Starting a project.

Sheet Metal Fabrication techniques, questions and help. "Tricks of the Trade"

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Rotwick

Starting a project.

Post by Rotwick » Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:46 am

Hey everyone. I'm new here and have no idea what I'm talking about. I haven't read through many posts here or had the chance to really get into researching anything YET. Right now, I'm just trying to get some basic ideas of what will be involved with getting this project done. So with that said...

I'm trying to get a project going for the interior of my home that I've been thinking about and drawing up for quite a while now. I would like to build futuristic molding and trim that can hold a string or line of lights that will be behind dark plexi glass.

The designs that I've come up with will involve drilling, cutting, bending and curving. By curving I mean, just taking a flat piece of metal and be able to make it into a "C" shape. I plan on using segments and putting it together piece by piece.

Here are my questions...

What is the absolute thinnest and easiest to work with metal out there? What's the thickness? Are there any tools out there specifically made for working with super thin sheets? Will I even NEED bought tools for shaping and bending thin metal or could I do just as well with home rigged tools and jigs? Where can I buy metal like I'm looking for?

Also, I hope I posted this in the correct location. A professional's definition of "sheet metal" could be different than mine!
This will be a light weight structure and strength isn't an issue so I'm just trying to make this as easy on myself as possible. I will continue researching but thought it wouldn't hurt to hear what some folks here have to say as I look for information on my own. Thanks!

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Lee
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 1:17 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Starting a project.

Post by Lee » Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:36 pm

Well, there's aluminum foil....... Seriously though, you mentioned it has to hold a string or line of lights. So it will have to be able to carry some kind of weight I have to assume, since I haven't seen your drawings. It will also have to retain it's shape and, if you are using fasteners, resist the fastener pulling through. Perhaps the most readily available is aluminum flashing material. It comes in a roll of varying width and lengths and is available at most home centers and hardware stores. It can be cut with a pair of heavy household scissors or snips if you have them, bent by hand around around simple forms without trouble, and should hold a fastener fairly well. You never said how much material you need though, so if you need miles of the stuff there might be a cheaper way to go but you will have to buy it in larger pieces or even sheets. I'm sure you will get a lot of suggestions on this board [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/grin.gif"%20alt="[/img]
I always like to learn, but I don't always like to be taught.

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Jacin
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Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 12:14 am
Location: Near Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Starting a project.

Post by Jacin » Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:13 pm

I think Lee has got you headed in the right direction! What came to my mind is that you're wanting to build some sort of "gutter" - at least in principle. As such you might look at one to see if there's any chance of adapting one to your design - it might save a bunch of work.
As for homebuilt tools -that totally depends on what TOOLS you have available to build your NEW tools <smile>
Some fellas tend to get a bit carried away for things one can buy at the store for $2. See attached picture for an example of what I mean - I tried two stores to buy a lamp shade for my NEW (to me) bandsaw and in frustration mixed with impatience I made one -ok it's NOT much to look at but at least it keeps the light out of my eyes! Maybe I will take Lee's suggestion and try the flashing for the next one!

Good Luck and be sure to post your results!!

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Lee
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 1:17 pm
Location: Michigan

Lamp shade

Post by Lee » Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:49 pm

Don't be so hard on your own work Jacin, that's a pretty nifty shade! [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/grin.gif"%20alt="[/img]
I always like to learn, but I don't always like to be taught.

Rotwick

Re: Lamp shade

Post by Rotwick » Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:01 pm

Yeah, actually I guess I am looking for some "gutter metal" in principle at least. I'll be going for a hunt today to see what I can come up with. I'm guessing that the most expensive part of this project will be the plexi. Anyway, I have lots of hand drawings and no scanner but I will try to recreate the main points of my sketches in MS Paint so you guys can get an idea of what I'm trying to do. Thanks a lot. I was actually expecting to get shot down for posting my PRE-beginner questions but I guess we all have to start somewhere! Once again, thanks. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif"%20alt="[/img]

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willjordan
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All questions are honoured

Post by willjordan » Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:16 pm

I was actually expecting to get shot down for posting my PRE-beginner questions but I guess we all have to start somewhere! Once again, thanks. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif"%20alt="[/img]

I'll tell you a secret. We're all beginners in some area. I'm a rookie machinist, but a fair blacksmith and done such things as rivetted iron kettles and medieaval armour wend working with sheet metal. My sheet work is a far cry from air hammers and English wheels, especially since I forged the special hammers I needed for some of the projects.

In other forums, you'll see me ask for realy basic info and yet I'm not shy about dropping in a hint or opinion if it falls within my expertise or if I can point to an option that might make sense.

So hopefully you can find some help here and later pass it on when you make a discovery or want to help making the same mistake you made on a project.
grace & peace
will

[url=http://willjordan.com]Will's Web Pages[/url]

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Jacin
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Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 12:14 am
Location: Near Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Lamp shade

Post by Jacin » Wed Oct 29, 2003 12:45 pm

Many times the only difference between a Beginner and an Expert is TIME. We are all here spending TIME and hopefully learning as we go - I'd be shocked if you found an EXPERT who wasn't STILL learning.
AS for "expecting to get shot down" the only thing here that I ever see get shot down is SPAM ! ! ! ! ! ! ! We're here to learn - not to "shoot"- unless of course it's the gunsmithing forum learning to shoot <grin>

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