Metal shop is a dying art in most high schools, second only to auto-shop classes. If you're fortunate enough to have someone available to teach you this skill, take the opportunity. There are an endless number of projects you can use your skills for; many of the plans can be found in a good metalworking book or on the internet. But taking a metal shop class is more than just the metal. Here are a few things to think about before you get started.
Safety, First and Foremost
This is the most important tip of all. Before you do anything, make sure you're following the safety procedures set by your instructor. You may think you're being safe, but all it takes is one moment of inattention to leave you with burns, missing fingers or worse. In addition, always wear safety equipment. You may not think safety glasses are necessary when you're standing on the other side of the room, but metal shards can fly anywhere. Safety equipment should be worn from the moment you step into the room till the moment you leave it.
Don't try to tackle something that's huge on your first day. Your instructor will have a list of suggestions for projects, and no doubt you'll have some of your own. Talk to them about your ideas, and maybe the two of you can decide on something that's relatively easy as well as practical. You can start off with simple projects, like chain mail, a tire iron, a tow bar or even a basic keyring. Over time, you'll build up to more complicated projects. You can do ones that are interactive (like a metal vise or a folding shovel) or you can do one that's passive (like a bottle opener or a paperweight). Over time, your skills will grow and you'll find yourself able to create more and more diverse items.
If You Teach A Man To Fish...
Not only can metal shop teach you how to create things from metal, it will also teach you useful skills like welding and shaping. This can come in handy when you need to repair items, like a huge hole in your granduncle's old shovel or a deep dent in your cousin's favorite sheet pan (what on earth was she baking, anyway?)
To Sum It All Up...
Metal shop projects can be a lot of fun. When they're done right, they can be interesting, educational and pretty darn nice looking. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you through the process. Just remember to be careful, communicate with your instructor, and have a good time.
Metal Casting Projects