Introduction: Christmas "Chris-Moose" Metal Sculpture With Glowing Nose

About: Just a guy who likes building things for my family.

This Instructable will show you how to make a metal moose sculpture. This was built as a Christmas present for my wife who has loved moose since our youngest son said he wanted to be a moose when he grew up. We have called him moose ever since.  Our son's name is Chris so that is why this is a "Chris-Moose" sculpture and not a "Christmas Moose" sculpture.

I added a glowing red nose to make it fit in more with the Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer theme.  It's a fun project that brings a smile to kids and adults alike.

The moose is made entirely out of 1/4-inch diameter stainless steel rod and a couple stainless steel washers. I had some of the stainless rod from previous projects and decided to use it. You could make yours out of plain steel, aluminum, steel rebar, or whatever else you have available. You may just want to size it accordingly for whatever you are using and the amount that you can bend your material.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • 1/4 inch diameter stainless steel rod. I used a little less than 2 pieces that were 12 feet long.
  • 1-inch diameter stainless steel washers
  • AA Battery Box from Radio Shack - Catalog #: 270-409
  • 24 gauge wire for connecting from battery box to LED
  • Red LED for the glowing red nose
  • Appropriately sized resistors for the LED
  • 3M Adhesive Strip


The tools I used on the project were as follows:
  • Miller Maxstar STH 150 tig welder
  • Vise
  • Clamps
  • Leather gloves for welding and metal work
  • Vise
  • Welding shield
  • Soldering Iron
  • Utility Knife
  • Metal Ring Roller
  • Hot Glue Gun

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: Determine the Size of Your Moose and Make the Body

I wanted this moose so be several feet tall so I sketched a few ideas and then decided on sizes based on the 1/4 inch diameter stainless steel rod I was going to use.

Since this moose can be used to make a plant holder you can also size the body and legs for the size of the pot you would like to have it hold.  If you use it to hold a pot then you will need to take into consideration the weight of the pot and the material it holds.

I used a "Ring Roller" to make a round ring for the body.

If you don't have access to a ring roller you could also create the body and legs by wrapping the metal rod around some other round object like a tube or a piece of wood cut in a circle.  Just remember that the radius of the bent metal rod will be a little larger that whatever you used to bend the rod to that shape due to the metal springing back.

Step 3: Shape the Legs to Match

Now you need to make the legs for the moose.  These are just a half circle with the legs coming down from each side.  I think you could use a ring roller with some creativity, but I used some wood circles in a vise to make mine.

Once I had both sets of legs bent I cut them all to the same length.  Then I ground the ends of the legs smooth so they would not snag the carpet in the house.

Step 4: Weld the Legs to the Body

Now we can start welding by welding the two sets of legs to the circular body piece.  I placed the rear set of legs at the seam in the circular body ring so there wasn't a seam in the body showing away from the welds.  Just make sure when you do this that the legs are centered on the body piece and are close to parallel to each other.

Step 5: Add the Tail

Your moose now needs a tail.  Mine was a piece of the cutoff from the legs that I welded on the the rear (no pun intended) of the assembly.  I added a slight curve in mine.

Step 6: Shape the Head

The head of the moose was original sketched out on paper and then it was free form bent to that approximate shape.

I used a combination of pipe sizes and a vise to hold the steel rod while I bent it around the pipe.  I started with the nose portion and worked my way to the neck.

A template for the head and antlers is attached at the end of the Instructable for your use.

Step 7: Add the Eyes

The eyes for the moose are just stainless steel washers.  These are 1/4 inch inner diameter and 1 inch outer diameter.  You can use a different size if you like, but this was what I liked the best.

The hardest part about they eyes was holding them in place for welding.  It never seems like you can have enough hands or clamps to hold things.

Step 8: Shape the Antlers

The antlers can be the biggest challenge in this project as there are some tight bends in the steel rod.  You also need to compensate for the spring back in the metal as you bend.  The best way to do this is to use a pattern and check your progress against it often.  Even though both antlers are identical, you can expect it will be difficult to get identical copies.  Not to worry as this will give your moose some character.  Just try to get them close and you will be doing good.

A template for the head and antlers is attached at the end of the Instructable for your use.

Step 9: Weld the Antlers to the Head

Welding the antlers to the head can be a little tricky.  You just need to find the best way to hold things in place while you weld them.  Depending on what you have, you may use every clamp you have in an attempt to hold things in position while you weld.  Just do what works best for you.  With every situation being different you will have to figure that out yourself.

