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Myrrhia's sculptures!! -- Saturday, June 29, 2002 at 11:56:50 (PDT)
Pounding -- Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 18:03:27 (PDT)
Top bowl wall -- Wed, 26 Jun 2002 04:14:07 -0700
Top bowl wall -- Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 04:11:16 (PDT)
Schedule -- Fri, 21 Jun 2002 09:37:31 -0700
Plasma cutting! -- Fri, 21 Jun 2002 03:47:34 -0700
Top bowl pounded and cut! -- Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 09:42:28 (PDT)
Safety with fire -- Monday, June 17, 2002 at 10:15:50 (PDT)
FLG visit and annealing the top bowl -- Monday, June 17, 2002 at 02:16:26 (PDT)
Welding with the Maxstar 200 -- Sunday, June 16, 2002 at 13:15:53 (PDT)
ShipYard power! -- Sunday, June 16, 2002 at 13:15:11 (PDT)
Copper pendant -- Wed, 12 Jun 2002 20:00:00 -0700
Alchemy symbol for copper -- Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at 03:22:26 (PDT)
Tack welding copper SUCKS! -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 12:48:18 (PDT)
Bottom bowl copper is TOO THICK!! :..( -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 10:10:57 (PDT)
''How To Weld In High Heals'' -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 10:10:21 (PDT)
Copper is a bitch! :) -- Monday, June 10, 2002 at 16:14:49 (PDT)
Kiki's NOT a welding genius... :) -- Wednesday, June 05, 2002 at 22:06:28 (PDT)
Welding cracks -- Wednesday, June 05, 2002 at 22:05:46 (PDT)
Re: Pounding [reply to Dan Lyke] -- Tuesday, June 04, 2002 at 16:16:07 (PDT)
Re: Pounding [reply to John DeVenezia] -- Tue, 04 Jun 2002 14:35:34 -0700
Pounding -- Monday, June 03, 2002 at 23:30:46 (PDT)
WELDING!!!!! -- Monday, June 03, 2002 at 11:23:14 (PDT)

Myrrhia's sculptures!! -- Saturday, June 29, 2002 at 11:56:50 (PDT)

As you all know, Myrrhia is working on clay figures for the supports and a bust for the top of the fountain.
Here's her completed bust of Egeria -- really lovely!!
I'm thrilled!!

Pounding -- Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 18:03:27 (PDT)

I wanted to write this up days ago when I did the actual pounding, but you'll have to just go back and imagine...
Yes, my heart is pounding.  Pounding like a drum beat.  Pounding the copper is very cool.
I was so *into* it, man!  It was inTENSE!  Such hard work, but I was so sucked into it I just couldn't stop!  I just checked the time stamp on the pictures -- I set up the camera to take pictures every minute [I ran out of space early on, but got some more later!]  I started at 6:33 and ended at 8:31.  Wow.  Two hours.  Intently pounding and arms burning, but I couldn't stop.
You can look at the pictures and see just how *intense* it was to pound.  It was my whole world.  You can see it in my expression, even though I'm wearing a respirator...  [There was plasma cutting near by, and also I just forgot to take it off after annealing...],%202002:%20pounding%20the%20top%20bowl
So we'll be doing more pounding this sunday!  This will be the first real true day of work where there's stuff for other people to do!
In fact, there'll be stuff for people to do on saturday too.  I'll be building the pounding form saturday and there will be sawing things if folks want to come out and work!
As has been a recent tradition, I'll be making ice cream again on sunday!  Please bring something for the grill and we'll eat together!
Hope to see you then!
PS I may bring my drums too, in honor of the pounding beats... :)

Top bowl wall -- Wed, 26 Jun 2002 04:14:07 -0700

I got the wall welded to the bottom of the top bowl tonight!  Now I need to weld the lip on.
There's also a bit of cracking still to fix.
Jonathan Hyman -- the TIG class teacher at the Crucible -- visited with me.  I took the top bowl to the Crucible and he fixed a few of the cracks.  He basically put in a bunch of copper wire and that seemed to do it.
His TIG wire was about the same thickness as Greg's electrical wire I tried at first -- pretty dang thick!  He was also using a Miller Synchrowave [I think a 250] which was a pretty beefy machine -- and the arc was also quite beefy.  It makes Chris' welder look delicate. I like Chris' welder...
Jonathan also came over to look at my other welds.  he said they looked good -- which made me feel good!  He suggested clamping a piece of aluminum to the back to hold the argon to the back of the weld some -- to back-purge the weld.  Aluminum won't weld to copper, so this is easy to do.  He also talked about building a back-purging channel, which seemed like too much work to me... :)
Then I got down to work on the top bowl wall.
I burned a couple holes, mostly near some of the old, bad welds I did on this bowl, but not all.  One was honkin *huge*, and I had to fill it with a piece of copper.
Now that the wall is welded to the bottom, the bowl has far more "structure" to it -- it doesn't flop around quite so much now.  I can't wait to weld the lip to the bowl!!
Well, I need to get to bed!

