Between dreams and reality exist whole dimensions.

Posts tagged “Arts

Steampunk Pistol

My wife and I have had 2 Nerf Maverick pistols for a while now, and they are a lot of fun. They have an awesome design, but they look ridiculous in the neon Nerf colors.

So, we decided they could do with some modifications. A little time with a dremel to sand off the logos and lettering, some metallic paints and PVC, and voila.  I decided to go with a Steampunk aesthetic (which is apparently quite popular for these guns), and she’s aiming a little more future-sci-fi.

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I finished mine pretty quickly, a few hours tops. But she’s doing some internal modding with LEDs and such. I promise to post as soon as she’s finished. In the mean time…. I’m going to go play with my awesome new dart gun!

 


Dragon’s almost done!

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Behold!

Ok, so I’ve been slacking on posting anything. It’s getting towards the end of the semester, and work is killing me until I finish transitioning to a new client, so the slacking will probably continue till early December. But for now I thought I’d update you all on my next metal project. Behold:

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The top half still needs teeth, but is almost done.

 

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The bottom is pretty much done, just needs 2 more teeth. Incidentally, those teeth are hand forged, which is a serious pain in the ass. But I think it'll pay off once it's all put together.


Lyric Essay

It has been awhile since I posted, especially any writing, and I apologize for that. I’m sure I could make all sorts of excuses, but I hate doing that, so I won’t. Anyway, I promised in my Notebook section to post my lyric essay when I finished revising it (which I think I have), so now I am. I want to say thanks to my workshop group (who will likely never read this), and to my teacher Kati (who might) for helping me with some of the more stubborn lines in the piece. In all I’m quite fond of it. So, without further ado:

Pleiades Star Cluster

The Silence Between Stars and

Sea

There are certain things which stand out as impossible to me now. The way the seats lined the wall, all the way around the back. The lack of other passengers on a flight across the Pacific. The quiet. I remember my mother’s whispers, though not her words, and nothing else. No questioning stewardess, no engine’s roar. Nothing but…

The black of ocean below, broken here –and there- by the pale white crests of waves. And the endless, endless, endless blue-black of the sky, its infinity spattered by sparkling specks beyond number. My young mind stood still in awe of a vastness I could not comprehend. Forever above and beyond us stretched a miracle of light and shadow, and below the swells and surges of the unknowable sea, while we hung suspended in a cylinder of near-magic, surrounded by a silence made of a world muted (in memory) by beauty.

Though I could not have stood for long upon that impossible seat beside my mother, face pressed to peer past the glass, the moment looms large in my mind: shading my youngest years beneath a starry canopy of deepest night and drowning out everything else until the birth of my brother nearly a year later.

Lovers

We two lay on our backs, against cold concrete, hands clasped in comfort, eyes fixed on the multi-hued dome of light above. The querulous glow of the city -behind and below- shaded the sky in pinks and purples, obscuring the pale pinpricks for which our sight strove. Though I had a long made habit of watching the sky in the hours between dusk and dawn, she had never stopped to look up from the ground which bound her. And though what we had was not to last, the moments we spent there, gazing upward and forward, go on (in memory) forever.

Surely the sounds of the city reached our love-struck ears, straining as they were for the warning of steps coming up the hill, that we might shield ourselves from the disappointed stares of our parents had they seen. And surely we spoke, for we chattered incessantly in every other moment of our time together. Even in those tense moments when she stole through the basement window of her father’s house, and hurried to the open door of my idling car, we whispered and laughed together. But…

Though I recall the softness of her hand in mine, and the warmth in her lips and eyes, I hear no sound. Ensconced in our private world of light and love, all is calm and quiet, sure and silent, with no hint of the tumult to come.

Reflection

The four of us stood at the edge of the lake, marveling in the perfect stillness of its surface. It was our second night away from civilization, miles and miles deep into the wilderness of the Uinta range. Weary though we were, after hiking with our subsistence on our backs and a day of ravenously reveling in the freedom of the mountains, we were wide awake in that moment.