Remember that you can do some slight adjustments to the angle of the position of the antlers after you have them in place with some light bending.

Step 10: Weld the Head to the Body

Once you have the head bent to shape you can cut it off to the height you desire.  I set the length of the neck and the height of the moose by holding the head up to the body and legs that were already welded together in order to determine the height I thought looked best.

Once I welded the head to the body the moose was complete with the exception of the holiday additions of the santa hat and glowing red nose.

Step 11: Clean Up the Welds

Now that the moose is fully assembled you can clean up the welds and welcome him to your family.  I used a rotary tool with a stainless steel wire brush.

Make sure if you are giving him as a present that you wrap him up appropriately or at least put a Santa hat on him and maybe a red nose for the finishing touch.  If you want to add the light-up nose then you can continue with the next step.

Step 12: Making the Nose

I used a white ping pong ball for the nose.  I wasn't able to find a red one, but there may be some out there.

I started by drilling a small hole in the ping pong ball.  There I used a small round file to enlarge the hold until it was a perfect fit for the red LED I was adding.

Step 13: Modify the LED

The red LED I used had a somewhat narrow beam on it.  I needed to widen the beam on the LED so I filed the rounded tip down flat and then also filed the rest of the surface of the LED so that the light coming out of it was better dispersed.  I made sure not to file down the lip around the base of the LED so it would not go into the hole in the ping pong ball all the way.

I used a little bit of hot glue around the edge of the LED where it goes into the ping pong ball.  It'd not very noticeable and it it a quick and easy way to hold the LED in place in the ping pong ball.

Step 14: Get Your Wire

I wanted to use some small gauge wire for running power from the battery pack to the nose, but I didn't have any that was as small as I wanted.  I decided to pull a strand out of left over piece of Cat 3 wire that I had.  The wire was 24 gauge and looked like with would be a lot harder to see than any of the other wire I had.  I just used the black coated strand of wire.

Step 15: Add a Resistor

Now you can determine how much wire you need to go from the nose to the battery pack that will be hidden under a Santa hat on the antlers.  If you aren't sure of the exact length then give yourself a little extra.  You can always coil it up with the battery box and hide it later.

I used an Android App called ElectroDroid to determine the size of the resistor I needed for my LED.  I will not go into detail here about the sizing of the resistor since there are plenty of tutorials on that here and on other web sites.

The LED had a forward voltage of 2 volts dc and a current of 20mA.

For my application and from what I had on hand, I used two 100 ohm resistors in series for my LED since I already had them.  This gives a total of 200 ohms resistance.

Step 16: Connect Everything

Now you can wire up everything with your battery box.  Once you have everything put together and you know the nose is working you can mount it on the moose.

Step 17: Attach Your Nose to the Moose

Attaching the nose to the moose started by first attaching the battery box to one of the antlers under the Santa hat.  I just used blue painters tape to attach the battery box.  It's easy to pull off later and usually doesn't leave any residue.  Make sure you leave yourself enough loose wire to position the nose on the front of the moose.

With the battery box in place you can slide the switch to the "ON" position and see how the nose will look on the moose.  Find the place you like best and attach it with a piece of 3M Command Adhesive strip.  I just cut a small square piece from a leftover piece we had.  You will need to position the point where the LED goes into the ping pong ball to one side of the steel rod.  I placed it on the least noticeable side of the moose.

Now just route the 24 gauge wire along the bottom side of the steel rod from the nose to the battery box under the Santa hat.  Small squares of the 3M Command Strips stuck to the bottom of the steel rod should hold the wire in place nicely.

Step 18: Let It Shine

Now you can give that special someone a nice and festive holiday moose.  That glowing red nose will bring a smile to everyone at your house.

Now I just need to figure out what other holidays I can dress him up for.

If you have made something similar them please let me know.  Better yet, post some pictures for all to see.

As a bonus, attached is a template for the head and antlers in PDF format for your use.  Print the template pages at 100 percent (no scaling) to 8.5 x 11 paper and line up the match lines.

Also attached is an Autodesk autocad dwg file and an Autodesk 123D file.  The file is a zip file of the Autodesk 123D file.  For some reason the file uploader would not let it upload in it's native file format.

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