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How to Make a Sculpture (or Anything Else) Spin in the Wind

Kevin answers viewers' questions about how to make a sculpture - or anything else - spin in the wind. We first find him playing with Genome Project, one of his sculptures. Then he takes us inside his studio and shows a stand like the one Genome Project sits on. It's actually a used harrow disk from a farm implement. Kevin fillled in the hole on the top of the disk by welding some metal stock in the opening, then drilled a hole in it to match the size of the sculpture's shaft. Because this particular disk was pretty worn down, Kevin didn't have enough room beneath it to put the mount and two bearings that allows the sculpture to spin. So he added a "lift kit" of a 1/2" piece of square tubing that he shaped in his Chinese pipe bender (also called a stock bender) then welded it into place on the bottom rim of the disk. Inside the disk, he takes a piece of C-channel - which offers enough support to hold up the sculpture - and welds it inside the disk, aligned with the hole. Then he shows the bearings he is using. They are small flanges with bearings in the middle. They have a grease fitting that allows you to grease it every six months or year to keep the sculpture spinning. He chose this particular type of bearing because the hole matches the size of the 3/4" shaft of the sculpture that will sit on top of it. He used two bearings because they are made to mount sideways, with the weight on the vertical axis. When you mount them horizontally, or flat, and put the load above the bearing, there is some freeplay, or wobble, that can be pronounced in a tall sculpture. Depending upon the height of the sculpture, an 1/8" of an inch wobble at the bearing can translate to a variance of 6 - 8" at the top of a sculpture, allowing it to sway. He mounts one bearing on top of the C-channel and the other on the bottom, so they cancel each other's "slop," or "run out." The sculpture can still spin freely but without the freeplay, or wobble. Kevin got the bearings at a local supplier of industrial bearings called Motion Industries. You can also find the bearings at Grainger and online. Kevin paid about $35 each for these 3/4", 2-bolt flange bearings, which are rated to a very high weight rating for his needs.

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