Recently, I’ve been taking a welding class at NextFab, the “Gym for Innovators”. The class was taught by an excellent instructor, Bevan Weissman, and we learned MIG, TIG, and OxyAcetylene welding as well as plasma cutting and some basic sheet metal skills. I had a great time, and am now hooked on welding. There is something so awesome and primordial about making molten metal… and I love it.
The last few sessions of the class, I worked on a project to create a Pentagonal Pyramid. By the end I still had a few seams to weld, as well as some serious grinding to do. For the welding, practiced all 3 types, so that’s why the seams all look a bit different.
After I zipped up all of the seams, I moved the project into the grinding room. I’ve never done anything like this before, so it was an awesome learning experience by trial and error. First, I rough ground all of the seams down to make the surface smooth. After some playing around, I realized that it would be best if I created a uniform grinding pattern with the big grinder, so I moved the grinder in parallel paths down the length of the triangles. Next, I moved to the finer grain pneumatic grinder, and smoothed out as much of the rougher grinds as I could. I eventually realized that the motion of the grinder is imparted into the piece, and allows you to create some interesting effects. I went over the whole surface in a circular motion, creating that swirly metal look.
With the surface as ground as I had the time and patience for, I decided to put a clear coat on it. Bevan told me that an acrylic clear-coat is a good way of finishing the metal, so that’s what I did. From internet research, I read that wiping the piece down with acetone is a good way to remove any left over grease and dust, as well as remove any traces of moisture that will cause rust down the road.
Here are some pictures of the final piece. It’s pretty much just a giant and awesome paper weight. However it will really fit in with my existing collection of geometric desk objects.
Bottom line, welding is awesome. I have a new appreciation for metal working and how much work actually goes into creating things from metal. This project was a lot of fun, I really hope to be able to find time to do more projects in the future!