Ornate Steel Mailbox - Design | Cut | Build™ - S3.E12

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by LECS - Tim S., Nov 28, 2018.

  1. LECS - Tim S.

    LECS - Tim S. New Member

    Jun 25, 2018
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    It’s the last episode of the season, and Iggy and Aaron got the bright idea to make a mailbox so everyone can “send in” their ideas for projects next year.

    Iggy spent some time researching standard curbside mailboxes, and it turns out there’s quite a few rules to follow. Here were a few notable ones:
    • Dimensions needed to be at least 18.5” x 5” x 6”
    • No hardware can be sticking out on the inside
    • No more than 5 lb. of force needed to open the door

    So Iggy worked within the USPS requirements to create his design, which included a pull-down door held closed by magnets. There’s no flag on this design, which means it’s limited service. That’s okay for us though since it’s not going outside.

    *Please note, the image does not include the handle for the door.


    The guys started by cutting the nested batch of parts.

    CAD Mailbox Parts.PNG

    Table: Torchmate 4800
    Plasma Cutter: FlexCut 80
    Material: 11ga MS
    Amperage: 40 amps
    Cutting Speed: 90 ipm

    The original idea was to cut the shingles for the roof out on 20 ga Stainless Steel. The nice thing about the FlexCut 80 and the FlexCut 125 is that we can easily hook up a nitrogen tank, which cuts stainless much cleaner than normal compressed air. This is because compressed air will oxidize the metal, creating a charred effect.

    To hook up the nitrogen tank to the table, Iggy attached a high pressure regulator to the tank, added a MPT fitting and a hose, unplugged the normal compressed air hose from the plasma cutter and plugged in the nitrogen line. He then opened up the gas line to about 100-110 PSI.

    Nitrogen Gauge.PNG

    It’s important to note at this point that it’s not just the static PSI that matters. We need to figure out the cutting PSI. To figure out the cutting PSI, you just head to the front of the plasma cutter and turn your amperage knob all the way to the left to get your torch to start purging gas. The gauge to the left will then give you an accurate reading of what your cutting PSI will be, and you can adjust your static PSI accordingly. Ultimately the static PSI doesn’t need an exact figure, but your cutting PSI should be around 90 PSI.

    FlexCut front.PNG

    Because this was a new material they were working with, Aaron and Iggy ran a line speed test. They determined that cutting at 220 ipm would give them the best results, and the rest of the parameters they got from the cutting charts.


    They ran the file, but Iggy noticed the cut height was too high and that the ‘Sample Voltage’ setting was turned off, he turned it on halfway through the cut, but there was too much dross to get off for most of the shingles, especially since Stainless Steel is such a hard material. They decided to recut the file, this time on Mild Steel.

    From there it’s all about assembly. Iggy tacked up the walls of the mailbox while Aaron started tig welding the shingles together.


    Iggy then broke the hinges for the door, tapped the holes for the bolts, and tig welded on the Torchmate overlay.

    When Aaron was done with the shingles, they tacked them on to the box and stitched the roof together. Iggy tig welded a nice cover piece he bent over the peak of the box, and then mig welded and grinded the sides of the roof to a nice smooth finish.


    To bend the handle for the door, Iggy welded a piece of 3/8” All Thread Rod and a piece of 1 inch Bar Stock to the table and wrapped a piece of 14 ga MS around them both. He then drilled a hole in the handle and plug welded it to the door.

    Aaron spent a considerable amount of time playing around with the SteelFX we had at the shop. These patina effects were applied only with water and the copper base they supplied. No heat was needed. We did notice that applying a clear coat at the end of the project muted the colors about 40%.

    To mount the mailbox, Aaron had an old tire rim he wanted to use as the base, so Iggy cut out a bolt hole flange that fit the rim and stitched it to the 2” square tubing we used as our pole.

    Iggy thought that the design needed a little something extra, so he cut out a stem with leaves and wrapped it around the square tubing to look like vines. He then stitched the box to the square tubing at the top.

    Since this is the last episode of the season, we wanted to thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days to watch Aaron and Iggy build these projects and interact with us here on Fabrication Forum! Feel free to send us any project ideas you may have for next year! They will be printed out and put in our brand new Torchmate Garage mailbox!

    DSC_0416.jpg DSC_0147.JPG

    Tim, the video guy

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    OcalaWill and Torchmate like this.
  2. stjefrey

    stjefrey Member

    Oct 12, 2018
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    Great Job Arron and Iggy! I'm going try doing one out of stainless and in my neck of the woods, we have a flag on the right to let the mailman know we have mail to go out. I'll post pics when completed.
    Torchmate likes this.

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