Monday, May 4, 2009

Desktop #40 - Hojo Racing

Here's my latest desktop, #40. This desktop has a theme - Racing. Ferrari racing to be specific. The marbles are kept at the top and are released with just the touch of your finger into a tipping arm. My usual desktop has the marbles roll into a track splitter. This desktop has them roll into a tipping arm that tips when two marbles are inside it, side by side. When it tips they are dumped out at the same time giving them each a fair start on one of the two full tracks.

This desktop will be going to Hojo Racing in Beverly Hills, Ca. (I tried to trade for a couple laps around the track, but no-go!) I made his car out of wire and also wrote out Hojo Racing in wire as well. In the photo below you can see Hojo Racing in red. I painted the letters red because if left in stainless steel you would never notice it behind all of the tracks. The red really brings it out, especially in person.

The car was quite challenging. I thought I could do it, but plans sometimes don't work out the way you imagine them when you actually get to doing. I cruised his website - for a good photo. Once I had found one I used Adobe Photoshop to "find lines". I enlarged and printed this photo and then laid the wire right on the prited paper to make sure it was exact. I started out with the front tire, and then added the bumper, then added each piece one by one. I had at first tried to use 1/8" wire, but (HA!) that didn't work out like I wanted it to. It was much to stiff to get the small curves needed for the tire, and gave it up in about 5 minutes. So I switched to 1/16" stainless "fill" wire. I say fill wire because it is sold as a filler when welding thicker metal. I get it in 1lb packages from my welding supply. It is great for detail work, or like you might have guessed, filling in those gaps when welding.

I don't normally paint my sculptures because the paint doesn't stick to stainless well. But in this case it needed painting so it would stand out, and make it look very clean. Without the paint the small weld spots are noticible. With the paint it looks much cleaner.

The back of the sculpture:

The front of the sculpture:

And the video!


Tom McNamee said...

I ran across your site as part of a Bing search. Great work, and I look forward to exploring it in detail. I especially like the car -- with the paint it really pops!

I've built some toys out of brass, but want to use steel. Have you posted about your welding technique? My experience stops at soldering.

You might enjoy this idea: I build "fortune tellers", where the marbles fall into labeled slots like "romance", "money", etc. I am amazed at what people say when their marbles land on, say, "career". They get real excited and tell me a story about how they just got a job offer, and wow, my amazing device really works! Sometimes they have to drop ten marbles to get what they want. Barnum was right...

Anyway, thanks, and any guidance you can give on welding will be appreciated.
- Tom

Tom H said...


This one's really rockin'! You've merged the automotive speed world with RBS on this one, so it's right up my alley. Nice job on the car design.

I see you've used the sheet steel as part of the collector at the end of the run. I take it this is working out pretty well for you. A friend of mine just gave me a HUGE roll of brass that her ex-husband left behind, so now I have the opportunity to experiment with that material. Rather excited about that.

The timing on this did you work that out??? They arrive at the bottom at almost the exact same time! Nice job. Very nice. I'm sure there was planning involved in that one.

Matt said...

To Tom #1 - I am somewhat of a self taught welder myself. I don't have too much out there on my welding techniques because in the past I didn't feel I was qualified to give advice in that area.

I will offer some tips on the welder I use though. I use a miller maxstar 150sth. The STH stand for high frequency, which enable the spart to jump to your workpiece without having to touch it with your tungsten. Much easier for delicate parts. I set it at about 60+ for welding 1/8 to 1/8 wire together. I like to heat it fast and melt it quickly. I use a 1/16" tungsten. I recommend using an auto darkening welding helmet.

Fortune tellers? Sounds like fun. The machanism would be a fun way to randomize the path the marble takes at the beginning of the different tracks.

Matt said...

To Tom #2

Thanks for your compliment on the car. I took a photo that was taken from the right angle and then put it into photoshop. I had it "find edges" then printed it, then laid the wire on the paper to shape and place correctly. It would have been hard to, uh, "free bend" it.

As for the tracks meeting at the same time, I used the same lengths of track whether for track one or two, just in a different order.

I mixed it up so that one track was - track, track, tipping arm, track, sprial.

Then the other track would be tipping arm, track, spiral, track, track. Each time using the same lengths of wire on the track sections. With the two track so long though, the difference in size between the marbles sometimes decided the race.

The larger marbles go faster than the smaller ones because the rails are slightly closer to the center of the ball giving it more circumference length per revolution. Basically it rides higher on the tracks.

The sheet is very nice to use in certain situations. It offers that seamless, flat surface for the marbles to collect on or roll off easily, without the bumps of wire to contend with.