Passing through Amidon, N.D. you might take notice of the steel cut signs along the highway on either side of town.
Posted August 1, 2014
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Passing through Amidon, N.D. you might take notice of the steel cut signs along the highway on either side of town. Unbeknownst to some, those signs were created locally, at a farm no further than a few miles away from town.
Lyn and Leon Hewson own and operate LL Creations from their farm and have been creating custom signs the past year and a half. Using a plasma cutter and table, they utilize a computer-aided drafting (CAD) program to create the designs and send them to the automated machine.
This hobby turned small business venture started several years ago as Lyn was desiring to create a custom sign of her own for their family farm.
She was conversing with a friend about using a cutting torch, but was encouraged to try a plasma cutter. After trying out the tool Lyn was hooked.
“I liked it, after I got it cut out I told Leon ‘I want a plasma cutter’,” Lyn said.
Initially the plasma cutter they purchased was used for farming operations. The new tool allowed them to custom make different parts for repairs and improvements around their operation.
“We did more of our farm and ranch repair work with it,” Lyn said.
Lyn would cut the parts, and Leon would weld the pieces together.
“I cut all that (parts) out, and he’s the welder,” Lyn said.
The activity morphed from utilitarian to creation about a year and a half ago. Lyn and Leon decided to purchase a plasma table. After doing some research they found a kit that had all of the intricate parts for custom designing.
The process of the cutter breaks down to “electricity and air, basically” according to Lyn. The cutter creates an arc of electricity and the air pushes it down, and the heat is a high enough temperature to cut a steel of varied amounts of thickness.
The designs are inputted into the CAD computer program and that tells the machine where to move the cutter, creating the desired designs.
As they have used the machinery the past months they’ve learned more and more about how they work. Self educated on the process and the equipment, the Hewsons were accustomed to cutting smaller pieces and welding them together for more elaborate designs. Now they’re seasoned enough to know how to cut designs out of one piece of steel, limiting the amount of extra welding required.
“I get to know things better to make it faster,” Lyn said. “Where the ideas in my head can get from my head to the computer to the table quicker.”
LL Creations offer a wide range of generic designs, but they also are happy to custom design projects.
Their products are reasonably priced and range from $35 for a smaller design, to $1,100 for a large custom sign.
“The signs are really what I enjoy doing, because I get to be creative,” Lyn said.
They really got their business going last year at the Slope County Fair, during which they had a both displaying their creations.
Though they’ve only been operating this creative business for a short period of time, they still have seen some of their pieces travel outside the state of North Dakota. They have pieces in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and even all the way down to Colorado.
At this point LL Creations is as busy as they want it to be, and are unsure as to how big this venture can get.
For now they are focusing on the farming season, but did say during the winter months they’re in the shop designing just as much as they’re in the field during the spring and summer months farming.
LL Creations is the big ticket prize for this year’s Slope County Fair.
Participating in the raffle, the winner will receive a custom designed piece of steel art to the winners’ desire, valued at $500.
The raffle will take place on the last day of the 2014 Slope Farmers Fair on Aug. 24.
Tickets are $1 and will be sold by the fair board and 4H Kids around the county.