Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wire Nuts, continued

The saga of the Wire Nut figures continues with the Wire Nut Snow Machine. In Alaska, as I have mentioned before, we don't say "snowmobile." This is lower 48 stuff. So how do we make a snow machine?
Here are some of the pieces. Center is the chassis, bent around the former at left. Disregard the clutter on the right. Above the chassis are the skis, made out of copper sheet with wire struts. At bottom the track for the machine. It rolls on the mandatory .38 special rollers. Gotta have a cartridge! All this stuff is silver-soldered together. A couple of bends in some wire, and we have the machine together:
...and there is the snow machine, sitting on the brick I use for soldering. Best not done on anything inflammable. Needs handlebars but it's close. I waited to make those until I had made the rider; so the next step is to make SM rider. All the stick figures are made the same way, although not to any particular dimensions. Do it by eye; it is an excellent gauge if you give it a chance.
Above, Rider is held in my invaluable third hand gadget that I picked up at the Chinese tool summer tent for $1.10. The nut head is soldered on (torch at right in red). The nut has a huge heat capacity compared to the copper wire. When you solder on the arms, there is grave danger of the head coming off, because it sucks in heat and melts its soldering. But eventually by hook, crook and a pair of hemostats clamped on to the neck of the figure to draw heat off from the head, I got it done. And here is snow machine wire nut hot off the presses (or the soldering torch):
Voilá, a Snow machine Wire Nut. It is very dirty and dull at this point. What we have to do now is to pickle it. We put it, just like Sauerkraut, into a bath of vinegar and salt. That cleans it up considerably after about an hour's pickling. The stand was no big deal, just a piece of wood. Painted white, so it might look like snow. I thought of adding a scarf, à lá Snoopy and the Red Baron, made out of stranded wire. But I decided against it, on the grounds of less is more. Was I right? Don't know. This art business is not simple.

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