Back in 2012, my collaborative group was commissioned to build a land-drivable version of the Nautilus from Jules Verne’s 20,000 leagues under the sea. I designed and built the top hatch which involved making a custom rack and pinion lock system and two, large circular handles for the inboard and outboard handles.
I found this video of me bending one of those handles while cleaning out an old hard drive recently.
If you have been reading my blog, then you would know about my Tones piece and how I have been exploring the world of sound with a series of vibrating stings. In that exploration I was naturally drawn to other vibrating objects and what followed was my DIY tuning fork experiments.
Sadly, they did not immediately produce the sounds I was hoping for. However, they were a lot of fun to make and the process helped me to understand the mechanics of vibrations a little more than I did before the experiment.
Who knows, with some fussing and tuning perhaps they will be just as accurate as the store bought ones.
That, however will have to wait because right now I am moving forward with my DIY gear project which is part of a new sculpture that I am very excited about.
I found this gear on the side of the road a few months back and placed it on a shelf in my shop. After looking at it for some time I had the idea to press it into a block of hot steel to see what kind of impression it would make.
My small hydraulic press does not push hard enough to work on this scale and so I brought this to the Crucible last night to use their 15 ton press. It didn’t give me the depth I was hoping for, but it still looks pretty cool. Now I have to find access to a press with more tonnage.
Ok, so the cog & chain that I posted about last week has been sitting on my floor ever since. In that time it has been whispering to me what it wants to become and I’ve been listening.
The two pieces together have so much potential for interesting movement that it would be a down right shame if they didn’t become kinetic in some way. In order for that I reckon that at least one more cog will be needed.
Years ago, my friend and colleague Ben Cowden figured out a clever method for DIY gears. I used his technique to duplicate this cog in a plywood template. Next I’ll transfer the pattern to a steel plate and mill the new cog.
I don’t remember which I found first, the massive cog or the 6′ of burly chain, but the day I found that they mesh I was happier than a pigeon with a french fry.
Sadly, that excitement was shelved, along with the chain and cog, for a while as other, paying, projects passed through my shop.
As any horder sculptor can tell you, the compulsion to save things of value sometimes conflicts with the efficiency of storing them. What follows is both the disappearance of cool stuff into the depths of one’s work space, but also the occasional joy of re-finding them.
This is exactly what happened last week as I unearthed the forgotten cog and chain out from behind a stack of buckets underneath my drill press.
I was so happy to see these objects again that I decided to put them directly in my line of sight for the next week or so to see if I can think of what to do with them. This usually encourages my inspiration and I really am looking forward to seeing what happens.
Sometimes a job comes along that requires a tool that I don’t have. Sometimes that tool is specific in such a way that might make it hard to find and buy. Lucky for me, blacksmithing is a profession that folds custom tool making right into the core of its process.
I made this bending fork set recently because I had donated my previous one to the Crucible Blacksmithing dept.
Recently, I have been helping my friend and fellow blacksmith Daniel Hopper (maker of the internet famous octotpus chandelier) with another, larger chandelier project.
These pieces are forged pipe that have been bent in a press to follow the armature on the floor. If you look closely, you can see the un-welded seams. When assembled, the pipe conceals the electrical wires leading to the bulbs.
Sadly, the chalk grid that we drew on the floor for proper registration has worn away. It was a work of art in itself.
This is one of two for a private residence somewhere in Nebraska.