Between dreams and reality exist whole dimensions.

Progress – Steel Sunflower Update

Ok, so things are going a little more slowly than I planned on my sunflower. Due in large part to the fact that the Plasma Cutter is in high demand right now, since the rest of my class is working on their steel roses. I would cut the flower by hand, but I know I wouldn’t be able to make a good circle, and I want the petals to be pretty much identical, which certainly wouldn’t happen.

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The Plasma Cutter at work.

Another contributing factor is that I underestimated the number of petals I’d need. Below is the flower with the 16 petals I’d originally calculated for. Looks kind lame doesn’t it?

So I decided to double it up to 32. I have 22 cut currently. Once you’re set up, using the plasma cutter is pretty quick, at least in my case since I’m only using one pattern. Having to change patterns can be tough since you have to recheck the cutter’s position at each edge of the pattern whenever you change it. With a set pattern you just move the metal into position and don’t worry much. If I can get the plasma cutter early tomorrow I should be able to finish cutting pretty quickly. Then the real work begins. Before I can start welding I have 2 major things I need to do. First I need to grind the petals clean. I decided that I like the rusty-brown look for the center and the leaves, but I want the petals to stand out.

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Here's how the petals will be configured when I'm done.

Grinding really makes a difference in appearance.

And grinding them down is a lot of work. Because of the size and shape of the petals I’m using a handheld grinder to smooth the edges and shine the rust off. It takes about 5 minute a petal, which really adds up. But I think it’s going to look a lot better with shiny petals. I originally was going to braze them (with brass), but I suck at brazing so I think being ground to a shine should be good enough. Once the petals are polished I then have to bend my round-bar so it looks more like a flower stem and less like a steel rod, and then I can actually start welding.

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And this is the handheld grinder I'm using. You should see the sparks fly when it's going!

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One response

  1. i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:59

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