Working with Soft Metals (Aluminum & Copper)

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Working with Soft Metals (Aluminum & Copper)
Techniques for Fabrication, Repair, Gas Welding, Brazing, & Soldering

Have you wanted to work with aluminum or copper, but were daunted by the jump from steel? Have you attempted to learn to gas weld soft metals but found it too frustrating or challenging? Working with the soft metals isn’t nearly as difficult to master as you might think (or have been told) – but you need to know certain tips and techniques. This 4-day class will give you complete knowledge of the basics of working soft sheet for automotive, aircraft, motorcycle, sculpture, and art metal.

This workshop covers several techniques for cutting sheet, as well as hand- and machine-forming. We cover hot-working methods, including annealing, shrinking, welding, brazing, and soldering. Along with these basics, students will learn metal shaping, tips and tricks for shrinking and stretching, plus planishing and metal finishing.

Students will learn to make paper patterns and transfer them to a 3D form, buck, or mockup, then break down the larger shape into smaller, more workable shapes. You’ll then learn to make those shapes in metal using a variety of hand tools and machines. After roughing in the shape by stretching and shrinking, you’ll carefully define the fit of the part by smoothing plus some even more refined work. Finally, by planishing and making little adjustments in the shape, you’ll learn to make the part fit. Once this is accomplished, you’ll trim and tack weld, finally joining the parts into a good shape that is filed and sanded.

You’ll round out your experience by making hems and wired edges, giving you a complete course in all of the steps, from first idea to final physical component.

If you’re currently working on a project you’re having difficulty with, you are welcome to bring it to work on during the class, or to get advice and help on how to proceed with your project.

Pre-requisite: Sincere interest in metalworking. Some knowledge of basic shop tools is helpful (although we’ve had students who’ve never used tools). This workshop is for all skill levels.


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Metalworking Workshop Courses Offered
Metalworking Workshop Schedule