As much as possible, it is our policy to use local businesses and local labor when we need services, and we are enjoying working with Stephens Machine in Kokomo for some of the metal work. The sheets of Stainless Steel got delivered this week- you can see the sheet of half inch steel on the forklift here. This is used for the bracing and structural elements of the statue, and the one inch steel is what the gears themselves will be cut from.
As we prepped for delivery ,my email stream became flooded with the discussion between David and Stephen’s- this up front conversation is critically important and harkens back to the old adage of “Measure Twice, Cut Once”. Numbers and measurements on a CAD file are one way of communicating, but there is often more than one way to achieve the same results and the process can have a big impact on the final results. The discussion was a great collaboration – Stephens is a really great partner in this endeavor.
The steel is being cut with a Waterjet.
Although a plasma cutter could cut steel of this thickness, it would leave burn marks on the edges, which would destroy the clean look we have designed. Water jetting is an interesting process, where high pressure water with small garnet particulates becomes the “blade” that cuts through the steel. In this close up image, what looks like a drill bit is actually a small stream of water.
The Surface in these pictures looks brownish because of the small garnet particles that are in the water. We anticipate that water jetting will continue through the end of Monday, and then the parts will be delivered back to Kokomo sometime mid-week. For us, that begins the fun of finishing, assembly and welding.