Scroll Sawn Metal Art

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I cut sheet metal with a scroll saw. I use mainly copper, cold rolled steel and aluminum. I have written a book on the subject with Frank Pozsgai as the lead author.

Although I do a lot of just cut outs, I enjoy making anything and everything from them, i.e., ear rings, lamp shades, electrical outlet and switch covers, sculptures, wall art, wine bottle racks, etc. I do mostly heat patina on the copper and steel. I powder coat most of the aluminum work. I also do various chemical patina on the copper and steel work.

I stack the sheets of metal between two 1/4" sheets of plywood and use plain end skip tooth scroll saw blades to cut with. (Metal cutting blades are to brittle for me to use) This does entail using a lot of blades but they are very inexpensive if ordered in packs of 144 from the right supplier.

visitor's picture

Scroll saw

Please address the stack of materials a little more. Between two sheets of plywood.. fine..any adhesive to hold the sheets of metal in place? You may have just cut my production time on a hundred pc small run down a bunch. thank you Darf

scrollerbear's picture

Scroll Sawn Metal

I normally wrap the package of sheet metal in 1/4 inch plywood (the cheapest and least hard I can find) and then wrap the package with clear packing tape. I prefer the heavy duty tape. It is more expensive but wrinkles less and seems to have more of a lubricating effect when cutting.

(You can also use the clear packing tape to wrap hardwood you are planning to cut. This will keep the wood from "burning" and it will cut much easier.)

You need to alternate direction and side when wrapping with packing tape. If you do not, the package will warp.

When I am cutting extremely delicate images, I sometimes counter sink metal screws from the bottom up around the image to further cut down on vibration of the metal when cutting. (I put globs of hot glue on the tips of the metal screws sticking out the top so I don't cut myself on them. I don't have the strength or good enough cutters to cut them off anymore. I usually use a #5 or #4 skip tooth blade. Reverse tooth blades do not work very well. For very small areas, I use as small as a 2/0 skip tooth blade.

When drilling the start holes, I usually use a 1/16 inch bit or I use a numbered bit just large enough for the blade. It requires a very light touch to keep from melting or breaking the bit. I usually keep compressed air blowing on the bit while I am drilling.

I usually use 16 ounce copper, 24 gauge cold rolled steel and .032 aluminum. I often stack 2-steel, 1-copper, and 2-aluminum sheets in one package. If I am cutting only aluminum, I often stack 6 or 7 sheets of the .032 aluminum in a package.

I just gave out info I was going to use in my next book. Oh well!

Hope this helps


visitor's picture

ah ha

Thank you so very much. Are you useing a press to create the switch plates? or are you doing an assembly? I like the concept of doing five pcs at a time !! Darf

scrollerbear's picture

switch plates

I cut the switch plate out oversize and then make the edge bend using a book press that I place in the shop vise. I made up a book press with duck tape hinge for each size of switch plate, up thru four place switch plates. It is easy to bend 30 or 40 switch plates in an afternoon. I quite often get orders for doing a whole house with 50 or 60 plates of various sizes.