Sculpture Design - Concept to Construction

      Many of my sculpture ideas are sparked during a quiet morning with my coffee or an evening in the spa with a glass of wine.  If a concept seems promising in my head, I sketch the details into my computer using computer aided drafting software.  I use the CAD environment to extensively identify and resolve problems when designing a mechanical component or drive assembly.  Most importantly though, I use the CAD environment to heavily experiment with variations of a sculpture's pattern wheels to find a stunning visual effect.  This is an extensive process which can have many different iterations before the final sculpture design emerges.

       The next step towards a completed sculpture is the engineering process.  This is when I decide how to build the sculpture, ie what parts are needed and how they all connect to each other.  All of the parts are arranged on a sheet of metal or laminated wood via software in preparation for their cutting using a computer controlled cutter.  (See Material and Finishing Techniques below).  Once the pieces are cut, all surfaces and edges are smoothed in preparation for staining and/or finishing. 

The final step is assembling the sculpture and balancing the pattern wheels to ensure each component moves smoothly and reliably.  This process can be time-consuming due to the varying density of laminated wood and final weight distribution between the sculpture's metallic and wood components. 

Materials and Finishing Techniques

Early on in my development of kinetic sculptures, I discovered that precision and balance are imperative for successfully building the best sculpture.   Drawing from my electronics background, I designed a robotic cutting table to replace many of my conventional woodworking tools.   As a result, my sculpture components have tolerances to within the thickness of a piece of paper..  

Each sculpture is made using Baltic imported laminated wood, which has minimal voids and resistant to cracking or warping in dry and humid climates. Precision ball bearings are used to minimize friction and achieve long run times for the sculptures.

Each piece of my sculptures is sanded to a fine grade with the appropriate pieces stained.  All wood surfaces are then sealed with 4 coats of a polyurethane finish using an airless sprayer in a dust free spray booth.

All colored metals used for my sculptures are aluminum covered with an atomized acrylic coating process.  On top of multiple layers of acrylic, a luxury automotive-grade clear coat is applied. The final metal finish is a tough, vibrant color coating with a variety of highly reflective attributes. Check out the custom color page for more info.