-recycling“Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2500 lbs of iron ore, 1400 lbs of coal, and 120 lbs of limestone.”


“Once manufactured, aluminum can be recycled repeatedly, using only 5% of the energy, and generating only 5% of the emissions, associated with primary production.”


Recycling Facts

  • The US annually recycles enough copper to provide the copper content for 26,000 Statues of Liberty.
  • Recycling aluminum creates 97% less water pollution than manufacturing aluminum from virgin ore.
  • On average, the US processes enough ferrousscrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • Recycling steel requires 60% less energy than producing it from virgin ore.
  • Energy saved using aluminum scrap vs virgin material is up to 92%.
  • Using recycled copper saves up to 90% of the energy needed to make new copper from virgin ores.

That’s food for thought!  More information about metals recycling can be found here, at the CASS website.

Also, learn more about OnlineMetals Sustainability programs and recent Envirostar award!

-Guest Post by OnlineMetals staffer, Whitney Clem

Summer 2014: The 9 Now Picks in Plastics

Just in time to refresh your ideas for summer projects! Here’s the 9 Now Plastics, chosen by our in-house plastics expert as the must-try materials for machining, structural and marine projects.

With small pieces cut-to-size it’s easy to practice working with these materials.  So, get experimenting!plastic-sheet-rod-cut-to-size

  1. HDPE Marine Board: Stocked in 3 colors
  2. UHMW Sheet: Inexpensive, yet durable & slippery too!
  3. Lighting White Acrylic Sheet: 40% light transmission
  4. PVC Sheet: corrosion resistant to the max!
  5. Polypropylene sheet: Available in natural & black
  6. HDPE Cutting Board: Get it in 3 gauges
  7. Polycarbonate Clear Sheets: Nearly unbreakable!
  8. GPO3: UL rated insulating material
  9. Nylatron GSM: Great for wear pads and gears

We currently have 75 different grades of plastic in stock. Any of these plastics can be cut-to-size, with no minimum order at a low…low price!

If you try something new, send us a pic and let us know how your summer projects are going!