Metal Supermarkets does not just supply material for the innovative metalworker. The company is also rewarding him or her for those efforts.
The company, the largest distributor of small-quantity metals, is once again offering its Metal My Way contest, inviting metalworkers from North America and the United Kingdom to demonstrate their creativity with metal.
The contest, which runs through Aug. 31, invites individuals to submit their metalworking projects to the Metal My Way website for evaluation. The website can be found at www.metalmyway.com.
“The Metal My Way contest is a wonderful way for talented and creative individuals to showcase the many impressive metal projects they have created,” said Stephen Schober, president and CEO of Metal Supermarkets, the title sponsor of the contest. “This is the sixth iteration of the Metal My Way contest, and it has grown in popularity each year. We’ve seen thousands of submissions over the past several years, and with outstanding prizes this year, we expect to see many more fantastic and innovative metal projects.”
The company began the effort when it realized how many interesting projects were being undertaken by the customers of its stores. Many of them, the company determined, were regular B to B customers who were also doing work in the evenings or their spare time on metalworking projects. ‘It was a way of recognizing those things,” Schober says.
This year, the company has added two sponsors, waterjet specialist OMAX and saw manufacturer Cosen Saws. “We’re doing that to help extend our reach, so potential contestants are aware of are of the contest and also allows us to continue to enhance the quality of the prizes,” he says.
The contest is open to all residents, 18 years or older, in the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), and the United Kingdom. Contestants may submit multiple metal projects into the competition, but are eligible to win only one prize. A complete set of rules for the contest can be found on the Metal My Way website.
The contest features six categories grouped in the following projects:
Automotive or Vehicle Projects – This category includes car restorations/modifications, engine work, trailer and camper builds, plane builds or restorations, boat builds or restorations, motorized scooter, bike and buggy builds.
Furniture or Home Projects – Submissions including any outdoor and indoor furniture.
Knife Projects – Metal projects such as knives or blades created for practical use or display.
Backyard or Home Projects – The category includes BBQs, smokers, staircases and railings, interior and exterior home renovations, and fire pits.
Industrial or Shop Projects - This category includes shop equipment and tool builds, larger scale construction projects or specific aspects of those projects, equipment and tool repair or modification.
Artistic and Design Projects – Metal projects that include jewelry, statues, sculptures, and other projects that have aesthetic designs that do not fall into the other five categories.
Contestants may submit a photo or video of their metal creations. Projects, along with some details about the creation, can be submitted using the online submission form on the website. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest.
Three grand prizes will be awarded in total, with a winner being selected from each of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Each winner will each receive a Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP Hand Plasma Cutting System.
There will also be one winner for each of the six categories. Category winners will receive a Lincoln Electric 180 Amp Weld-Pak 180 HD MIG Wire Feed Welder.
A number of criteria will be used to judge the entrants. The judging panel, made of up Metal Supermarkets employees with knowledge of the intricacies of metalwork, will look at the quality of the project, the amount of time and effort that would have gone into the project, the originality, the percentage of metal used, among others.
“We look at how many different types of metal are used, and how many different types of processing that went into it, if they’re bending and cutting and welding and using lathes,” Schober says.
Still, given the variety of entrants, judging the contest is only one part science, one part art, he acknowledges.
Ultimately, the contest can only help Metal Supermarket and others in the supply chain, by further demonstrating and encouraging others to see what’s possible with metal. Every entry is posted on the Metal My Way website, allowing creators to see their work, but also providing ideas for visitors to pursue.
Moreover, the effort reinforces the idea of the importance of trades and the opportunities they can provide. “They can be fun and creative. Not everybody has to be pounding away on a computer keyboard writing code. There’s certainly room for originality and creativity and pride in doing physical things, too,” Schober says.
The Metal My Way contest will run through the end of the month and winners will be announced approximately one week later.