Thursday, 22 January 2015

Metal construction                                                                                                          

As the triangles making is nearing end, it is time to face another challenge...metal framework to hold it together. Now I am venturing into uncharted waters and this is the real point of departure from the previous sculpture. 
The idea is to have each triangle bolted to a Y shaped metal, and Y shapes connected with the bracket bent to 14 o  to create the sphere.

It looks easy on the paper, but it is full of challenges in the real life.
I have been working on it for at least couple of weeks now...
First job was to cut components for the Y shapes, drill holes for the bolts and weld them to form Y. I'm using 25 x 3 mm mild steel.
In order to create 135 Y, I had to cut 540 bits of metal in 6 different sizes, drill 405 holes and then weld them together.
And approximately 250 brackets, bent to 14 o  
I am a novice welder, but an excited one, and now a proud owner of a Mig welding machine.
(Isn't that a wonderful Christmas present for a girl!) 
Here are my first efforts with my own welder, with the bracket positioned between the two triangles:

So far, it is all working to plan. Of course I made a template (jig) to weld on, to assure that all holes are exactly where they should be to fit the ceramic. I measured it directly from the finished ceramic pieces (as the clay shrinks in drying and firing it was much safer and more accurate to do it that way). 
To tell the truth, my husband made the jigs as he has so much more patience for those things that I do, and I'm very grateful.

Welding the Y shapes into clusters to create hexagons and pentagons is much more difficult as it is not welding on a flat surface. There are those 14 o brackets in between complicating everything.
The solution was to purchase laser cut metal triangles and weld them together to form a welding template.
I'm not sure if I can explain it clearly, but pictures should help. Those metal triangles are beautiful in themselves. Here they are ready to be welded together, to create a welding jig.
It took hours to position them to get to this point.

Y shapes bolted to the jig, with brackets welded in between:

Finished hexagon:

I have to make 15 hexagons and 6 pentagons. The scope of the project is becoming scarily big the further I travel...

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