Did you know that D+M Metal has created many beautiful sculptures? We have done floor sculptures that have been installed in high schools throughout West Michigan and at Camp Roger as well as full sculpture pieces that have been installed in Grand Rapids, Grandville, and places as far away as Orlando, Florida. D+M Metal has worked with a number of artists, including Ed Bouvé and Mary Gillis, to translate their artistic visions into metal, including these:

In 2012 we received a commission from Dwelling Place for their condominium on Hall St. built for seniors. We worked with artist Ed Bouvé to create “Reflections,” a stainless steel mirror image sculpture. This beautiful piece is designed to physically reflect its relationship to Dwelling Place residents.

Vention Medical commissioned a sculpture to interpret their inventions and production of heart surgical instruments. The result is a 25-foot tall stainless steel complex that is mounted on a tall granite pedestal at Seward and Watson St., S.E. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Enlaced: A Burning Bush,” an 18-foot tall steel and 7-foot wide scupture, stands on the campus of Dordt College in Iowa. Dordt College art professor David Versluis translated his interpretation of Psalm 19 into a metal sculpture. He had this to say about Enlaced:

“The design of this sculpture grows out of the intertwining of a Christian perspective that’s found in Dordt College’s academic community. Gideon Strauss once described that perspective this way: “The love of God evokes—from our whole person and in unity with the whole people of God—a life of worship, a love of our neighbors, and a respectful caring and disclosure of all of creation.”

The seven upright metallic forms of “Enlaced” symbolize both the classic liberal arts and the seven branches of the Hebraic temple lamp stand (which itself is thought to symbolize the burning bush Moses saw as recorded in Exodus 3). D+M Metal engineers translated Versluis’ designs into CNC machine code, cut all of the components, and then welded them together. COR-TEN® steel was used because it will rust to a consistent patina. The effect here looks red very much like a burning bush. The sculpture was sandblasted, then moved to Dordt College where it was welded on site and installed.

If you’ve ever driven by D+M Metal Products at 4994 West River Dr. in Comstock Park, Michigan, you may have seen our own stainless steel sculpture, “Trivium and Quadrivium.” We commissioned this one as an interpretation of our own steel fabrication work.

D+M Metal does a broad spectrum of work with steel, and we can work with any artist to make their ideas become a reality. We are very proud of both the artistry and the usefulness of what our expert engineers and machine operators produce every day, from the practical to the beautiful.

The world is rapidly changing, and all research about social conditions in contemporary America point to people getting more and more isolated from each other. In fact, this decline in America’s social capital is the entire focus of Robert Putnam’s famous book Bowling Alone.  

Millennials are markedly less likely to attend church or belong to a religious organization than their parents or grandparents were. Families are small and more fractured than they used to be, and people spend far more time on their phones and personal devices searching out entertainment rather than building personal relationships or even just hanging with friends. In 2014 the National Science foundation reported that more than a quarter of the 1,500 Americans they interviewed “said that they have no one with whom they can talk about their personal troubles or triumphs.” In short, people are lonely. They are desperately lonely today.

Lonely people burn out far more easily in both their personal lives and at work. Life throws challenges at all of us - whether that means relationship problems, financial difficulties, health issues, work stresses, grief or loss. These are not things the people handle well on their own. Human beings aren’t built to handle problems alone. They’re naturally social, but the social networks that force people to socialize even when they don’t feel like it or want to and that keep people accountable and standing when life tries to knock them down are disappearing.

D+M Metal is investing in our workers’ mental and social health by bringing in chaplains for a summer lunchtime series.


June 14     Dealing with Anxiety

June 28     Why forgive?

July 12      Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

July 26      Faith and Doubt

August 9   Dealing with Chronic Illness

August 23  Handling Finances


Chaplains offer a trained professional ear to people. Talking about problems is in itself therapeutic, but chaplains are also capable of recommending other services or advice that could help in solving problems. This is important for people who feel they are alone or dealing with issues no one around them is.  Furthermore, encouraging employees to get to know each other also can help create workplace bonds between people who may offer support and encouragement in future crises.

D+M’s presenters will be Chaplains Jim Tait and Carol Petter. Each session will address a real-life issue, and will be conversational and informal. Questions and comments are encouraged before, during and after each session. No one is obligated to come, but all of our employees are welcome. We are glad to be able to offer this service. It’s one way our company is paying it forward into tomorrow!





Last month The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) and CNA announced its 2017 recipients of the Safety Award of Honor , and D & M Metal Products was included in that list along with many other excellent fabrication firms. The FMA/CNA Safety Awards program was created to promote safety in the industry and recognizes metal fabrication companies that have an ongoing commitment to excellence in this area.

Every year the Safety Award of Honor winners are determined by the FMA Safety Council and given to companies that have “perfect safety records of no recordable injuries or illnesses for the reporting period” which for this award was January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. Firms of all sizes were eligible for consideration. FMA selected the winners based on North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code categories and BLS injury and illness incidence rates.OSHA safety guidelines exist to protect workers, but better attention to safety also  increases productivity. Every year citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cost metal fabricating businesses millions of dollars in fines, but those costs do not include other direct or indirect costs such as damaged equipment, medical costs, replacement personnel, and increased workers’ compensation.  

