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August 31, 2018 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I have a family heirloom I'd like to share with my brothers. It's my family name made from scrap that my dad made for the front of a car. Pics of the object and the car inside!

My dad made this for the front of his kit car. I would like to have copies made for my brothers but I have no clue where to go. Who could make metal copies? Does it matter what it's made from? Because knowing my dad it could have been anything he had laying around. Where I live is in my profile if that helps. I really just need to know what type of place to go to. A machine shop? One of the colleges? Thanks for helping!
posted by shmurley to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sure, a local machine shop might be able to eyeball it and make a new one. Not a perfect match, but probably close.

Does your town have a makerspace? Maybe you could contact them: someone might be able to scan it, make a digital model, and then produce something from that.

If you know any artists, it might be possible to make a mold and then cast a new one -- but that probably wouldn't be made of metal.

Are you firm on the metal thing?

Does your area have an art school? You might look up a professor of sculpture. (For example, in Providence, RI, I would ask these folks at RISD.)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2018

Try googling blacksmiths in your area. I have a friend who's a blacksmith, and it's amazing what he can do.
posted by FencingGal at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Laser cutting.

If your profile location is correct, you could call these guys to see if they can scan your original, convert it to a dxf, and then laser cut copies: Discount Steel
posted by Chrischris at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2018 [6 favorites]

Ah, I think Chrischris has a great plan.

Miiiiight by a little spendy, though.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2018

There are lots of places that convert JPGs to DXFs--some of which seem to be online and free. So you could just take a photo from directly "overhead" (note: can be hung on a wall in which case, directly in front of) to minimize distortion. Longer lens is your friend in this case.

I thought it looked like just plain old steel that had been exposed to the elements, but in the lower left it looks like there is a backing of some kind of composite material. Is it actually two layers?

As an aside, Discount Steel is a great suggestion.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 11:55 AM on August 31, 2018

Are you sure it’s metal? It looks a little bit like it’s made from fiberglass cloth, which you can get at any auto body shop. Fiberglass would make sense if your dad was a car guy.

Maybe ask at a sign shop? Most of the good ones will be equipped with CNC and laser cutters.
posted by bondcliff at 3:05 PM on August 31, 2018

Lots of metal manufacturing/welding shops are going to have the ability to directly cut this with either a plasma or laser machine that can work from either the piece itself or a tracing of the part out of either steel or aluminum. No need to mess around making a computer readable version of the original

See for example this Burney optical trace plasma cutter.

Gilgamesh's Chauffeur: " Is it actually two layers?"

Maybe something like DiBond / ACM / MCM
posted by Mitheral at 9:34 PM on August 31, 2018

So if the original is two layers, do the copies need to be? I think the laser cut (or other CNC process) is a good bet, and you can select your material from there. Presuming it’s flat or can be curved after cutting if needed.

If you create a dxf, you’ll also own the file if you later want to use the image for other things. Which may be worthwhile.
posted by a halcyon day at 10:13 PM on August 31, 2018

My mom thinks it might be made from circuit board. I don't need it made from the same material. I would like it to be from metal so it looks sort of the same as the one I have. I think on Tuesday( since they are closed Monday) I'll head down to Discount Steel. Thanks so much for telling me about them, Chrischris! I'll update on Tuesday.
posted by shmurley at 9:28 AM on September 1, 2018

shmurley: "it might be made from circuit board"

*headslap* That's what it is. The copper cladding has had a dunk in a dirty etching bath.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on September 1, 2018

I went to Discount Steel today. The guys up there were super nice and helpful. They are drafting an image of it and then laser cutting some steel. It will cost a bit over $100 for two of them. I'm good with that since it's going to be from steel and last forever. Thanks so much to everyone for their help, especially Chrischris!
posted by shmurley at 10:25 AM on September 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

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