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Metal Fabrication2023-11-21T12:42:47-08:00

Making Beautiful and Useful Objects from Metal

With the right tools and knowledge, you can cut, shape, weld, forge, or machine metal into as many things as you can imagine. BARN’s Metal Fabrication studio has the instructors and tools to give you access to all these techniques.

Read on to learn more about what you can do in the three main metal shops: machine, welding and plasma, forge and foundry, and sheet metal shops. Each shop has a skilled team of monitors and instructors with many years of experience and know-how. With some instruction and practice, you’ll be ready to join our Open Studios and use the equipment on your own projects!

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Machining

Often used on metal, machining is a process in which a material is cut, drilled, or milled to precise specifications using specialized machines. BARN’s well-equipped Machine Shop can be used to repair parts, fabricate new parts, or 3D-print a component. The machines are controlled either manually or by CNC (computer numerical control).

As important as the machines are, the experience of imagining solutions to challenging problems is an activity eagerly engaged and shared by BARN’s Metal Fabrication community. If you’ve a specific challenge, drop by the Machine Shop and engage one of the Monitors; they’ll work to help you come up with a solution.

Man using hardinge lathe in BARN Machine shop
Sheet Metal art by Linda S

Sheet Metal

Sheets of metal can be cut, shaped, and bonded together in this multi-function shop. Cutting and shaping can be done with hand tools, as well as larger machines such as pan brakes, shears, slip rolls, and English wheels, all of which we have in our sheet metal shop. Project-oriented classes can build skills by making household items, automotive parts, or freestyle art.

Welding and Plasma Cutting

BARN’s focus is on two primary welding processes: MIG and TIG. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is the easiest to learn and the most versatile. It has wide application from garden art to furniture to structures. TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is more challenging but is more versatile as many types of metal can be welded, not just steel or aluminum.

Plasma Cutting is a technique of cutting electrically conductive metals (steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, titanium, and copper), both thick and thin. The plasma torch can be controlled manually or through CNC (computer numeric control) to make precision cuts through metal.

Youth raising welding mask to look at her project in the Welding shop
Molten metal being poured in a foundry casting class

Foundry & Forge

A foundry uses a furnace to melt metal that is then poured into forms, creating objects of both art and utility. BARN’s melt furnace and casting events are held off site, while the pattern-making and finishing classes are conducted at BARN’s main facility. With the guidance of experienced instructors, participants learn the basic skills of sand casting – pattern making, molding, pouring, and finishing. Breaking a fresh casting out of a cooling form is a true joy to experience.

Blacksmithing or forging is the process of heating metal in a forge, then forming that hot metal with anvil, hammer and tongs. This artisanal craft has evolved from an essential skill of the Iron Age through Colonial times to modern-day art. BARN is working to further develop its Forge program from basic to advanced skills in blacksmithing. It’s a great way to experience a small part of our ancestors’ lives.

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Open Studio

Work on your own projects after attending a studio orientation. Learn more »

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FAQ

Wondering where to start in the Metal Fabrication Studio? Read our FAQ »

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Volunteer

Volunteers keep our studio running smoothly.  View opportunities »

Metal Fabrication News

Studio Lead

David Hays

David Hays

[email protected]

Metal Fabrication Resources

Join our Facebook group or find us on Slack

Equipment List

Sources of Metal & Plastics

Teach at BARN

Contact Us

Message us using our form
Metal Fabrication office phone: 206-842-4475 x207

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