Friday, 7 October 2011

Visit to Emsea

On Thursday 6th October we were given the opportunity to visit Emsea who are the fabricators we decided to go with to produce our laser cut artwork.

Rachel and I were really excited to see the work being cut. All the staff from Emsea were very accommodating and spent a lot of time explaining how the machines work. We also got a tour of the workshop and saw what other techniques they offered, this was good to keep in mind for potential future projects. Due to their experience and expertise they are able to offer advise and solutions with fixtures and fittings.

                                          The laser cutting machine at work

The laser cutting machine is in a vacuum as to eliminate any oxygen entering and causing burnishing to the cut edge. It was fascinating watching the laser create what seemed like a confident drawn line across the metal. As soon as the circuit was complete, sparks would fly up from the metal and the machine operator would release the chunk of metal.

                                          The sparks fly as the laser cuts through the metal

Removing the cut out piece of metal


The design files were imported into the computer and the reading illustrated where the laser was navigating across the metal.

                                                        Operating the machine

Whilst we were waiting for the machine to finish cutting, Chris showed us some samples of other cutting methods. One technique which we had considered for this project was water-jet cutting (using water and sand at an extremely high pressure) The advantage of this is that it can cut through metal of a huge depth although it is very time consuming. The finish was a lovely, textured sand blasted finish on the cut area.

                                          Water-jet cut aluminum, very light weight

                                          Laser cut glass sample 

                                          Welding part of another artwork

The panel of stainless steel is resting upon rows of teeth which support the panel as it is cut way. It was wonderful to watch the laser dart from one side of the panel to the other as it chased the line and drew out the shapes into the metal.

                                          One of the panels as it came off the machine

When all the pieces had been cut from the panel, each section was removed and piled up ready for delivery. It was beautiful to see the designs we have worked with from ideas - experimentation - textiles - printing and drawing to eventually come alive in the metal.

Even the negative spaces which were left in the panel were beautiful. This piece reminded me of a map!

                                          One of the pieces as it came out of the machine

We are very happy with the quality of work which Emsea have done for us and would definitely use them again in the future.


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