A couple of weeks ago I was laying in bed waiting on my turn in the bathroom, and was trying to think of something to make as something fun for an upcoming camping trip. One of Kari’s professors, who was basically leading the excursion, likes to make things for camping, and I wanted to participate. In a flash I was inspired, and before Kari spit out her toothpaste, I had a nearly-fully fleshed out design sketched for “Mark Dawson’s Best Campfire Beer Stake and Tequila Assistant”.
In the morning I went to make the computer files, and thought I’d cut it out of paper, first, to make sure it was going to work. (See photo above…this is why I don’t make things with hand tools.) My goal was to make the entire thing out of one piece of steel, using only cuts (on the waterjet) and folding – very elegant and graceful – hence the test. Looked good, er, well, feasible, so I finalized the vector graphic file to take to TechShop.
My first draft came out well enough, but I didn’t think accurately enough about how the bends themselves would come out, plus the hole for the can and the shot glass were a bit too big, but it worked!
All I had to do was tweak the computer files and run in through the waterjet again. Oh, and version 2.0 got an integrated bottle opener in the main stem!
I had a sheet of a steel alloy called “corten” or “cor-ten”, a metal that is designed to corrode (rust), but only a little, and that thin layer of corrosion serves to protect the underlying metal – theoretically things made with this alloy don’t require paint or other protection. I had been looking for something to make with the material, and this seemed like a good option! I also tried regular mild steel, since I found a piece in the scrap bin, but it turned out to be too thin and flimsy.
While my design to cut and bend the entire thing from one solid piece worked just fine, I did cut a separate rib to weld on for extra stiffness. The corten version, while thicker, still bends if somebody trips over a log and lands on it after a couple of shots of Mescal…