Top bowl wall -- Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 04:11:16 (PDT)

I got the wall welded to the bottom of the top bowl tonight!  Now I need to weld the lip on.
There's also a bit of cracking still to fix.
Jonathan Hyman -- the TIG class teacher at the Crucible -- visited with me.  I took the top bowl to the Crucible and he fixed a few of the cracks.  He basically put in a bunch of copper wire and that seemed to do it.
His TIG wire was about the same thickness as Greg's electrical wire I tried at first -- pretty dang thick!  He was also using a Miller Synchrowave [I think a 250] which was a pretty beefy machine -- and the arc was also quite beefy.  It makes Chris' welder look delicate. I like Chris' welder...
Jonathan also came over to look at my other welds.  he said they looked good -- which made me feel good!  He suggested clamping a piece of aluminum to the back to hold the argon to the back of the weld some -- to back-purge the weld.  Aluminum won't weld to copper, so this is easy to do.  He also talked about building a back-purging channel, which seemed like too much work to me... :)
Then I got down to work on the top bowl wall.
I burned a couple holes, mostly near some of the old, bad welds I did on this bowl, but not all.  One was honkin *huge*, and I had to fill it with a piece of copper.
Now that the wall is welded to the bottom, the bowl has far more "structure" to it -- it doesn't flop around quite so much now.  I can't wait to weld the lip to the bowl!!
Well, I need to get to bed!

Schedule -- Fri, 21 Jun 2002 09:37:31 -0700

I worked on a detailed schedule, and I want to write it here for my own reference:
            Top        Mid        Bot.
Weld pieces        1 day        2.5 days    2.5 days
build form        1 day        1 day        1 day
anneal, pound cut    1 day        2 days        3 days
weld walls        2 days        3 days        4 days
shape lip        1 day        1 day        2 days
inner piping wall    1/2 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
strengthen for supports    1/2 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
Time totals:        7 days        10.5 days    13.5 days
            (3 days)
Support structure:
            Top        Mid        Bot.
design/engineering    1 day        -----        1 day
buy steel        3 days        -----        -----
measure/cut        1/2 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
attachments        1/2 day        1/4 day        1/4 day
legs            1/2 day        1/4 day        1/4 day
ribs            1 day        1 day        1 day
rings            1 day        1 day        1 day
attach to support    1 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
feet            1 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
inner steel pipes    2 days        2 days        2 days
inner base plates    1/2 day        1/2 day        1/2 day
decorations cut    2 days        -----        -----
decorations weld    2 days        -----        -----
Time totals:        16 days        7 days        7.5 days
build sculpt        1/2 day
build mold        1 day
cast one full "set"    1/2 day  x number needed / number in a "set
                = 450 [?] / 4 = 150 days
Outer wall [note: this can all be done on-site, and will go faster with more people]:
cut arcs        2 days
cut 2x4 supports    1 day
make inner supports    2 days
cut walls        1 day
paint            2 days
Time total:        8 days
design/engineering    7 days
posts            2 days
nozzles        [2 days?]
wind shielding        [2 days?]
hoses            1 day
bases            5 days
Time total        19 days
Banners [optional]
hangers        2 days
banners        3 days
paint/decorate        2 days
grommets/hangers    2 days
Time total:        9 days
Fuel housing:
design/engineering    2 days
hoses/connectors    1 day [buy]
wood            1 day [buy]
housing        1 day
Time total:        5 days
design/engineering    7 days
Time total:        7 days + unknown
Filter housing:
garbage cans        [I have these]
[propane in filter water?]
piping            2 days
float valve        1 day
cloth filter        1/2 day
cover            2 days
Time total:        5.5 days
Internal piping [bowls and fish supports]:
water            2 days
fuel            1 day
propane        2 days
Time total:        5 days
Wind switch:
pole            1/2 day
switch            1 day
test            1 day
base            1 day
banner/decoration    3 days
Time total:        6.5 days
And I think that's it!  I made a new graph which I will have to post another time...
Here's the totals:
I worked on a detailed schedule, and I want to write it here for my own reference:
Bowls:        [3 days]    10.5 days    13.5 days
Support structure:    16 days        7 days        7.5 days
Stones:        = 450 [?] / 4 = 150 days
Outer wall:        8 days
Lighting:        19 days
Banners [optional]    9 days
Fuel housing:        5 days
Propane:        7 days + unknown
Filter housing:        5.5 days
Internal piping:        5 days
Wind switch:        6.5 days
These numbers are *quite* doable!  Esp. since many of these things overlap.  In my new graph, not much comes into August!  This is *very* good!
[Oops, I need to add packing in there!  i'll work on this today!]
The only thing that worries me is the stones.  I have to get a positive built, and I just haven't had the time.  And it has to be done by me.  I *must* get it done this weekend!  Hopefully sunday.  We might have to throw more money at this -- meaning buy enough mold material to make more than one "set".  This can halve the time it needs.
Well, I gotta run!

