Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

Other sections of our Terms of Service you may be looking for: 

Privacy Policy: Our privacy policy
Shipping, Delivery and Dispatch policy: Our shipping and delivery policy
Returns and Refunds: Our returns and refunds policy
Terms of service: Main terms of service page

Questions we get asked.
Here are a few of the common queries we get asked often, however, if there is something you want to know that we have missed, please do get in touch.

Where are you based?
We operate from the west of Cumbria, UK in a small town called Millom. Everything we make is produced here in the UK and almost exclusively designed at my home near Hawkshead, in the Lake District, where we began our adventure. For full details please visit our contact page by clicking here.

How much is shipping?
We always offer a free shipping service for all our items. This is usually a 48 hour service, although does include some 24 hour options depending on what is being posted, however this will often arrive next day.
24-hour and express services such as AM deliveries and pre 10:30am are charged as extras at checkout but we do also prioritise cutting and shipping of orders that paid for express post. Please check our shipping page for full details by clicking here.

Can I visit your showroom?
You can visit our factory, but we don't have a show room at this time I'm afraid.
We can show you around our products still, to see if anything takes your fancy.
It's best to contact us in advance if possible so that we can have items you are interested in ready for you to view. 

Can you make my custom parts?
Yes, we certainly can. We have a state of the art fibre laser for cutting metal parts.
Our laser is a 6kw IPG source machine with a high end Precitec cutting head, it offers incredible cut tolerances, quality and repeatability for details parts or mass production parts the same.
Our laser can cut to 30mm thickness of most materials (16mm in Brass/Copper).
We also offer in house powder coating and have recently setup a Jewellery section where we can cut and engrave gold and silver items. 

Contact us by clicking here.
If you want to know more about our machinery then please visit our machines page.

Is there a minimum order quantity on custom parts?
No, we welcome all orders from a small one off to bulk parts.  You can order just one of a part you need.  If you order multiple quantities of an item then the price per part will decrease.

Can you design parts for me?
Yes, we have a in house team of two designers who are long experienced with CAD/CAM as well as graphical artistic design. For further details please contact us here.

How soon will I get my order?
We always ship orders as soon as we can. This is usually within 1-2 working days, stocked products off the shelf will ship within 1 working day. However there are some exceptions. 
Please check our shipping page for full and the most up to date details by clicking here.

I need a specialist steel cutting, can you deal with this?
Yes we can. We do stock some special steels, but we are always happy to bring most materials into stock for special orders. Sometimes there may be a minimum order charge. But do get in touch and we can arrange a quote for you. Our contact page and details are here.

Can you mark the centre of my plate (or specific points)?
This is no problem. Our laser has plate marking capability and are extremely accurate.
Please add your requirements to the order notes. If it's only a few marks we will do this free of charge, or contact you if a small surcharge is required in the case of complicated designs or large numbers of markings.
Don't forget, our laser can cut accurate holes too. We recommend down to 0.75 the thickness of the plate/sheet to be safe. For example on 4mm steel this would be down to a 3mm hole, and on 2mm steel a 1.5mm hole.

I need some parts really fast, can I pick them up today?
We can do this in most cases. Give us a call or email and we will let you know the timescale. Our drop everything and do my order fee is £70.00. However if we are loading the material you need already in the day we can forgo this. 

Can I come and discuss my project with you in person?
Absolutely, we'd love you to pop in. Please let us know in advance if possible so we can arrange a time and date with you.

Can you fabricate my design?
We do not currently undertake fabrication work. We are focused on cutting metal sheet and plates for both high precision and cost effective supply. If your design is flat, then, yes, we can do it!
We don't weld or bend material currently however. 

How thick can you cut?
We have more details on our machines page, however we are able to cut with pierces (cut outs) up to 30mm thick Mild steel, Hardox, Cor-ten, Stainless steel, Aluminium and most other metals. Copper and Brass is limited to 16mm.
The edge will get rougher as the upper ends are reached (although still a very good cut).

Why do you use laser cutters instead of plasma?
We started our business with an Air plasma system and then moved onto a state of the art Hypertherm XPR 300 HD based plasma system.
These systems can cut well, however the thickness they cut at is much higher which limits detail and accuracy compared to a laser.
As a result we upgraded to our fibre laser cutters which offer less power consumption, less maintenance and far better cut accuracy and detail. Our plasma cutters could never offer the crisp cuts we get with our lasers.

What can I do if I have a problem with my order?
Please get in touch with us and we will make sure we resolve the issue for you.
Our contact page and details are here.

Can I get a discount?
We do occasionally offer sales. We offer buy 2 get 1 free on our metal birds permanently all year round too.

