Laser cutting specialists, Laser Process, has produced more than 250 life-sized steel cut outs of celebrities from the world of sport and entertainment as well as many historical figures and local heroes. The Connect2 Project was undertaken on behalf of the national sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, and initiated to decorate cycle and pathways throughout the UK and Ireland.
Initially Laser Process was commissioned to produce three cutouts but the success of the pilot project led to this Midlands-based subcontractor being awarded the contract for the entire project. The company is one of the UK’s largest subcontractors for laser cutting with a reputation for precise work and its attention to detail was certainly required for this job.
The artwork for each figure was supplied to Laser Process by Sustrans. The company’s first job was to check the profile for sharp points and finger traps and then the image was digitised in readiness for cutting from sheets of Corten steel on a TruLaser 4050 with 6kW. This is one of the company’s five 2D flatbed laser machines from TRUMPF. Laser Process has been a TRUMPF customer since 1994 and has had eleven flat bed systems in total as well as press brakes and a TruMark laser marking system.
Each figure took around an hour to cut but this time also included components for the substructure that was subsequently buried in concrete during the installation process.
“This contract was an interesting departure for Laser Process. Our products are usually industry-based, consisting of engineering components for a wide variety of customers,” explained Director, David Lindsay. “However, this project gave us the chance to show that engineering can have a creative side.”
The subjects chosen by local organisations across the UK and Ireland range from footballer Ledley King and the actor, Richard Burton, through to Henry VIII and a towpath horse! But for David Lindsay, it was the sculpture of soldier that proved the most poignant.
“Corporal Liam Riley was killed in Afghanistan and his mother wrote to us to say she was overwhelmed to be able to see her son,” David Lindsay explained. “She passes the statue, every day on the way work and she says hello to him.” His statue is between Nottingham and Sheffield at Killamarsh.