Friday, March 16, 2018

Customer Spotlight: Michael Brandt

Meet Michael Brandt. He is the owner of Garage Bound LLC, a full-service company that specializes in custom fabrication and mobile welding. He started his creative hobby in 2008 by making paper crafts from his two-car garage in Chattanooga, TN. He quickly realized that his calling was to switch his media to metals. Now, his love and hobby has turned into a full-time profession!

Cleveland Punch and Die chose to do a Q&A session with Michael to share his story with you because we find it inspirational. We hope that you do too.

CPD: What does Garage Bound LLC do, specifically?
Michael: "We work with any type of metal and all types of industries. There isn't any one specific field that we work with or in."

CPD: What influenced you to do what you do today?
Michael: "I started researching mediums and purchased a couple of welders to build a bike for my son. It kept going as a hobby. I ended up running the electricity bill from $120/month to $350/month! I thought if I'm going to have this expensive hobby with expensive equipment, I might as well learn how to offset the cost. Word got out that I could fix and make things. So, I started my business and worked every night after getting home from my day-job for 11 months straight. Now, I own a 6600 sq./ft shop for Garage Bound LLC, employ four people, and the rest is history."

CPD: What was the toughest part about that process?
Michael: "Making the decision to quit my secure day-job and work full-time in my own business. It was the fear of losing something secure that supported my family and having to take a leap of faith. I stayed at my day-job long enough to save money for a mobile welding trailer and a couple of welders. Once I had that, I pursued my vision for Garage Bound LLC that same night. I never stopped from that moment on."

Garage Bound's first custom-made fire pit
One of Michael's Boy Scouts during
welding class

CPD: What would your advice be to anyone aspiring to do what you do?
Michael: "It's really a no-brainer. Hard work. Dedication. Building relationships. Without the relationships I have built within the community, I have nothing. It's so important that every customer feels they got their money's worth. If my employees don't make something to my standard, we'll start the whole project over to get it right. Even if I make less money out of it."

CPD: What’s the plan for Garage Bound LLC?
Michael: "The goal is to continue to invest in the business. I pull just enough money to pay the bills and roll everything back into the business. I still haven't given myself a regular check. Instead, I buy the newest equipment for the business."

CPD: And what are your future plans?
Michael: "My future plan is to continue to buy commercial property, then lease it to other start-up businesses. It's such a huge upfront expense for start-up businesses to purchase commercial property. So, if I buy relatively inexpensive property, I can pass the savings on to get other businesses going. That way, I'm helping others to be successful and build residual income for when I retire one day."

CPD: What’s your relationship with Cleveland Punch and Die like?
Michael: The relationship we've built is pretty unique. I usually have to go to others and prove to them what I can offer in order to be a partner, but it’s different with CPD. After I won the ironworker from Baileigh Industrial™, CPD reached out and asked to take my wife and I to dinner while we were at the Fabtech Expo in Chicago. They gave me the opportunity to use their tooling exclusively for my machine. I was wowed because I know they have such an excellent reputation. To say thanks, I made a 
custom tooling holder in the shape of their logo for my shop. That way, I could take care of my great tooling and also show it off to others."

CPD: What do you enjoy about working with Cleveland Punch and Die? 
Michael: "Here’s a story. My employee didn’t know the rule of thumb for the punch and die clearance and broke my 5/16” punch from the set I had. When I called to reorder, the service was hands-down the best. I spoke with Shannon in CPD's Customer Service Department. She already knew what type of machine and punch and die set I had. She was able to order the replacement punch and die I needed in less than 10 minutes. Saving time like that throughout the day is so important for me because I don’t have time to be on the phone. Its awesome to be able to call and get what I need really fast."


Garage Bound's second piece for Rock City, Georgia.
The first piece won him Artist of the Year through the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.

Michael also mentors others by working with local high schools, Boy Scout groups, drug and alcohol rehabs, and continues to pass on his knowledge in order to give back to the Chattanooga community. He is always posting pictures of his unique work and life. If you would like to see more of what he does, take a look at his Instagram page

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Keyhole Tooling

Keyhole tooling is used to fabricate a wide variety of parts. A few examples include banjo eyes on tow trucks, storage racks, and shelving units.

Let’s start with keyhole shelving units. Storage racks and shelving units are the most popular use for keyhole punches and dies. The picture below shows a perfect example. The keyholes are used to securely lock each shelf into place. These holes also make it easy to assemble and disassemble the shelving unit if necessary. Storage racks and shelving units like this can be found everywhere from the shop here at Cleveland Punch to your nearest home improvement store.

 Pictured above are examples of keyhole mounts found on shelves at the CPD’s manufacturing plant.

Another example where keyhole tooling is used is tow trucks. Many tow trucks use safety chains to secure a car, truck, or load to the bed of the truck. How do these chains connect to the bed of the truck? The answer, banjo eyes. These banjo eyes are fabricated with keyholes. The safety chain is fed through the round portion of the keyhole. When tight, the chain slides down the oblong portion of the keyhole to lock it in place. Next time you see a tow truck take a look at the bed. There’s a good chance you’ll see one of these keyholes.

Keyhole punches and dies would make for a great addition to your punch and die supply if you’re fabricating parts like this. Cleveland Punch and Die manufactures keyhole tooling for every ironworker. If you have any questions, call us at 330-296-4342 or email us at