Barnes Blog

Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Trip to the Landfill

By | Uncategorized

A Trip to the Landfill



Barnes manufacturing was recently contacted by The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency’s landfill to help with a project. The Resource Recovery Center wanted to come up with a way to place banners along each recycling station to insure proper placement of each recyclable item. At Barnes manufacturing we appreciate and understand the importance of proper recycling habits, which made us very eager to help solve the landfill’s problem.

The team came up with a simple yet effective bracket system that would allow the beautiful new banners to hang from the vertical beams in the facility.  Having obviously marked areas of separation is very important in the recycling center, so having these clear and concise signs will insure proper recycling.

Once the brackets and banners were ready for installation, it was time for the trip to the landfill. So Tom and his grandson Harrison loaded up the truck and headed out. After taking a tour of the facility and learning about the importance of recycling, it was time to get to work.  Tom and Harry went to each station one by one and installed each banner by hand. As a small family owned business we are fortunate for special opportunities to work with people who are important to us making this project that much more special.

We would like to thank The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency for allowing us to help with your projects from time to time and the important work you do on a daily basis. 


Beyond the shop: The Retirement of Dr. Aldrich’s Coal Stove

By | Uncategorized

                                     2 - DAY OF RETIREMENT         5 - LAST FIRE

“Beyond the Shop” is a periodical look inside the life of a Barnes Manufacturing team member.

The great grandfather of Tom Barnes, Dr. Stewart Aldrich was born June 9th, 1852, Graduated from the Berea College of Medicine in Berea, Ohio, in 1873, in the study Allopathic medicine. Dr. Aldrich was a “Horse and Buggy” Doctor in the Waukee area before moving to Des Moines in 1895.

Dr. Aldrich built a small, stand-alone office near his home. The Coal Stove was purchased from the Spiegel Catalog Company in Chicago, arriving in Des Moines by train.

After his passing the property stayed in the family, however the office was moved to the back of the property where it was used as a wood shop. Tom’s first memory of the stove is from around the age of 5 “This is where I first remember seeing the Stove, Grandfather was burning wood scraps to heat his workshop”.

In 1961 the Stove made its way to the Barnes Family Farm and was put into service in the old farm house that was down by the barn. “As a you boy of 11, I spent many hours in that house now turned into a workshop, keeping warm by building fires with any combustible materials that I could find.” Tom recalled.

The Old House was torn down, sometime in the early 70’s, and the Stove was moved into storage in the Corn Crib. In 1994 Tom brought the stove back to life when he placed it in his newly built shop at his home in Marion. The stove has played was more of piece of nostalgia and atmosphere, as the shop had permanent hot water heat.

For the last 23 years, on every chilly weekend there has been a fire in the stove. Though the stove is still serviceable, (barely), it is no longer safe to be used for its intended purpose. The attached Photos are of the very last fire to be held inside Dr. Aldrich’s Stove.

From Concept to Delivery

By | Uncategorized


Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Toddville, Iowa provides conservation education programming with over 250 acres of natural area and a wonderful indoor exhibit. They focus on  past and present ways we can conserve our natural areas in Linn County. One of those ways is to research how Native Americans in our area lived among and used the available natural resources. A popular form of shelter for the Native Americans in our area was the wickiup, a wooden and bark structure that shielded humans from the elements.  Directors at the center thought it would be educational (and also fun) to offer visitors the opportunity to stay the night in a wickiup. The only problem was how to create a wickiup that did not require constant service and upkeep. Barnes Manufacturing was referred to the nature center by a local government official as the place to go to turn dreams in to reality. Together we researched which materials would best fit their budget and still provide an authentic experience for visitors. From quite literally an idea in someone’s head, we were able to create a conceptual model that guided our fabrication department in the manufacturing of the actual wickiup that will be installed at the learning area for public use.  We pride ourselves on providing our customers with a product that matches their concepts as closely as possible, what ideas can we turn into realities for you?

big-wiki-2   big-wiki-1     done-wiki

Spiral Staircases

By | Uncategorized

At Barnes Manufacturing we love nothing more than helping customers reach the next level through their design and manufacturing needs. However sometimes customers quite literally need help reaching the next level of their business. In the past customers have come to us asking for a space friendly staircase or ladder to get them to the top of lofts, mezzanines, or simply the next floor of their buildings. Over the years we at Barnes MFG have designed and manufactured many staircases to fit just about any need, but nothing can beat the classic look and the efficient use of space of a spiral staircase.  So the next time your business is looking to get to the next level, think Barnes Manufacturing Services.

The pictures shown are a portion of a spiral staircase that extended vertically over 110 feet. This 72” Spiral Stair was complete with rest stop areas and floor exits every 18 feet.  48” Spiral Stairs are also available if space is at a premium.


