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Unexpected Loose Ball Bearings (Week 7)

Fall break is a wonderful thing.  Five days of open time to be in the studio.  I had initially intended on going to Pittsburgh to see the Mattress Factory for the James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama works but I made some choices to hang with my friend Nate, and my Mother for their birthday’s instead.  I’ll go to the Mattress Factory over Thanksgiving break when I am with my family in Wheeling WV.  Two major builds happened over break.  First I started making the rotating grid four times bigger.  I if you don’t know what I am talking about then come see for yourself.  I’m not posting the video or the photos of the final product.  The larger grid  has come with a lot of engineering problems I will discuss later.  Second, I started building my thesis mock up that will be eventually be presented to Plaskolite with the hopes of them being generous with their product.  This mockup is a one inch to two feet scale model of the room to the left of the entrance in Beeler Gallery as you enter it.  It will function like the final installation and will help me refine my intentions for the space.  I have been thinking pretty long and hard about how it will be lit in the space as going from a micro to macro form will take some tinkering.  Below are some photos of that structure.

Right now I have the cube sitting at three feet above the ground.  This will eventually hang in the space at a comfortable height for most to enter underneath.  I may play limbo at my next critique to see what hieght people might be most comfortable entering the box.  I have also thought about how Roxy Payne is using light and may play with capping the box in a similar way to how he used plastics to create his fluorescent lights.  Lets just say that the mock up is making me think about a lot of things.

Welding is all about planning and setting up everything ahead of time to create an efficient workflow.  I started off by creating a drawing with measurements and then made all of my cuts.  This grid is 4 x 4 feet as opposed to 2 x 2.

So I thought everything was cut correctly but it turned out that my five and three quarter inch rods were a sixteenth of an inch too long.  I found this out when I tried to puzzle my grid together before welding.  This was frustrating for a little bit because I had no idea how I was going to shave that tiny sliver off of each piece identically.  My solution was a wood jig I came up with that had a slot measuring five and eleven sixteenth inches.  I spent the next half hour grinding the rods to fit the slot.  Worked like a charm.

Then it was smooth sailing.  I clamped and welded my outer square together in a similar way to making a stretcher frame.  Then I pieced the grid together over the next two hours.  All in all it took me about six hours to complete.  The next day entailed a few more hours of grinding and filing.

Today, I threw the hub into the center of the grid and had to overhaul it a second time because the lubricant in the bearings took on a little too much heat from welding.  Smooth as butter now.  There are a lot of problems to work out of this structure.  It isn’t one hundred percent flat yet and it sags a little on the board due to its weight.  I am just going to have to work through these issues patiently.  The closer to parallel I can get the grid to the wall, the better the illusion will behave and the snapier the optical effect will be.  I’ll get there pretty easily all things considered.  If anything, this is a good wake up call when it comes to making something larger than an initial test.


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