Many stay-at-home moms, like me, become skilled at a variety of hobbies in order to enhance our homes’ decor and sometimes even to make a little extra money. Art made with plasma cutting and MIG welding may not be new, but I’m finding it’s a way to express my creativity while generating pieces that look beautiful yet serve valuable purposes. Best of all, once the basic equipment was purchased, I found generating one-of-a-kind pieces can be accomplished with just about anything made of metal.
How I Discovered the idea behind Welding Art
I was surfing the web one day and found some metal art on Pintrest that intrigued me. That led me to a site called D.I.Y. Projects with Pete where step-by-step directions were given as to how to create a beautiful sign. He recommended the Hobart 250CI Plasma Cutter which I found through Amazon for $400 along with a few other materials that were fairly easy to find. I had to look up some reviews first, as when combined – the equipment is not cheap. The range of different Plasma cutters available is astounding! so it’s best to get some expert advice first. This review of different plasma cutter machines available was very helpful. In the end, I opted for the Hobart as it sounded like a good tool for a beginner.
To my amazement the end result of my first attempt was a piece of metal art that I was proud to display and that ended up serving as a conversation starter for visiting guests. It wasn’t long before I had requests for customized pieces that ended up not only paying for my supplies but put a little money in my pocket as well. Fortunately, I found the craft was fairly easy to learn once I had the right information.
How the Plasma Cutter Works
Plasma cutting is accomplished with a tool that cuts through metal, aluminum, brass, copper and other types of metal by creating a channel of super-heated electrically ionized gas that is forced through a small nozzle. Basically, the metal is melted in narrow channels that end up looking like a drawing. Although commercial cutters can cut steel up to 6 inches thick, the mobile version for home artisans can cut through steel up to 1-1/2 inches thick. Due to the high speed, precision cutting and low cost of its use, it is the perfect hobby for any stay-at-home mom.
Some Interesting Things I Found Out
When learning a new hobby it’s not unusual to follow the step-by-step directions for a given project and end up with a product similar to the model presented. As I began to experiment, however, I found that I was not limited to purchasing metal for my projects. As with many people, I discovered I had lots of things made of metal that were no longer serviceable that I hadn’t thrown away yet. By playing around I found that many items I had on hand could be converted into metal art like old saw blades, broken shovels and rakes, rusty canning pots and many other things. I found that if it was made of metal I could turn it into a piece of art.
Turning 2-D into 3-D Art
You don’t have to throw away old things like nails, bolts and other smaller items made of metal either. With a little MIG welding any flat piece of art cut with the plasma cutter can be turned into a 3-D work that is intriguing and will jump out at you. This type of welding took a little more time to learn as when not done correctly globs of metal would form or holes in the weld would appear. The result was the need to either grind down the excess or take it apart and start over in order to produce the smooth, clean look I wanted.
MIG Welding utilizes a roll of wire that is fed through a gun. That creates what’s called a weld bead. When the trigger is pressed, a welding arch on the MIG welding machine feeds the wire out of the nozzle. You can use either flux core wire or solid wire with each producing a different look. The thing I liked best was that the MIG welder was specifically designed for beginners so it wasn’t that hard to learn to use. I found a really great booklet at Garrett’s Make Money Welding For Beginners at https://makemoneywelding.com/hobby-welding-difference-mig-tig-stick-welding/ that really helped me decide which was the best option for me. I decided to get a MIG/Flux Corded Welder from Harbor Freight in case I wanted to expand my welding to include something more difficult and it was only $259.99.
When I started exploring plasma welding art I hadn’t planned on creating an at-home business but once I got started I couldn’t stop. Best of all, my children began to help me by coming up with ideas to implement. I found they’re much less restricted when it comes to the boundaries of creativity and they’ve not only helped me expand my own imagination but are also learning valuable skills they may decide to use later in life. For any stay-at-home mom I would highly recommend trying plasma welding metal art yourself.