So I continue to make progress with my “sun” project. I keep “hacking” my way through the creative process and continue to try and come up with some unique designs for the remaining 6 rays. It has been a struggle and I find myself gaining very little satisfaction as I complete each ray. I quite often find that when I am forced to stare at a project for too long things start to get warped in my head. It makes it difficult to determine what is the right move to make as I no longer see the project in its entirety but instead I obsess with it square inch by square inch. I am holding on to the hope that when all the pieces get assembled they will all blend together and form a unified image thereby hiding all the “small” issues I am coping with in my head.
So for my next ray I decided to build one based on a celestial theme. I decided to build a solar system based on the twelve zodiac constellations. I understand the biblical debate involving Christianity and astrology however astrology is not what this ray is about. It is simply a map of existing stars plus I do not plan to reveal, to the church, how I came up with the design for the ray. If they happen to read this blog posting then I suppose the secret will be out.
I started by making paper templates of the 12 zodiac constellations that would help me layout the stars on a ray. The idea was to jumble all the constellations together to create a mish mash of scattered dots. I was able to lay out all my templates so that they interlaced with one another. Once in place I drilled out all the stars with a ¼” drill bit. I think it came out close to 115 holes. I had kept track of each constellation sequence and labeled them all individually to help me out later on.
So with holes drilled I needed to build my stars. I purchased 2”, 3”, and 4” long ¼” bolts along with 200 nuts. I opted to machine all the hexes off all the bolts and half of the nuts in order to create round stars. Once machined I simply bolted in all my stars, all at random heights, to all my previously drilled star holes. I used the machined nuts as the visible support nut on the top of the ray. The star was then locked down with a regular nut from in behind the ray.
So with the stars mounted I moved onto linking all the individual constellations together using 14/2 Romex house wiring. I used the bare copper ground wire as well as stripped off the neutral and hot wire insulation in order to make use of all the wiring. I wrapped each sequence of stars to create the constellation pattern. To look at the finished result it is impossible to indentify what the pattern is, which is good cause that is what I was going for. I added some brass and copper star bursts and called it done. The star ray, on its own, is not much to look at however when it is introduced into the rest of its team hopefully the contribution it makes will be a positive one.
For the next ray I wanted to implement some expanded metal. I freehanded some “flame” style lines into an empty ray and proceeded to do some chopping with the plasma torch. I cleaned up all the edges and then backed one of the openings with fairly tightly laced expanded metal. The look was a bit too dense so I cut out the expanded metal and replaced it with a section of .250” galvanized steel mesh. The mesh was a little more transparent which was more of the look I was going for. I opted to rivet the entire sheet of mesh onto the sheet metal as I figured the riveted look would add.
To help tie the “flame” ray into unity with the others I added some copper wraps to it using the same house wiring I used on the stars. In the end I was happy with the result. I have been trying to create a mixture of 2D and 3D rays and the flame ray has made its contribution to the 2D sector. So with 5 rays completed I have 4 to go not including the 3 highlight rays. I’ve got a few ideas stirring; some sleepless nights will help me finalize things.