kinetic sculpture 01

Mon, 2009-09-07 17:12

Here's a video of a simple welded steel kinetic sculpture I built earlier this summer at Pratt Fine Arts, in a class taught by Chris McMullen.

true story

Tue, 2008-07-22 22:10

So, I wanted to take a blacksmithing class at Pratt Fine Arts Center (where I've taken my two welding classes). It starts on Thursday, but I found out yesterday that it is full; I'm waitlisted, so I might still be taking it, but I'm kind of bummed. Anyway, I was walking to my Tai Chi class this evening, thinking about how I really like TIG welding; I like the interaction of the electricity, and the heat and metal. I find it very meditative, I suppose, a quiet, focused experience. And just as I was thinking this, a car drove by with a "vanity" license plate: TIG. I kid you not.

some welding photos

Thu, 2008-05-01 23:18

A couple of things I've welded.

This first one I did a few weeks ago with the TIG machine. It's pretty sloppy, but I like it.

This one is made from three chunks of 1/4 inch steel. I worked on this quite a bit to make the welds invisible. I had to weld and grind, weld some more and grind some more, etc. Then I sandblasted it, and sanded it to get it all shiny.

Only two more welding classes left. I don't know what I'll do next...

welded box

Tue, 2008-02-12 15:05

Well, after four weeks of welding class, I've finished a lousy little box.

It didn't come out very well at all, but I learned a bunch of stuff: oxy-acetylene, MIG, cutting, grinding. My next piece should be much better.

vegan welder

Wed, 2008-01-16 22:48

I start my welding class at Pratt Fine Arts Center this coming Sunday morning. I got a list of safety equipment to bring to class. The list includes, expressly, leather gloves. As a vegetarian, I try very hard not to buy leather goods. My shoes and my belt are non-leather. My wallet is rubber, and my last one was cork. I do own two pairs of leather work gloves, and a pair of Bont speed skates that I bought used. I also have a pair of leather boots ("jungle" boots) that I got from the retired military guy across the street, which is good, because it's quite possible that my non-leather boots would not be ideal for welding. But the need to buy leather welding gloves made me wonder what non-leather options were available. The main issues seem to be that the gloves need to withstand intense heat, along with very hot sparks which could easily melt lots of synthetic materials and set alight something more fabric-y, like cotton.

Looking around on the web, I found that there are vegetarian options, but there isn't a lot of information out there. I did find these non-leather welding gloves, so I might give them a try: they look very nice.

But, I can't get them by Sunday, so today I went to Hardwick's to see what they had. I ended up buying a pair of leather welding gloves for $8.39. Somehow, spending such a small amount of money on them makes me feel better about buying some leather.

From what I've read, welding gloves tend to wear out fairly rapidly, I guess due to the heat and sparks. When I replace these, I'll definitely try to get the non-leather ones.

(While trying to find information on this topic, I found that googling the phrase "vegan welder" yielded no hits at all, so I thought I'd make that the name of this blog entry so perhaps soon that phrase will hit something.)

(UPDATE 1/20/08: Now, a google search on the phrase "vegan welder" links here. )

optimization applets and welding

Sun, 2007-12-02 15:35

I wrote some applets for my Calc I course to illustrate some optimization problems.

This one illustrates the classic problem of building the largest possible rectangular enclosure using a given amount of fencing.

This one illustrates the less classic problem of building the largest possible Norman window with a fixed perimeter.

I hope that these kind of applets will make some of these problems "come to life", a little. You can solve these problems without understanding that there are an infinite number of choices, and our goal is to select the one that is optimal. My goal with these applets is to help students see that.

In other news, I signed up for an introductory welding class (Welding I) at Pratt Fine Arts Center for this Winter quarter. It's supposed to cover oxy-acetlene and MIG welding, and tools like chop saws, band saws and grinders. Sounds nice and dangerous. Unfortunately, the class is Sundays from 9AM to 1PM, so I'll be getting up early to make the bus.