October 20, 2010

The Tornado - part 2

The hardest part of this build was the location. Elkhart, Illinois is about 1300 miles from my studio and there was no way I could transport the finished piece that far. With just a few days on site and only a portion of my tools, it couldn't be constructed there in its entirety. The solution was to build the internal skeleton of the sculpture in my shop, break it down, pack it in my hatchback and drive it out with me. The final blueprint above shows the 11 octagons which would be pre-built along with their mounting blocks.

After 2 days of driving I arrived in Illinois and began assembly. The 12 foot, 4x4 post that would provide the backbone for the sculpture was already on site. After measuring and marking, I affixed the first few mounting blocks and octagons. Once the post was upright, I could mount the rest.

The next step was to cement a 4x4 aluminum tube into the ground. One stipulation of the piece was that it had to be removable for storage during the harsh winter. The wooden posts fits into the tube and is secured with a large bolt. When the sculpture needs to be moved, the bolt is simply removed and the piece can be lifted out for storage.

Once the cement dried, the post was installed and the rest of the octagons were mounted. This was actually the first time the skeleton was completely built. Although I had done mock-ups in my shop, I was unable to fully test everything beforehand due to height and time restrictions. Fortunately, it came together without a problem, and was better than I had hoped.

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