Brutalist Sculpture From Reclaimed Scrap

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Raw Steel Brutalist Sculpture

While going through some left over plasma cutter steel plate, I also grabbed a handful of miscellaneous lengths of round bars and went to work with my oxygen acetylene torch.  What I came up with is an artwork that is capable of resting and standing in any position that is imagined.

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Torch Perforations For Affect

I also used the torch to intentionally melt holes through some of the steel.  It makes it look more interesting and raw.  This sculpture could be placed on a lighted pedestal in such a fashion to allow the light to permeate the perforations to cast beautiful shadows.

For more information or to purchase this item visit Brutalist Upcycled Remnant Sculpture in my Etsy shop.

A Celestial Themed Wall Sculpture

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Mid Century Nail Art In A Celestial Theme

Over the weekend,I was celebrating the arrival of spring weather by creating a new brazed nail wall panel.  It consist of seven stars handmade along with for hemispherical steel caps to add interest to the piece.  No electric welding was used everything was done with her Oxygen acetylene torch.

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Dimensional Metal Wall Art With Natural Brushed Steel Finish

This composition is of moderate size at about 17 inches in height and 14 inches wide and is about 2 inches deep when mounted on the wall. I called it star-spangled nail wall panel and it could be found on my Etsy shop.

Orange Industrial Table Sculpture

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Smooth Bright Orange Paint on Metal Art

When doing random abstract industrial steel sculptures, there is nothing I like more than a glossy, hard, durable paint finish.  It seems to add to the aesthetic of the steel composition. So with the solid lines and the presence of great strength comes a clear, bold and definitive finish in a eye catching color.

Industrial Sculpture Welded from Scrap

I like how the random pieces came together in this orange industrial welded steel sculpture to make the perfect centerpiece.  This is not only an interesting way of incorporating mechanical hardware into art,  this be a way to clear up metal odds and ends I have accumilated.

 

Cool Abstract Welded Steel Circle Art

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Upcycled Metal Chair Rung

Years ago I had found a seatless metal chair curbside on trash day.  This past winter, I finally got around to utilizing it in sculpture.  The circular foot rung caught my eye first and I proceeded to free the ring from its bondage.  It became the frame work of the piece pictured above, the Upcycled Arc Welded Steel Circle now listed in my Etsy shop.

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Angular View Showing Reflective Surface

Another view showing the reflection from the surface of the brushed steel accents.  These capture the attention and draw focus to the duality of the glossy red ring and flat black mesh background.

Reclaiming Alkyd Oil Medium From Unused Oil Based Paint

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Decanted Alkyd Resin

With the VOC concerns around solvents in general,  oil based paint is getting harder to find.  In fact most locations only have oil base paint for rust preventative finishes. Because of the EPA regulations they name these products rust preventative and don’t even use the name paint in the product name.  Also, the number of colors available for these pants is rather limited now as the waterborne paints are taking over the market.  I like to use these on my metal sculptures and I preferred to spray them on to get a smooth finish. When I use the sprayer I can mix colors to any shade or finish I want. I deliberately mix up too much paint because I have found a way to recycle the alkyd resin that makes up the adhesive of oil based paints.  With this, I can add the oil to a dry pigment of my choosing and reuse it to paint other sculptures.

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Let Sit So Pigment Will Settle

The process to do this is extremely simple and straightforward. After you have spray applied or brush applied your alkyd paint,  The remaining paint simply gets thinned more so with a volatile solvent such as VM&P Naptha or Acetone.  Then you allow the mixture to set a week or two and the pigment will sink to the bottom.  You can pour off liquid portion and filter with cheese cloth if necessary.  Or, you also can leave everything together while the more volatile components evaporate.  If need be, you can speed up evaporation with a shop crock pot no longer used for cooking to drive off solvent.

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Separated And Concentrated Alkyd Medium

The photo above with the dark reddish brown liquid demonstrates what a clean alkyd medium will look like after pigment separation and solvent evaporation.   The manufacturers somewhat pre-send the pains so this alkyd medium undoubtedly has less volatile solvents and it already such as heavy mineral spirits etc.    even with additives is still comes out as a fairly viscous liquid.

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Testing As A Simple Varnish

I found a piece of pine scrap wood and just simply get up some paint thinner in a brush to apply the Alkyd oil as a varnish.  It really does not need to be thinned as this mixture has some thinner already on it.  I purposely overthinned first coat so wood would absorb it.  Then I brushed on straight Alkyd on top.  Interesting that when applied, it seems nearly colorless.  Next, I will attempt to disperse a pigment into the Alkyd oil.

Vibrant Dimensional a Wall Art Panel

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Bold Abstract Metal Wall Panel

As a metal artist, it might be tempting to feel that you have to weld and braze everything  that you joined together. I would like to say that is not always the best case. There are a number of cold connections that can be used to join metal satisfactorily for decorative purposes. You could even incorporate The fasteners as part of the decor.   One main advantage of using cold connections such as rivets and nuts and bolts, is that you can paint separate modules separately and assemble without worrying about masking or any other challenges or difficulties in painting.  Take for instance the metal panel in the top photo the total sculpture weighs about 8 pounds in the rivets show no sign of giving .

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Two Finished Modules Ready for Assembly 

In the above photo,you see two modules that have been pre-drilled  and painted. In this sculpture I will be using pop rivets to join the two modules and they will be hidden from display. This allows me to make a clean professional connection without a visible weld bead or spatter.  Also, I was able to carefully paint each module  separately and no masking tape was used.

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Heavy duty Rivets and Gun

Normally when using rivets most people think of aluminum pop rivets. The modulesin this sculpture where  rather heavy.  I used steel rivets instead. These are fairly substantial difference as can be seen in the photo above. They are meant for holes a quarter inch in diameter and they have a grabbing power of up to 3/8 of an inch.  The heavy duty rivet gun requires two hands to operate and a little white bottle captures the pens as they snap off.   I am very happy with this operation as it created a very rugged and secure way of joining fairly heavy pieces of metal together. I will be doing more of this in the future.

Gears,Sprockets,Nuts and Bolts For Industrial Chic Metal Art

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Buying Surplus Industrial Goods

There are many ways to score randomnuts,bolts, gears and such.  But certainly one of the best and most fun is industrial surplus suppliers.  Many of them sell used parts and equipment at reasonable prices.  The score I displayed above comes from an operation called Equipment Resale out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Although it is 106 miles from home, its well worth the drive.  A couple weeks ago, I went there and was thoroughly impressed with the abundance of selection!

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Small to HUGE Bolts and Nuts

Just to illustrate the sheer range of nuts and bolt sizes, I seen some bolts more than 2 inches thick and weighing every bit of 20  pound s a piece!  Obviously structural bolts for bridges and buildings.  They have sizes all the way down to the commonly used sized found in most home improvement stores.  They charge by the pound so take a bucket.

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Gears and Sprockets

Along with an impressive selection of nuts,bolts, and related hardware, they also stock machine gears,sprockets, chains, and pulleys.  If not for art, you may find enough here to build your own machinery!  The gear in the picture is in their entrance area and stands 6 feet tall.  Probably, it is 6 to 8 inches thick and weighs a few tons.  Most of the money I spent in my first haul was for the gears I got.  They charged me flat fee of $5.  All the bolts and fasteners I got were just $13.

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Industrial Desk Organizer

My first creation was this Industrial Desk Organizer.  The center piece is a huge hex nut about 5 inches across.  It seems to add a substantial solid quality to this functional sculpture.  I also plan to be making some shelf brackets and door pulls in the near future.  I am open to suggestions for my creations.