So I continue to try and find some rhythm with my current metal art project. So far it has been a real struggle trying to find some solid direction. As I prepared to make some progress with the sheet metal I found myself continuing to feel very scattered and unorganized.

I had previously built the 1” square tubing base that was going to support all the sheet metal “rays” of my “sun” It was now time to start to add some form to the structure. I have flaunted my fondness, in the past, for sheet metal gurus and their abilities to envision 3D shapes, curves, and contours. This is a skill that does not come natural to me. As I sat and stared at the base I was trying to calculate how I was going to cut the sheet metal. Well it turned out I didn’t know. There was nothing I could do except clamp the ground of the plasma to the 4×8 sheet of 20 gauge sheet metal and start chopping.

I had built a paper template of the minimum size I needed each ray to be. So I used the minimum spec as a rough guide and then, without measuring, started to cut rays out that were a few inches larger thereby allowing for some overlap. I wasn’t going to get too concerned with an exact shape for each ray until the project started to come to life. So for now I ended up with 12 triangles.

I built a center pivot, on the base, using .500” threaded rod which would allow me to find some placement for each ray. With the 12 sheet metal triangles laid out the sculpture was not providing me with much inspiration or vision. I was hoping that at some point something was going to click and I would find myself gaining some momentum. I think I spent more time sitting on my shop stool staring at the structure then I actually spent physically working on it.

I have developed a technique over the years that have been a stepping stone to help me get out of situations when I do not know what to do. Instead of focusing on what I don’t know I turn my attention to what I do know. In the case of the rays I do not know how to shape or bend them. What I do know is that 3 of the rays need to be significant and stand out among the rest. So I got the ball rolling by placing the 3 rays in their approximate positions ensuring that they were doing the overlapping of their neighbors. I then started to weld up more bracing to help hold the rays in place.

Once the 3 were set with proper placement and proper height I began to bend and shape the remaining 9 rays till I had something that was representative of a 3rd dimension. So I finally started to get some shape going on. It was time to start bracing all the rays so that all my heights would be set and solid. Like I stated in my earlier posting I need to ensure the whole assembly can come apart for both painting and installing. My plan was to use 3/8” threaded rod, along with coupler nuts, to help my set in place all the rays.

Since this was going to be a long term project I needed to get it off the garage floor and into the work shop where I can work. I set up my saw horses and rebuilt the structure in the middle of the shop. I had never measured how wide my work space was in the shop but I can tell you that it is approximately 8.5 feet across. How do I know? Because that is how wide the structure is. It looks like for the next little while I am going to have to perfect the crouch and shuffle maneuver as there is no longer anyway for me to get from one side of my shop to the other in an upright vertical position.

So for now the basics have been done and the next stage will involve having to come up with some unique ideas to customize each ray.

  1. Jason Garber says:

    Hey Gord,

    I like the sage advice about focusing on what you do know instead of what you don’t know. I need to apply that to my job as well, because in technology, there is always so much I don’t know that needs figured out. Overwhelming.

    Take care,

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