mel@melristau.com

970. 377.3713

A Public Kinetic Sculpture Commission / Part 2

After ten weeks of back-to-back fourteen hour days, the sculpture for the Colorado State University College of Business Rockwell West atrium was installed on March 15th. A very short period of time to acquire and assemble materials and parts! I will continue to update this posting as I recall details of fabrication and installation . . .

Fabrication

 

Below is a drawing of all parts related to 1 Large, 1 Medium and 1 Small configuration. The sculpture is composed of six major sections, 2 of each size, requiring 174 interconnecting triads. Opting for a triad constructed of five parts (three legs sandwiched between two braces), I developed actual size vector drawings in Freehand and sub-contracted for water jet cutting of 870 sheet aluminum parts . . . plus a few extras.

Unable to locate mirror finish sheet aluminum in the four required thicknesses, parts were first cut from mill finish aluminum and then polished by Kevin Biggs / Dun-Rite Deburring in Denver, CO. The longest leg of each triad was sanded to 600 grit and sprayed with matte lacquer.

The longest leg of each triad was sanded to 600 grit and sprayed with matte lacquer. Stainless steel screws, nuts, washers, lock washers and set screws of various sizes were purchased. Machined aluminum standoffs for each of the triads were ordered. (Took about three weeks for my machinist, Steve Schlagel, to make the 1600+ parts.)

Stainless steel screws, nuts, washers, lock washers and set screws of various sizes were purchased. Machined aluminum standoffs for each of the triads were ordered. (Took about three weeks for my machinist, Steve Schlagel, to make the 1600+ parts.) Stainless steel rod was obtained from two different suppliers . . . few suppliers handle 3/32 rod used in my smallest triad. The rods for each leg of each size triad are unique lengths. In addition, some are unthreaded and some, to connect with another triad, are threaded. Total rods cut by my machinist = 522. Once cut, both ends of each were chamfered, placed in a vise and bent.

threaded stainless rod of the triad on the left connected to the center of another triad

a pile of assembled triads

 

Each size triad required glass tiles of appropriate size . . . the largest being 3x6 inches and the smallest 2x2 inches. Set collars were glued to one face of each tile using a special glass-to-metal adhesive. One face of the glass is shinny and one is matte. Since, as part of my structural evaluation, I fully assembled one small, medium and large configuration, I was also able to determine the best orientation of each piece of glass. . . noting if the set collar was to be bonded to the shinny or matte face (522 of them).

collar set screws were removed prior to glueing and reinserted after adhesive was cured

 

So that I could code the size, connectivity and identity of each triad, I made drawings based on the structure of the three models built in the development stage.

most triad-to-triad connections are secured with nuts and lock washers but the core connections are welded

 

To test structural integrity and to verify balance, one of the large configurations was assembled. The orientation of each point of connection was labeled and the structure was subsequently disassembled for transportation to site.

Primarily to confirm its weight, one of the small configurations was completely assembled.

The math had been good. The actual thing weighed only a couple of pounds more than anticipated. This was the most complex installation that I have completed (7 days).