Welders who work with sheet metal for art projects, home decoration, sculpting, and molding to name a few, can create almost anything from their imagination. Sheet metal is so easy to work with because it is light weight and can be manipulated in so many ways as long as you have the proper tools at your disposal.
Among these tools are torches, plasma cutters, and stamping dies which are all readily available in the market for you to purchase. Working with sheet metal is a process that takes time to hone and master. If you are a beginner or an intermediate welder, here are a few projects that may help you in fine-tuning your welding capabilities. Let us call this project Sheet Metal Art 101.
To perform any type of welding project, you must have the right tools available. These tools are necessary to melt, bend, sculpt, mold, and manipulate metal to your heart’s desire. For this beginner and intermediate project, you will need the following tools:
• Angle Driver Tool
• Tin Snips
• Electric Sheet Metal Shear (18 gauge)
• Vise Pliers/Grips
• Basic Pliers
• Electric Welder Machine
• Screw Driver
• Sheet Metal Divider
• Sheet Metal Measuring Tape
How to Cut a Perfect Hole on Sheet Metal with Tin Snips and a Divider:
One of the most basic lessons that you need to learn when working with sheet metal is how to cut it properly. There are various gauges of sheet metal available in the market today and the thicker the sheet metal gauges is, the harder it is to cut. For this project, you should use a really thin piece of sheet metal to get started. Cutting a perfect hole in sheet metal with the use of tin snips and a divider is a great beginner’s lesson to working with sheet metal. Here are the steps to follow:
The first step in cutting a circle on sheet metal is to make the proper measurements. For this, you will need a large enough piece of sheet metal at a size of 14X3 inches. To make the proper measurements, you will need a metal sheet divider and a metal sheet measuring tape, which you will use to determine the center of your circle on the sheet.
To determine the center of your circle, you will need to use your measuring tape to measure lengthwise (left to right) 8 centimeters from the left of the sheet. Next, measure the height of the sheet (down to up) and divide the result by 2. This should be 7 inches total. Next, mark the 7th inch with a pen or industrial strength pencil to make the permanent visible mark that you will cut your circle on.
Now that you know where exactly to cut your hole on, it is time for you to utilize your divider. Your divider should be 4 inches round to produce a clean and flawless job. Next, set your divider to 2 inches round to cut a perfect circle.
Next, use a prick punch tool together with a small hammer to make a hole on the center of your sheet metal. This hole will allow your divider to be perfectly lodged on the center to make a circle outline on your sheet metal. Now, place the divider on the hole and rotate it numerous times until you see a circle outline on your sheet metal. Once this outline is complete, you can now proceed to cut.
The next step is to use a screwdriver to puncture a hole in the outer circle with a hammer. Once you made a hole long enough, you can then proceed to use your snips to cut the entire diameter. Keep in mind to always take your time cutting to prevent errors. This should result in a nicely cut hole.
How to Make a Sheet Metal Star:
The next project that you can do to improve your sheet metal art skills is to make a star from sheet metal. This process is much more difficult to do because you will need to work with cardboard paper and sheet metal respectively.
The first step is to fashion a star on cardboard paper. If you have a perfect star that you can use to outline on cardboard paper, this should make the project easier. With a pen or pencil, outline the star as heavily as possible on the cardboard so that the outline is visible.
With some scissors, cut the outline of the cardboard and detach the star. Next, place the star on the bottom of your metal sheet to begin cutting. Placing the cardboard star in the middle of the sheet metal may make cutting a harder task as you will need to cut a straight line on the star outline with a hammer and a screwdriver. For beginners and intermediates working with sheet metal, it is best that you place the star on the bottom of the sheet for the meanwhile
The third step will be to outline the star on your metal sheet with a pen or pencil. Make sure that the outline is visible by shading the outline more than once. Next, cut the outline of the star with your metal snips.
Make sure to cut evenly and slowly so you avoid making any mistakes. Taking your time with each cut also allows you to make fine cuts without any metal sheet residue hanging from the edges of your cut. You should have a nicely shaped sheet metal star after this.
Once you have mastered these projects, you can go on to more complex metal sheet projects that you can find online. These projects will definitely improve your skill at creating sheet metal art. Keep in mind to continue practicing regularly.