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"Kevin's devotion to good craftsmanship combined with his amazing imagination has added immeasurably to the sensory experience of our students and other visitors."
--Eileen Szychowski, Founder, Camelot Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc. Scottsdale, Arizona

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How to Use a Plasma Cutter While Creating a Metal Sculpture

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

Kevin Caron: I'm working on a new contemporary art sculpture. It's going to be sculpted out of stainless steel, and designed to be an indoor freestanding sculpture. It goes on a little shelf right inside the entryway.

It's an ultra-modern home with great big high-domed ceilings, so we're going to need something really elegant to sit on that shelf where it can catch light from the front door as you can come in. There will also be a light up above it to keep it lit up. It's going to be really pretty, I think.

I'm going to cut the metal here in my studio using a plasma cutter. This is a plasma cutter. This metal cutting tool cuts with compressed air and electricity, as opposed to an oxygen acetylene metal cutter, which uses two different gases that burn.

Now, oxygen acetylene cuts very hot with a very wide flame, so it takes a big curve; it takes a big chunk away when you make your cut. The plasma cutter cuts with a much thinner curve, so you don't waste as much material, and it cuts a little cooler so you don?t warp the material as badly.

As you can see it's got little training wheels for those of us who shake a little bit, or, can't quite get a straight line going. This way you can put it right down on your metal work, and as long as you have a line or a guide to run up against, you can get a pretty nice, smooth cut out of it, instead of having to use a jigsaw or a sheeter, or something like that.

The plasma cutter lets you cut bigger pieces faster, making you a little more efficient. That's what it is: a plasma cutter.

Other than that, one of my favorite tools of all time: clamps. Big metal clamps; these are called Bessey clamps. They?re unbelievable, great big strong clamps. They're very sturdy and they can take heat. Bessey clamps are made to take abuse; they can take the rigors of working in a metal yard or a metal factory. If you?re ever in the market for one, go buy a Bessey clamp.

Well, I've got to get the grinder out and grind on these and smooth these edges off.

It's about to get very noisy and very dusty, so I'll see you next week. Bye!

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