Archive for April, 2012

Yes, here it is again, yet another posting outlining the long drawn out metal art project. By this time I have completed all 9 of the custom rays and so it’s onto the remaining 3 “god” rays. I realize it has been awhile since I initially laid out my original plan so as a recap; the metal structure is comprised of a total of 12 rays. 9 of which are built from 20 gauge mild steel and are all unique and custom. The three remaining rays are all to be built the same as one another and will be constructed from 304 stainless steel 18 gauge sheets.

In my initial mock up I used mild steel rays to simulate my future stainless rays just to help me lay things out. The time has come to trade in the mild steel for the stainless. So off to the metal shop I went with my 3 steel templates in hand to see what I could make happen. I typically resist farming out any parts of my projects. I would rather spend more time, effort, and sometimes money, to ensure that I can do everything in house. In the case of the stainless I had planned to have them shear my triangles for me. Why? For 2 reasons. First one being that the 304 stainless sheets comes with a plastic protector applied to them. Using a plasma cutter to trim my sheets does not work with the plastic protection in place and since I needed to ensure the stainless stays protected throughout the build I wanted to keep the plastic on for as long as possible. The second reason is that since all sides of the stainless rays will be visible I wanted to make sure I would get a factory looking edge on my trimmed sides. The best way to get this edge is with a shear. Well the metal supplier was more then happy to cut my sheets up free of charge, and they should, since I paid a premium for the material.

My initial plan was to leave the stainless rays plain with no design or visual accents. This would have been the quick and easy way to go however it is also kinda boring. So while I was at the metal shop I picked up 60 feet of 304 stainless ½” x 1/8” flat bar. My plan was to put my recently constructed scroll bender to work. Now if you recall I built a scroll bender a few weeks back and after initial testing of the tool it was determined that the dies were not perfectly round and required some touch up. So I fired up the Silver Beauty and started laying down some molten on all the flat spots. After working the welds down with an angle grinder and belt sander I was able to achieve a much more uniform bend. I was able to rework the entry slot of the center die which helped out with nice smooth starts. I would say the dies are as close to perfect as they will get without the aid of computer controlled equipment.

So now that I have the steel and the scroll bender I required a design. I began sketching some flowing lines onto the plastic protective film of the stainless rays. After coming up with a basic pattern I started to form the metal using both the scroll bender and the ring roller.

Once I had all the basic shapes bent I TIG welded the bends together to form a single unit. The rays are getting bolted though the face onto the steel backing structure so I decided to double up the use of the bolt holes by using them to mount the scrolls. Using an old sheet of ¾” MDF I built a jig for the bolt hole placement and welded securing tabs onto the scrolls in the precise location needed.

I was able to work my way through the 3 rays. All of the scroll work, from the 3 rays, are all slightly different however the design is uniform. I was fairly pleased with the end result and look forward to seeing how the stainless rays look when combined with the rest of the structure. Next job is to figure out a center piece.

So I am on the home stretch with finally reaching completion of the 2 remaining custom rays for the metal art project. Up until this point I have been rather unimpressed with my creativity on the previous 7 rays. This time round I finally built something which turned out well plus it gave me more ideas for different projects.

The first of the 2 rays, which is the one I like,  is somewhat of a “strap” theme. The idea was to use different dimensions of flat bar, all with different radius bends, and weld them onto a triangle support structure.

I started off by fabricating a frame that would bolt onto one of the 20 gauge sheet metal rays. I built the triangle shaped support frame so that it would sit neatly in between its neighboring rays.

With the frame mocked up I was able to start with laying down the strapping. I used a combination of 1/8” flat bar which included 2” hot rolled, ¾” cold rolled, ½” cold rolled, ½” brass, and ¾” copper. They were all sent for a ride through the ring roller in order to give them a curve.

As I began laying down one strap at a time I attempted to make the patterns unique and interesting. On a couple I of straps I added some copper highlights by wrapping 14 gauge Romex copper wiring around them. On a few others I welded in some automotive ball bearings and CV joint balls in order to create another dimension. In the end I liked what I came up with. Up until now all the rays have been built rather imprecisely and lacked a precision construction method. I’m not sure I cope well with this type of building method. The strap ray allowed for a little more calculating which resulted in a more refined look. Anyway…the name of the game is diversity so different is good.

The last ray was built using a framed concept. The design, nor building, was overly complicated. The pictures will do the talking.

