Violet Iridescent Wall Sculpture

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Violet Iridescent Abstract Metal Art

This is a recent metal composition listed in my Etsy shop.  It is made entirely of 3/16 ”  rods.  I started this sculpture a couple months ago and mentioned it in my post titled “Abstract Metal Room Decor Project”.  I took on my large brass covered nail project.  Since that was completed recently and I have a new welding table , I decided to weld on a couple mounting hooks.

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This sculpture was then covered with a white oil based primer for rust protection.   Then I applied a custom blended water based pearlescent violet paint.  You can  see the iridescence in the photo below.

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Large Welding Table on the Cheap

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Large Lightweight Welding Table on the Cheap

If you need a good sized welding table but not interested in the weight or expense of the traditional heavy duty table, then this blog is for you.  I after read a hub about building a welding table from bed frames and re-bar, I had some bed frames given to me from a friend, some square tubing left over from another table project, and I purchased 20 feet of 1/2 inch rebar at Home Depot.  I decided on a table roughly 40 inches tall, 48 inches long, and 28 inches wide.

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OK so I cut to size and laid out my materials to build the top.  Since I needed a welding table, it was quite difficult to get everything perfectly square.  I made some errors but I made it work.

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As you can see, I could stand to have some more re-bar.  But for now, this will work.  In the photo above I am welding on the legs.  I did everything I could get them square but a couple of them angles out about an inch and a half.  Still the table is functional and stable.   Besides, I can always make changes and modifications later.

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Here you can see, the re-bar surface has its benefits over a solid steel plate surface.  The obvious reason is the weight.  This configuration allows this table to be somewhat portable.  Two, the re-bars can serve as a place to hang welding clamps and other tools you may need.  Last but not least,  the spaces between re-bar can be used to anchor work pieces for more secured clamping to work at hard to reach angles.  If you will be working on smaller pieces that might fall through the re-bar, then you can always lay down smaller pieces of steel plate for support.

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One of my favorite reasons for this particular designs is storage possibilities.  At 40 inches tall, I am able to fit plenty of accessories under the table to make storing things in my cramped storage shed that much more efficient.

Createx Airbrush Paints

Createx airbrush paint

Createx airbrush paint is a quality air brush paint that can be used on meny surfaces. They come in a variety of vivid colors and finishes and most of them are ready to spray from the bottle through an airbrush. They are viscous so you will have to airbrush with a larger tip and thin them if needed.

Pearlized Colors

Pearl MagentaOne of the most dazzling line of Createx paint is Pearlized paint. These paints are semitransparent and add a pearlized look to a finish. This is especially usefull is custom paint jobs and decorative work. I have found with my own experience that a basecoat of pearl silver really makes these colors stand out.

Pearlescent metal floral panel

Pearlescent Metal Floral PanelThis is an example of how I incorporate Createx paints into my metal art. This panel was primed with Krylon white primer. The frame is painted with two coats of Createx pearl blue. It came out stunning. The photo does no justice. You can get some different views herein my Etsy listing for this item. The Createx lays down a really smooth coat when properly applied.

The photo below shows a closeup of the butterfly. Due to the detail, the butterfly had to be hand painted with a brush.

Createx pearls in action

type=textUnder the translucent colored lacquers seen here on this recent art work I completed, you can see the metallic iridescence of the Createx pearls. I applied layers of paint to give a sense of depth and brilliance.

Iridescent colors

Iridescent VioletIridescent colors are simular to the pearlized but with and added hue shift when moved in the light. It gives the impression of depth of most colors. I have found though that if you apply a clear coat on top of this paint it appears to lose its iridescence. Also, a reflective basecoat would come in handy as well.

Opaque Colors

Opaque RedThese are the flat ordinary colors. They do not have fluorescence, metallic shine, or pearlescent qualities. They are usually base colors for the other color types. They have excellent hiding capabilities and with a gloss coating they are good finishes on there own.

Taking a Vacation in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

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Just Needed to Get Away

After completing a major art project, dealing with wife’s health issues, all while working the gravyard shift full time, I needed a break.  We took off to visit family in Orlando June 16th.   It was not until I got there that we found out from my wife’s cousin that Disney land was closed for renovation.  Therefore, we ventured off to the beach in Melbourne Florida.

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This is the cousin’s dog Luna. Until this past week, I never saw a dog try to smile like a human.  This dog does. I must admit, the first time she greeted me like this, I thought I was going to get bit.  But our relatives clued me in and I thought is was the most amazing and adorable thing ever.  I must get a dog like this.

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So we did not get to take the little ones to Disney land  and spend $200 or $300 to stand in the 95 degree heat and fry.  Its OK because Orlando has a lot of unique wildlife.  I saw several kinds of cranes.  I do not know how to identify them but someday I will look into it and do some research.  I am sure to return soon someday.

Brass Covered Nail Project Completed!!

 

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Major Project is done

The week before I took off for Orlando, Florida June 16th, I finally completed my brass covered nail project!  I showed my latest images to the customer and he approved!  Now came the nerve racking part.  It was time to build a wood  crate to ship this sculpture safely.

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Not only did I want to make sure that I had at least 2 inches of space between the sculpture and the crate on all sides,  I actually bolted the art down to the supports.  This kept it snug and it would not move or shift in shipment.  Afterward, the crate was filled in with packing material to absorb shock.  This was well worth the extra effort.  Three days after I sent the art by motor freight, the customer responded with glee and was very pleased. 

Cutting Metals

There a number of ways to cut metal

There are a number of ways to cut metal in the shop. The most common metal encountered is steel. That is because it is abundant, cheap to produce, has has many properties desirable as a construction material. The methods of cutting metal mentioned here mostly can be applied to other metals like ,stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper with a few exceptions which will be noted.Some of the methods covered include cutting with, sheet metal snips, angle grinder, circular saw, cutting torch,chop saw and plasma cutter.

