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How to Custom Fit Metal

Kevin is working on a big aluminum sound sculpture stand that will hold three bells. He is fitting the third “arm” onto the stand and wants to cut the metal perfectly so the pieces intersect with and can be welded to each other.

To determine how to custom fit together the aluminum arms he has created, Kevin first looks at the back side of the sound sculpture stand and shows how the joint will be a straight line. His biggest concern is the front of the metal sculpture, where the faces are curved.

Kevin knows that he wants to cut his metal half above the intersection point and half below so he can slide the metal of the arm he is adding into the main arch to get the sections to touch each other and close the gap. All of the cutting will be done on the arm he is fitting in – the main arch will remain solid.

He uses a marker to make a line where he needs to cut. Quality guestimation is key here. He moves the third arm away and cleans up his lines. He knows the cut will need to be long and slender to snug the third arch into the main one.

Then Kevin uses his Everlast PowerPlasma 80S plasma cutter to cut inside the line. He checks the fit. The pieces of aluminum are still not completely touching.

Kevin makes more marks and continues to use the Everlast PowerPlasma 80S plasma cutter and his angle grinder to cut and fit the metal until he is comfortable that he can weld it together with the spool gun on his Everlast PowerMTS 251si. Then he’ll use his die grinder with a burr on it to clean up and blend in the weld.

An important key to the fit is not leaving a gap in the middle of all three arms so that a pocket doesn’t form in this large metal structure – Kevin doesn’t want leaves, snow or ice to collect, especially since this particular sculpture is destined for New York where water can freeze and expand.

At the end of this how-to video, you can see the finished sound sculpture, Violeta Canto.

And don’t miss the very end of the video, when one of the challenges of working with large pieces teaches Kevin a lesson ….

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