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Skeeter Joe

The state bird of Michigan?
This took a little vision and some planning … and what do you know? (Quiz: which piece in this photo is a detractor)
The body and a leg
Have you ever plucked the wings off of a mosquito?
Making progress (aka getting there)
Major progress (aka gotten there)

Welded metal art – 2019-22 Project #39. The moment had arrived! Time to move on to a project of my own selection. I had found an example of a scrap metal art mosquito online and decided to dive into that venture. I accumulated the parts from my metal bin. How about that – I was planning ahead (score one for the yellow sticky note on my desk!) and moving forward with the vision (no sticky note required). As things progressed, I did find that the vision had to be slightly adjusted – a normal expectation with any real-life experience. Especially with this scrap metal art random reality experience (say that fast three times). The real challenge in this project came in the form of low power level TIG welding. Some of the parts did not take well to higher power settings … well they did take, but the “take” resulted in the disintegration of materials and the rapid creation of puddles of molten metal. So unless I wanted to present a post-apocalyptic, dystopian version of a common mosquito, I needed to get a handle on the welder settings. And that I did … as well as a beer or two.

The body was the first part I assembled for the mosquito, because … it was the easiest weld! Two threaded plugs joined together – in the words of Emeril, BAM! That was easy … this was going to be a breeze? Ahh yeah – all stop with the breezy talk. Every TIG weld from that point forward was an experience. This was especially evident when I switched over to making the wings. The material I used was wire material that looked like curtain hangers? I have no better explanation for them, but a picture is worth a thousand words – and I have a picture, so see above. Yeah, I’m talking about the wire looking stuff. I cut and formed the wire (stuff) into the shape of wings and every so lightly TIG welded the joints together (OK, in reality maybe it took several attempts to get the wings right, but for the purpose of this post I get to act like it went great on the first try!). After figuring out the settings, the welding of the wings was quite gratifying. On to the next challenge – attaching wings and legs to the body. It became evident that the best way to weld these wire pieces to the body was to place a puddle (different puddle than the one discussed in the first paragraph) of feed wire on the body in the spots where the legs and wings were to be placed. I heated the puddle to a molten (a.k.a. red in color, and really hot) state, and pushed the end of the leg/wing into the red spot. They key was to remove the torch from the weld spot as soon as the weld connected the wire in place (and before the wire started melting). For the tail I used a piece of rod stock material (abandoned the plan to use chain) welded to the ‘back end’ of Joe. The rod piece just kind of showed up in the plan, and was way quicker and easier to weld into place than chain. The tail served as ballast to balance the whole piece on it’s legs. The eyes were two ball bearings welded into a small nut and put in the vicinity of where eyes should be on a mosquito? I am assuming here as I have never really looked into the eyes of a mosquito. Heck, I’ve never even thought about a mosquito’s eyes until this moment – who knows, maybe they all wear sunglasses and bandannas? Continuing on – the nose/beak/stinger (front feature thingy) was formed by TIG welding two Tillotson carburetor needles together and attaching the ‘feature’ just below the eyes. I attempted to include a carburetor spring on one of the needles, but the spring didn’t take kindly to the welding process. So while the spring remained somewhat intact, the look was not nearly as cool after the weld as it was before the weld. The remainder of the work on the project was adjusting the legs to attain the perfect front to back balance such that the dude stood up on his own. And upon achieving said balance – behold! Skeeter Joe!

A fine looking project and an effort that I was quite proud of! As I proceeded with the project the thought of soldering or brazing some of the pieces together did cross my mind. But my venture is “welded metal art” not “soldered/brazed metal art”. Again, I stuck with my program and am very glad I did. I have to say that having a clear plan (clear intention) for this project, and really being happy with being able to select my own project (elevated emotion), produced some results that validated intentional consciousness for me. Some of the pieces that I wanted/needed just kind of showed up or became available as I progressed. I think my conclusion here is to truly believe in your creative/divine self (no lip service – you ‘gotta have your own back!). When you get there, expect to be surprised – you know, like with ice cream … ice cream is always a great surprise! In all seriousness, put your energy to good use, expect the amazing and mystical, never (ever!) give up … and Weld On!!