Introduction: Sheet Metal Flower to Practice Plasma Cutting and Welding
The purpose of this flower is to allow experience using a plasma cutter and MIG welding such that
ugly novice cutting/welding adds to the charm of the flower. Since practicing tends to make us focus on what we're not good at, why not use it to our advantage and have the outcome look better with uneven cuts and welds.
To make this flower, you will use the techniques in How to Use a Plasma Cutter and Basics of MIG Welding.
I made this at TechShop Detroit (www.techshop.ws).
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Step 1: Choose Sheet Metal Material
This worked well because I really liked how the yellowish tinge of the scrap metal would contrast with the discoloration from cutting and welding.
Step 2: Cut Petals With Plasma Cutter
The size of the petals can be completely subjective. Note that the uneven cuts are due to lack of experience smoothly moving the plasma cutting gun across the surface. When moving too fast the material is not cut all the way through. Luckily, the uneven cuts work to your advantage here.
It is much better to start the cutter a little off the material and come in to cut. To activate the plasma cutter, lift the safety and pull the trigger.
Note that I originally chose four petals but added another when I realized it was not aesthetically pleasing enough.
Step 3: Remove Petals With Pliers
Since you are a novice plasma cutter, your petals will likely be attached it a few locations. Use pliers to gently remove the petal by gently bending the petal back and forth. It is unlikely you will need excessive force. Use the plasma cutter to make further cuts if you cannot move the petal.
Step 4: Check Flower Design - Add More Petals If Required
As mentioned, in this case I cut four petals and decided that adding a fifth looked better.
Step 5: Cut the Stem
Use a straight edge to guide the plasma cutter in a straight line for the stem. In this case I used an angle that was lying around in the shop. Make one cut and another parallel cut
Step 6: Cut the Center of the Flower
This is a tricky cut because you are starting within the material and do not have the option of coming in from the side with the gun already engaged. Cut a circle as best you can and leave a sliver attached so that it doesn't fall through the grate.
"Punch" it out from underneath and use the pliers to gently move it back and forth to remove from the material.
Set it among the other parts to ensure sizing is appropriate.
Step 7: Weld Petals Together
To set up this scenario, I chose to use 90 degree welding magnets. I set up all five petals on five magnets, overlapping the petals in locations where they could be welded to each other.
Test the center circle and make sure that it sits within the petals, then remove it.
Weld the petals together. Remember, even if the welds are not pretty the purpose of this is to practice. Ugly welds will still make a beautiful flower.
Remove the welded petals from the magnets and ensure that the welds hold all petals together.
Step 8: Weld Petals and Center Circle Together
Test the center circle within the petals and welds. Put the the center circle face down on a magnet. Put the welded petals upside-down over the center circle. Place in most favorable position - the magnet holds all pieces together loosely. Weld the petals to the center circle.
Step 9: Bend Petals to Open Flower
Use pliers to bend petals back to open flower.
Step 10: Weld the Stem to the Petals
Place the petals upside-down on the magnet. Place the stem in the proper position behind the flower and position magnets to achieve the desired height. Weld the stem to the back of the petals.
Step 11: Display Your Flower
I used a basic picture hanger to display as an accent on my brick wall.