Monthly Archives: May 2010

Today I welded up the steel arm for Level 1, fiberglassed hooks to the back of the stones, welded up the hanging arms and found they didn’t fit the hooks on the stones so cut off one side from all of them and rewelded larger ends for them, found the balance point for the whole thing with stones attached. Then I ran out of steam and will wait till tomorrow to weld the flying pin that holds up the entire level at its balance point. Then I’ll clear-coat the steel and that level will be finished! It came together quickly and actually worked just I’d hoped!
The last two picts show it floating, that is as far off the floor as I’ll take it before I get the flying pin welded in place- but I’ll get some images posted soon of the sun shining through the stones as it floats in space.

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The wench hoisted the box into the air and fiddled with the control so it would bang the box around a bit- just to really test the hanging structure. It didn’t come crashing down, or crack panels- so it is good to go.
Yesterday a.m. I went on a walk-through of the new Utah Museum of Natural History. They just put out an RFQ for artwork. It is going to be an amazing building, with everything that The Leonardo had wanted to be and more- a really amazing structure & location: their programming and exhibits will be incredible as well. I’m guessing they will go with an artist of national standing, but I’ll apply.
The afternoon was spent driving out to the foundry to set up the mold for the buck quail re-do. It turned out to be his head that they need. At least we think it is his head, it still could turn out to be the hen. Let’s hope we got it right…
In the late afternoon and into the evening I started in on the salt stones for the 3 wall pieces for the library. I had backed them all with fiberglass earlier in the week, and now began grinding down the faces from the heavy saw marks they arrive with down to a polished surface. all 34 of em’. I coated one of them with the hard clear coat I had used on the big hanging pole. It smells like fingernail polish with a pot life of three hours- but it really looks amazing- even better than the finish for the circles. Once dry it should be bullet-proof, and needs to be as these pieces will be on the wall near the kid section.
I also tried cutting some salt brick (in all the white boxes) with my metal saw- it pounded the stone too hard and shattered the crystal structure. So it looks like a tile cutter- or a tile cutting blade on that saw, if one will fit on it.

I finished all that up this afternoon, and cleaned out the shop so I can get back to metal work, or fiberglassing, or clear coating, or whatever comes next. So far, “next” is geeking this out with an orange sanpellegrino.

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This week has been dedicated to another box of Salt Block plates. The first step is prepping the plates- making another pass of the sander and selecting for plates with no blemishes. Then the plates are grouped for the four sides and bottom, laid flat and fiberglassed. The edges are squared with a grinder- measured to fit with each-other. A 90 degree angle of MDF is re-erected at the worktable’s edge as a jig, and I glass two sides panels to the bottom side and let these set. Once hardened I grind/fit the next plates, secure them in place and glass them as well. At this point the box is formed!

Next I add the steel hanging form: this was today’s job. First I measure the interior of the box for the narrowest dimension, then cut angle iron to match. Then I miter cut the steel for 45 degree angles and go about welding them together into a square. Two steel braces are welded across the middle of the square, and I weld the hanging eyebolt between them.
Then the light pole is added, which will hold the LED light tape. I tried a different method for this box, using square aluminum tubing, rather than two pieces of aluminum angle. Although simpler in idea, the execution was rather complicated. I held the right part in my hand at Home Depot, then put it back- a run of square steel tubing that fit inside the aluminum tubing. So I used steel angle iron, and had to weld nuts in place to shim the aluminum tubing- it took awhile to figure out just what was necessary- about as long as driving back to HD and getting the part I put down, but sometimes that trip back to HD becomes a personal affront. It all worked out after the necessary swearing and fiddling about. The aluminum tubing is easily removed from the steel frame so the lights can be applied/replaced. I put this one in so the lights will shine at the corners of the box, rather than creating “hot spots” along the middle of the panels.

Once the steel form and light bar are ready I prop them up inside the salt box with wooden shims set at the bottom of the box. Then I wrap fiberglass strips around the steel and resin the fiberglass to the inside of the box. Then I hung the heat light above the box to help the resin to kick off.

Yesterday I dropped off an 8″x8″ square of salt stone at a local water-cutting shop with a memory stick of the sample Lorem Ipsum (fill text that spells/means nothing). The stone is backed with fiberglass and sprayed in clear crylon to mitigate dissolution by the water process. They will mirror the letters and cut them from the back, or “etch” them in so the cut remains shallow. This allows the letters to appear when backlit. I hope it works- as this is a big part of the wall hanging units.

I also ordered all the LED lights- I had to come up with exact lengths as the manufacturer will add all the plug-ends for me. 108 Plug-Ends that I don’t have to solder: that takes one major headache off the lit elements!

While the rain and setting fiberglass had me waiting around, I also got online and ordered another couple sawbucks worth of hanging hooks, weld-on D rings, and all the parts to fly the salt stones.
Then, heading into the evening, I had one last re-do required by the newspaper for a letter to the editor to try and save the youth-arts program I directed a few years back (luckily E was home by then and helped my fried brain to make the adjustments), plus they needed a different head-shot which wound up taking a lot longer to come up with than the edit.

Now that my little geek-break is over, I’ll start backing all the salt stone slabs with fiberglass- then sand down their faces as I did with the circles. Then, assuming the water-cut etching of letters works out, they will all be ready to head out for lettering.

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