Make Yourself an Aluminum Rose!

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About: I’m Fernando Zigunov, a refrigeration engineer R&D specialist, interested on a myriad of scientific subjects. I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer at UNISINOS unversity and now am aspiring to join for a PhD...

Hello instructables! I'm very happy to post the instructable herein, because I had a lot of work to do it the right way and learn everything that I needed to do in order to get a good result.

Well, I'm not an artisan, neither I do it for my profession, but my grandmother was going to celebrate her eightieth birthday and I wanted to make an unforgettable gift! So I searched here in Instructables and found this piece of gold at this link - https://www.instructables.com/id/Copper-Rose-Perfect-for-Valentines-Day/ - I reccomend for you to read Sanjay's instructable too, because it is very good!

I followed his steps but copper is pretty expensive here in Brazil and I wanted to learn more about aluminum. So, let's start!


Step 1: Get the Sheet and Cut It!

Here I used a brand-new sheet from an aluminum supplier, but you can use a scrap sheet from anywhere (people who work with aluminum - tinkers - have a lot of scrap). Unfortunately I had to buy one square meter because it was the minimum they sold, but since I was going to do some other things that would need the same sheet, I bought it. It's a one-milimeter-thick aluminum sheet. You can try this with thinner sheet metal of course, but I think that if you go less than 0,5mm its edges will become very sharp and its finish won't be very good. Don't try thicker aluminum! You won't be able to bend it!

You'll need a scissor to cut the sheet metal. For each rose you will need 3 square pieces measuring 75 x 75mm and one rectangular piece of 37 x 75mm (just the half of a square piece).

You need to drill a 4.5mm hole in the center of the sheet. I didn't trace the center, because it is artistic and you don't need so much precision. Moreover, if you make the pieces slightly different from each other, your rose will have a "more natural" aspect.

Step 2: Cut the Petals!

Still using your scissors, cut the petals. Each square piece will have four petals. The rectangular piece will have only two. Total per flower: 14 petals. It's not even near what a real flower has, but the effect is still good.

For the four-petal squares:
-> Cut the four middle divisions
-> Chamfer the four external corners
-> Chamfer the eight internal corners.

For the two-petal rectangles:
-> Cut the two middle notches to allow bending
-> Chamfer the four external corners.


Step 3: Annealing the Petals

You have to anneal the sheet metal you have cut. Otherwise you won't be able to bend it with little effort, because most aluminum sheet are made by cold rolling and the excessive strain that it causes hardens the material. Even if you think you're strong and can handle it, annealing is a good idea to make the material softer. This way it will stretch a lot before it breaks. If there is one thing that you don't want your petals to do while forming them is breaking!

Annealing consists basically on heating the metal up to (literature says) 300-400ºC and letting it cool down to the air. 

This step was hard for me, because I don't have a torch and I didn't want to have one, because I don't know very well how to operate it... So I figured out that the best heat source that we all have in our home is the stove! 

Caution! I advise you (even though I didn't use) to wear leather gloves while handling hot parts and fire! Do as I say, not as I do!

To start, you will need nearby:
-> A stove (obviously!!)
-> Our base material
-> A place to leave the material cool down after heating
-> A pair of pliers
-> A can of water (to refrigerate the pliers)
-> A piece of cloth to dry the pliers

Take a piece of aluminum with your pliers and put it over the fire, slowly moving around to keep the heating homogeneous. Flip it once or twice for a good heat distribution. It takes one minute (or less, depending on your stove) to reach the temperature needed. If you make it too long, your sheet will become blurry and rough. The next step is dripping! So be careful, because you don't want it to drip on a gas exit hole of your stove...

Leave your part over a wood (or even better - stone) stand to cool down. In less than 15 minutes it will be very cool and you can go on! Put your pliers into the water can for a while to cool them, so you can restart the process for the other petals.

Step 4: Cutting the Stem

For this part I also had to use a little bit of creativity, because it was pretty hard to find metric rods on hardware stores. So I used a construction iron rod of 3/16". Yes, these used to make concrete structures...

It doesn't matter what you use. You need a rod of 4mm diameter, because we are going to cut an M4 thread in the next step. The lenght you need to cut is something like 35cm.

I filed the tip to make an invitation for the die. Also, I had to file the perimeter to reduce from 4,75mm (original diameter) to 4mm. 

Step 5: Cutting the Stem's Thread

For this step you will need:
-> a vise
-> an M4 die
-> Cutting oil
-> Two M4 nuts
-> Patience (hehe!)

We need something like 20mm of threaded rod. I think the pictures are pretty explanatory.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

To assembly the petals is pretty simple: Put the first nut untill it reaches the bottom of the thread, insert three squares and one rectangle, put the second nut, tighten it. 

Now comes the interesting part. The first petals to be bent are the rectangle ones. Be careful here! You have to bend them in order to occupy the least space in the base (after bent). This way, you will allow space for the next petals to be bent. Otherwise, your rose will look too much opened, because the last petals will form an angle greater than 180 degrees.

