Sculptures Made From Recycled TIRE TREADS

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Introduction: Sculptures Made From Recycled TIRE TREADS

About: My name is Blake, I make things for a living. I love experimenting with new materials to create sculptures, furniture and everything in between.

I was commissioned by Goodyear Tires to create these two sculptures to be presented at the 2019 NCAA Goodyear Cotton Bowl. These sculptures represent both competing teams, Penn State Nittany Lion and The University of Memphis Tiger.

Start to finish, these sculptures were completed in just 15 days! The timeframe is always the hardest part of these builds. The reason there is such a short timeframe is because the NCAA announces the teams on December 8th, which leaves me only a couple of weeks to complete the team's sculptures to be presented at the game. Both sculptures weigh nearly 200 LBS each, and consist of over 400 Goodyear tires combined. There are also thousands of hidden staples, and screws. These two sculptures took nearly 400 man hours to complete and would not have been possible without my amazing team. Special thanks to Jeff Kilbane, Jim McFarland, Camerson Sarff, Sky McCollough and Diego McCollough for making these sculptures possible.

Supplies

4 lb. density polyurethane foam

Fiberglass resin

Fiberglass cloth

Recycled tires

Narrow Crown Staples

Steel

Paint

Wood

artificial turf

wood screws

wheel casters

hot glue

super glue

large paper roll

tape

Step 1: Sketch Out Your Design.

Sketch out your design in a profile view with exact proportions you want to create. Here, I am sketching out the Tiger profile view.

Step 2: 4lb. Density Polyurethane Foam

You can pour your own polyurethane foam (information on this will be on a different intractable) or you can purchase large blocks of foam.

To save costs, I poured my own foam in individual blocks.

Step 3: Cut Out Your Sketch and Start Piecing Together the Foam Blocks.

Cut out your sketch and lay out the polyurethane foam blocks so that they cover the entire surface area of your sketch. You can use any type of saw to cut the foam, my preference is a sawzall. You may cut the foam to better fit your outlined sketch.

Step 4: Start Carving and Refining the Shape

Start carving and refining the shape of the tiger. I mainly use a sawzall for this. When you start to get better proportions I switch it up to a rasp to make more precise details.

Step 5: Sand Smooth/ Add in Metal Armature.

Sand the foam smooth so you get an even finish across the surface. At this point, I add steel armature inside of the sculpture for more strength. To do this, I used a oscillating tool to carve out joints inside of the animals legs. I then welded steel tubing inside, and used foam spray to seal up the caverns.

Step 6: Fiberglass and Paint

Once you are happy with the polyurethane shape, fiberglass the entire sculpture making it extremely rugged, durable and able to withstand the elements.

I then begin to roughly paint on the tigers stripes to give myself reference for the tire portion of this build.

For the Nittany Lion, I wanted to portray tires as more of a muscular look, so I painted on a muscular look for reference.

Step 7: Cutting, Cutting and More Cutting.

Now the real work begins, Cut up hundreds of tires into workable pieces. I use heavy duty shears for this. Get ready for a forearm burnout!

Step 8: Layer the Tires.

I begin by layering tires making sure they overlap one another, and create a muscle like form over the inner structure. For the Tiger, I use thousands of shreds of painted tire to depict fur. This is a very tedious task and takes many hours.

I attach the tires to the fiberglass form by using wood screws and narrow crown staples.

Step 9: Refine the Details

I layer on more tires refining each detail meticulously. I then go over every single visible screw and crown staple with paint to hide them.

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    29 Comments

    0
    ScottinStep
    ScottinStep

    2 months ago

    Have you made the foam pouring video yet? I don't see it on your list.
    It also appears you did the fiberglass elsewhere? Have you made any how to videos for that? BTW - loving your work on Making It.

    0
    Marve48
    Marve48

    1 year ago

    Great craftsmanship. Well done.

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    ClareBS
    ClareBS

    1 year ago

    These are absolutely amazing! What a great Instructable too.

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so much!

    0
    AnandM54
    AnandM54

    1 year ago

    Wow.... brilliant instructable one.....wise!!

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    jackbeast78
    jackbeast78

    1 year ago

    Do you know how many tires it took?

    0
    jackbeast78
    jackbeast78

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    Around 200 tires for each sculpture

    0
    EdM63
    EdM63

    1 year ago

    This is awesome! I used to work as a truck driver and would often see treads torn off wheels and think 'that would make a cool alligator sculpture'. I've never been able to put together the time to work on the idea, it is so cool to see it implemented, and such a great job at it too!

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    That is what also inspired me to start working with tires! except I quickly learned that car tires are impossible to cut through, so I use mostly bicycle tires for these sculptures.

    0
    katbow
    katbow

    Reply 1 year ago

    Bike tires!
    That explains the flexibility and thinness. You’re right about car tires, especially used ones...they’re hard, thick and inflexible. And when you cut them, they cut you back!
    Love the way you were able to create the realistic muscling. Have you ever built the form over the metal armature?
    Can’t figure how you connected it inside the foam?
    Awesome job.

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    I have never built the form over a metal structure because I want a smooth surface to wrap the tires around... I cut grooves inside the foam structure, set in the steel armature and then covered the groves with more expanding foam to hide the armature. Next time I will show that process.

    0
    Gadisha
    Gadisha

    1 year ago

    Very beautifully made and a good way to recycle tires XD

    0
    rozzieozzie
    rozzieozzie

    1 year ago

    Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing your entire process, it's really just amazing.

    0
    BMsculptures
    BMsculptures

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so much!