Using 20 gauge sheet metal I plasma cut out various frames of different shapes and sizes. Then using a combination of copper, brass, expanded metal, and galvanized sheet metal I filled all the frames. I have yet to attach all the components to the actual ray. Again…I am not sure I am all that thrilled with the “framed” concept all on its own. Hopefully it will help to complete the 9 custom rays nicely.

So with all 9 custom rays finished off it is time to direct my attention to the 3 stainless steel “god” rays. Originally I was going to leave the rays plain stainless with no design however I am now thinking I may implement some scroll work. Only garage time will be able to determine the outcome.

So I continue to beat my way through the metal art project. Every time I publish a post regarding this project I complain about how I struggle with the whole job. Well today is finally different because today I am not going to complain, just take note that nothing has changed.

At this point I have completed 5 out of the 9 required custom rays. Well I was able to get my way through 2 more rays. The actual build is not worth elaborating on as the pictures pretty much tell the story. I was able to create a “strung” and “leaf” theme which will hopefully add to the diversity of the structure as a whole.

The strung ray started out with few lengths of 5/16” and 3/8” cold rolled rod bent to give them a wavy look and feel. I then cut out various sections of round and square tubing all different lengths. All the tubing was set up on the mill and cross drilled so that they could be strung on onto the cold rolled round bar. With all the sections strung on I started to twist and place each section of tubing to create a random pattern. As I created the pattern I tacked all the tubing in place along the rod using the MIG.

With the initial strings strung I was able to stand back and notice how bare the ray looked. There was a lot of the background 20 gauge ray visible and I felt that it needed to get busy. Using a 40 grit 4 ½” flap wheel I ground some circles into the ray to help the strung rods blend with the base. In order to create some unity among the other rays I added some copper and brass highlights. The copper and brass not only added to the complete structure but it also tied my 3 strung strings together.

Next idea I played with was a leaf theme. I had envisioned littering a ray full of metal leaves. I started out by welding up some “branches” to attach the leaves to. The branches were bolted onto the ray therefore I would be able to later separate the leaves from the ray for finishing purposes.

With the branches in place I started on the leaves. I made a paper template of a fig leaf and cut a few samples. Using a vise, dolly, and grinder I was able to shape each individual leaf and grind in some veins. It looked like things were going to work out so I went into mass production. I built the leaves from 20 gauge steel, galvanized steel, and from copper and brass sheets. All the leaves got tacked onto the branches with the MIG except for the brass and copper which were soldered in place.

So with a total of 7 rays built I have 2 more remaining, not including the 3 “god” rays. So I’ll do a bit more brainstorming and lug my way through. Soon the creative process will come to an end and all that will remain is the finishing and installation.

Well it’s finally here, all that stuff that none of you have been waiting for. You know the stuff I am talking about, the Gord’s Garage clothing apparel that nobody has ever asked for? That’s right now you can sport the clothing that’ll allow you to let your garage pride hang out for everyone to notice. Now you can compete with all those GQ types and show those guys what kind of fashion is making waves. Perhaps you’re of female gender standing in line at the grocery store gawking at the cover of the latest Cosmopolitan magazine wishing you could be sporting one step up from Megan Fox. Well now you can!

This month I am introducing the “Just Weld It” and “Not a Pro” clothing line exclusive to Gords Garage. I know what you’re thinking, how do I get my dirty welding hands on a cool vintage tee? Well you are one click away from 1200 products available to you, the general public. No membership required! No VIP status required! No commitment required!

You can now visit the online Gords Garage clothing store and browse through the Tees, sweatshirts, hats, and other products available displaying the “Just Weld It” and “Not A Pro” logos. You can customize each item; change the colors, numbers, and logos to suit your liking. You can even scrap what I came up with and do your own thing.

So you may be asking yourself what does Gord get out of all this? Well I will tell you. Some fun and a sense comradery among us garage dwellers. Oh…you meant as far as monetary value? Well that would be absolutely nothing, as in no cash, no moolah, no bling bling, no cha ching, and no kick back. I have no interest in making any dinero off any of you. So if you want some new duds then rest easy knowing you aren’t funding some guy’s metal obsession.

If you are short on funds and are struggling between buying a “Just Weld It” hoodie and buying some garage tools and equipment this is a no brainer. Go for the tools! So what are you waiting for? You will notice a new tab has been added to the blog located in the top left corner. Just click on the “Apparel” tab and you’ll be on your way to fashion choices galore. If scrolling to the top of the page is too much work then just click here.