A hydraulic press is used to form and shape sheet metal with a very strong compressive force. It's great for production work to create a shape over and over and it keeps your pattern from being distorted while doming the shape of the sheet metal. I recently made this piece in a class taught by Nancy Megan Corwin and Melissa Cable--love them both!! I got the line across the center by fold forming my sheet metal before putting it in the press. This piece is going to pin all my sweater wraps this winter...
This is the pendant I made in the class with the press and Faux Bone! It was fun to try the FB and see how to color it and how versatile it is. It also makes this piece very very light.
I learned something that is going to work great in my classes. We cut our shape out of the Faux Bone and then used it in the press. I loved the fact that the holes I drilled in my sheet metal stayed round! This piece is copper and I'm going to enamel it when I get a chance.
A hydraulic press takes up a lot of space and the prices start at $1000 and go up to almost $8000. probably most of us won't be adding one to our tools soon. I am lucky to be able to go to the Metal Crafting Center in Seattle and use one.
However, I did make a "Poor Woman's Hydraulic press"with the Faux Bone...The Faux Bone is extremely hard and you can hammer on it so if you cut a shape into it and then take a piece of sheet metal and a ball peen hammer or even the cut out piece, you can shape your own metal just like the press....well not exactly just like but you get what you pay for....
To cut out a shape the use a Faux Bone Saw Blade or a twist saw blade for plastic will work too. The shield below was made by using 22 Gauge Sheet Metal and dapping it into a dome then forcing several holes through the center with a nail. Put back in the form and then attack with the ball peen end of a chasing hammer. The border is made with a Dimple Plier.
I'm gong to take these forms with me when I teach to give the students an option for creating texture on their pieces.
The next installment will show how to make the back for the pin, it's so easy you will wonder "why didn't I think of that?"
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