Plasma cutting! -- Fri, 21 Jun 2002 03:47:34 -0700

Cc: flaminglotus
Last night, Pouneh and I played with the plasma cutter!  It was really fun!
We set it all up, and got out my piece of copper first.  I wanted to cut the strips to make the walls for the top bowl, and also cut the 1' from one side of the middle bowl so I could weld it to make a 7'x7' shape.
So I took a straight board and clamped it to the copper so the cutting torch could run along the correct line -- basically, a jig.  I went first to show Pouneh how it worked.  Zip!  I cut the strip off, simple as pie!
We reset the board for the next piece, and I handed the torch to Pouneh.  "You're turn!"  She didn't want to because it was my copper and she was afraid to mess it up.  But I insisted.  She ran a line but wasn't sure where to run the torch and it was a bit crooked and the copper warped a bit so the cut skipped as well -- but all the wonkyness was on the large side, so the piece was still salvageable.  She didn't want to try again after that, but I insisted, and then she ran a perfect line next!
So we reset the board and I cut off the crooked bits -- this was only a very thin strip, like less than a cm.
We reset the board for the third strip, and I handed the torch again to Pouneh, who again tried to decline.  "Look," I said, "you have the sign to do which is complicated.  This is *easy* and you need the practice!"  So she did it again and ran another perfect line!
I cut the last of four, and also cut a small piece since four 3' strips wouldn't quite make it around.  [The 0.14159 part of pi. :) ]
Then on to some steel!
Pouneh brought a fake flower shape to practice with and we took turns cutting petals out.  Very FUN!!!  Then we both made little signs for our names.
I mentioned to Pouneh that she could be careless about chalking the flower design on the metal, but she should be *careful* when cutting it out, to practice carefully cutting along a line...  She agreed, and I took the chalk and free-handed the F from Fire Island -- it has a lot of spirals and odd lines.  "Challenge!"  I shouted!
So she took that challenge, and followed the lines exactly!  She really caught on quickly!  [And I was too!]
By the time we got out the actual sign to cut, I was into the font-thing -- I *loooove* fonts!  I used to draw fonts in the back of class in middle school...  So she let me do the first one, but I ended up being selfish and doing the whole sign!  It was really fun!
And the last bit was cutting the 1' off of the 6'x8' piece.  Easy as pie!
And that was it!
We had a *fabulous* time!  We both want a plasma cutter really bad...  Though Pouneh said they are notorious for breaking often.  I've heard very good things about HyperTherm, though.  But that kills the idea of buying the cheap close-out on -- $500 for a demo cutter...
I'll hold out for quality...

Top bowl pounded and cut! -- Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 09:42:28 (PDT)

I will upload pictures later, but the top bowl has been pounded and the lip cut! All that's left is to cut the strips for the sides and weld them on, and pound the lip! And the top bowl will be DONE!!
Annealing the copper makes it amazingly soft.  Pounding went very quickly, far quicker than I imagined.  My arms hurt today, but it's a good hurt -- muscle soreness, not RSI pain.  Good pain to wake up to!
Well, gotta run!  I hope to do more work tonight!

Safety with fire -- Monday, June 17, 2002 at 10:15:50 (PDT)

I've been really inspired with Chris Prosser's yelling of "clear!" when he's about to strike an arc on a welder.
I woke this morning thinking about safety issues.
The problem is that fire is one of the most emotional elements.  This is why fire art is so amazing -- what more could an artist want than emotional response!  But it gets into *us* as well.  We can often get a little hurried and excited as we get closer to lighting up.
But this is the time to be *more* deliberate and cautious.  [And I think this includes *any* fire, like welding.]
So, personally, I'm going to say two things:
First, for the first time I run, I'm going to say out loud, "final check!" and look around to make sure everything is in place: the fuel lines and hoses are away from the flame and are not leaking, liquid fuel tanks and gas cans are downhill from the flame, look and smell for any leaking fuels, locate the nearest fire extinguisher [and make sure it's not old], and do a quick run-through in my head of emergency actions [turn off fuel, grab extinguisher, etc.]  This might also be a good time to have someone check the work area over.
Second, I'm going to yell, "clear!" and make sure people are out of the way and aware I'm lighting, the source of the flame I'm about to make will not be near anything flammable, and generally make sure I'm actually ready to light up.
I just want to have a common-sense-rule for when I strike that lighter, before I light it.  Something to wake me back out of the fire-lust before I light up.  It might feel "dorky" at first, but that feeling will pass.
Just my morning thoughts.
PS Remember!  DON'T USE WATER ON A FUEL FIRE!  For the very reason the firefall works!  You could make a bad situation worse!
PPS Another old lesson.  I used to airbrush, and I got a respirator.  I realized that I would be breathing *more* paint than just visiting friends, and so it was far *more* important for me to wear my respirator *all the time*, even for quick touch-ups.  I made that commitment in high school and have stuck with it.
Chris turned me on to these 3M welding dust masks.  They work *great*!  But come only in packs of 10 for about $50.  But *so* worth it!  The FLG might consider getting a box for everyone to split.  One for each would probably last until the Event.  And they fit under welding helmets!  And have a rubber seal that's comfortable against the face.
If you get "black snot", then you need one! :)  Wear it if you're welding *or* watching!

FLG visit and annealing the top bowl -- Monday, June 17, 2002 at 02:16:26 (PDT)

The Flaming Lotus Girls came over to work on the lilypond.  Miz Poon, Tamara and Charlie got to the ShipYard around 4 or so.  We got them set up and then shopped for some food.  We made buttery nipples ice cream -- butter scotch schnapps and Bailey's -- and it made me and Tamara ever so slightly tipsy.  Enough to make us giggle a bit. :)  This leads me down the road of alcoholic ice creams...but I digress. :)
They were testing a new pressure system for the fuel, and in the end determined the dip tube never got installed...  They also got ready to plasma cut a sign for the Fire Island.  Scott did some plasma cutting of stainless steel.
For the rest of the day, I was still dragging my feet...
I get into this scared mode where I'm afraid to move forward, because it will cut off possibilities...  Once I cut the boards for the pounding stand, the top bowl's size and shape become fixed...  I've spent two weekends dragging my feet on this.
[Actually, it's more complicated than that.  I actually cut the shape out a few weeks ago, but it didn't look right, so I started thinking again about the sizes and shapes of the bowls.  John DeV.'s 3D model has helped *tremendously* to make the decision clear.]
There's a lovely David Wilcox song about that kind of hesitation [called "Hold It Up To The Light"]:
>I was dead with deciding -- afraid to choose
>I was mourning the loss of the choices I'd lose
>But there's no choice at all if I don't make my move...
So I did cut the shape tonight, and started annealing.
I was also a bit slow on getting started on the annealing.  I've used an oxy-acetylene torch 1993 or so, and I didn't feel all that comfortable by myself.  Scott was a BIG help here, and a lot of what I really needed was some hand-holding...
Teiwaz' rosebud tip needs a *LOT* of acetylene, and his regulator was making a funny noise over a certain rate of flow...  So we couldn't use the rosebud tip...  So we used the cutting tip, which was far slower.  I got maybe a 6" wide, 2' long strip annealed.  Egads, is this a lot of work and a lot of gas!  I sure hope I only have to do it once per bowl...
Once the copper is fully annealed, I can bolt it down to the form and start pounding.  I hope to get the copper bolted down tomorrow night [monday.]
My goal, as I may have said, is to get the top bowl done by the Crucible show, so I can explain what I'm doing this year for Burning Man!  [That, and I'd like to get the radiator hooked up, but that's a lower priority...]  I think this is doable.
The middle bowl should go smoother once I have the confidence. :)
Okay, that's it for this weekend!
PS The new generator *kicks ass*!!  It doesn't even blink running the plasma cutter and compressor!

