Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How Atlas Bronze Could Help if Santa's Sleigh Broke Down on Christmas Eve

          Every Christmas Eve, countless children lie restlessly in bed, thinking about all the toys that they hope to find under the tree on Christmas morning. They’re barely able to contain themselves as they anxiously await Santa’s arrival, depending of course on how well-behaved they were the past year. 
          I love watching my kids look up into the dark, winter sky from their bedroom windows, waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh flying through the air. They point and jump up and down when they see Rudolph’s red nose, and I agreeably nod, even though I know it's simply a blinking airplane light. So few things are as boundless as a child’s imagination! 
          One day, a terrible thought crossed my mind. What if  this all really happened and Santa's sleigh did in fact breakdown right before the big day or how devastating would it be if his sleigh broke down during his annual expedition to deliver gifts to the girls and boys of the world? The kids would wake up and rush down the steps only to find the terrifying sight of a Christmas tree without of any gifts beneath it. 
          Well, if Santa’s sleigh did break down, I know just the people who could (probably) fix it. Atlas Bronze of course! 
          If Santa’s sleigh was a real vehicle making these millions of trips all around the world in one night, an obvious source of potential troubleshooting would be with the engine. First, Atlas Bronze would go straight to the source and inspect the engine’s valve seats, or the strength center part of the engine that prevents harmful gases from leaking into the manifold. Aluminum bronze is a key component of the valve seat and also helps prevent corrosion. With the addition of bronze parts for added strength, Santa’s sleigh would be dashing through the snow again in no time!
          Since Santa has been so busy making a list and checking it twice, we’re sure he hasn’t thought about the exterior of his sleigh and how it could endanger him on his merry travels. Before Saint Nick goes on his merry way, he would need to incorporate some architectural bronze into the exterior. Bronze is commonly used in the production of doors, making them nice and strong. As an added bonus, bronze will not generate sparks when struck against a hard surface. So, as Santa lands up on the housetop with a click, click, click, he can ensure that his trusty sleigh won’t slide off of the roof.
          Finally, you can’t forget about the bronze sleigh bells on the reindeer's harnesses. As Santa’s original bells may have rusted over many years, he might go to Atlas Bronze to get the materials he needs for a shiny new outfit for Rudolph.
So, whether its Santa's sleigh or a piece of your machinery we are just a phone call away to save the day!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Revisiting the Ghost of Christmas Bronze

Deck the Halls with Bronze

It’s that time of year again! As the garland is wound up the staircase, the tree is propped up and adorned with ornaments, and strands of light are wrapped around the window frames, you just can’t help but get into the holiday spirit. Even if only half the lights actually light up (resulting in hours of frustration), decorating is one of the most fun parts of the season, especially when done with your loved ones.

The common theme for Christmas decorations involves lots of greens, reds, golds and silvers. We also see a lot of ceramic, cloth and glass in various holiday-themed displays. However, bronze has really made a comeback in recent years as a fresh alternative to those classic colors.

This is because bronze decor can make your home even more glamorous, as the metallic hues add a striking effect to any room.

Although I’m not an interior decorator, I’ve been reading that the professionals are seeing a lot more copper and bronze and jewel tones brought into holiday decor. Furthermore, by integrating bronze into your holiday decor and color scheme, you can create a lavish feel without overwhelming your space.

I found some great examples of bronze decor in my research, and have included them below:
  • If you’re looking for a vintage, mid-century, modern feel, you can find antique bronze candle holders. Even better: if you have old candle holders in your attic, you can definitely polish them and make them look brand new! 
  • To make your tree shine even brighter than before, add ornaments finished or accented with rich bronze. 
  • Angel or star tree toppers with intricate designs and trendy bronze finishes can add the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas tree. 
  • If you’re having company over for a nice dinner, you can set your table with bronze charger plates. Charger plates are large, decorative plates used to dress up dinner tables at parties and other special events. 
  • Bells, especially church bells, have traditionally been associated with Christmas for a long time. Hanging bronze bells from the tree or in the doorway will create a traditional look for your home. 
  • And, as you wrap presents for your family and friends, try a dark bronze, shimmering wrapping paper to add a classy, modern style to your gift-giving. 
Bringing these metallic elements from the tree to the mantel to the front yard or door, you can create a cohesive, simple decorating scheme with a modern edge. And you probably won’t want to take the decorations down!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tall, Dark and Wise

This is a blog post from my colleague Ruth Smith a few years back.  It is a wonderful read and I wanted to share it again!

