Monday, February 23, 2009

greetings, ice machine enthusiasts!

I am a terrible blogger. As all (three) of you know, I have failed to finish blogging about the 2008 World Ice Art Championships. Now a whole year has passed, and I find myself back at Belfair preparing for the 2009 event! Perhaps I will properly finish telling last year's tale at some point, but I want to start blogging about this year, so here is a quick summary: Lars and I constructed what we felt was our best sculpture yet, but the machine portion was non-functional. The primary mechanical problem was that we failed to make gears precise enough to mesh (so what else is new). We did, however, complete a giant half gear, several smaller gears, the flywheel, and axles. Then we made an abstract sculpture with rounded edges and round gears on one end and square edges and square gears (not even pretending to be functional) at the other end. It was great fun and hard work, and we ended up rather burnt out (a contributing factor to the non-blogging condition).

On to 2009! We are back in action with a great new design. We contemplated trying a non-mechanical sculpture this year (I suggested penguins). We also had an idea for a simpler, gear-less mechanical windmill. We ended up deciding that mechanical ice sculpture is our own particular. . . idiom, so a machine it will be. We combined the ideas and intend to produce a mechanical penguin. No gears!

Our goal has been to produce a mechanical sculpture that is visually interesting yet requires minimal preparation. We haven't constructed any new tools this year! I'm sure we'll enhance our arsenal in the future, but we needed a year without the hundreds of hours of tool preparation that has kept us so busy in the past. It will be fun to see what we can create using only previously developed tools and techniques.

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