Metal Workshop (part 1)

Every Tuesday we are assigned to a certain workshop in order to learn about the machinery and techniques we can use there. We stay with that workshop for 3 weeks until rotating to the next. Once we’ve been inducted we are able to use the equipment independently whenever we need to.

The first workshop I was assigned to was Wood & Metals, (although I will be putting my wood-work outcomes in another post). On the first day we were introduced to the machinery that we can use to cut and manipulate the metal. I found it slightly disappointing that we didn’t have any particular outcome for the day, we just used each machine once and moved onto the next. We wore gloves while using the machinery to prevent cuts when handling the metal. Below are the different machines we could use;

Metal Cutter 1

This machine is used to cut large sheets of metal. You line up where you want to cut by using the slot at the top of the machine, then use the foot lever to operate it.

Metal Cutter 2

This cutter is generally used for smaller sheets of metal. It is used to cut thicker metal that the first can’t, it also isn’t restricted to cutting along the full length of sheet like the first. It is operated by a pull down lever.

Metal Curver

This machine is used for curling strips of metal. Before curling, the machine needs to be adjusted to the thickness of the metal using the knobs at either end of it. Then the crank can be used to feed the metal through and curl it.

Metal Saw

This machine is an automatic saw used for cutting thick rods of metal. The vice is tightened using the hammer provided to ensure the rod doesn’t vibrate while the saw is moving. Once tightened, the machine is turned on via a button and then released using the lever at the bottom. It can then be slowly lowered onto the metal.

Circle Cutter

To use this machine you tighten the vice in the centre of the circle you want to make. You then tighten the blade slightly and begin turning the crank. The blade is continuously tightened as you are rotating the crank until the circle is cut out fully.

Metal Bender

Use the lever on the right of this machine to hold the metal in place and tighten its grip. Then to bend the metal simply lift the handle at the bottom.

Spot Welders

There are two types spot welders available to us. To use either of them, slightly hold down the lever on the top of the welder to keep the metals you want to join in place. Then when happy with their positioning, press down further to weld. The newer welder automatically cuts out once the metals are welded but the older one does not. When using the older one you also need to keep the metal you are welding from touching any other part of the prongs or it will mark (which I found out after).

Plasma Cutter

This was the last piece of equipment we were introduced to, but we can’t use this tool without supervision. Many precautions come with using the plasma cutter; the area first needs to be sectioned off with screens, anyone looking at the cutter whilst in operation needs to wear the protective goggles provided, when using the cutter you must also wear the gloves, shirt and apron provided.

Overall I found the different machines fairly easy to use, especially when considering I hadn’t worked with metal or this type of machinery before. However, the plasma cutter was quite intimidating at first and turned out to be quite hard to draw with. I’m not sure how useful this workshop will be to me later on in the year. The tools seem limited in what they can do, (either cutting only in straight lines or to restricted sizes) and the inaccuracy of the plasma cutter puts me off using it.

My outcome from this workshop and its process is shown below;


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