Here’s one of the pieces I’ve been struggling with lately. I say lately, but in reality this one was born almost a year ago, and due to not really knowing what I wanted to do with it once I had built the first iteration, it’s been sitting around collecting dust until recently. I’ve been calling it Nexxus, but I’ll probably wind up naming it something less annoying when it’s finished (that is if I don’t wind up dropping it in the ocean in disgust).
The computer rendering on the left is actually the second draft of my idea; originally I had just modeled the top piece to see how the angles would work and to get measurements for the lengths of the pipes and such. I added that model to another model I’d been working on thinking it’d be like some sort of odd radio device or something. Looking back now, I have to wonder what I was thinking.. it looks soo… I don’t know.. WRONG.
The photo on the right up there is the first iteration of the actual piece. Sorry for the crap photo, I took that one with my old iPhone with the scratched up lens. I hit that point in the construction and decided I hated it. But, considering that it took me quite a while to cut and braze all those pieces, I didn’t want to give up on it, so I did what any artist would be likely to do.. I threw it in a corner and worked on some other pieces.. for a year.
Eventually after staring at the thing in revulsion for a year, I began wondering where I had gone wrong, and trying to think of ways to salvage the thing. I pulled off the stand and the 6 long protruding pieces, and added some more angled pipe and such to try to bring it all in closer so it didn’t look so wonky. Once again after doing all this I was flummoxed.. I still didn’t like it. The little red copper wires in the photos up there are strung through the pipes so I could fish the LED wires through all the pipe bends to a transformer somewhere in the base.
By now I had decided that what I wanted out of it wasn’t a table top piece, but a floor standing ‘torchere’ lamp of sorts. I envisioned it being about 6 feet tall with this piece sitting at the top. The six tubes pointing to the globe in the middle will house UV led’s to light up the globe and give it a nice odd purple glow. But what I didn’t know was how to transition from the parts of the sculpture I liked to a base. Back to the drawing board…
I decided to steal some design elements from my Oculus piece and add a copper boiler looking piece under the globe. Only this one would have 3 glass lenses instead of one. I added a sort of distributor cap look to the top of the boiler piece where thick 6 gauge copper wires will attach between there and each of the 6 ends up above and carry the 9V current to the LED’s inside the tubes. Those are 1/2″ copper pipe caps brazed upside down on the top, with a piece of poplar dowel inserted into each one. The 1/4-20 brass screws go through into the inside where they are insulated from the copper by nylon washers. Inside the boiler will be a small Edison-style ‘radio’ lightbulb I found online. It has a long filiment running vertically up and down inside, and looks like an old vacuum tube when it’s on, giving off a soft amber glow.
So What Now?
I’ve ordered the UV led’s, and will wire them up in the tubes, adding the end pieces and copper connecting wires to the boiler, then I’ll move onto working out the base itself, wiring up the lamp inside the boiler piece, and soldering some lenses to the portholes. Stay posted!
I’ll go over the construction of the boiler piece in the next post, it deserves it’s own space.