Metal Workshop

Today, I took part in my third workshop this week. Similar to the plaster yesterday, it was mostly a demonstration on what to do inside the metal workshop and how everything works. Our tutor (who kind of looks like Tom Jones) showed us how to cut, bend, weld and polish sheets of metal. It was all very detailed, but I will try to recount everything I saw today.

IMG_3266Inside of the metal workshop

He showed us all the tools  and equipment(welders, blow torches, cutting bench, pan bench, spot welder, mig welder and the plasma welder) and how we should handle them. For example, when using the plasma welder (used to cut sheets of metal) we had to wear specialized goggles to protect our eyes as the light from it is very blinding. The plasma welder is even more blinding, so much so that we needed insulated screen and large, Vader style head-gear to protect us.

The other pieces of equipment includes the cutting ben and pan bench. The cutting bench is basically a bench with a sharp plate at the top and the bench is where we rest the sheet of metal. We set it between the bench and blade, stomp down on a pedal connected at the bottom and the metal is cut clean in two. As for the pan bench, it is similar to the cutting bench, but instead of cutting, it bends the metal between a flat plate and a wedge at an angle. I tried the pan bench and it was good.

I also used the welder and welded two small, metal rods together. Sparks came out as soon as I pressed the welder down on the rods. I was shocked at first, but soon recovered.

Our tutor also demonstrated the grinder and buffer, two very similar pieces of cutting equipment. The grinder cuts a sheet of metal cut in half, but remove the blade form it and you have a grinder with a rough surface. This is then used to polish the rough surface of the metal, making it more smooth.

After that, he showed us the tungsten carbon tip, which is like a mini air gun. By blasting compress air at the metal, we cn draw on it.

Afterwards, our tutor showed us the process of bronze work and the pieces one can make from it. He showed us a leaf that has been coated in bronze:

IMG_3268 IMG_3269The bronze leaf, from the back and front.

The process of bronze making is long and slightly complicated, but I’ll try to explain. First, you get yourself a mound or any object you wish to coat in bronze. Then, melt the amount of bronze you want and coat your figure/object with it. Once it has set, put it in a fridge to k=stop it from falling apart and keep it fresh. Once it has set over night, dip it in a special kind of plaster coating, and once that layer has set, dip in casting powder until it sets. Once that is finished, take it to a heating stove and bake it for about 10 minutes or more. After the time has expired, take it out and lave it to cool.

I need to go over the notes with Kate, but I think I’ve covered the basics from the workshop. I did enjoy learning about metal work, but I think I prefer plaster and screen printing, though I may try my hand at Bronze work.

Afterwards, I had a meeting with Fiona and together, we ordered my laptop equipment (which was supposed to arrive a month ago). Once that was done, I started to write a research document on the Etruscan Helmets. This will go with my crit work in preparation of my crit exhibition, which is in two weeks.

Overall, it was another good day.


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