Today, I worked on a metal wall sculpture that a customer wants of the Chugach Mountain Range. I thought I'd share part of the production process involving plasma cutting the steel. Currently, I use a Hypertherm brand plasma cutter. It is one of my primary metal working tools (along with my wirefeed arc welder) that I use in the shop. Here is a little YouTube of plasma cutting in action... you may want to crank the volume for the tunes alone (joking).
I started with several digital images I took of the mountain range for reference. Using a marker, the mountains were drawn on the sheet metal. To take the pressure off myself, I make two sculptures and let the customer choose one and the other will go to the Gallery. This has worked well in the past for the client, the Gallery and me.
These are the 2-part consumables I use with every two sheets of steel. The manufacturer doesn't recommend changing the tips as often as I do -but the difference is like cutting butter vs. cutting pavement. I like to work faster rather than slower because I'm basically freehand drawing when I'm cutting.
Here are some of the mountains getting cut out. I wear a respirator, eye protection, welding gloves/clothes and have plenty of ventilation. There is a lot of sparks and particulate matter that gets blown down with the cutting. I still need to hand bend some round metal (cold rolled 3/8") stock for a back frame, weld up, heat treat, use the grinder for embellishment marks and apply a finish clear enamel. Well, that's just a quick peek at my project today and I'll try to remember to post pics of the finished piece.