While bending the petals, do not forget to do the effect that creates the "artistic finishing" to the product: With a fine pair of pliers, take the edge and bend it outwards (to the opposite side that you bent the petal). This way, you will create a little "dent" on the edge. Repeat this procedure all over the entire edge of all the petals. Each time you bend a petal, do it. Takes time and work, but is pretty worth it!!

Step 7: Painting

For this step I used spray paint, red and green colored. I used two layers of paint. I had to protect the green side when painting with red paint and vice-versa. The photos show the paper protection used.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Wait the paint dry and... There you are! Finished product. It's a great gift to give to your girlfriend or mother! Women simply love it, and when they know that YOU made it, that you spent your time thinking about them to create your art... Well, nothing pays for it!

I hope you liked it! If something is unclear please feel free to ask questions, I will try my best to help! Thank you very much!

2 People Made This Project!

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33 Discussions

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Y-Geo

4 years ago on Introduction

Hi,
Tip to get the temperature right for annealing aluminium is to draw an X on each pece with hand soap (bar type).
Hold the metal over the flame but keep it constantly moving when the X turns brown-black take the metal out of the flame and dunk into water. (unlike steel the alloy will stay soft during / after dunking in water. )
Nice project well done for thinking outside the box

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AlinaG15

Question 6 months ago on Step 8

Quick question, may I buy this off of you ? They are so beautiful!!! ❤

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JonaM8

Question 9 months ago

Would I be able to (with lots of learning and patience) work with recycled soda can material and have it do something similar?

1 more answer
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dollarseed

3 years ago on Step 8

You left out one part. What did you use to add the leaves along the stems?

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Kaiven

4 years ago on Introduction

An alternative to using a threading tool is to just use a bolt/threaded rod and epoxy it into a copper tube. Soft copper tubing can be bent to an organic shape pretty easily and I plan on trying this myself.

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3dfernandoKaiven

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Yes, indeed it's a good solution, I thought about threaded rods but couldn't figure out how to connect it to the stem without welding.

Always learning!

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seadraggin

4 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for the instructable. I made these three roses in an afternoon out of 16 ounce aluminum Budweiser bottles. They are fairly heavy bottles about .5 mm, but they worked out. (Proof to me was that my wife recognized it as a rose when I asked her what it was).
Cheers!

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3dfernandoseadraggin

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Hey, really great job, bro! Very beautiful!!

It worked pretty well for 0.5mm aluminum, have you had to anneal the plate? I liked a lot the inverting bend on the edges, it added a "style" on them.

I'm glad you've got inspired on this instructable!

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3dfernandospizzak

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I'm sorry I didn't mention the leaf, but I think I didn't do it in a right way and I don't think people should reproduce it at all. You can suggest a way to attach them... Here is how I did:

I cut the sheet in a leaf shape, but I made the petiole (connection with the stem) longer, so I could insert it in a 3.0mm hole that I drilled through the stem. Then I bent it around the stem very tightly, so it would fasten the leaf in some way, by friction.

But it didn't work very well, and you can move the leaf if you touch it.

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spizzak3dfernando

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I see, thanks for the reply. I think the whole drilled is a good idea but maybe using some JB weld or a tack weld to secure it would help too.

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OliLR90

4 years ago on Step 3

Just wanted to let you know that your process for annealing is not right, the process you describe would actually harden aluminium if you'd got it hot enough in the first place.

It needs to get hotter - just below the melting point (660ºC) so around 550ºC - and needs to be quenched in water to cool it quickly.

There are a few methods for getting the correct temperature:
Blackening with a candle before heating - when it clears then the temperature is right.
Rub a bar of soap over it before heating - When the soap starts to brown, the temperature is correct.

The method I've used when building aluminium boats is to keep testing as you heat by trying to draw on it with a piece of softwood - when you can draw black lines on it, it's time for the dunking.
You have a day or two to shape it, less if you need to do lots of shaping a you'll work harden it.

Other than that, great Instructable with an impressive bunch of flowers!!!

Hope this helps

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mdeblasi1

4 years ago on Introduction

Try making them out of copper sheet,
Then put a borax (red) patina on them!

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jmattingly

4 years ago on Introduction

I would definitely look into the possibility of hard anodizing the petals. There aren't too many anodization Instructables, but there are plenty around the web. That would take this good project to a great one.

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mdeblasi1jmattingly

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I got a good book on anodizing aluminum recently.
It will take a braver robot than I to take on that chemical mess on her own.

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3dfernandojmattingly

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Great hint, jmattingly! I still have to learn a lot about this... Next time I make something out of aluminum (soon because there is still plenty of it here) I will look forward to it! Thanks!

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am. mccosham

4 years ago on Introduction

one thing that might be a nice touch to this is put some drops of rose oil inside the petals to give it a realistic smell. I am not sure how it would react with the aluminum and paint though.