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Angelica & Brian (@ak_metal_designs)


Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Angelica & Brian from @ak_metal_designs and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. And for those of you that take the time to share your story with us, we'd be happy to provide a free BA banner. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!
Name:  Angelica & Brian
Business Name:  AK Metal Designs
Location: Chicago, IL
Socials: IG: @ak_metal_designs  FB: AK Metal Designs
Specialties:  Sheet metal cutting, Plasma cutting, CAD work, Metal Decor
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
So it was actually Angelica's idea who has a background of working in a sheet metal factory as an engineer. She was familiar with designing and wanted a side business so we took the leap and bought a Plasma cutting CNC table. It's been a steep learning curve, but it's gratifying. We have been doing this for almost 6 months and have received a great amount of support and are very thankful for it.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
What motivates us is the ability to create and bring some joy into people's lives by creating high-quality products. (So many things are made cheaply, we took a step in the other direction).
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I'd say our favorite shop tool is our Langmuir Crossfire Pro CNC table, it's amazing that when working properly it's greater than the sum of its parts. A smaller tool would definitely be an angle grinder, it makes my life so much easier to quickly clean pieces.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
My personal favorite was a custom Polish Highlander symbol called a Parzenica we made for some close friends. It has their last name and highlights their heritage, We really enjoy working on traditional pieces.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
Something that requires creativity and hands on work. I love to bring both together, I feel the most present when I work on things with my hands.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
The 3" Mini Flap Disc Zirconia Quick Change Discs quickly became my favorite. Compared to others these lasted much longer and allowed me to finish cleaning up much quicker.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
I am a huge fan of the quality of the products, the Premium purple hook and loop disks are amazing, I use them to prep signs for powder coating and it has reduced the time needed for sanding. As soon as I used them for the first time I knew BA products were of higher caliber than competitors.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
I would like to collaborate with the Chicago Blackhawks (I know that's not just one person haha), but I'm a massive fan of theirs and would love to create something for them.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
We are both relatively young (23 and 24), our advice is to not worry when things break or go wrong because you can almost always assess the situation and come up with a solution. I mean we dealt with issues with our Plasma cutter, but every time we run into an issue we take the lessons from it.
What are your future plans for your shop?
We would love to expand and potentially get a workshop in the future. We would also like to purchase additional machinery to grow our potential.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
Thanks to everyone for hearing our story and BA for providing quality products!


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Angelica & Brian! We love hearing stories of dynamic duo's such as yourselves and look forward to seeing you both grow.
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