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"I think [the Bronco Brand Birch] is absolutely beautiful, and the best part is, it didn't cost the city anything, not even a committee meeting. It's our first piece of public art."
--Betty Lynch, City Council Member, Avondale, Arizona

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How to Create a Sculpture, Part 7

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I'm here in the studio working on a large metal torus. This is Part 7 of a series of YouTube videos on how to create a metal sculpture. As you can see, I've starting putting on the metal skin. This process is going to take a long time.

The Voice: How many panels will there be?

Kevin Caron: I believe there are 57 of these panels, if you count them all the way around: So, one, two, three, four, five, six. Yeah, this is number six. I've got a lot of work yet to do.

Once I know approximately how big a piece I need, I can cut out a blank out of a 4-by-8 sheet of metal, so I get the least amount of waste out of the sheets. I'll cover three triangles with this blank, so I have just a little bit of cutoff on this side, a little bit of a cutoff on that side. And then that gives me that shape.

I can't take that sheet and run it straight down this edge, because then Iíll only cover two of the metal triangles, since the sheet's heading off the sculpture. You've got to be able to turn that sheet; cut that sheet on both sides to get it to fit right.

Once I get my basic shape, I'll put it through the slip roll once, get that little bit of a curve started, clamp it down; mark it underneath with my Red-Riter so I can see the mark on the steel. Then I'll cut it out with the plasma cutter, slightly oversize, and come back and fit it. I might also shape it, roll it, or go to the wheel and wheel it - whatever I've got to do to try to get that curve going.

Remember, not only is the sculpture curved this way, but it's also twisted this way at the same time, so there's a compound curve going back you've got to fight as you're making these pieces.

Then it's just lots of clamps, clamp it down, get it fit, get it to where it's pretty darn close. We're not making a nuclear reactor or anything, but I've got to get it close enough so I can weld it. Tack it in. Get your clamps out of the way. Work to the next one, work to the next one, work to the next one.

This one process, this one step here, will probably take about two and a half to three months because I've also got other metal work to do at the same time.
I've got other contemporary art and public art pieces - other commissions I'm working on, and I need to keep moving along on them as well.

You guys recognize these? These are the cutoffs that I wound up with in the scrap barrel from when I cut my triangles.

I took eight of those, cleaned them up in the grinder just to get the surface a little cleaner. Now I'll clamp them all together with some clamps on the bench, get it as close as I can get it; weld them on the top, then come in with my grinder and grind a couple of flat spots in there. Then I can take this and clamp it from the bottom, then clamp to the top of this and push this whole thing down to get it to meet up with the curve again.

Then I can come inside: tack, tack, tack. Move it to the next triangle: tack, tack, tack. That helps push everything down; it's all flat-ish. It's smooth, flat, and has a nice contour. No hammer marks. Cool!

It takes about 25 to 30 minutes to fit one sheet, then clamp it in, tack it, and work my way along.

This will probably be the last how-to video on this particular metal art project for a little while, but as I'm working with various tools and machines, you're likely to see it in the background.

When it finally comes time to flip it over, or stand it upright so I can work on the bottom, then we'll come back to this project. In the meantime, we can move on to other projects at the same time.

Let me go ahead and fire up my Longevity MIGweld so and I can start tacking this on.

Back to work for now.

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