How to Cut, Bend, Grind and Weld an Art-car Sign





Introduction: How to Cut, Bend, Grind and Weld an Art-car Sign

I did this at TechShop Menlo Park and Burning Man 2012.

As a contribution to my Burning Man camp (Bojon) and our beautiful art car Sil-vi, I created a big sign. This is how I went about it:

Step 1: Vector Creation

I took our logo, and converted it to a vector in CorelDraw, exported it as a a DXF file and imported it into Torchmate generating a G code to cut with our CNC Plasma cutter at Techshop.

Step 2: Set Up

I used 80 amp consumables to cut 1/4 inch steal plate and powered up all the elements of the plasma cutter shown in pictures.

Step 3: Cutting

The plasma cutter did the job for me smoothly and easily.

Step 4: Bending

Bending the sign with a step brake worked well but created lines across the metal which needed to be removed.

Step 5: Grinding

Using an angle grinder for many hours.

Step 6: Attachment

At this point I am at Burning man, working on the back of the sign to be welded onto the front of our art car.

Step 7: Welding

Final installment is a bit unusual. I would instruct you to wear a welding jacket. Do as I say not as you see me do. He, he, he..

Step 8: FUN!!!!

After hard work it's time to play. Long live Sil-Vi. We will continue to love her, make her better and enjoy her.



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    18 Discussions

    That is one tough women! I worked at a muffler shop for a bit, and I had to put on leather vests and sleeves to stop the sparks from burning the hell outta me!

    She either posed wearing the little skirt (an absolutely brilliant idea) or she is the toughest women i have ever seen!
    Either way, Great instructable and great pics...

    Ah, so it wasn't "come for the legs, stay for the Instructable" then? "Do as I say not as you see me do." - I think many would rather see you do it... : ]
    As SlickSqueegie says: "Either way, Great instructable and great pics". I envy you your plasma cutter!

    This was great! It would be nice if you have time and interest to post some videos doing this stuff. Pictures are good, but watching it all come together in real time is a great learning tool. Especially on the casting projects you are doing. I'm interested in getting into casting, but it can be a bit intimidating. Watching it happen gives me a little more confidence that I can do it :)

    same thing here only it was hot chips flying off the metal lathe. My feet and legs looked like I had been hit with bird shot.

    I want a plasma cutter! I am using a De Walt 4" angle grinder to cut out my stuff! Very laborious. A plasma cutter would be sweet! Nice job! I envy your kilt man!

    Nice tool set up! Do you do this for a living? I love metal art! I don't know if I would weld without protection. It isn't fun getting hot weld splatter down your shirt. :D Great pictures! =)

    2 replies

    He did it at Techshop, a public workshop, looks like a great idea. Wish they had them in NZ.

    If you hate splatter down your shirt, try gas welding in sandals and getting molten steel on your foot! That one hurts.

    Nice instructible !
    Love that dress !!
    When doing overhead welding, I quickly learned to also use hearing protection, as small hot bits can enter ear canals, burning hairs, and possibly perforating ear drums. Being deaf, NOT fun. Cheers.

    I've gotten some pretty nasty arc burns welding without protective covering of some sort on my arms. I was just using a 120V MIG welder too so I didn't think anything of it at the time. Anymore I don't care how hot it is I break out my welding jacket and wear it. Now I have to work on not welding in flip flops.

    2 replies

    I also agree. I was a fool once when doing some tricky welds under a car and decided I could do it without the mask. I shut my eyes and averted my gaze for every weld so I wouldn't go blind but two days after all the skin on my face turned waxy and pealed off. It was just as horrible as it sounds. My face grew back though and I hadn't lost more than a few layers but I went around with a pink face for a month and screamed at the lightest touch.

    Ah yes, the ol' welder flip-flop dance.
    Reminds me of the old western movies where the bad guy makes someone dance by shooting towards their feet. Yee Haa!

    But seriously, I agree with pfred2, if you're doing anything more than a few tack welds you need proper protection. The UV light generated from electrical welding can result in severe skin burns to uncovered body parts. Essentially a really really bad sun burn.

    Also, splatter from MIG welding (fluxcore or gas shielded) can leave small divots of burned flesh in their wake. The worst is when those mini-balls of molten metal happen to find their way between clothing and skin.

    Safety issues aside, nice instructable, awesome plasma cutter, cute welder, and hats off to those who get the opportunity to brave the craziness that is Burning Man!

    u can weld like a pro, AND you've got legs like that! ( is this anywon else's definishon of perfecshon?)

    5 * for the 'ible! ;-)

    5 STARS for wearing something skimpy while welding! AND making a great instructable!