Welding with the Maxstar 200 -- Sunday, June 16, 2002 at 13:15:53 (PDT)

Did some welding with Chris Prosser's new Miller Maxstar welder.
Wow, what a sweet machine!!
One cool thing was setting and seeing a digital display of the amperage.  We set it to 100 amps, and while welding, we noted his using 80 amps to begin, then backing down to 73 or so while welding.  So now we know what we're welding at.
As a contrast, he welded some stainless steel, and it started at about 15 amps.
Okay, so copper needs *tons* of amps!  *Now* I understand. :)
Also, Chris started welding, and he said, "whoa, it warped."  He had lots of trouble with this.  I joked, "you mean steel doesn't do that?" and he joked back, "no, Kiki, of course it doesn't."  Copper warps, and now I'm used to it. :)  "Wow, steel is going to be *EEEEASY*!!" I joked back. :)  Learning on copper is going to make everything else super-easy!  That's cool. :)
Found out, too, that the $60 auto-darkening helmet is a good one.  Chris liked it a lot and now wants one.  I want another one too, since I'm sure I'll be teaching friends.

ShipYard power! -- Sunday, June 16, 2002 at 13:15:11 (PDT)

We now have power via a massive generator hooked into the "grid"!!  Yay!!
And here's the report from yesterday:
Mostly talked with a new guy wanting to join the neon club.  There's a neon class just ending and the students are all excited.  It'll be great to have some new energy in the club to float it while I'm busy!
Moved the copper from Greg's house back to the ShipYard.
Hung some of the proposal on the wall next to the work area, and thus made the area Egeria's!
Ran into Jen and talked some about the lighting ceremony -- we definitely think the procession should be the funeral procession for King Numa.  We're thinking of making a paper mache version of a body, then burn it in front of the fountain!
Laid out a to-scale mockup of the fountain with barrels and the plywood.  This will give a constant reminder of what the scale will be like!
Met with John DeV. and he showed the changes to his model of Egeria.  looking good!  We made a few more changes, and there were a few more comments.  He's almost there!  Myrrhia's waiting on the final measurements so she can start on the sculptures for the supports.
Note: we're probably going to make the supports *taller* than the barrels we have now.  The way they are now, the part of the supports above water are too short for the sculptures.  [The birds would be about a foot high, for instance...]  The measurements as they stand now are 33" for the bottom, 32" for the middle and 30" for the top supports.  This makes the fountain 7'11" for the supports, plus about 5" for the bowl, plus however tall the bust of Egeria at the top is [plus the height of the spray, if you want to split hairs. :) ]
I'm going to put blocks under the barrels today so it'll be at the correct height.
It's going to be friggin HUGE.  Really huge.  It'll be great!
[As I said to Teiwaz, "it's cheap to make it taller, but expensive to make it wider. :)  So why not make it taller?"  His eyes bugged out a bit, and he said "it's going to be fucking huge" a bunch of times too.  Good. :)  I said I was crazy, and he heartily agreed. :) ]
I laid out the pounding area for the top bowl, but dragged my feet actually cutting it.  I'd like the final measurements first, but I think a 2.5" lip will be the right size anyway.  So I'll cut it as soon as I go over there today.  [A bit late today!]  Cut, then anneal the top bowl, then pound it!
My goal is to get it done by the Crucible show next weekend.  I'd like to be done pounding today, and cut it and start welding it today.  At least that's what I'd *like* to have done. :)

Copper pendant -- Wed, 12 Jun 2002 20:00:00 -0700

This morning, I woke up with a pendant idea I want to make: a female symbol with flames on top that looks kinda like hair.
Pictures are here:,%202002:%20Egeria%20firefall%20copper%20pendant
Or just go here and click the link: -> "...copper pendant"
I did some sketches, but like this one the best:
I also want to make a steel stamp so we can pound this image into copper, wherever we like!  And maybe make banners...
Anyway, I was at the ShipYard, setting up the to-scale model, when a guy showed up on his bike with his dog.  Turns out he does silver casting and said he'd help me with casting this pendant shape!!
Today, of all days!!
How trippy is *that*?!

