Building tools to build Art

IMG_3441One of the common problems when you are building uncommon art is that the tools you need do not come off the shelf. We end up building or modifying tools to make them fit our needs as often as we buy them from the store.

In this picture you see the special gear stands David built over the weekend to hold the gears as we work on them. Once you start polishing, the last thing you want is for the materials to get scratched again… but we do not have enough flat surface that we could dedicate and cushion to prevent scratches if they were laying around.

You can also start to see the progress of all the sanding on the medium gear shown here. One of our favorites, but also painful to finish- the surfaces are nearly complete but there is still some filing and sanding to finish on those gorgeous spokes.

IMG_3443 You can more clearly see the difference of hours of sanding by comparing this surface of the same sanded gear on the right withIMG_3444 the surface of the large base gear on the left, which has been partially descaled, but not filed or sanded.

You can see the difference not only in reflectivity, but in overall surface texture.

The large pinwheel gear, which will get the blue KOG glass in the crescents is currently on the table being sanded. You can look carefully and see different swatches of sanded or not. There are still several rounds of increasing grit fineness to go to get this gear polished and ready for acid treatment.


A Gear is born…

 The top gear is being lifted from the water cutter table.  It’s cool to think that a 1 inch thick slab of metal has been carved into shapes by high pressure water.
The parts are to be delivered this week to Kokomo to be prepped for assembly.

Metal Delivery and the Cutting begins…

Forktruck lifting stainless steel sheetsActivity on the Statue for the City of Kokomo is really starting to get rolling.

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.

Close up of the waterjet cutting our steelAlthough 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.  wider view of the waterjet cutting so you can see multiple parts 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.

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