Are you not just reselling products made in other countries?
No. We produce our products our self right here in the Lake District. If we do start offering products made by other small businesses we will continue to only stock high quality UK made items. 

Where does your steel come from?
We use a variety of metal suppliers, mostly these are based in Manchester and Scotland. We can't specifically state where our material comes from as it does change from time to time.
Recently most of our steel has come via British Steel and our stainless from SSAB at the time of writing (04/02/2022).

Do you have any off cuts I can get at a discount?
No, we don't offer off cuts. Our systems utilise all the space on the sheet for products as best they can leaving very little for the scrap pile.

I'm not sure you will ship my order on time, how can I be sure it will arrive?
Well please do not worry! If you've ordered a stocked product (Metal birds, most drain covers, most wall arts) then we will ship this within 1 working day.
If you're still worried then please contact us before ordering and we can give you a more accurate date.
Alternatively, we stock many of our products with Amazon Prime, so you may be able to receive those same day or next day via Amazon. Just search for "Lakeland Steel metal bird" on amazon for example.

I've seen your design for sale elsewhere cheaper!?
I hope not! We have noticed quite a few people copying our designs lately. 98% of our designs are made by ourselves, the remaining 2% may be licenced art designs that we liked and incorporated into our products. Although we always give our own spin on those 2%.
We do try and keep on top of requests to marketplaces for copies, but often we find these are either smaller or made with lower quality equipment so it's not too concerning for us.
We will always make sure we make our products best! :)

Do you make manhole covers too?
At this time we do not make manhole covers. We've read and produce to the BS Drain grate standards where specified, however, are yet to process the BS Standards for manhole covers to ensure they are produced correctly.

Do you powder coat?
Yes, all our painted products are powder coated with a zinc primer layer.
We have numerous finishes available, and hundreds of custom finishes if required.

Will your metal birds kill my tree?
For a short answer, no. As long as you pick a decently sized healthy tree then your tree will have no problems at all. We're yet to have a single report of our bird damaging a tree.
If you're still concerned though you can always install them in a fence, fence post, beam or hang them on your wall.

Are you hiring?
We always post our job ads on as well as Around the Combe Jobs Facebook page.
Please keep an eye out there or contact us.

What payment methods do you accept?
We can take payment via card payment over the phone or on the website, BACS or PayPal. We can accept cheques but this will result in a delay in your order shipping until the last date in which payment can be reversed so is not advisable. 

Can we open an account?
At this time we don't have a credit facility in place but it is something we will be looking into in the future.
We do offer accounts for councils, schools and universities. 

Do you stock all the material you offer on your website?
Yes, we stock every material offered. Sometimes we find we won't have enough for a very large order on some of the rarer materials, however it doesn't take long to bring this in for the order. We will notify you within 1 working day of stock issues should they occur (it's very rare). 

What are you tolerances?
This does depend on the material type and thickness.
If in doubt please contact us for an exact answer on your specific material.
Some examples;
1-3mm stainless steel typically +/- 0.2mm however we quote for terms +/- 0.4mm.
10mm mild steel typically +/- 0.3mm however we quote for terms +/- 0.6mm.
20mm mild steel typically +/- 0.5mm however we quote for terms +/- 0.8mm. 

We can do a more in depth calibration for your cut and offer slightly improved term tolerances, please contact us if this is required. 

What is the difference between Nitrogen and Oxygen cutting on a laser?
These gasses are used for different materials, although Nitrogen can be used on all materials as it can offer advantages.

Mild steel, Hardox, Cor-ten weathering steel all benefit from Oxygen gas. This is supplied through the laser nozzle at low pressure. The laser power then causes the Oxygen to react with the steel and increase the heat. This results in a efficient cut and cutting edge due to the thermal reaction.
The only down side is the laser cut is very slightly wider due to the additional heat. 

Non ferrous materials do not react with the oxygen well if at all and these require the laser to melt the material away. High pressure nitrogen is used here to both stop the hot edge reacting with the air and tarnishing, and to eject the molten material leaving a clean cut with no dross on the underside. 
The advantage to the Nitrogen is it's quite quick from the high pressure gas, but this also keeps the parts relatively cool. It offers a much finer cut without the heat to melt through very thin sections of a cut part. This allows the Nitrogen process to cut extremely fine detailed parts so it can also be used in this situation for Mild steel and ferrous materials. 

The Nitrogen process runs at around 22 Bar pressure on larger nozzles vs the Oxygen on smaller nozzles at around 1 Bar pressure. This makes the Nitrogen process more expensive to operate.