Alchemy symbol for copper -- Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at 03:22:26 (PDT)

My heart almost stopped when I just now figured out that the symbol for copper is the female symbol.
I know, I know, duh, but I didn't know that, or didn't remember.  This is totally not conscious!
Scott just said, "everything in your artwork is female, even when you don't intend it!"  He's saying this because I joke about how I keep doing the hourglass shape in my artwork -- and it is *utterly* sub-conscious, like the phallus in other art.  I can't help it!  I truly can't!
And there it is.  The symbol for copper is the female symbol.
Just did a quick search, and found this succinct paragraph in, of all places, a website for Sailor Venus, from Sailor Moon:
>Planetary Symbol: A hand mirror. Venus was the vainest of the gods, and  
>mirrors were once made from copper. Also, her major shrine was on Cyprus  
>where copper was mined. In alchemy, this is also copper's symbol.
Here's more info:
>Copper was dedicated to Venus or, more specifically, the looking glass of  
>Venus. This symbol is closely akin to a "handled cross," the Sun's gift of  
>life and light to the World. Copper is associated with Friday. Iron and  
>copper are also frequently treated as pairs and opposites and, like gold and  
>silver, occasionally represent the male and female principles of esoteric  
>Iron, the metal of war, was dedicated to Mars, and has been interpreted as  
>his spear and shield. Iron is associated with Tuesday. In common alchemy,  
>iron and copper are paired, and frequently represent the male and female  
>principles of esoteric alchemy.
[Interesting...  The supports are steel, which is mostly iron...  We could get *really* symbolic with the upright supports, and the womb-like bowls...  Have at it! :) ]
This stuff just totally blows my mind...  Really.  I don't do this on purpose!

Tack welding copper SUCKS! -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 12:48:18 (PDT)

Just since a number of people have suggested it...
Doing small tack welds break immediately as soon as you so much as look at them. :)
Tack welds with copper must be long, like an inch or two.
I've done various tack welds like this, but then I get into a mood where as long as I'm doing a long tack, I might as well keep welding.  So I end up doing a long seam anyway.
Also, I've had a little trouble with tack welds causing the seams to be unequal length, due to the warping.  Meaning, if I tack in the middle, then at the ends and weld downward, there might be more copper on one side than the other and so you get a "fold".  It's not *too* bad, but a bit of a danger once you've started warping the sheets.
I just gave up on the whole tacking thing, and just focused on simply welding, taking breaks and letting it cool.
Once I did the back re-weld, the sheets lined up and the warping relaxed.
So it really wasn't a problem as far as the finished product.  It was a problem *while* welding, and a good sledge and some wedges and some tugging and bending solved that too.
People have suggested all kinds of fixes.  Many of these are complicated and difficult -- like pre-heating the copper.  I want to avoid those if at all possible.  Even cleaning the copper beforehand seems to make little difference.  [Note, welding fast helps the sputtering *immensely*!]
My attitude is that the problems are actually rather *small* problems, and I'd prefer rather *small* solutions.
eg, the cracking problem was pretty much solved by spraying the copper with water, and adding more wire.  If that works, why try to pre-heat, which would involve finding a heating plate 6'x8', and finding a way to suspend or support the copper over that plate.  I want to weld NOW.  I'm impatient.  Can't I just do something simple and keep going?
Keep in mind, also, that I'm in a small borrowed shop, using someone else's welder.  The middle bowl takes over the whole thing.  There's no room to lay it down flat.  It's not well ventilated.  Certainly not a place to figure out how to pre-heat the copper!
The cheap and lazy fixes I've tried seem to have solved the problems, so I'm going to continue being cheap and lazy. :)  And why not?? :)
Cheap and lazy since 1873

Bottom bowl copper is TOO THICK!! :..( -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 10:10:57 (PDT)

I'm starting to be bummed that I got such thick stuff for the bottom bowl.  I think it's just plain too thick.  Other people got me scared that 043 was too thin, but I *know* it would not be.  Just what I get for changing the order while being pressured to get the order done...and being in a bad mood all around at the time.  Just not thinking clearly enough.  Oh well.
Why is too thick bad?  Well, it's going to take a crane to turn this thing over to do the back welds!  It's going to take a crane to move the damn thing.  I'm planning to cut it in half anyway, because shipping it diagonally in the container is just plain crazy.  But now I'm thinking of cutting it into 6 wedges like I originally wanted to...  Ug.  This would mean welding on strips to the bleeding edges so they can overlap and be bolted together.  It just makes more things more complicated...  But a forklift is clearly what will be needed to move this thing, whereas if we'd used 043, it would be *much* lighter...
Oh well.  My own frustrations.  Don't mind me. :)  I just need to listen to my own intuitions -- I got so much conflicting information!  One copper seller said 020 was plenty, others said 064 wasn't enough!
Where are the stresses?  Well, really the only stress -- because of the massive support structure underneath which will actually *hold up* the water -- is a "ballooning" of the copper.  No big deal.  That copper is *solid*!  And over how far a stretch would the ballooning happen?  Well, supports are 6-fold symmetry, and around a 10' bowl [10*pi = 31 -> 31/6 = ~5'] is about 5'.  That's like having a 5' square bolted on all sides and put the weight on it.  Will it bow out?  Probably not.  [*Paper* would probably not bow out!]
What's the weight like?  Well, you can figure psi simply by depth of the water, and 8" of depth isn't that much.  [Don't think that because it's 3300 lb that the pressure is somehow huge.  Because that's distributed across the whole surface, it divides out -- in the same proportion that it increases with diameter.  So it equals out, and 8" of depth is the same pressure no matter how big.  Trust me, I remember this beaten into my head in physics class. :) Think of it as a bucket the size of your hand with 8" of water in it.  How much stress is there over the surface of your hand?  Not much.  The more buckets, the more hands anyway.  It divides out and remains equal over any one hand.]
[BTW, this also applies to the basin area -- Jim Mason was worried that any leak in the pond liner would mean a massive mud pit, but at 1" or 2" of depth, there's very little pressure, so the water doesn't really "want" to leak out, so small holes will probably clog themselves with dust anyway...]
So, yeah, the bottom bowl copper is too thick.  And I apologize in advance for all the people who will be helping us move this goddamn thing!  And I will keep on apologizing all the way through tear-down...  Ug.  I'm sorry!
Teiwaz brought his acetylene rig over, so annealing can begin!  I will try to build the pounding structure for the small bowl and anneal the copper, and maybe get started pounding.  Hopefully tonight.
The later evenings are nice for working!

