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"Your work is so creative. From the first piece I saw ... I have been a big fan. It will make us all proud that we will have one of your sculptures in the center of 'Old Avondale'."
--Beverly Moore, Member, Avondale, Arizona, Municipal Arts Committee

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Cutting Metal: How to Make Components Uniform in Size and Shape

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I'm making some metal support fins for a fountain I've been working on here in the studio. They resemble little shark teeth. Come here and I'll show you how to make metal components uniform in size and shape.

These little support fins go on the bottom of the metal dish, up against the pipe that the dish mounts to. With all of these dishes stacked up on top of one another, there's going to be a lot of weight at the outside edge of each dish. The dishes actually flex a little bit, but I don't want the whole fountain doing likewise.

I've just cut out these fins using the plasma cutter and now I'm cleaning all the slag off of them. Next I'm going to stack them up, get them true, making sure they're all nice and smooth, even and straight. After that, I'll set them in place and TIG weld them on.

Here's my high-tech cardboard cutout here. Simply trace them out on a piece of steel. It turns into a great jigsaw puzzle as you try to get the most use out of your steel. The aim is to end up with the smallest pieces of scrap left over. The scrap guy doesn't care for it, but we metal artists need to get the most from our materials.

Now we'll get our plasma cutter and chop them up. (cutting)

Some people want to know how I can make such straight lines and cuts. I cheat. I've got training wheels. Go check them out. (cutting)

And here they are all cleaned up. You can see how they fit down in the base, and how they fit in the back.

Sometimes after you stack them up and put them together, you look at it and think, "Boy, are they that far off?" You might look here and see the little bump here in the middle. Or, you might look on the bottom and notice they're nowhere near the same. In that case, you find the one that fits the best, and that's your pattern that you make the other three conform to.

Hmmmm, that one fits pretty well, so we'll use that one for the pattern. Remember, it's on the top. It's that one.

Now I'll just get the big grinding tool and shave that guy down, just like this. (grinding)

That's what I love about my job. Sparks just go everywhere.

Back to work.

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