Introduction: Metal Bird Sculpture From Reclaimed Sheet Steel and Tube

Picture of Metal Bird Sculpture From Reclaimed Sheet Steel and Tube

I thought it was about time I fed the inner "arty farty" side of my nature so decided that my medium would be Metal Sculpture!

Firstly I needed some metal to work with, Now I am far too mean to buy stuff if I don't have to, so as my wife works at a gas fire manufacturers, and they are always throwing out stainless and galvanised sheet metal from old removed fires and packaging, so I raided their scrap bin.

This gave me about 5 pieces of stainless and a big bit of galvanised sheet

Step 1: Template

Picture of Template

For ease I made a wooden template from scrap plywood so I could draw around it and get the same dimensions for each "bird"

Here it is shown on one of the pieces of stainless (just big enough)

I drew around it with a black marker

Step 2: Cutting Out

Picture of Cutting Out

I used my bandsaw to cut around the outline, as I didn't have a metal cutting blade I used the finest toothed old blade that I could find (15 teeth per inch)

This blade was destined for the bin so was no loss using it on metal, as it was it stripped about 30% of the teeth by the time I was finished.

If I were to make another of these I would buy a suitable blade.

That said this cut out the dozen or so blanks I needed

Shown is one of the stainless bird blanks ready for bending, I decided shortly after this to "nip" off the very pointy wing tips and tail ends

Step 3: Bending

Picture of Bending

Using 2 pieces of angle iron (again from the scrap bin) I folded each template in half along the centreline.

Although I didn't measure the angle it is round about 60 degrees

I then did 2 wing root folds in the opposite direction and then 2 wingtip folds (upwards on the stainless and downwards on the galvanised ones), this gave a pleasing bird shape

Step 4: Assembly 1

Picture of Assembly 1

So I now had to work out how I wanted to put it together

Firstly I drilled a hole in each birds wingtip, this was 10mm as I am going to use M10 bolts

Step 5: Assembly 2

Picture of Assembly 2

I wound a Nyloc Nut about halfway down an M10 bolt (approx.100mm long) then hacksawed the bolt head off

Rinse/repeat for as many bolts as I was going to need (about 10 or 11)

Step 6: Assembly 3

Picture of Assembly 3

Once again I rooted around in the scrap bin and found some Aluminium tube which I cut into several 3inch (75mm) lengths

The inner dimension of the tube just happened to be a little smaller than the bolt thread

Being Aluminium (and thus soft) I used a bolt to cut a screw thread internally in the tube

I then screwed the cut off bolts into one end of each 3 inch tube, using a little superglue on the threads to get a tight fit

Step 7: Assembly 4

Picture of Assembly 4

I then started to assemble the whole shebang

So took a piece of tube, with the glued in screw and nut at the bottom, inserted through bird wing hole, and screwed into tube below, next one same process into the top of that tube,

The last one was just topped off with a plain bolt.

The Birds were then arranged around the centre "pole" to give the impression of a swirling flight of birds

The Nyloc nuts were tightened as required to hold each bird in its allotted position

Step 8: Installing

Picture of Installing

Finally a longer piece of the same Aluminium tube was found and knocked into the ground and the bird assembly was screwed into this.

This isn't going to be its final home, but is a useful place to "hold" it for now as I don't want to trip over it in the garage.

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Bio: I am a Marine Engineer in the RNZN (39 years done in various navies) and am looking forward to retirement!!! so I can do more ... More »
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