Manufacturing Dreams

By | Uncategorized

Gifyyy tripod photo booth entrepreneur startup manufacturing design engineering machining wood CNCGifyyy tripod photo booth entrepreneur startup manufacturing design engineering machining wood CNC metalGifyyy tripod photo booth entrepreneur startup manufacturing design engineering machining wood CNC camera stand






At Barnes Manufacturing we love turning dreams and ideas into finished products. Throughout the years we’ve helped many entrepreneurs bring their “napkin sketches” to life; we have design, engineering and manufacturing resources that are not always readily available to those striving to turn ideas in to reality.  We take great pleasure in helping plant the seeds of these startups and watching them grow into successful companies.

Last fall, a Chicago based photography company was trying to produce an idea they had been working on for months, a tripod photo booth that was sturdy, easy to carry and looked like a timeless piece of furniture.  After a few unsuccessful attempts of trying to find their product already on the market they decided it was time to design and produce one of their own, that’s where we came into play. They already had many great design ideas in place and only needed a few professional suggestions as well as help manufacturing their product.

Working closely with the customers, our design team finalized a solution that fit both the needs and wants of our customer. Producibility, as well as strong design elements were intertwined to come up with an end result that everyone could be proud of. This tripod photo booth allows consumers to use modern technology mixed with a classic mid-century elegance to capture some of life’s most important moments.

At Barnes Manufacturing we love the unique challenges brought on by entrepreneurs and startup companies. Not only are we passionate about the industry of manufacturing, we are passionate about helping companies create positive economic impacts on our communities and country.

If you or your company have ideas that you just can’t seem to get off the ground, feel free to contact any of us at Barnes Manufacturing, where we help from design to delivery.

No Project Too Large

By | Uncategorized


At Barnes Manufacturing no project is too big or daunting, not even a 240-foot tall smoke stack liner. When this project was presented to us the smoke stack was in rough shape, the inside of the stack was crumbling rapidly due to many years of wear and tear created by the hot flue gasses.

We at Barnes Manufacturing were tasked with creating a way to both eliminate future erosion as well as provide structural support for the vintage smoke stack. One of the major obstacles of this project was the shear size of the job, not only would it be near impossible to fit the whole stack in our shop, shipping it complete would have been an even tougher task. So we devised a plan to fabricate the stack in multiple sections for ease of delivery. Upon the insertion of the Carbon Steel Liner, the Smoke Stack was returned to full utilization and the Historic Vintage Icon was preserved.

At Barnes Manufacturing our goal is to help solve manufacturing and engineering problems no matter the size. We accomplish this by coupling innovative techniques with our discriminatingly high quality standards. This has allowed us to work within many industries over our nearly 40 years of existence. When you’re thinking BIG think Barnes Manufacturing.

Structural Steel for the UICH

By | Uncategorized


Barnes Manufacturing, a proud contributor of UICH.

This past fall and winter Barnes Manufacturing had the opportunity to help provide needed materials for construction of The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. We provided help in several areas, such as laser and flame cut plates, zinc metalizing flame spray, as well as finish painting. When we were presented with the opportunity we jumped on the project without hesitation, it’s not everyday we are afforded the chance to help with such an important cause. We at Barnes Manufacturing enjoy each and every opportunity we have to work with, and in, our surrounding communities.

With the expected completion at the end of 2016, UICH will become the only comprehensive children’s hospital in the state of Iowa

Manufacturing Careers - Marion, IA - Barnes Manufacturing

Giving Kids the Edge on a Manufacturing Careers

By | Manufacturing Services, Uncategorized

Community College and Machining Companies Show Students Need for Skilled Trade

You can’t push a square block into a round hole, much like you shouldn’t force a student who succeeds in creating things toward a career where they will not have the opportunity to push the limits of their creativity. High school students of the last generation were driven toward four year colleges, academic majors, and Master’s degrees, and away from skilled trades and manufacturing careers like machining, welding and mechanics. Kirkwood Community College has partnered with Eastern Iowa machine shops and welding companies to introduce students to skilled trades earlier.

Fifteen companies manufacturing companies in Iowa’s Creative Corridor participated in the 2015 Advancing the Future: A Tour of Corridor Manufacturers. They opened their doors to high school high school students who participate in shop classes, and some invited the public in to find out more about the careers they offer and services they provide. Read More

Custom Manufacturing for food processing plant - Iowa

Benefits of Custom Manufacturing Food Processing Equipment

By | Uncategorized

When finding new food processing equipment for your plant, there are many options to consider and choosing one that fits your requirements and goals can be challenging. One solution to finding the best equipment for your food processing plant is custom designed equipment. Below are just some of the benefits to partnering with a custom manufacturing company for your custom processing equipment needs.

Integration with Custom Fabricated Equipment

With custom equipment, it can be designed to integrate into your current operations seamlessly, no matter the age or style of your current factory or commercial kitchen. A custom manufacturer of food processing equipment can design equipment to the unique dimensions and specifications that fit your current process. Your specifications might include the size of the space you have to work with, or size or shape of the finished product. Read More