The sky above, unmarred by man’s intrusive glow, was so very crowded with little lights that the blue-black of night became a soft and soothing purple-blue. Blue like ocean depths, purple as mythical mountains majesty. Below and before us the perfect black stillness of the lake reflected back the glory of the stars above. Points of light etched in nature’s glass a clear path across the night, and seeing this I understood the wonder with which the ancients so often termed our galaxy a road through the heavens. And…

No sound broke that perfect moment. We marveled in unison, and no one of us spoke a word. No cars or trains or other people assaulted our solitude with sound. No animals called in the night, nor crickets chirped their delight. No wind whispered through the trees to mar the mirror surface before us, as though the world understood our awe and wished to share in it for a moment. We share it still (in memory).


Teaser

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Here’s a quick look at my next project. I’m not gonna say what it is yet, but in a day or two it should be pretty obvious.


Steel Rose

I finished my assigned project: the Steel Rose. This is the entire process I went through to make it. Took me about 1 week of class (5 hours or so). Because this is long with a lot of pictures I am going to us a little different format, with less writing.  Without further ado here you are:

First it's back to the trusty plasma-cutter to cut the petals.


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And now we have 4 pieces to be bent into petals, and 1 for that little green bit roses have on the bottom.

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As you can see the cutting process leaves a big bur on the steel, and doesn't eliminate the rust, so we grind them down nicely.

(more…)


Steel Sunflower – Finished

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Ok, so I have been gone a while. Never fear, I have not perished. Really, I swear I’m not currently writing you as an undead. The sunflower is finished. Has actually been finished a while, and is now happily residing in my mother’s front yard. But more on that in a moment.

In my last post I promised to show a picture of the back of the sunflower so you can see how it’s all welded on. Basically I cut a circle with the plasma cutter, and then used the oxy-acetylene torch to punch a hole in the center. I then welded one layer of  petals around the outer edge. Next I took the domed circle for the center of the flower and welded the front layer of petals to the edge, being sure that all the welds were on the inside. Then I positioned the two pieces together as evenly as possible and tacked the front layer to the back between the petals of the back layer. It’s not a solid enough weld to really support a lot of weight, but unless my family has to fend off looters using it as a weapon it should hold together pretty well. Lastly I put the round bar through the hole and welded it on. That weld is pretty solid and should withstand plenty of looter beating.

Below I have two pictures of the finished flower. I was originally planning on just putting up the one of it in its new home, but it was morning and the lighting isn’t too great so I have also included the one from my back yard with better lighting. The petals aren’t as shiny as I had hoped, they are already starting to rust a little, but that shouldn’t be a problem unless it gets seriously soaked long-term. So there you have it. I’m working on my steel rose now (which is an assigned project, though a pretty one) I’m mostly done with that already and I’ll post some stuff about it either tonight or tomorrow. After that it’s back to my own projects.

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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!


Steel Sunflower – Metal Sculpting

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So today I finally got started on my own project in Metal Sculpting (as opposed to the mandatory ones for class, and general practice pieces). I’m super excited, I love working metal so much!

Anyway, I’m making my mom  a 6′ sunflower to put in her garden (though once I bend the round bar and it gets stuck in the ground it will probably be closer to 4.5′ or so), and decided to start with the leaves. I cut them by hand using an oxy-acetylene torch because I wanted the ragged edges on the leaves. I’ll be using the plasma-cutter for the petals and center so I can get nice smooth edges on them. After cutting out the leaves in that lovely heart shape you see on the right, I heated them in the forge and used my pliers to bend and shape the edges. Once the edges were turned down nicely, I heated the center and pounded it out on an anvil to get that rounded valley in the center. I’m going to flip the other leaf so it’s the inverse of the one that’s finished now, I just wanted them arranged to easily show the before and after.

In all it took me about 35-40 minutes to get this much done, but a lot of that was me trying to figure out where I was going and what to do, so I should get faster from here out. Hopefully I’ll have the sculpture done in a week or two at the most. I will continue to post my progress, and be sure to get a few good pics of the completed piece.