This was one of those projects that came together really well out of a little inspiration and some creative constraints. I didn't track how long it took, but I think probably less than 2 hours.
I came up with the idea because we were going to visit some friends for dinner. I knew that they had spent a lot of time in the last year working on their garden so I had the idea of making them a gift in the for of a welded metal ornament of some kind.
I quick review of what I had on hand discovered a couple of lengths of steel rod. I decided that I could possibly come up with a design where I bend and cut the rod and weld it into a stylised Cat. I probably spent 10-20 minutes doing google image search for cat sculptures, cat icons, and any kind of simplified line drawings of cats. I then sketched a few ideas about how I could make it work. Among my constraints was no setup to really bend the rod properly, and not that much of the rod. Once I had a good idea about how to do the head, I figured out the most minimal 'body' that would work. I pretty much starts by curving the bar for the back 'feet' I just used brute force and some curved wood stock to get the radius. If I was going to do this sort of thing more often I should probably try to find a better way to bend the rod. The radius on this section basically informed the size/scale for everything else. As it happens I used exactly the amount of rod I had. I cut all the lengths I needed using my awesome chop saw, and laid things out.
Once I had all the pieces it was just a case of welding them together. For this I got to use my welding table for the first time
I've not written about the making of the welding table yet. It was high on the list of things people list as early projects when you buy a welder. This was its first real use, and it was really good. with the welder clamp just attached to the table surface at one side, I could just lay the pieces out on the metal top and weld them together.
Actually tacking things together didn't take too long, and it is a fun process because I could very quick go from a handful of steel rod lengths to a 3d structure.
The gift was well received, and as luck would have it my friends already had various supports and dividers made from similar metal rod, so the cat fit right in ;-)
For the future I'd like some setup that will allow me to bend it more easily. I could see me making one of these or something similar for my own garden.
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