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Artistic Welding Class Projects - Coyote and Fish

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I recently completed another artistic welding class at the local community college and thought it was time to show the results.  I'm still working on the fish, I want to grind the fins to make them more life like.  The heron will be an outside lawn art piece and I'm going to try my luck at airbrush painting on it.


Thanks for looking.  Kent.





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Come on... More details! Length of class, cost... Looks like it might have been a fun class.


What processes did you learn/use?. The heron looks to be either OA or plasma cut and I take it from the OA cylinders in the pict with the fish that you may be brazing on the scales. It's nice to see schools with a hot metals department. I helped any number of college students learn the basics of welding and brazing before Temple moved their art programs down into the city from the local campus.

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Thanks DSW and vapremac for the interest.  I'll start with the coyote since it was easier.  I'll also try my best to keep the pictures in order but they seem to have a life of their own.


I started with 3/4" square tube to make the frame, mig welded. Then made the bracket for the stone and coyote.  The coyote is hand plasma cut with grinder to finish.  Regarding the moon, there is a local company, EDCO, that makes construction equipment.  They donate their scrap to the college and this was in the bucket.  It was leftover from a laser cut, I assume.  I included the original project design just to show how much the final changed once I started the project but it did give me the general theme.


The fish and I go back 18 months and I have learned a lot from him.  The scales are 1 1/8" blanks from the metal shear/punch in class.  In looking at other sculptures on this site I knew I needed a sub-structure to build on. Each scale was mig welded to either the frame or another scale.  Most have two welds.  I started at the back of the fish so the welds would be hidden by the next scale.  There are over 200 scales and it took me two classes just to punch them out.  Regarding the head, I covered the frame with paper so the duct tape would not stick.  Then I duct taped the area that would become the head.  I then removed the duct tape and cut and flattened it out.  This gave me a 2 dimension layout pattern for the 3 dimension head. Torch cut, heated and dished using the swage pictured.  Added copper gills. I wanted to give him some carp-like color so the brazing is mostly for looks except there are a few scales that fell off and I did braze them back on.  (He's been dropped a few times).  


Regarding the heron, I'm almost ashamed to admit on this web site he was cut out using my jig saw.  It was the weekend and without access to the plasma in class, I still wanted to get it done.  So, 5 hours and 4 blades later the heron was cut, and another 5 hours later of grinding with the dremel and he was ready.  Bracket is welded on back to hang.


Regarding the classes:  I have taken four welding classes through the local community college.  The first was a general welding class for the homeowner, NOT for a serious welder getting trade certification.  We learned OA torch setup, cutting and heating. Plasma cutting.  Stick welding, then MIG, then TIG.  Also brazing for those interested, which I am.  The second class was the Artistic welding class, followed by an open studio session, and then another art welding class. The art classes are mainly mig, plasma, and OA, although we can use the stick and TIG if wanted. As to what did I learn?  The 1st day of each class, regardless of prior experience, is always lecture; safety, gases, metals, etc.  The second class is always OA setup and breakdown, again, always required, no allowances for prior experience.  I have learned stick welding is a skill all to itself and for now I'm going to place it on the back burner, although I have a lot of respect for those that do it.  I'm okay now with the MIG, OA torch, and plasma cutter.  I'm still working on my brazing skills and finding this much harder to master, whether on copper or metal.  I haven't had a reason to do much TIG, but it is fun.  Length of class is 3 hours two nights per week for about 5 weeks, total time 30 hours. The cost for me since I'm over 60 and only have to pay for supplies, is $75.  Full payment is $299 tuition plus $75 for supplies.  As to class size, the general welding class had 12 men, early 20's to retired, the first art class had two men 2 women, middle age to retired, the open studio was approx 12 men and 2 women (one young woman was training to be an underwater welder!), and the last art welding class 2 retired men and 6 women middle aged to retired.   
















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Very cool. Cost for those classes really are stupid cheap. It's nice to hear about the fact you have access to the punch ( I'm assuming it's on an ironworker) I often mention to guys about how they can often get access to equipment like that they otherwise couldn't afford or have access to.



I hear you on the repetitive safety stuff. Sadly today it's about liability. If they don't make everyone take it again, and someone should get hurt, the school can be held liable because they didn't properly train people in the safety basics. Some places choose to take the position once is enough, others choose to make sure everyone has to take it so no one gets missed.


I wouldn't worry about using the jigsaw. There's a tool for the job, use it. I certainly wouldn't want to sit there and cut that out with a chisel and hammer "old school". Many times I think people get too caught up in "fancy" tools and forget there are plenty of less expensive ways to accomplish the same things. A jig saw may not be the fastest way to cut shapes for production work, but it does a wonderful job cutting nice clean crisp details that can be hard with other methods.



Your process picts are great. Always nice to see how things go together and it shows what you were thinking in each step many times. I often get too wrapped up in a project and forget to take picts until it's too late.

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Good work Kent, looks pretty clean. I like the fish, working in three dimensions is a whole different ballgame, isn't it?. No need to apologize for using a jigsaw- I agree with DSW. I use an angle grinder for just about everything, many times if I'm doing a straight cut in sheet metal I'll opt for a grinder over the plasma cutter.

Thanks for posting and keep at it!

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Good looking pieces Kent, well done. What's the issue with a jigsaw? I have three and one is worn out, though I wouldn't turn down a plasma cutter, I wouldn't toss the jigsaws.


I like the carp best, it's a fine representation. Spoons make excellent scales and can often be had for little or nothing at garage, etc. sales. Seems folk collect flatware and just want to lighten the load. I know we have about 5x what we need, even when we entertain.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for posting more pics of your builds and also the extensive details
related to the classes. Sounds like they were really good and that you enjoyed
being a part of them.
Like others have said, yes its nice to have the fancy state of the art tools to
work with..........but.....the old school methods that have been tried and trued
many times over are sometimes more rewarding in completion of a job.
Also thanks for answering my questions......I was just wondering who all was
interested in metal working these days,and from the ones that were in class with
you,it seems like everyone is....thats a good thing.

Keep up the good work and keep us posted
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Thanks Frosty and Scrapartoz.  I go to a lot of auctions and have started collecting box lots of interesting looking metal items no one else wants, for future use.  I never thought to add spoons but will begin.  Scrapartoz, I hadn't thought that far ahead on how to display the fish, but I do like your idea.  I have a place under my porch ceiling and that will also help protect it.  I've been collecting items to make a yard dog and bird.  So again, thanks, it really helps those of us just starting out to see the kangaroos, peacocks, monkeys, horses, dragons, etc.

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