This week I visited the Bell Metal Club of Sun City. They are located in the Bell Recreation Center, at 16820 N. 99th Ave., Building F.
The Bell Metal Club was established back in 1977 (more than 45 years ago). As the name implies, they work with all kinds of metal. Membership dues are $20 per year for Sun City residents with a current RCSC card.
Debbie Pryor is the current President and Michael Dunn was kind enough to give me a tour of the facility. Men and women may join the Metal Club. If you don’t know how to use the equipment, they will teach you. It’s always “safety first,” using the right tools for the job like safety glasses, gloves, masks, shoes, helmets, etc. If you are experienced on a machine, you may work with someone (in the beginning) as they guide you and make sure you are following proper safety guidelines.
The Bell Metal Club members log into the computer when they arrive at the club. It keeps track of attendance and makes sure that you have been a “monitor.” The club requires two monitors for each four-hour shift; two monitors from 8 a.m. to noon and two monitors from noon to 4 p.m. The monitors are there to oversee the equipment, answer questions and help out if needed. Each member gets to be a monitor.
When they arrive at the club members secure their personal items in a locker. If you want to make something you can purchase the metal from the club, cut and weigh it and then the fun begins. You can use one of their computers with the software to design your project. As a beginner, you will need to learn the software and make your own designs. Then you can transfer your design on a flash drive and take it over to the Plasma CNC Machine to cut it out. The information saved on the flash drive will make a precision cut of your design. When the cutting is done you must be careful removing it off the machine with your gloves on; it may be uneven on the bottom and very sharp.
The Bell Metal Club has so many machines. Metal cutters, lathes, grinders, drill presses, heavy-duty hydraulic presses, metal cutting band saws, welding equipment, cutting torches, sandblasters, powder coating equipment, ovens, sanding machines and lots of different hand tools.
I met Rick Franklund who was working on a Sun City area garbage can liner and yes, they make those and they can repair your garbage can lid if it is reusable. They can repair metal gates and fences. They also have four specialty stations for welding, grinding, sanding and have a metal magnetic table and metal bandsaw outside as well. All the torched metal is done outside.
The club members make artistic items for themselves or for club sales. The Bell Metal Club members receive 60% of the sale price and the club keeps 40%. You can go into the Metal Club to buy these decorative items such as yard art, plasma metal art, and signs, or you can stop in and request a special order to be made just for you. Many artistic items will be available for purchase during the Fall Festival in November.
The members of the Bell Metal Club were very gracious to me in doing the walkthrough and tour. I even got to see Dunn make a design on the computer - it was very cool.
Thank you Debbie, Mike, and Rick. It was great to meet you and see your shop and artistic creations.