Giant Dandelion Sphere
There are few summertime kid experiences as quintessential as romping thru grassy meadows and playing with dandelions. The pure joy of seeing those wispy seeds effortlessly dance upon the breeze in a choreographed contamination and invasion of your neighbors pristine lawn by these ravenous weeds! Though considered a helpful herb in some regions, to lawn owners, the innocent dandelion is the bane of their existence, spreading like a biological weapon across an innocent green-scape of turf.
For some reason Peter Brown decided to immortalize these perennial pests and their large super sized cousins, the Western Salsify!
He wants to entomb the giant fluffy flower in a huge sphere of resin. What could possibly go wrong?!
In order to cast such a large object, special resin must be used that is formulated for bigger pours.
TotalBoat ThickSet Fathom was perfect for this application. In addition to the deep pour capability, it has a longer working time to let Peter perfectly setup the plant with his custom rig. Sometimes it is a bespoke device or fixture to solve the problem at hand.
Sometimes it is just a metal binder clip and a stick.
Unfortunately, right off the bat, Peter learned that once in the ever thickening resin, these things are super fragile and disassemble themselves rapidly.
On his second attempt, Peter resisted any adjustment at all once the plant was submerged, but it cured in the wrong spot. Clearly his simple rig wasn’t going to cut it after all.
This final contraption consisted of a metal spring to act as a counterweight to hold the seed pod in the just the right spot in the resin while it cured.
After a successful casting, this project was finally able to proceed onto the next steps. Which was to affix it to the lathe. Drawing onto a flat disc while it was spinning, Peter was able to create alignment rings to help center the resin cylinder while the hot glue cooled.
Next, Peter continued on the high tech tool theme by using his Free Advanced Roundness Templating System.
Using various tools, Peter remove large volumes of resin from the ends of the cylinder to begin to tease out a round shape.
He also marks the center of the piece in order to get a nice reference line that he can work off of while it is spinning.
Continual checks against his F.A.R.T.S. was critical to stay on target. Stupid mistakes early on in this process can be silent but deadly!
As material is removed from the attached side of the object, its solid connection can be compromised, so Peter then removed the piece to take it to the belt sander. Here he was able to grind away a large amount of material very quickly.
Peter then used a Live Center Kit which is an accessory for the lathe that makes making spheres a breeze! This allowed him to quickly rotate and hold the resin blank in 90 degree orientations in order to hone in on the spherical shape instead of just relying on his F.A.R.T.S. alone.
After much shaping, it was finally time for the MVP of the Shop Time YouTube channel Micromesh! (why are they not sponsors again?!)
After working through the various grits, the true beauty of the piece shines through!
Compared to the previous Iron Sphere project, this thing is a monster!
Is this a giant dandelion? Is this a Western Salsify? Is this a plasma ball? Is this an amber Eye of Sauron? Who can ever truly know?
All this blog writer knows is that it is his favorite thing Mr. Brown has yet to produce! Bravo sir! Bravo!
Currently hailing from a basement shop somewhere in North Carolina, Wes, a.k.a. Geeksmithing, creates geek and nostalgia inspired projects of all kinds using any new material or technique he can get his hands on including anything from 3d printing, cnc, laser cutting, prop making, robotics, electronics to even a bit of woodworking.