Learning S.T.E.M. from M.A.Y.H.E.M.

GMFCo Continues to Support Local FIRST Robotics Team


Building a functioning robot is all about applying Science, Technology and Engineering as well as Math (STEM) to solve the problems associated with mechanical implementation. You need to design and fabricate working parts to build a physical machine that functions as intended.

GMFCo, along with several other companies, is instrumental in supporting Milford Area Youth Homeschoolers Enriching Minds (MAYHEM), more specifically, the Mechanical Mayhem First Robotics team. These students need quality components to build top ranking robots.

If you happen to be interested, there are always opportunities for businesses to help M.M. and other FIRST teams in New Hampshire and around the country.

FIRST Robotics, founded by Dean Kamen, inventor and businessman, started in 1989 and is based in Manchester, NH. It’s a “public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields.”

The Crucial Importance of STEM

Properly applying STEM to your parts designs assures they will work. Fostering STEM learning  rewards businesses with critically skilled people and helps build a better engineered world for all of humanity. This is why we’re so happy to be participating in the FIRST Robotics program!

We are always amazed at the ingenuity of Mechanical Mayhem, the aforementioned FIRST Robotics high school team that we sponsor. We work with their CAD drawings, much the same as we would with our professional engineer clients, to produce finished metal parts for their robots. The only real difference is that our student engineers are more fun to work with (no offense to our professional customers).

The Future of Industry

Youthful and creative energy, along with the spirit of competition, bring fresh perspectives to our shop each year and now we get excited every spring when the FIRST Robotics Competition gets going. In fact, we recently completed parts fabrication for Mechanical Mayhem’s 2019 robot and we really enjoyed working with these kids and their teachers.

We’d like to share part of a note we received from our team. “Thank you so much… We truly appreciate your generous donation to Mechanical Mayhem… through your contribution… mentors teach and inspire young adults to creatively use software, hardware and power tools to design, build and program an industrial-size robot to compete in high intensity tournaments… Thank you again for investing in their future.”

If you would like to support Mechanical Mayhem or learn more about and how they are helping area young people learn and develop STEM skills, visit their website at www.mechanicalmayhem.org. If you happen to be an educator interested in helping students learn about careers in metal fabrication and manufacturing, feel free to call (603) 889-2600 or contact us online.

Functional Metal Accents in Custom Residential Architecture

In our previous article, we focused on exposed structural steel in architecture and how to specify the right grade of metal based on the level of visibility or proximity to the eye. Now we’d like to look closer at some of the more striking and beautiful creations we’ve manufactured to help home owners and architects realize their visions in home design – adding function and even some fun!

Most construction firms have one or two metal fabricators in their stable of go-to suppliers. These contractors provide miscellaneous custom metal fixtures like fencing, guard rails, hand rails, stair components and frames. Sometimes, however, the usual “miscellaneous metals” shops the builder uses just can’t provide the size, precision or finishing requirements to meet the architect’s design vision for their client’s project. Here’s where a full capability shop comes in, especially one that can handle large precision parts.

You design it, we make it.

Some of the most interesting work we do is manifest in unique residential living spaces both inside and outdoors, since architectural metal fabrication has become one of our specialties. When we work with architects and builders, we support their creativity by offering solutions to some of their most challenging metals projects.

We could list all the different kinds of building components and features we work on such as these patio deck features illustrated, but suffice it to say that if it’s made of metal, there’s a very good chance we can fabricate it just the way you envision it.
One of our advantages is having the ability to work with longer and larger metal parts, requiring fewer sections, seams and welds.
GMFCo was chosen to fabricate the architectural metals shown in these images of residences in Brooklyn, New York. We were fortunate to be called upon because of our hard-to-find large cutting, bending and specialized machining capabilities. This reminds us that “where others see problems, we see opportunities!”

Check out more of the results…



If you have questions about custom architecture metal fabrications, feel free to call us at 603-889-2600 or contact us online here.

The Beauty of AESS – Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel

The Beauty of AESS – Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel

Without getting down to the elemental level of alloy recipes, it helps to know a few of the basics behind proper steel grade specification in architecture. So many of the really stunning designs you see in both commercial and fine residential architecture are enabled by the steel category commonly referred to by its acronym “AESS.”

Globally, Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel use is on the rise (no pun intended). According to the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), “more and more designers are choosing to expose steel in their projects—not just out of a sense of practicality or functionality, but also for its aesthetic attributes. They do so because they realize that steel can do more than simply support a design; it can also become an integral part of it. And in doing so, they often hold steel to as high a standard as any other fixture or finish. They aren’t just going for an industrial look. They’re elevating the material to a new level…”

Simplifying Steel Specification

When specifying AESS for your next architectural metals project, where do you begin? It makes a lot of sense “go with the Code.” The AISC Code of Standard Practice (ANSI/AISC 303-16) implements a defined approach to specifying AESS by using five categories—AESS 1, 2, 3, 4 and C.

Each of the AESS steel categories differentiate complexity levels of fabrication and erection. It’s important to note that as the numbers and subsequent letter in this tiered system rise, the time and dollar cost for fabrication and erection generally increase as well.

Here’s a brief AISC Code overview excerpted from Modern Steel Construction, November 2017

AESS 1: BASIC ELEMENTS. By default, AESS 1 is the minimum treatment of exposed steel beyond standard fabrication of structural steel. This category typically incurs the lowest cost of all the AESS categories and also serves as a prerequisite for AESS categories 2, 3 and 4.

AESS 2: FEATURE ELEMENTS NOT IN CLOSE VIEW. It is important to recognize that details are much less visible at 20 ft away as compared to an element 5 ft away. AESS 2 serves a level of fabrication and erection specific to structural steel elements viewed from a distance greater than 20 ft.

AESS 3: FEATURE ELEMENTS IN CLOSE VIEW. A higher level of fabrication and erection is provided as the AESS category number increases. AESS 3 represents the next level of characteristics, specifically for components within a viewing distance of 20 ft or less.

AESS 4: SHOWCASE ELEMENTS. The sculptural nature of steel is meant to be the main focus when specifying AESS 4. This category draws inspiration from the expression of form as the featured aesthetic in a project.

AESS C: CUSTOM ELEMENTS. Any deviation from the requirements of AESS 1, 2, 3 and 4 falls under the Custom category, AESS C. Occasionally, there are situations when sharp edges do not need to be ground smooth or erection and painted marks are not required to be removed from view. Allowing this flexibility in choosing characteristics provides designers with greater freedom but also notifies steel fabricators and erectors that there is a noteworthy difference from the typical category requirements.”

The Takeaway…

Holding steel to a higher design standard makes a lot of sense when you consider all of the amazing things for which it can be engineered. Fewer structural limitations open up more creative design avenues.

We hope this article provides you with a little more clarity on architectural steel and maybe a lot more inspiration to apply your creative talents and engineering skills toward using it. After all, the steel-supported structures sculpturing our skylines and the ornamental architecture that gleams along our streets and highways make our world more livable and pleasing to the eyes.