Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lego Necklace

I finally got my project from last semester, which immediately after grading, was placed in a student art show. The poor person for whom it was a Christmas present only was able to wear it for about a week before it was whisked off to another town for two months. However, it has finally returned and have taken some photos.

Some background before the pictures.

We were doing an plastic/organic burnout project. In the project instead of spruing up wax models to be burned out and cast you sprued found objects, pine cones, insects, seeds, green army men and the like. My plan was to make clockwork dinosaur pins. I spent nearly a day chopping up and modifying little toy dinos so they looked very steampunk.

They didn't burnout. Apparently even though they felt like plastic they were actually rubber.

I bought more dinosaurs, different brand.

Same thing.

Repeat for third and fourth batch of dinosaurs.

However, in the midst of all these failed castings I had cast some Lego and Lego knock-off bricks with the thought of someday doing something with them. But after wasting three weeks on failed dinosaurs and only having 5 days til I had to turn in something.... thus the necklace was born.

Some notes about the necklace. The chain/torc/thing articulates to lay flat on the chest, angle up across the collarbones, and then conform to the neck. Since the hinges are rotational, that meant the hinges on either end of the spacer bars had to be at different angles. I managed to get it right in spite of doing it at 3am the night before the project was due. I actually had a minor little panic attack in the middle of the night when I realized I had lost track of which ones were supposed to have which angle. As luck would have it, I didn't screw them up.

Also you might notice a slight bend in the left bar. The morning of our crit one of my classmates dropped it onto the cement and then kicked it while trying to pick it up. In addition to bending that bar it bent the center bar and broke a hinge... all of which had to be fixed in less then an hour...

Click picture below for center closeup.

The picture below is a close up of one of the hinges. As you can see it only rotates around the center pin making free movement around the neck impossible. Also those flat bits, if you look at them wrong they tend to break off. Flush face solder connection not the brightest idea I've ever had.

Below is the the clasp for the necklace. I nearly melted it in a moment of inattention while soldering it together. The clasp is pure silver and has a loooow melting point.

Things I would have done differently:

1) Since I was extremely rushed for time the finish (solder spills etc...) are not cleaned up to my satisfaction.
2) It is fragile. Since the construction I have figured out no less then three different ways to make nearly the identical necklace with the same movement and do it in a way that was not so prone to breakage.
3) There was supposed to be a set stone in the center piece and in the clasp, but I ran out of time.
4) Steampunk dinosaurs! I mean it's a pretty necklace but I really really wanted the dinos.

The good news is the girl loves it.

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