There it stands against the wall.  Tall, dark and wise.  Within it’s frame lies over 50 years of Bronze, Copper, Iron, Foundry, Specification and general Mill knowledge that could rival any well stocked institution.  At times it receives visitor after visitor stopping only to drink from it’s wealth of knowledge but never to clean it!.  What could I be referring to?  Well, that would be our wonderful Resource Library.  Our owner, Tom Smith, has been collecting it’s contents for over 30 years and let’s just say -- it’s impressive. 

In this post I am going to highlight one of the most requested Resources that we offer. This would be our ASARCO Resource.  It was assembled by the American Smelting and Refining Company (http://www.asarco.com/) sometime in the 1960’s.   I suspect that it is so popular today because it was the first compilation featuring Bronze/ Brass information that was of specific use to both a designer / engineer as well as a foundry man. It covered two major sections:  (1) Application & Selection of typical copper alloys and (2) Foundry Characteristics of the copper base alloys and a tabulation of foundry casting problems. 

For those of you who do not know the name ASARCO, here is very brief history:

(Excerpts taken from Funding Universe)

Founded in 1899 as American Smelting and Refining Company--known informally as ASARCO--the company was a giant from the start. Founder Henry Rogers--along with William Rockefeller and the copper-rich Lewisohn brothers, Adolph and Leonard--had formed the United Metals Selling Company in the 1890s. This trust was so successful that they launched the even larger American Smelting and Refining Company in 1899. At its creation ASARCO consisted of 23 different smelting companies. Conspicuously absent from the ASARCO roster were concerns controlled by the Guggenheim family. In 1899, Rogers invited the Guggenheims to become part of ASARCO. They turned down his offer. The Guggenheims were not interested in being part of an organization that was not under their family control. Over the next couple of years, the Guggenheims took the matter into their own hands and gained control of ASARCO through aggressive business tactics.  As the years progressed and ASARCO experienced acquisition, expansion, two World Wars,  the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s Silver Purchase Plan, and controversy, ASARCO would today wind up being a world leader in the production of nonferrous metals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, and gold.

(Again very brief history....you can read all about ASARCO’s history by visiting, http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/asarco-incorporated-history/)

Now that you are somewhat familiar with the history and industry relevance of ASARCO let’s dig into what the Guide has to offer.  It is broken down into (5) sections, Sections 1-3 were geared towards the Designer/Engineer and Sections  4-5 was geared towards the Foundry man.  Although I think today all of the Sections are applicable to any readers.

Overview of Section 1:  Guide to the Selection of Brass & Bronze Casting Alloys

This section tackles the Bearing Properties, Color, Corrosion Resistance, Conductivity, Machinability, Mechanical Properties, Availability of Castings for Brass & Bronze Alloys.  It explains why Brass and Bronze Casting Alloys are the standard materials for Bearing applications.  It touches upon how these alloys when properly specified and designed are resistant to deformation, excellent wear properties and in some cases able to operate for long periods of time without lubrication.  It also explains why the color of the material you are choosing is important and what general color group to expect from the different alloys.  Some of the other features to take away is that this guide references  alloy names such as Everdur, Tombasil and Herculoy. (Which we still have customers coming to us to quote)

Overview of Section 2: Characteristics & Range of Properties

This section breaks out the main groups of Brass / Bronze Alloys:  Tin & Leaded Tin Bronzes, Red & Semi-Red Brasses, High Leaded Brasses, and more.  This section covers the Typical Properties and Nominal Chemical Compositions of the mentioned groups.  But I like the fact that it references them by their nominal chemical composition, which is nice, because we do still have those customers with older prints who come to us referring to an alloy as 88-10-2.  It also gives some overview of each of the groups, their principle characteristics, commercial applications (which has changed slightly over the years) and any other important facts. 

