Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Welder from Hell

Things progress well on the museum commission. Well, for the most part. I have been having considerable problems with the mig welder. It does not like stainless steel. Funny this should happen now after I have been using it for weeks without problems. I promise you there is nothing out there that I (and several other people) have not tried in attempts to fix it. Even the welding supervisor from Mississippi Tank came over and tried to help. Of course it worked for a few tacks and then it was all over with. Every one has been so kind in offering suggestions, but now it is time for a pro repairmen. My friends at Airgas will get thier chance on Monday.

The annoying part is that I really wanted to start integrating stainless techniques with my upper level sculpture students this fall and I am not sure we can do it with the problems I am having now. It looks like a new mig welder may be on the books, with this one relegated to carbon steel.

As far as the commission, I have the main sculptures made, all nine of them. I have moved them out of my field of vision into the "gallery". I need a rest from them. Later I will pull them back into the shop and work on them as a unit, adding or taking away elements, if needed, to make a more complete statement.

Right now I am working on the poles and attachment structures for the bases. I made a jig to keep the poles upright for welding and various templates for cutting the shapes. We do not have a CNC cutter so it is all being done by hand with the plasma torch.
Jig for holding pole upright for welding base plate and gussets.

Tacked together assembly it will later be secured to a pre-poured concrete base.

As of yesterday (Saturday) all the parts are cut out for the bases. I got one base tacked up (before the welder bird-nested again) and all looks good. Except of course I can't continue any welding! Argh! My next step, is to get all the parts cleaned up and do any grinding/sanding needed. That will take a good day for sure. Next, I should be receiving my seamless tubing and can get the sleeve bearings made up for the top part of the poles. After that I will have to have the welder problem solved or I will be seriously behind schedule and I can not afford that. Hopefully I can up-date you all soon with positive welder news. 

1 comment:

  1. Your sculptures are very bold and powerful. Beautiful and majestic pieces.