''How To Weld In High Heals'' -- Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 10:10:21 (PDT)

[Take off on a movie title -- no, I've not seen it! :)  But like the title. :) Featured at Good Vibrations, shall we say? :) ]
I still had my nice boots on when I went over to Greg's, but welding standing up with 1" heels is actually more comfortable!  Your ankle isn't so bent trying to stay off the pedal.
[Actually, I went to Atlas welding first to get copper TIG wire and a bunch of people were in there buying welding glass for looking at the solar eclipse!  I watched it later through my new auto-darkening helmet!  The sun wasn't *quite* bright enough to keep it dark -- it may be *far* brighter than a weld arc, but it's a bit further away. :)  I let some high schoolers watch through the helmet too.  We had fun playing with the shadows too!]
I got some official non-oxygen TIG filler rod and it SUCKS!!!  I used it to try to fill a hole and it was as if the melting temp is far lower than copper and it alloyed with the copper and made the hole *bigger*!!  Plus, it sputtered horribly!  I had a hard time filling the hole it made because the little bit I had used kept making the hole worse!  It was *aweful*!!  So I went back to the "craft wire" I was using before!  Pretty funny!
I really wish I had a "MIG gun" for the wire.  The thin wire is a bit too thin and gets sucked up so quickly when filling or adding it to the weld that I have to keep stopping and pulling more wire out of my hand.  If I had a MIG-gun-like feeder, I could "shoot" the wire into the weld puddle and be quite happy.  I think this is what this is for:
So I got the last welds done, turned it around and zipped through a re-weld on the back!  There was some *fair* penetration -- maybe 40% -- but going over the back was best to smooth out the overlap and other ugliness.
I did the full 8' re-weld in three passes -- and could have done the whole thing in one pass if I didn't have to step down from the stool, then also get down on my knees!  [Yes, I had to press the foot pedal with my]  I really zipped along, and the poor EconoTIG was whining loudly!  The short breaks were probably good for it, and cooling off the torch.
So, the welding that's left: the walls for the top and middle bowls [waiting on the pounding for these bowls] and welding the sheets of the big bowl together, and then the walls for that.  Now *that* is going to be a big job!  Gak!  Do we weld upright again?  Can we move it around if we weld upright??  Maybe we will have to weld on the pounding structure and never move it.  hmm, no way to do the back welds that way...
This will be tricky!

Copper is a bitch! :) -- Monday, June 10, 2002 at 16:14:49 (PDT)

So yesterday, I took the middle bowl copper to Greg's house and got most of the seam welded.
Though I am getting much better at welding, the large pieces had more warping trouble.  Always something new!  It's esp. funny since Greg, Scott John DeV and I had *just* talked about this problem before I started: as you weld, the weld wants to "pull" the pieces together.  So when I started in the middle and worked down, the weld started to overlap so much that the last [unwelded] two feet were overlapped by 1cm at the bottom!  And the top [unwelded] parts were *separated* by about 2/3cm!  In other words, the copper sheets acted like a scissors.
So Greg suggested welding *up* -- on the theory that the weld will pull back together and fix both problems.  But welding upward was *extremely* difficult!  I started getting holes rapidly, and they were nearly impossible to fill [because I was going up, the weld puddle was at the bottom and when I stuck the weld wire into the puddle, it balled up on the end and dripped and the drip fell down on the floor...]
I took a break sometime in here, and noticed the seam actually went somewhat back together once the copper cooled.
*deep breath* So I just started at the top and welded down again.  This was a little problematic as the overlap still happened, but because both ends [the middle and the top of the seam] were welded and fixed, the overlap kinda had nowhere to go, and so the whole thing warped a bit.
Okay, now I see why copper is such a bitch. :)
But I did get it in the end, actually!
So we turned the copper over to deal with the severe overlap.  The idea was to warp the copper edges together and *make* them fit. :)  It was quite satisfying to pound on the loud, rumbling copper really hard with my fist. :)  I got the overlap to begin to behave and got a good couple inches of bead in there.
So I have about 2' of a weld to finish, then turn it over and clean up the back, cut off one foot off the 8' length and weld it onto the 6' length.  Then the middle bowl can be pounded!  Yay!
We then had a lovely bar-b-que!  Claudine and Paul brought an *amazing* setup, with grilled veggies and home made wine and the grill and *everything*!!!!!!  It was amazing!  Scott had gotten me an electric ice-cream maker -- I think we should always make ice cream for Egeria meetings! :)  John DeVenezia and Amy Miller showed up, and John showed off the 3-D model he'd built.  We "critiqued" it, and he'll make the changes and send me a picture of the new model when it's done.  Once we have this, and I like it enough, we have final measurements for all the bowls and can start the pounding with confidence. :)  [Jeezo, will I make up my mind already?!?!?! :) ]  Seriously, though, I had started to "see" the way the bowls would look in my mind and I wasn't happy.  I wanted to make so changes and John was able to model them and the changes look *much* better than I was about to make!  So I'm *very* glad he built this model!  [I'm jealous because modeling is what I most love doing... *sigh*]
Anyway, Teiwaz will be bringing his oxy-acetylene rig over to anneal the copper, and I can cut out the shapes and start pounding the little bowl!  And soon the middle bowl!  This should happen in the next few days!
I have some errands to run in a few minutes but will probably give Greg a call and head over there later tonight to finish up the middle bowl.  Yay!
I'm also planning to sculpt the first spiral stone on wednesday, THANK GOD.  I need to get that done so we can do a casting test.  Hopefully, we can get started on that too.
I need to write up my notes on the scheduling meeting Rachel and I had and get a new schedule up on the webpage.