Overview of Section 3:  Miscellaneous Specifications

This section is my favorite.  It not only lists the Chemical & Physical Comps for all the various Brass & Bronze Classifications BUT it gives the old school Ingot Number, Numerical Designation and Specification Numbers for each of group.  It also breaks down the Special Casting Specifications for ASTM, SAE, Federal Specs, Military and Navy Specifications.  And remember the beauty about this particular guide -- it references the OLD specs which is super helpful if you are dealing with an old drawing calling out for a spec that you have never seen.

Overview of Section 4:  Foundry Practices

This section covers the Melting of the material, Recommended Metal Melting Practices, Pouring the metal, Gating & Risering and Venting.  Again, it breaks out the Foundry Practices into Alloy Group pointing out the highlight within each group.  It even provides a (5) step recommended metal melting practices  and a (4) step recommended Pouring practice.

Overview of Section 5:  Some of the Most Common Brass & Bronze Casting Problems 

This section is pretty self explanatory.  This is a neat section because it breaks it down by Problem and then goes through the process to see where the problem would have occurred. Could the cause of the problem in the Design - Pattern Equipment - Mold Setting or Gating?  This section goes through the thought process. 

I hope you find this resource helpful and if you want your copy for your own digital library please contact me at melissa@atlasbronze.com and I'd be happy to send it on over. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sand Castles or Sand Castings...

One of the "bronze" stories that comes up every so often here at Atlas is a conversation that one of our sales representatives had with a customer on the phone. So much so, that I thought it would be great to bring it up again. Let me start by saying that on a daily basis our Sales group will talk to engineers, machine shops, architects, farmers, universities, other distributors and the list goes on.  So we are used to helping people who have all different levels of industry knowledge and who come from all walks of life, but this conversation was unique...it really made me think, I wonder how may others may have a thought like this.

Here is how it went... 

One of our Sr. Sales Rep's, received a call from a customer who was looking for some rings in the alloy C95200.  The weight and size requirements immediately told them that we wouldn't be able to get the material "off the shelf" but that the rings would have to Made to Order.  So they proceeded to explain to the customer that the best way for these rings to be made would be as a Sand Casting. And after that, the conversation got a little interesting...

SR:  "So, I think we will need to make these rings as a Sand Casting"

(customer speaking)

SR:  "Sir, I'm not sure I understand what you are asking.....(silence)....um...(silence)...the way we will make these rings is with using Sand Castings"

(customer speaking)

SR:  "No sir, the rings aren't made out of Sand....(silence)...they are Bronze castings".  "No sir, we aren't going to ship you Sand Castles, they will be bronze" 

Clearly the man on the phone had no idea what a Sand Casting was and was not familiar with the different Methods of Manufacture available to him.  Weeks later and imagining the look on a customer's face when he opened his box to not find a "Sand Castle", I couldn't help but laugh at myself for having these thoughts and want to share not only this story, but a little knowledge and information on Sand Castings.  

Soooo...here it goes...


Sand Castings can be traced back to China as early as 645 B.C.  Casting by means of forming sand was common for small parts but eventually over time and with advances in technology, alternative methods of manufacture would be introduced.  This of course improved quality and efficiency.  But even so the Sand Casting method still remains the most widely used casting process.  Why?  Sand castings are the most economical method to reproduce items in metal. Just add water and the sand can be used thousands of times to cast aluminum or other alloys. Additionally, there are just certain alloys that need to be Sand Casted due of the Shape of the part, Quantities required,  the Specification called out or just the overall cost of the piece(s).  

What is a Sand Casting exactly?

