How To Use A Template In Plasma Cutter Metal Art
Plasma cutters can be great for creating metal art and logos.
But to turn your idea into reality, you will need various working tools and skills.
A plasma cutter can make quick and easy work of a piece of metal. Allowing you to cut and then join different pieces later on with a welder.
CNC plasma cutters can be expensive. However, there is an alternative.
Table of Contents
Basics Of Plasma Cutter Art
The two basics of metal art are:
- Cutting shape and designs
- Cutting a perfect circle
Let’s go to learn how to freehand cut shapes and designs and cut a perfect circle.
Cutting Shapes And Designs - Using Freehand
If you like to do your artwork with a plasma cutter, certainly you’ll need to learn different forms of object cutting. Cutting freehand is good for complex cuts such as the butterfly pictured here.
But what if you need to be more precise?
In this case, you will need to either practice a lot on your own or use a template.
Cutting A Perfect Circle - Using Freehand
Learning how to trace the outline of a template with your plasma cutter is a fundamental skill in metal art. If the piece of metal you are cutting allows for it. It makes much more sense to use a guide or template like the ones below.
This will not only save you time but also reduce waste.
How To Make Templates For Plasma Cutter Metal Art
Plasma cutter and design template.
Yes, with a template and plasma cutter, you can produce identical and multiple pieces of art within a very short time. You know, plasma cutter uses an extremely hot flow of gas to cut metal. It allows a metal artist to cut precisely any sheet metal. If you require creating multiple of the same piece of art, a design template can be most helpful. You’ve two options to follow:
- Trace your design onto the sheet metal using a marker
- Clamp the template directly to the sheet
These will guide the plasma cutter to cut the art piece. If the metal sheet seems greasy, you need to clean it with metal solvent. A soapstone pencil or metal scribe can help you in this regard.
If you are one of the lucky few who own a CNC Plasma cutter. There are many free and paid templates available to download online. This won't only ensure a smooth cut but also save you time designing and cutting custom works of art.
Things You'll Need
- Plywood or particle board
- Two or more metal clamps
How To Trace
Step 1: Draw the logo or design onto the piece of cardboard.
Step 2: Cut out the template. You may use a sharp knife to cut it.
Step 3: Clamp the template to the sheet. You’ll require at least two clamps to hold the template firmly in place. In case of large design, you may require three or more clamps.
Step 4: Trace around the template with soapstone. You should do it slowly. Be more careful when tracing around the clamps.
Step 5: Take away the clamps and template. You’ll now see an outline of the design.
Step 6: Cut the sheet using a plasma cutter. Place the plasma cutter tip directly over the outline. You should work carefully and slowly to get the precise cut.
How To Clamp
Step 1: Take the measurement of the distance from the center of the cutting tip to the edge of the tip.
Step 2: Outline the logo or design on a piece of plywood or particle board. In this case, you should deduct/ subtract the measurement that you’ve got in step 1.
For example, if the measurement of the center of the cutting tip is ¼” from the edge, you should draw the logo ¼ “ smaller than the desired.
Step 3: Cut the logo or design from the wood piece. You can use a jigsaw. You should work slowly to get the precise cut.
Step 4: Mount the cut wood piece onto the sheet metal. Use the clamps to hold the finished cut piece in the place.
Step 5: Trace around the cut piece/ template using a plasma cutter. Keep the edge of the cutting tip against the template. When the tip will reach near the clamp, you may require stopping cutting. Then replace the clamp to a new position. Continue the cutting process along the outline.
Things You Should Remember
- If you need to use the template frequently, it’s wise to make a durable template by using a scrap piece of sheet metal.
- Always try to practice with simpler cuts before cutting out complex shapes.
- Don’t forget to wear welding safety equipment
- Never ignore the manufacturer’s instructions.
No matter whatever the design of your art, whether it be an indoor freestanding sculpture, wall art or a heavy duty piece with the company logo, your project will be have a better chance of success if you utilize a plasma cutter template or guide.