Kiki's NOT a welding genius... :) -- Wednesday, June 05, 2002 at 22:06:28 (PDT)

BTW, Greg commented that I seemed to "take" to welding very quickly, that watching Steve Dartt struggle and burn lots of holes seemed more like his experience learning to TIG. :)
I was wanting to think I'm a welding super-genius, but I later realized what it was, and that I'm not the welding genius I'd like to think I am. :)
I airbrushed for about 7 years and got quite good at it -- at least I felt good enough to paint anything I wanted to.  I often copied favorite album or book covers or paintings I liked -- I never made my own paintings.  I like copying things.  I wish I still had more shirts that I'd painted, but they're all long gone...
The TIG torch feels *identical* to an airbrush!  With the long needle out the back and *everything*!
This is pretty much *exactly* what I used to paint with, except I cut away the back myself [common trick].
I can already tell that I'll want a finger-control instead of foot-control for the TIG amps!  [Esp. since I kept wanting to kneel to get closer, but couldn't because of the foot-pedal...]
So anyway, I've had a *lot* of experience with handling a tool shaped like the TIG torch, and doing a *lot* of *very* fine control with it.  So that's what's "natural", not any genius thing.  Damn. :)
Another thing, speaking of amp control, I tried adjusting the EconoTIG's amps, and nothing happened!  The knob is broken!  So we don't *actually* know how many amps we're welding with.  It could be a lot...
Kiki -- now I'm homesick to airbrush again... :..(

Welding cracks -- Wednesday, June 05, 2002 at 22:05:46 (PDT)

So I went over to Greg's house again to fix the weld cracks that appeared while pounding the welds flat.
I had a *devil* of a time fixing them!!!!  I'd smooth the weld over, and the cracks would appear again!  Sometimes, I'd lift the helmet after smoothing over the crack, and it'd be back *in the weld I just completed* still hot!!!
From John DeVenezia's recent mail:
>2) Cracking can be caused by welding too slow; raise the
>  current and travel speed.
As far as the current goes, there's a *very* fine line between "weld puddle" and "hole". :)  So changing the way I depress the pedal [more current] is not an option.  I also tried welding faster, and this made no difference.
Upon close inspection, I noticed that the cracks ran *with* the weld puddle.  This led me to think that the cracks are forming along the crystals that form in the copper:
[That's an old picture -- I forgot to take pictures of the cracks!  Doh!]
My first fix was to add new copper to the weld [ie feed in a piece of wire from the side -- standard TIG thing to do.]  The crystals wouldn't've been formed, or were in a different direction [such was my theory.]  This did seem to help a lot, but not completely.
Scott suggested annealing the copper.  Since the copper is already hot from the weld, this is only a matter of throwing water on it!  I couldn't find the spray bottle, so I dumped water on it from a water bottle -- difficult, since it was so hot the water rolled away!  I used a paper towel to sop up the water and to put on the weld, but then I noticed the suede gloves easily got wet.  This meant the gloves conducted heat and *electricity* better, so I gave that up...  [Don't know how dangerous that was, but figured I shouldn't take chances...]
This also seemed to help quite a bit, but not completely.  But I got most of the cracks fixed.
The best thing, of course, is to make perfect welds without filling holes from the start. :)  Hopefully, this will be my tactic in the future. ;) ;)
Does it matter?  Well, not really.  However, when pounding the bowl, the cracks might get wider, or worse, might split altogether.  but I don't care so much about small leaks.  Also, there's a sense of personal pride -- I want to do things as best as possible, and skimp only when needed.

Re: Pounding [reply to Dan Lyke] -- Tuesday, June 04, 2002 at 16:16:07 (PDT)

At 03:18 PM 6/4/2002 -0700, Dan Lyke wrote:
>Majo no Kiki writes:
>> The bottom of the bowl will probably be a parabola, but I'm also thinking  
>> that won't "look" right.  I think a better shape is half an M&M if that  
>> makes sense.  A squashed half-sphere.
>A sphere with a linear scale along one axis is an ellipse. Hang a loop
>of string from two points, and pound 'til making a triangle with the
>string can just barely touch everywhere.
>The two points is the hard bit. Might be easier just to cut a quarter
>ellipse out of plywood.
Well, there's that...  This is harder since the whole thing has to be pounded correctly before the plywood piece would slip in.  This guarantees pounding from the other side...
While we're having fun engineering... :)
Take a rigid channel that the string can run through, and mount it so it can rotate.  Tada!  That should do it.
Now, to figure out the length of the channel [distance between the two points] and the height of the mount... :)
[Note: Scott and I already had a fun calculus breakfast over which we figured out how deep the parabola could be and keep the same volume as a cylinder of 8" deep.  It was the first time I *actually* used calculus since learning it!]
[Note also: I've used geometry many times since high school.  And I'm quite proud of the fact that I can still use it.  However, I've used it only for art.  I've never used more than simple math professionally as a programmer. :) ]