Sand casting utilizes expendable sand molds to form complex metal parts that can be made of nearly any alloy. Because the sand mold must be destroyed in order to remove the part, called the casting, sand casting typically has a low production rate. The sand casting process involves the use of a furnace, metal, pattern, and sand mold. The metal is melted in the furnace and then ladled and poured into the cavity of the sand mold, which is formed by the pattern. The sand mold separates along a parting line and the solidified casting can be removed. The steps in this process are described in greater detail in the next section.

The process is fairly basic, there are six steps in this process:

  1. Place a pattern in sand to create a mold.
  2. Incorporate the pattern and sand in a gating system.
  3. Remove the pattern.
  4. Fill the mold cavity with molten metal.
  5. Allow the metal to cool.
  6. Break away the sand mold and remove the casting.

If you're like me you’ll need a visual.....

Please know that I haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to Sand Castings.  There are 2 main types of Sand Castings;  Green Mold and the Air Set Method.  But from there you have Cold Box, No Bake Molds, Vacuum Molding and the list goes on.  Then of course, you have the different types of sand used.  But I’ll save those topics for another post.  Over the years I have run into neat websites that feature a whole variety of Sand Castings - decorative to practical, small to large, simple to complex.  Here is a website that I like to visit, it keeps the whole process simple, www.foundry101.com.

As always if you have any questions leave me a comment and I'll do my best to help and if not direct you to the best resource for your question!  

Until next time, my metal loving friends...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017



Here at Atlas, its always fun to take a trip into the warehouse to see what the guys are up to. On one particular day, one of our guys was cutting into a C86300 Manganese Bronze BIG BLOCK and we were able capture some video of the process.  For reference purposes the block started off as an 8" thick x 18" wide x 105" long piece of material weighing in at around 5,000 lbs and in the last part of the video the cut pieces are to finish to 1" thick x 8" wide x 16" long.

For years, Atlas Bronze has been cutting Custom Size Plates out of Big Blocks of Bronze (and Iron).  It's always fascinating seeing how our guys in the shop cut this material and after seeing it first hand it was quite impressive to watch. I hope you enjoyed the video and if you have ANY questions at all please feel free to contact us at sales@atlasbronze.com or call 1-800-478-0887.

For your information, Atlas Bronze is currently stocking these Big Block Plates in C86300 Manganese Bronze, C90500 Tin Bronze, C90700 Tin Bronze, C91100 Tin Bronze, C93200 Bearing Bronze, C93700 High Leaded Tin Bronze, C95400 Aluminum Bronze, C95500 Aluminum Bronze & C95900 Aluminum Bronze in a variety of sizes.  We carry most of this material dual certified to ASTM B505 and ASTM B22 both domestic & DFARS.  **If you don't see an alloy or a size (thickness or width) that you need please let us know - chances are we can do it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Copper Alloys Rainbow

          Here at Atlas, we are no strangers to hearing a customer call up and say "I have a piece of material here and I'm not sure what it is.  It's sort of a gold-ish yellow color".  There are many alloys that can fall under that description which could make it hard to figure out what exact alloy it is, so unless the material gets tested, we have our work cut out for us!

          As I was browsing around the Internet, I came across a great website that had the perfect list and descriptions of what I like to call...the copper alloys rainbow.  Its helpful sometimes because even though you have your perfect color in mind, it might not be the right material you need to use for your application.  Your desired color may not be available in the alloy or shape that you require.

          I can't take credit for the wonderful information below, but let me tell you it is very helpful and just too good not to share.  Please, if you have the time, visit www.metalreference.com. Trust me...you'll thank me for it later.

