This Instructable will show you how to make a metal reindeer sculpture. I made mine out of stainless steel since I had the material on hand. I made this for my wife who had seen one somewhere else and wanted one.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Rotary tool with stainless steel wire brush wheel
1/8 inch diameter stainless steel rod
3/16 inch diameter stainless steel rod
Not all of the tools in this list are required, but will make the construction much easier. Your build may need more or less than what I show. This may also vary based on the material that you construct your marble track and cabinet with.
NOTE: If you plan on using any tool for a project please make sure you are familiar with the tool and all of the dangers associated with it. If you are not familiar with a tool then you should ask someone who is to show you the proper way to use it. A lot of communities have classes at local colleges on the proper use of tools and machinery. There are also local woodworking clubs that offer classes at very reasonable rates for beginners. I highly recommend using these resources for your safety and for the most efficient use of the tool.
Always wear eye and hearing protection.
Always work safe with the proper safety equipment and guards on your tools.
Step 2: Size It Up
The first thing I did was decide how big I wanted to make the reindeer. Since this was going to go on a shelf I decided it needed to be about a foot tall or shorter. Because I was going to use some stainless steel rod that was 3/16 inch diameter I went with an overall height of 11-1/2 inches. I thought it would be better to use something smaller for the antlers, so I used 1/8 inch diameter rod for those.
I drew up some sketches of what I wanted the final reindeer to look like and then scaled the parts for the final height I was trying to meet.
Step 3: Make the Legs First
The legs are the easiest part of the reindeer to make. Just make a sharp bend in the metal rod to where the legs come down at a sharp angle or almost parallel if you like. I leave mine a little longer than what I want for the final length and then cut them all to a uniform length at the same time. You want both sets of legs to match as close as possible.
Step 4: Make the Body
I decided to weld the head onto the body so it would be at a sharp angle. I think this makes it look a lot better. First bend the body piece to the desired shape. The cut the top of the piece off where the head piece will be welded on. I cut these two pieces and then used a wheel grinder to get the angle I needed for the pieces to match up. Once I welded the head piece on I cut it to length. Then I used my welder to melt the end of the nose and give it a rounder appearance.
Step 5: Attach the Legs to the Body
Now we need to weld the legs to the body piece. Just make sure when you do this that the legs are centered on the body piece and are close to parallel to each other. If they are not quite parallel after you weld both set on the body then you can bend them a little so all of the legs are close to parallel.
Step 6: Bend the Antlers
Now we need to make the antlers. These are all made out of 1/8 inch diameter stainless steel rod. Just put a couple slight bends in a straight piece as shown in the picture.
Step 7: Weld on the Antler Points
Next weld on 3 more pieces as shown in the pictures. Leave all of the pieces a little long so you can decide how long you want the pieces later when you attach them to the body of the reindeer. The extra length of material makes it easier to hold and or clamp. You will cut off the extra later.
Step 8: Weld the Antlers on to the Body
Now that you have the two antlers made you can decide how you want to position them and weld them onto the body. You will need to cut the base of the antlers to length before you weld them onto the body. You can leave the rest of the antlers in place and cut them to length later.
With the antlers now welded on the body you can cut the antler points to length. I cut mine to length with small bolt cutters and then hit the ends of each with the welder to round the ends and get rid of the sharp metal points where the extra was cut off.
The picture in this step doesn't show the antlers with the extra steel on the points still in place.
Step 9: Clean Up
Now you can clean up all the welds and check for any sharp areas to make sure you dont't have any that could be a little dangerous. I used a rotary tool with a wire wheel brush for stainless steel. You could use a scrub pad or other options to clean the welds, but I had the wire wheel and went with that.
Step 10: Display That Reindeer
Now you should find a good place to display your reindeer. We put ours on the fireplace mantle next to some other holiday decorations.
I think I may make a few more of these next year that are slight variations of this one. Maybe I'll have the head of one turned a little to the side and have one with it's head tilted down. Maybe one will show up with a red nose.