Instructables
Picture of Metal Art Photo
This Instructable shows you how to take a favorite photo or image and convert it to a large metal art hanging that can be used to decorate a wall, or used as a stencil to reproduce the image.
 
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Step 1: Step 1: Find a photo or image

Picture of Step 1:  Find a photo or image
The first step is to find a photo you want to use for your metal art. 

Things You Will Need:

-Large sheet of aluminum 0 .090" - 0.2" thick
-Editing software (I use Gimp, it's free!)
-Vector graphics editing software (I used Inkscape...again it's free!)
-Locate someone who can provide CNC waterjet or plasma cutting services.  Many local machine shops offer this service.

Step 2: Step 2: Convert Image to a stencil

Picture of Step 2:  Convert Image to a stencil
Here's a good youtube tutorial for converting images to stencils.  The white parts are the parts you'll be cutting out so make sure all the black features are connected.

Step 3: Step 3: Convert to .dxf file

Picture of Step 3:  Convert to .dxf file
To get the stencil cut out of metal using CNC equipment, you'll need the image converted to a .dxf file.  This creates the path the tool will follow when cutting out the image.  To do this, open your stencil image using Inkscape and save-as: .dxf file.

Step 4: Step 4: Have the image cut!

Picture of Step 4:  Have the image cut!
Once you locate someone who provides CNC cutting services; e-mail them the .dxf file of your image.  The image of my kids I show in this Instructable was cut from a 24" x 36" sheet of .090" aluminum.  It only took 18 minutes of cutting time using an abrasive water jet.  A machine shop might charge up to $80/hr for cutting so you can expect to spend ~$20 to have your image cut.

After it's cut, sand the showing surface, spray with primer and spray paint a dark color.  When the metal art is held against a light colored wall the image can be seen clearly!
This is really cool! And such a cute picture!