Five Custom Sheet Metal Projects For Beginning Welders, Fabricators And Metal Artists

17 February 2015
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Articles

Sheet metal fabricators can make almost anything out of metal, and once finished, they can paint, powder coat or even laser etch the final products. If you are a novice welder or someone who is just becoming interested in working with sheet metal, you may not be ready to try one of the amazing fabrications a professional can create, but there are still a lot of projects you can try. For easy but fun custom sheet metal projects, check out these five ideas:  

1. Garbage Can

Garbage cans are a great project to start with, as they are both simple and functional. Simply cut a piece of sheet metal in the size that you desire. Pull two of its edges toward each other to create a cylindrical shape. Using the cylinder as a guide, trace a circle onto another piece of sheet metal. When you cut out that circle, make it slightly larger so that you can fold up a lip.

Using a drill punch, punch holes at the same intervals into the lip of the circle and the base of the cylinder. Use sheet metal screws or rivets to connect the two pieces together. Finish the garbage can in any way that you choose – weather the metal with a hammer, paint it or add metallic embellishments.  

2. Pendants

Making pendants allows you to work with sheet metal on a relatively small scale, helping to improve your precision cutting. To make a pendant, draw your desired shape on a piece of sheet metal and cut it out with metal shears. File the edges until smooth, and cut holes in the edges of the pendant using a drill press. Finally, feed a chain or leather band through the pendant.  

3. Rust Repair Panels

If you are more of a motorhead than a jewelry fan, take your early sheet metal projects into the garage and try making rust repair panels for the bottom of a rusty, old car. To get started, pull up the carpet on the floor of your car. While salvaging as much healthy metal as you can, file or cut off any excess rust until you have a rectangular shaped hole.

Measure the hole and cut two thin pieces of sheet metal slightly larger than the hole. Place one piece of sheet metal under the car and one inside it. Then, simply weld the pieces together, or hold them together temporarily with epoxy before firmly attaching them with sheet metal screws.

4. BBQ Pit Lid

With a few cinder blocks, two pieces of sheet metal and a cooking stand, you can make a pit perfect for roasting a whole hog. Simply, clear a patch of ground, pour down a layer of sand and create a large rectangular box out of cinder blocks. Place a cooking stand – available from a machine shop or some BBQ speciality stores – in the pit, and finally, you are ready to add your lid.

The lid does not need to be fancy. It simply needs to hold heat in your grill. Use two pieces of sheet metal, each slightly larger than its half of the grill. Cut them to size, create a small lip around three sides and lay them on the top of the grill so that their two flat edges are overlapping.

5. 3D Puzzles

If you just want to play with sheet metal but are not ready to try your own cutting or embellishments yet, consider buying 3D sheet metal puzzles kits. These kits come with large pieces of sheet metal that have small pieces etched out onto them. You simply punch out the pieces and put them together to create the finished puzzle.

For more info on custom sheet metal fabrication projects you can try, contact a metal fabrication company.