Friday, April 21, 2017

Fabrication and installation - simple little words

When making art to-do lists we can get into the habit of reducing much work into a couple of simple headings to ensure the list is clean and concise. But of course when we come to-do the actual tasks one finds that there are many to-do dot-points under the simple heading. This is the case with my public art Buttress Root poetry trail sculpture that has been funded; and I'm now implementing (fabrication and installation).

Who would have thought that one of the to-do dot points was to go to the metal workshop and approve the computer drawings that will drive the water jet laser cutting machine. The laser will cut the flat 10mm which aluminium sheets before they are sent off for routing and rolling. At this stage there is not a lot to show except for the computer images of the drawings I signed off on. Quite large pieces of metal in reality but on a smallish computer screen.

©2017 Barry Smith - Drawing of the un-rolled trunk section of the Buttress Root sculpture on a flat sheet of 10mm aluminium that is 2.4m high and 1.2m wide  
©2017 Barry Smith - Two sections of the root section of the Buttress Root sculpture - the section on the left is 2.4m long and 1.2m high; and the section on the right is 2m high and 1.2m wide.
And of course as mentioned above there are quite a number of steps involved in fabrication. The following dot points give you some idea of the process over the next month:

  • Meeting with the metal fabricator (Kawana) yesterday (Wednesday 19 April) to view and approve sheet metal cutting drawings.
  • Finalise welding, grinding and sanding approaches. Remember the finish of the sculpture is brushed not polished.
  • Agree the footing arrangements for the sculpture - the footings need to be able to sit on and be bolted into the concrete slab from the first pour; and then the second pour of concrete incorporates the footings and about 100mm of the sculpture into the slab of the second pour.
  • The sheets are to be cut with a water jet laser cutter by 21 April (today????). 
  • The cut sheets will be transported to the workshop (Caloundra) that will use a CNC router next week (week beginning 24 April) for the routing of the poetry. Delivery and routing process is likely to take a week depending on the company's work schedule. 
  • Send the routing instructions (agreed with the poets) to the routing company (yesterday). When the sheets arrive at the workshop meet with the owner to mark out the sections for routing. 
  • Visually check and sign-off on routed poetry.
  • The cut and routed sheets will then be transported to Brisbane for rolling in the week beginning 1 May. It is anticipated that rolling will take a week depending on the mill’s work schedule.
  • The cut, routed and rolled sheets will be transported back to the metal fabricator (Kawana) in the week beginning 8 May for welding, grinding and sanding.
  • Allowing for delays in routing, rolling and welding it is anticipated that the sculpture should be completed by the week ending 26 May.
So you can see even the simple word fabrication can include quite a number of steps, over a number of locations and over a fair amount of time.

But hopefully it will be ready for installation in early June. Installation - another simple word with many steps!!!!


  1. Looking forward to seeing this in all its stages, Barry. Especially once installed...

  2. C - this is a big project and I expect delays from fabricators - hard to be patient. Go well. B


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.