Bend metal into a beautiful Madonna stainless steel kinetic sculpture.
Project by Gary Traczyk from Miami, Fla.
When firefighter Gary Traczyk of Miami, Fla., isn't rescuing kittens from trees, he's focusing his energy on bending steel around trees, his knees and anything else he can find! He loves turning ugly junk metal into beautiful shiny kinetic sculptures.
10-foot section of 1-1/4" x 3/16" thick stainless steel* flat bar
grinder and buffers
sandpaper for the grinder wheel: 50-, 100- 150- 220- 320- and 400-grit
emery and white buffing compounds
* Cut the stainless steel flat bar with either a band saw, plasma cutter, laser or water jet.
1. Grind the edges of the stainless steel until a straight, tapered edge is achieved (figure A). Grind all four edges with 50-grit sandpaper. The straight line is achieved visually and it will not be perfect.
2. Belt sand the edges with 50-grit sandpaper until it's nice and smooth (figure B). Cut the tips off with a micrometer until it measures 3/16 inch.
3. Using the grinder, sand the metal, all sides along the grain with 50-grit sandpaper. Sand until the grain of the metal is clearly visible. Change to 100-grit sandpaper and sand across the grain. Use 150-grit sandpaper and sand with the grain. Continue changing the sandpaper and the direction of sanding until you get to 400-grit.
4. Using the buffer and cotton buffs, along with safety equipment, buff the metal. Always move the metal with emery rouge. Emery rouge is a buffing compound that is applied to the buffing wheel. After buffing half of one side, buff the other side in the same manner. Change the wheel to a softer one, and apply the white rouge.
5. Drill a hole in the end of the metal about 1/8 inch deep (figure C).
6. Bend the metal into desired forms. While bending, buff in the tight places for ease in positioning the metal (figure D).
7. Continue buffing after bending. Buffing is a lengthy process that requires time and effort for satisfactory results.
8. Balance the center piece on a pointed end of an object (figure E). Note: This is all done by trial and error.
9. Tig weld the part of metal that will fit into the granite base (figure F).
Then buff out the weld because the metal will change colors. Drill holes in the granite base (figure G).
10. Place the bearing into the drilled hole after bolting the sculpture down on the granite (figure H). Make sure that the sculpture is balanced.
11. Wax the sculpture with Mothers Car Wax.