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  #1  
Old 05-23-2005, 08:15 PM
Horsefeathrs Horsefeathrs is offline
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Default What can I use for cutting sheet metal?

I am interested in creating designs with sheet metal but I am not sure what tool to purchase to cut it. I need something easy to handle as I will be making some complex designs as well as something that will work fairly quickly. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-23-2005, 08:29 PM
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Can you elaborate a bit more..like what sort of designs..what type of sheet metal? Are you thinking about big investments such as plasma or Hand tools? Are these cuts straight or circular?

Welcome to the Shop
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Old 05-24-2005, 08:44 AM
Horsefeathrs Horsefeathrs is offline
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I want to create equine(horse) art out of metal so the designs will vary but they will be pretty complex.(both circular and straight lines) I am willing to invest up to $1000 in equipment. I have heard of plasma tools. Is this my best option? I'm not sure what a Hand tool is.

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2005, 01:33 PM
benncool benncool is offline
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You could probably get a used plasma cutting rig for that much. Bennington College is one of our customers so I know the type of art work of which you speak. You still didn't mention the type of metal that you will be working with. Plasma would be only good with steel.
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Old 05-26-2005, 04:15 PM
danski0224 danski0224 is offline
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Why is plasma only good with steel? I have used it on copper, it works just fine... if you like slightly discolored edges at the cut line. I thought they worked on any conductive material.
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Old 05-28-2005, 12:18 PM
Horsefeathrs Horsefeathrs is offline
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Thanks for the replies! Does anyone know of a specific brand name or type of plasma tool that would work? Yes, I will be using steel. I think I will also cut tin as well. Will a plasma rig work for tin?
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Old 05-28-2005, 12:31 PM
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Plasma will cut just about anything short of lemons. When it comes to brand try to stick with the big five. Hypertherm, ThermalDynamics, Miller, Lincon, Esab. Bob
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Old 05-28-2005, 12:35 PM
danski0224 danski0224 is offline
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You have to decide how thick your cuts need to be first, then pick a machine that fits those needs. The major manufacturers all offer a self contained machine (plasma cutter and on board compressed air) around $1000 or less. The self-contained units are good up to 1/4 inch max, and do best at 16ga or thinner. These machines use a single phase household 15 amp 120v circuit. Bigger machines are dedicated 120v 20A (no compressor) or 240+ volt and/or 3 phase.
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Old 04-09-2006, 03:18 PM
macCopper macCopper is offline
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Newby Alert:

I'm also looking for the best way to cut sheet metal as the original poster with similar artistic cutting projects. However, I'm mainly interested in copper sheet metal. I'm currently experimenting with 16oz. and 22oz. copper sheet metal. I'm finding the aging hands are not liking the tin snip approach.

Thanks,
Johnny
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:15 PM
LeadHead LeadHead is offline
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The machine I use is a very expensive HVAC machine that I have learned how to do artistic design on. There are much less expensive alternatives. Here is a tip I learned. If the machine you choose will import a .dxf file(autocad file), you can use Corel Suite(specifically Corel Trace) to convert just about any picture into something your plasma will recognize. I have taken a digital photo of my son and traced it with Corel and imported it into my CNC machine. There is a lot of clean-up to do, because there are WAY too many points on the profile but once you have done this once, save it and it is yours. Good luck Johnny.
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