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.

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