The 40 Copper Alloys
These are images
of the actual metal
 Forms in which the alloy is regularly available in the USA

UNS Identification number Name, as it's known in the USA
(use both when specifying the metal)
Size ranges for each of
the forms of the alloy regularly available in the USA
These are all "Copper". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C10100    Oxy-free Copper
C10200    Oxy-free Copper
C11000    Copper
C12200    Phosphorus Copper
C14500    Tellurium Copper
C18200    Chromium Copper
C18700    Leaded Copper
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
ft. tubes
20 ft. pipes
24 in. wide coils
These are all "Beryllium Copper". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C17200    Beryllium Copper
C17300    Beryllium Copper
C17510    Beryllium Copper
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coil
C21000    Gilding 12" wide coils
These are all "Commercial Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C22000    Commercial Bronze
C31400    Leaded Commercial Bronze
C31600    Leaded Commercial Bronze
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coils

These are both "Red Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C23000    Red Brass
C32000    Leaded Red Brass
12 ft. tubes and pipes
12 in. wide coils

C24000    Low Brass 3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
12 in. wide coils
C26000    Cartridge Brass 3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets, 12 ft. bars
ft. tubes and pipes
12 in. wide coils
These are all "Yellow Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C26800    Yellow Brass
C27000    Yellow Brass
C27200    Yellow Brass
C27400    Yellow Brass
12 ft. tubes
These are all "Muntz Metal". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C28000    Muntz Metal
C36500    Leaded Muntz Metal
C37000    Free Cutting Muntz Metal
4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
These are Both "Low Leaded Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C33000    Low Leaded Brass
C33500    Low Leaded Brass
12 ft. tubes
C34500    Leaded Brass 12 ft. bars
C35300    High Leaded Brass 2 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coils
C35600    Engravers Brass 1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
2 ft. x 4 ft. sheets
  C36000    Free Cutting Brass 12 ft. bars,
These are both "Architectural Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C38000    Architectural Bronze
C38500    Architectural Bronze
16 ft. lengths for all shapes
C44300    Admiralty Metal 26 ft. tubes
These are all "Naval Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C46400    Naval Brass
C48200    Medium Leaded Naval Brass
C48500    Leaded Naval Brass
4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars

C51000    Phosphor Bronze - A 1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. and 24 in. wide coils
C52100    Phosphor Bronze - C 12 in. and 16 in. wide coils
C54400    Phosphor Bronze B-2 12 ft. bars
These are both "Aluminum Bronze 7%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C61300    Aluminum Bronze 7%
C61400    Aluminum Bronze 7%
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars

C62300    Aluminum Bronze 9% 12 ft. bars
C62400    Aluminum Bronze 10-1/2% 12 ft. bars
C62500    Aluminum Bronze 13% 12 ft. bars
C63000   Nickel Aluminum Bronze 10% 12 ft. bars
C64200    Silicon Aluminum Bronze 12 ft. bars
C65100    Low Silicon Bronze B 6 ft. bars
ft. tubes
C65500    High Silicon Bronze A 2 ft. x 8 ft. & 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars,
12 in and
16 in. wide coils
C67300    Leaded Silicon
               Manganese Brass
12 ft. bars
C67410    Silicon Manganese
               Aluminum Brass
12 ft. bars
These are both "Manganese Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C67500    Manganese Bronze
C67600    Manganese Bronze
12 ft. bars
Copper Nickels
C70600    Copper Nickel 10% 4ft. x 10ft. &  5ft. x 20ft. sheets
ft. bars
ft. tubes and pipes
C71500    Copper Nickel 30% 4 ft. x 10 ft. sheets, 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes and pipes,
12 in. wide coils
Nickel Silvers
These are both "Nickel Silver 18%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C75200    Nickel Silver 18% (65-18)
C77000    Nickel Silver 18% (65-18)
1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets,
12 in. wide coils

These are both "Nickel Silver 12%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C76200    Nickel Silver 12% (56-12)
C79200    Nickel Silver 12% (56-12)
12 ft. bars,
12 in. wide coils

C79800    Leaded Nickel Silver 10% 8 in. x 8 ft. sheets,
ft. bars,
ft. channels
Continuous Cast Bronzes
C86300    Manganese Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes
C90700    Tin Bronze 10 ft. bars
C93200    High Leaded Tin Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes
C95400    Aluminum Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes