Swirled Metal Look--How?


Old 10-21-03, 01:31 PM
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Cool Swirled Metal Look--How?

I am making an Entertainment center to surround my big screen, and also have shelves for my speakers and receiver, etc.. I am making it out of 1"x2", 1"x1" and 5/8" x 5/8" mild square steel pieces. It's mostly welded up as we speak.

My question is: How do I give it a nice swirled finish?

I want it to look similar to:


It seems they've used some type of heat or chemicals to make the patina or finished color as well.

I've got a pneumatic angle grinder, as well as an electric 4.5" grinder. I've got 3" attachment with some different grits of sanding disks. What is the best tool / attachment to use?

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Old 10-21-03, 06:27 PM
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Nice effect.

<img src="http://www.zogdesign.net/Tables/6007.jpg">

Image credit: zogdesign.net

Judging by the shadows in the picture the swirls appear to be cut-outs.

This is a quote from their site:

The patina process is one in which various chemicals and acids are applied to the steel to create rich colors and textures. The colors achieved depend upon the various types of steel used."

I have been using acids to clean and make steel slightly rust resistant.
Muriatic tends to yellow steel and phosphoric will turn steel dark blue.
Heat will also turn steel various shades of blue.
WARNING: Using industrial strength acids to do this is quite hazardous. Rubber gloves, eye protection and a respirator are necessary to do this safely.
Old 10-22-03, 10:17 AM
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Hope this helps: I have a customer (75 maybe 80 years old) that comes in 4-5 times a year and buys up sheet metal stock. Before retiring he made musical instruments and is very good at creating swirled finishes. His hobby (a very profitable one I might add) currently is making full suits of armor, but he also fills orders for fancy axe heads, saws, and etc. I've been to his shop and I have watched him at work. It seems that his most used tool is a drill press with an arbor to hold grinding discs. When I was there he was using it with a small disc to put swirls - a pattern that he called kaleidoscope - into brass that would become a lampshade. His suits of armor and swords are in a couple of Spanish resturants - each with a unique finish he acheived with grinders, discs and similar equipment, and for each he received a lot of well deserved money. I don't think he uses all that much paint, but I know he uses an airbrush and lots of tape on some of his painted work and has a paint booth of sorts in his shop. A few years ago my volunteer fire department had him make axes for our color guard. The swirl effect and colors are great - no other fire deptartments around here has anything like them and they are always a topic of discussion. All he uses are the tools you seem to already have. Hope this helped.
Old 10-22-03, 02:31 PM
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Cant make out just how big you want them? It looks good .
If its small swirls have use just a peice of hard wood dowel in the drill press. In fact if you look up a picture of the spirt of St Louis you will see that the metal there is all swirls on the front cowl. Thats how it was done. Wasn't there but know it for sure ED
Old 11-12-03, 10:20 AM
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I actually saw that done on an episode of Monster House, and all they used was a angle grinder with a grinding wheel on it. It makes an awesome looking swirl pattern.
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