Intro: Recycled Materials Wind Catcher Yard Art
This project is improvised, using all recycled materials I had lying around, much of it waiting to be hauled to various scrap yards. My neighbor gave me a broken out door heating lamp unit a while ago that I kept around and finally found use for on this project. I was going to make a robot with it but decided to make this wind sculpture instead, using a part from a weed eater, a metal steering wheel acquired from Obtanium Works' free stuff bin, and a bunch of parts from things I've dismantled for recycling. The outdoor lamp stand is made of mostly stainless steel and stands just high enough for me not to hit my head on the spinning wheel of fake metal flowers. I used the cheapest Lincoln mig welder I could find on ebay, which worked fine though I am not a great welder and could have used a more powerful one at times.
Here's a partial list of materials and tools needed:
- Mig welder
- outdoor heading lamp stand
- metal steering wheel
- recycled bearing (don't know what size)
- super glue
- electric motor laminations
- old paint
- scrap overhead lamp and fan parts
- metal rod stock
- sheet metal and aluminum pieces salvaged from old computers
-salvaged weed whacker assembly
- old fan parts, piece of threaded rod, sheet metal screws
- pop riveter and rivets
-drill and drill bits
Step 1: Get a Stand and Weed Whacker "spinner"
I used this old weed whacker mechanism I had lying around and could not take apart any further, and found it fit perfectly into the top tube of my heater lamp stand, the spinning rod coming just out the bottom of it's vertical stainless steel shaft.
Step 2: Prepare Parts for Welding
Clean off the rust with a wire brush to get strong welds. I found this small threaded hollow shaft that fit right on to the end of the spinning weed whacker rod, which allowed more extension at the bottom as well as a good fit for my bearing later on.
Step 3: Don Safety Gear and Start Welding
I started by welding that shaft onto the spinning rod end.
Step 4: Build a Little Bench Holder
two pieces of wood screwed onto my out door work bench served as a holding mechanism of sorts. A bit crude but it got the job done.
Step 5: Weld Some Kind of Plate Onto the Spinner
I had to find an effective way to weld my steering wheel onto the spinner so after a few failed attempts I picked up this stack of electric motor laminations I had in a scrap bucket and welded it onto the spinner, careful not to get too much slag into the bearing area. I am a carpenter by trade and though not a great welder, have learned to get decent if ugly looking attachment using my cheap mig welder. Grinding usually cleans up any severe bumpiness.
Step 6: Weld the Steering Wheel On
This wasn't too hard, though I did get some roughness in the spinning mechanism that I later had to grind and sand out smooth. It had me worried at first but turned out to be an easy adjustment. Originally I was going to use a bicycle tire, but gave up trying to weld delicate spokes onto the spinning cup part after blowing through a few times. The steering wheel I imagine came from a tractor or possibly forklift. I got it for free.
Step 7: Weld Rods Onto Steering Wheel
I've kept these rods from a salvaged cd rack I took apart some time ago. They were perfect for the five stems. Of course grind off any paint where the welds will be and line each rod up with ones already on the steering wheel. this was not yet too awkward, using my improvised holding device.
Step 8: Prepare Lamp Parts and Weld Them Onto Stems
This is where it gets a bit tricky to hold the pieces while welding. I first ground down the backs of my five ceiling fan motors housing discs, then clamped them onto the end of each stem, and tacked welded them on. I took some trial and error getting it to balance on my work bench but I got it done, re doing some welds to make strong connections.
Step 9: Insert Lower Bearing and Weld Holder Piece On
I happened to have an old bearing that fit pretty good on the end of my attached threaded rod bottom piece, and I cut some scrap computer tin with appropriate size hole that I tack welded onto the suspended bottom flange to hold in that bearing. Didn't need to be pretty or precise. This would keep the spinning mechanism from bumping around roughly inside of that stainless steel tube part.
Step 10: Insert Steering Wheel and Shaft Into the Stand and Decorate Inside of Discs
I managed to thread the spinning mechanism and it's shaft through that bearing pretty easily, getting down under it to align it with a screw driver--this after insuring everything was well lubed and smoothly spinning. I had these other electric motor laminations that I'd painted for fun a while back, and bolted them onto the discs, atop some trashed cd's and hard drive discs that would reflect light from behind. I had to work into the night to get this done in time for the metal work contest deadline.
Step 11: Cut Flower Petals Out of Tin and Aluminum Scrap
I made a bunch of these guitar pick shaped petals from whatever sheet metal scrap I could find, mostly from computers. I must say this part was very tedious and my fingers hurt afterward from all that cutting. Be careful of sharp edges!
Step 12: Attach Petals Using Rivets and Glue
This part was a bit tedious and tricky, since I had to attach these onto spinning pieces that blew in the wind already. Super glue aided in the sometime loose fitting rivet connections. I later painted the petals with stain glass and craft paint I had left over and had gotten on sale from Michael's.
Step 13: Add Embellishments
This is where I had fun adding useless embellishments made of old lamp parts, a bizarre heat gun sculpture assembly I had previously made, a fan blade, some copper salvaged from a track light I found in the street, a dog bowl, another ceiling fan motor housing, a chrome dome bolted to another lamp part, and more. I will spare you the details of welding that dome onto the steering wheel (doah!) It is rough but will do... I also used house paint I got from the re use yard at our local dump. Why the dog bowl? I don't know. I figured it could be a bird bath or something, underneath the spinning plastic crystal parts that reflect sunlight.
Step 14: Paint and Install Somewhere in the Yard. Enjoy Spinning Flower Art.
The nice thing about using this heater stand is it can be wheeled into place anywhere and appears to be plenty stable where ever you put it. It would look nice in a proper flower garden, which I'm afraid I don't have at the moment, but it didn't look bad next to my home made "man cave" workshop shed.