January 26, 2011

Piano Bench

I felt like I hadn't made any cool projects in a while, Christmas even came & went & all I did was install a ceiling fan for my sister in a room that didn't have any ceiling lights at all before. While crawling thru the attic with electrical wire was rewarding & all, it still doesn't compare to conceptualizing something in your mind and then holding it in your hands. - Or in this case sitting on it:

I decided to make this custom piano bench with my free time. Click the link to see the pictures of the build.

The raw material: American made aluminum.

The legs before and after:

These are the feet and the part that connects to the seat, They were TIG welded to the legs.
Aluminum is a great conductor of heat so when you try to weld it the heat that you need at the location where fusion should take place can quickly dissipate not allowing the weld to "penetrate" much past the surface and create a strong bond. Preheating your material like I'm doing here also serves another purpose; when your weld is complete and the localized heat from the welding electrode is removed if the rest of the material is cold than those cold areas will effectively suck the heat out of the new weld zone causing it to rapidly contract (remember heat expands, cold contracts), that contraction can deform the part and will weaken, if not crack, the weld.

I'm standing on 1 leg & using the other foot on a pedal that controls the heat of the torch, got the torch upside down in the wrong hand and I'm reaching the filler rod in from around the back side of the fixture, all while I hold my breath because the only place I could see from was with my face right in the smoke. It was fun!

Got to do a little sewing on this project - it'd been a long time since I used my tailor skills, but I've still got em ;)
This was the first time I upholstered anything, and it was fun. I realized upholsterers have it way easier than tailors because they get to use glue & staples to make their stuff fit right!

Now I've just gotta learn some songs...