OSHA’s top 10 most frequent and costly citations to metal fabricators are:  

  1. Machine guarding and safe equipment use
  2. Electrical
  3. Material handling
  4. Personal protective equipment
  5. Toxic and hazardous substances
  6. Walking/working surfaces
  7. Fire protection and emergency planning
  8. Hazard communication
  9. General duty
  10. Welding, cutting, and brazing

Developing safety programs that focus on these areas and adequately train workers to understand and protect themselves from safety hazards is crucial to both avoiding individual accidents and improving the work environment and resulting efficiency and productivity. It’s worth the investment. Many studies have shown that money allocated to health and safety does yield a significant financial return over time. It also contributes to employee morale. Since finding and retaining good workers is a key element to any fabrication company’s success, it makes sense to invest in the safety and well being of those workers. It’s also the right thing to do.

D & M Metal is fully committed to complying with OSHA’s safety guidelines and ensuring a safe work environment. We are proud to be included with other firms who were recognized for their hard work and efforts towards the creation of a better safety culture in the fabrication industry. We would like to thank the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and CNA for this award.








machine-shop owner

In the beginning of April Bob Buist attended the JobBOSS conference in San Diego, where he heard speaker Titan Gilroy talk about his experiences owning a CNC machine shop in Northern California. Gilroy’s story is unique. On the one hand he was an entrepreneur’s story: he started his own business in 2005 and now employees around 30 workers. They make precision components from carbon fiber, plastic, steel, and aluminum for a number of high-tech industries.

That’s not all, though. Titan Gilroy also produces and stars in the TV series Titans of CNC, a labor of love he created to highlight the struggles and the victories of the machine shop owners who kept themselves above water in the wake of the Great Recession. Gilroy strongly believes in the importance of CNC machining to the American economy and to workers who benefit from learning a skilled trade that American manufacturing depends on. He also thinks that American manufacturing is the best in the world.

As a result of this passion, Gilroy created an important free training platform and resource called Titans of CNC: Academy in order to train and inspire students, educators, and shop owners. This CAD/CAM and CNC manufacturing educational program is online with thousands of projects, video tutorials and TV episodes available to assist anyone with the desire to learn CNC.

Another way that Titan Gilroy is educating and creating opportunities for other would be machinists is through his machine-shop training program in San Quentin Prison. Gilroy’s upbringing and youth were troubled and full of violence and poverty. A former amateur boxer, he served time in prison himself, but learning the CNC trade gave him better goals and aspirations and kept him from returning to his previous patterns of anger and violence. He’s now sharing those skills with the inmates of San Quentin and highlighting their journey in season three of Titans of CNC. In this way he hopes to be able to help others like him to break the cycle of hopelessness and poverty while helping to rebuild American manufacturing again from the ground up.

Titans of CNC is involved in many initiatives designed to give people both training and inspiration. Check out the Titans’ Giving Back Inspiration page to see more examples of the good that can be done when passion, energy, and concern for the people around you intersect. If you’ve ever thought of CNC machining as just another job or type of work, Titan Gilroy’s story will excite you about the opportunities for both people and innovation in this fast changing industry.

In the beginning of March I attended the 2017 Fabricators and Manufacturers Association Conference in New Orleans. This is a great annual opportunity to meet with other people in the industry and discuss current conditions and upcoming challenges for fabricators and manufacturers. I attended a number of round-table discussions from various fabrication machine builders and fabricators who updated us on the following:

Data and sensors - Laser cutting and forming machines are collecting all types of data that can be used for decision making and to improve the processes, maintenance decisions, costing, and availability of equipment. This raises questions about how to determine what data is important and how to incorporate that into various kinds of ERP software.

Remote service - Remotely servicing machinery is becoming more common in the industry. For this to work, the machine user performs maintenance while wearing a digital camera that is connected to a service person from the company that built that machine tool. Connected by this camera, they work together to analyze and perform troubleshooting of machine issues, saving the cost of travel and improving response. In this way downtime can be reduced and efficiency improved.

Robotics - Robotics are being implemented in various ways for machine builders in order to address labor needs and efficiencies. There are robots being used to load tools into press brakes while the operator is bringing his material to the machine. As a result, some fabricators are reducing setups from an average of 40 minutes to 6 minutes on repeat parts.

Shawn Dubravac, the conference’s keynote speaker, gave a presentation on Digital Destiny. Shawn walked us through some history of technology and talked about how technology becomes wasted as it becomes cheap and abundant. Three things are coming together in the present day that change how we will live in the future. These are:

  • Digitization
  • Connection
  • Sensorization

These things enable monitors to affect what data we collect and how we use it. Some examples of current products that are utilizing these three types of technology concurrently are baby monitors, Amazon Alexa (which controls various technologies in your home) and the Fitbit, a device people wear to monitor the various activities they do throughout the day.

Technologically as a society, we are approaching the point of massive customization of products. The micro customization of these items will allow for increasing personalization of what customers need and want. We are using voice recognition to use our devices, and eventually our behaviors will build profiles that enable our devices to know what we want and automatically produce or perform our patterned requests.

The next phase in this type of technological development will be adding sensors that will collect data and enable the creation of a three-dimensional space that will change how our young people learn and live. This has enormous implications for every aspect of our lives: economic, social, and personal. We certainly live in interesting times.


--Bob Buist