Free Play

Coat Hook

We’re officially being left to our own devices in my welding class now. The professor’s assistant is there to answer questions and help with things but there’s nothing we’re supposed to be working on and nobody’s checking up on us.

I’m chewing on a bunch of ideas and I’ve made some sketches and bought some material but nothing in particular had coalesced before class on Monday. Instead of making a half-hearted effort at something I think I can actually do something interesting with, I went with a simple idea that I sketched out last week – a coat hook designed to use the leaves I made when I was playing with the plasma cutter.

I used a hand cranked device to bend four foot-long pieces of 1/4″ steel rod into a broad curve. I didn’t measure it; I didn’t have enough fine control while I was bending it to do anything more than frustrate myself. I turned them so there would be room between the hooks and MIG welded all four rods onto a scrap of steel to hold them together. Then I started at the top and spot-welded the leaves on one at a time, overlapping them in whatever way looked natural and fit comfortably.

Most of them went on without too much trouble, though I ended up having to do the final leaves overhead so that I could attach them at the back without the weld showing. (I actually taught myself to weld overhead while I was in the booth making it work; I don’t recommend it. I’m pretty sure I came close to setting my head on fire despite the welding mask.)

I then spot-welded the final four leaves onto the front of each of the curved rods, to hold coats or hats and to complete the design. These went on easily; the challenge was in finding a way to clamp the leaf and hold the almost-complete hook around it in place while I welded. To make it ready to hang, I also attached a stray nut at the back to give me someplace to rest a nail.

Now that I’ve brought it home, I plan to apply a color coat and a layer of sealant, though I still need to go to the hardware store and pick something out. Overall, I’m pleased with the result. The professor’s assistant said it looked pretty good for a first project and I have to agree that it turned out better than I’d expected.

(Apologies for the picture, by the way. I couldn’t find a place to photograph it with sufficient light that didn’t result in the odd shadows you see. I’ll take a better picture once it’s finished.)

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