Thu, Jul 21 2011 03:46
Every once in a while, I get myself into making something and it just seem sthat everything that can go wrong, will and is going wrong. But when I press on through it, the product at the other end is a wonderful mixture of good intentions and adjusting to the circumstances at hand. This piece in particular exemplifies the term, happy accidents.
I take everything in stride (or at least I try to), but I am always amazed at how strange accidents seem to clump up. Between having my house struck by lightning which damaged the CNC controller and speed sensors in my Lathe. Not to mention fried various other lights and electronics through out my house, cracking a bearing in my CNC Mill (completely unrelated), Which knocked out a second machine for over a week, Snapping a few expensive bits relearning the joys of working in copper, and a few other smaller things not worth mentioning, I still managed to make this sculpture while adjusting and adapting to the ever changing tooling and set ups at my disposal. I hope that does not sound like I am complaining, I am simply trying to relate the circumstances that influenced many of my design choices while making this work.
So to start out, I had been playing with the idea of doing a more free form piece for a while, meaning not planning so much, and instead, began by picking up pieces of metal, and started cutting to see where it lead. Naturally my eye drifted to this gorgeous piece of copper I had sitting around and I worked from there. As I alluded to above, Copper is as difficult a material as there is to machine due to it being very soft and very sticky (as far as metal is concerned) It requires lots and lots of cutting oil to keep the tool from binding and I was reminded of this rather quickly as I started this project.
So just when I would start to settle in on a final design, be it lightning or another break down, I would have to stop, rethink what I was doing, and adjust, which lead to a number of design changes that I think in retrospect worked out for the better. The process for this one was much more fluid and dynamic than usual and though a bit more uncertain and stressful, more rewarding in some ways. In the end, I had to bypass some of the fried circuits in my lathe so that I could operate the burned out parts manually, I did a few operations the old fashioned way, and design around the rest. It was lots of fun.