Turning Metal Into Art

March 3, 2006 --Posted at 10:00 a.m. CST

Walnut Ridge, AR -- Metal work isn't like it used to be, techniques have changed and so has the business.
Dan West, owner of West Machines, Inc. in Walnut Ridge, says they make metal parts to ship to other places. Many of the metal jobs, like blacksmiths used to do, have been phased out and are done by machines now. He says it was just a matter of time before he put a creative edge with his metal work.
"I've been making different designs for awhile now, but I'm really trying to get into modern art. We do so much, like wall hangings, doors, lamps, yard signs, we are even doing bed posts now."
The process starts with a design. Joe Medlock of Black Rock says he either freehands them or uses a business card or a drawing someone else gives him.
"We take the image, scan it in, and put it into a "technical" language that the computer and plasma cutter can understand. So what you see on the screen is what comes out on the metal."
We chose our K8 logo, and it only took about 40 seconds to cut out. But it was a little dull looking.
"When it comes out of the cutter, it's a little shabby, so we polish it, or we can stain it or powder coat paint it."
After it's all said and done, the piece of metal comes out looking like a work of art.
If you would like to see some of Dan's work, he invites everyone to come take a look. They are located inside West Machines, Inc. 1216 Fulbright in Walnut Ridge. Or you can log onto their website at www.ironmountainmetalworks.com. For more information about how to get your own personal metal art, call Dan West at 870-886-6288.