 

Cutting sheet metal with tin snips

Tin snips If you want to cut sheet metal that is 20 gauge or thinner an are not in a hurry. Some hand held tin snips might be the tool for you. They will run you $24 for a really well made pair. This is a case where you cannot skimp on quality with the cheesy imports. Get the best and you will be glad you did.

 

Angle Grinder

Angle grinderOne of the cheapest ways to cut metal is to buy an angle grinder. They range in price from as little as $30 to over a $100. A good name brand 4 or 4-1/2″ grinder can be had for $50 to $60. They use bonded abrasive cut off wheels so just about any metal, including stainless and titanium can be cut. And with good practice and reasonable care a decent straight line can be cut. For making long straight cuts in sheet and plate metal, it is best to hold the grinder with both hands and use a straight edge and score the line first. The score helps to guide the blade while cutting. The main limitation of the smaller angle grinders is the thickness of metal that it can cut. Typically, you only want to cut material 1/4″ thick or less.

 
 

Circular saw

Cutting a curve in steel with contoured bladeA step up from the angle grinder is a circular saw. You need a all purpose circular saw that is fairly heavy duty. These run from $130 to $150. There are 7 inch abrasive cut off wheels avaiable in 1/8″ and 1/16″ thickness depending on how fine the cutt needs to be. The circular saw will cut through a little thicker material but be mindfull that they rotate at a slower speed and could bind.Another option are special blades for cutting ferrous metals. Some are even contoured to allow curves to be cut as shown in the picture here. the main benifit of a circular saw is the capabilty to cut wood also. This only increases the versatiliy of a tool.

 
 

Chop saw

Dewalt Chop sawOne more saw that can suffice is the chop saw. Unlike the others, it is a stationary saw that had a 14 inch blade. The good ones run about $199 and they cutt thin mateial only due to the slow speed of the blade.

 

oxygen acetylene torch

cutting torchAn oxygen acetylene cutting torch is a good option for cutting very thick pieces of steel. They are expensive at around $700 for a decent sized model and gas refills can be costly if extensively used. It is only usefull for cutting mild steel and carbon steel since the cutting mechanism is based on combusting the metal. Read the manual for you torch as you need to use different cutting tips and different pressure settings. You can cut steel from 1/8″ to 4 feet thick.

 
 

Plasma cutter

plasma cutterA plasma cutter is a specialized cutting tool. It uses special electrodes to eject a super hot ionized plasma stream. Unlike oxygen acetylene, it can be used on non ferrous metals and stainless steels as well. It is mainly for thinner gauge metals and is quite capable of cutting out delicate details. The major drawback is that plasma cutter can cost up to or significantly over $1000 and they cannot be used for other things like welding or cutting non metallic materials.

 
 

Bare Bronze vs. Flux Coated Brazing Rods

Utility of braze welding

Whether you are a HVAC technicial, a plumber, or a metal artist, braze welding is a very useful and versatile method for making metal joints. The utility of braze welding lies in the fact that different alloys and metals can be joined together. Whats more is that the heat required is significantly lower than that used for welding so heat distortion is minimized. The braze welding alloy is much more fluid that steel filler metal and actually flows into the braze welding joint by capillary action.
In order for a solid braze welded joint to form and the bronze filler rod to be able to flow, a flux is needed. Flux is a chemical mixture that actively dissolves oxidation naturally present on metal surfaces and also provides a shield against the oxygen of the air during heating so the filler metal can flow into the joint.

What is brazing exactly?

Brazing practiceBrazing is a process where two metals being joined are heated and a filler meta,l which usually melts at a lower temperature, is added to flow into between workpieces creating a bond. The most common brazing alloys used are bronze or brass. Sometimes it is necessary to use silver bearing brazing alloy. Most metals can be brazed except aluminum, magnesium, or titanium. Another benefit to brazing is that dissimular metals can be joined. For example, you can braze steel and copper together with bronze brazing rod.

Flux coated rod

Flux Coated RodsOne product line available to the braze welder is the flux coated brazing filler rod. These come in various compositions for joining different alloys. The main benefit is the flux is already on the rods and does not need to be pruchased separately.  The disadvantages outweigh the benefits and the convenience in my honest opinion. First, if you are working with new metal or at least relatively clean metal, you would need to scrape as much as 3/4 of the flux off the flux coated rod. The flux is tanacious and somewhat glassy due to the high level of borates. If you overheat the joint and use to much flux, it will form an incredibly hard black mineral glass that is next to impossibly to remove. Flux residue removal is essential if any painting or surface finish is going to be done. What happens if any flux is not removed, the flux will effloresce causing it to “bloom” into a crystaline crust. This will lift and rupture any paint or lacquer exposing the joint to further corrosion and moisture from the air.

Bare bronze brazing rods

Brazing FluxAn alternative to flux coated brazing rods is to use bare bronze rods with a paste flux. This involves less work because their is no flux to scrape off when brazing clean metal. With paste flux, you can use as little or as much is needed. This is important as different alloys need different amounts of flux. For instance, stainless steel needs a little more flux due to the tough oxide coating. The flux paste I use is used for all commonly brazed alloys. It has borates like on the flux coated rods but with a little fluoride. This facilitates easier removal of flux residues with a wire brush and hot water. The fluoride fumes are corrosive and toxic so you must be mindful of ventilation.

Starburst Sculpture created by braze welding

StarburstThis is a great examply of what I do with braze welding. I make home decor. Notice how the bronze joint not only is functional but decorative due to the contrast with the grey steel. For more photos and information please visit this link to the listing in my Etsy Shop.