Re: Pounding [reply to John DeVenezia] -- Tue, 04 Jun 2002 14:35:34 -0700

At 08:08 PM 6/4/2002 +0000, you wrote:
>I am sure you are getting tons of welding tips but here are some that may  
>help.  {check out section 5.7 of  
>1) Clean the work before welding.  Brushing may be inadequate; use acid.
>2) Cracking can be caused by welding too slow; raise the
>  current and travel speed.
>3) If you can't preheat the whole work piece at least preheat the local weld  
>4) Best set up is DC current; straight polarity.
Cool!  Any and all welding info is welcome!
When Greg and I did some test welds, the spattering seemed to follow no pattern that we could figure.  The spattering I got this weekend was definitely increased by the wind.  I should also back-fill with gas, but we're lazy. :)
The cracking was caused by pounding thick places where I'd filled. :)  I'm probably either going to have to grind these [which scares me -- what if I grind too thin??] or smooth over the cracks with more TIGing, which is probably what I'll do.  As I get better, I'll have to fill less holes. :)
Also, I heard a helium/argon mix makes the arc hotter and is good for copper.  I need to research more gas combos.
>By the time the bottom bowl is done you will copper welder extrodiner!
That's kinda the point! heehee!
I'm sure you do it too: pick a project for the purpose of *learning* about it! :)
>Can you forward to me the latest bowl diameters?  I am building a SolidWorks  
>3-d model of the fountain and want to be sure to get the right dimensions.
After staring at the flat piece of copper yesterday, and sleeping on it last night, I have some new thoughts and changes.
But first of all, the bowls are 10', 7', 4'.
The staring made me realize that I don't just want the bowls to be simply scaled down.  This just won't "look" right.  The little bowl *should* be shaped differently than the big bowl.  So I'm thinking of making the lip and the walls to be the same size for all bowls.  Meaning: the lip will be 3" on *all* bowls, including the top, and the sides too.  I'm thinking 3" for the sides now.  Use that measurement for now.
Here's some reference:
This picture is quite a bit deeper than we can probably afford in water, but if the upper bowls are more rounded and the bottom bowl isn't, I don't think it'll look all that bad.  Even so, at a 3" wall, it's probably about a 6" depth for the rounded part.
The lip will be rounded *upwards*, meaning it will *add* height to the bowl slightly.  And don't forget that there will be spouts instead of the water flowing all the way around.
The bottom of the bowl will probably be a parabola, but I'm also thinking that won't "look" right.  I think a better shape is half an M&M if that makes sense.  A squashed half-sphere.  Not sure how to manufacture that.  [A sphere is easy -- hang a string at the radius, and pound until everywhere is at the end of the string.  A parabola is also easy -- hang a chain across the bowl and pound until the bowl touches the chain barely.]  It may have to be eye-balled...
>another thought; all this copper makes me think of pennies as a fundraiser.
>Are there any upcoming events where egeria models will make an appearance;  
>we can try to collect pennies.
This is interesting!  I'll think about this!

Pounding -- Monday, June 03, 2002 at 23:30:46 (PDT)

So I cut out a form for pounding the top bowl, and did some pounding to flatten the weld.  I got some cracking on the thick parts of the weld [read: where I filled in holes], so I'll have to take it back to Greg's house and do some more TIGing.  It's clear to me that I really need a TIG handy in general...
Loren brought over his plasma cutter for a while!  This is *fantastic*, since it will cut the copper without a starting hole like you'd need with a saw.  It's a really really good one too!  I can't wait to use it!  Hopefully in a day or two.
Pounding the welds was difficult.  More so than shaping the little bowl I did.  I think this is because I pounded the welds against steel, which was pretty hard on my arms.  *Not* on the RSI injuries, thank God!  But just plain tiring.  I just took some vitamin E to help prevent me from getting muscle sore, but it won't help simple exhaustion.  I may not be able to do more in the next few days. :)
Snook suggested I get an air hammer.  He said they are really dirt cheap, and well worth it.  I'm going to look into it tomorrow.
The jig saw I got is having problems.  Not really sure what's going on.  I think the switch might be bad -- it cuts on and off with no rhyme or reason.  Sometimes it won't go on at all and I have to smack it on the wood and it'll go again.  Real bummer...  But I got the form all sawed and as soon as I fix the cracks in the welds and flatten it down some more, I'll shape the bottom of the bowl.
Haven't had a time to track down another t-shirt place.  I wrote email to Ashbury Images laying out what the problem is and asking for another quote.  no answer yet.  Dave Cherry suggested another place, but they do mostly line drawings, not photo-quality stuff, so they declined.  I have two more leads and need to call them up.  Hopefully wednesday.
Still need to make the form to do a casting of the spiral stones.  I really need to get this done by this weekend so Dan can get started on trying to cast a mold from it...
Okay, that's it for now!

WELDING!!!!! -- Monday, June 03, 2002 at 11:23:14 (PDT)

Yay and double-yay!!!
Went to Greg's house yesterday [sunday] and welded the top bowl pieces together!  I now have a <> "shape" that a circle can be cut from!
My welds SUCK, but improved over time.  I also got better at filling burned holes. :)  [Got better at *not* making them too! :) ]  I think it took two hours to do the first couple inches.  But I welded a corner piece in place in an hour or so.
Conclusion: copper *is* a bitch.  But doable. :)
Plans for today and this week:
Build the structure to pound the copper bottom part.
Pound the bottom round.
Cut the bottom out.
Cut the sides.
Weld the sides.
Pound the lip round.
Yep, I plan to be DONE with the top bowl this week!
Loren is loaning me a plasma cutter today!  So cutting will go much easier!
Note: Because of the configuration of the new order, the copper left over is not very much, which is a bummer, since I do need *some* to practice on, not to mention the UK labels!  We'll be fine, but we won't have much left over to play around with, which is a shame.

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