If you enjoy plasma cutting and you’re even slightly artistically inclined, there are a number of ways to make money on the side using your plasma cutting skills. The underlying premise is to create beautiful metal art and sell it; either locally or through online portals such as etsy.com. This post covers a number of popular art projects you can do at home with a portable plasma cutter. Once you have the basics down, though, your imagination is the limit.
Before we begin, here are 2 very helpful instructional videos that will help you with the basics of metal art – cutting shapes and designs, and cutting a perfect circle:
How To Free Hand Cut Shapes and Designs
Virtually all of your plasma cutter artwork will require some form of object cutting. This is a crucial skill to learn, as all of your future work will be dependent on how well you can cut shapes and designs. The best way to learn this skill is to see a pro in action and then to practice on your own. Watch this video carefully, several times if necessary, and then practice your cutting skills until you are comfortable cutting any shape.
Cutting the Perfect Circle
Along with shapes and designs, many plasma cutter art pieces require circles to be cut out. The circle is one of the most difficult shapes to get right freehand. But, there is a simple way to make a great circle using a quick jig that you can make at home. Using this jig will save you tons of time when you work on art projects that require circle cutting. Learn how to make this circle-cutting jig here:
So now that we have the basics out of the way, here are some awesome art projects to try:
1. How To Make a Fantastic Feather Art Piece
One of the most attractive plasma cutter artworks that the home artist can make is based on the feather… yes, the bird feather. This lovely shape, with its intricate cuttings, can be used in virtually any room of the home or office, and it really sets things off. The problem, of course, is learning how to make all of those very close cuts without ruining the piece. The following video shows you, in detail, how to go about making feather art. It also goes into many of the basic concepts one needs to know about laying out plasma cutter art.
2. How To Make A Bear Plasma Cutting
It is no secret that some of the most popular plasma cutting artworks are based on animals and wildlife. These nature pieces can be very simple and easy to very complicated with 2D-3D landscapes in the background scene with the animals. For those easier projects, the trick, of course, is to get a good animal cutout or stencil to work from. If you are a good freehand artist, you can draw your own, of course.
The following project is an easy one and a good project for beginners to start with. If the bear is not your animal of choice, change it to something you like. The concepts and techniques will be the same.
3. A Fun, Easy Way to Make a Steel Portrait
This project is a great way to get the kids involved as a family project. It is easy to do, but requires a lot of imagination, which most kids have an abundance of just waiting to be tapped. The basic idea is to use your plasma cutter to cut off various strips of metal, of various widths, and then attach those strips to make a portrait of someone. You can, of course, make any design you wish, a pet’s face, a funny cartoon character, or anything else you can think of to create. Watch the video first and then think about what you might like to make with your family as helpers.
4. City Silhouette Project
This is a more advanced project presented courtesy of DIYPETE. In order to complete this project you will need some special tools, but if you are up to it, this is a project that will test your skills and give you a great piece of art in return. In addition to your plasma cutter, you will also need access to a welder, or someone who can do a bit of welding for you.
You can find detailed written instructions, tool list, and supply list for this project here:
If you decide you want to tackle this project, you will need to determine what “skyline" you want to use. It can be your own or some place else, but you will need to sketch it out so you can cut it out. Once you decide which city you want to use, consider if there are any unique building silhouettes that you can include. For instance, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Alamo for San Antonio, Empire State Building in New York. You get the idea. While having an iconic building in your piece is not absolutely necessary, it can provide a nice focal point.
Before starting your project, take a few minutes and watch the video that goes along with this project. It is time well invested as it may help you avoid some mistakes.
5. Easy ABCs for Fun and Profit
For an easy, and, perhaps profitable, project consider using your plasma cutter to cut out larger than life letters. These letters can stand alone, be used as monograms, or even be used to spell out names, places, etc. Once you have your stencils available, you can cut out letters in no time at all, and you may even be able to sell them to other people or businesses. The link below gives you an idea of what we mean, but do remember that you can use any type of script or font that you like.
We hope you enjoy these projects, and hope that the tips and tricks included above are helpful as you continue to master your skills with your plasma cutter.