Tips For Getting Your Industrial Mojo Working
When I bring prospective buyers into shop for a tour the two things that I hear time and again is “where do you find this stuff?” The second is, “how do you keep these metal sculptures together ? I don’t see any welds.”
Shall I start with where I find all of the pieces that go into these sculptures and projects?
It takes an eye and a knack. I know you are thinking that you do not have an eye for this stuff. Some people have it already but some people (me) have to develop an eye for these things.
Much of not finding it is not looking for it. I will give you a couple of places to start looking and for what.
Start looking for older businesses that are being torn down. If it is an industrial building (an old print shop, auto shop, farm equipment repair…) What you are looking for is metal chunks that can be something they are not now. I make lamps out of large brass valves. What about the lamps that are in the building? Those large green shade d bulbs that are so popular right now.
Just any pieces of metal that you can find.
On the rail road tracks is another place to find rusted old metal. Things that may have fallen off trains or just laying around after being left when they repaired a length of track.
E-bay can get you a handful of old Soviet watches for about 15 bucks.
Auctions ! I purchased the printers out of an old print shop (early 20th century). Do you have any idea how many gears and metal functioning parts there are in those things? How about an old adding machine? It doesn’t need to be pretty and most people won’t buy a basket case but you will. You will because you get it for 5 bucks and you are going to tear it apart anyway.
Now on to question #2, how do you hold it all together while working on it and after the customer purchases it?
I do use a few screws when I can. I do use a soldering iron when I have to. If I knew how to weld it would be nice from time to time but I do not know how to weld. This is the big one: I use Neodymium magnets which are the strongest there are. A 1.26” disk of neodymium 1/8th of an inch thick will hold an amazing amount of metal together and it is very inexpensive.
I purchase all of my neodymium magnets at either neodymium magnets or on Amazon and do a search for CMS Magnetics.
Good hunting to you and I hope you can hold your sculptures together.