Going Jurassic

It’s been a busy February and March at Lorenzen Customs.  I’ve been designing and fabricating a railing for my father-in-law, a Stegosaurus wind vane, and (FINALLY) putting the finishing touches on the Ace and King of Spades playing cards.  It’s super exciting to see things getting finished and, most importantly, the big smiles on customers’ faces!

The Stegosaurus project was the dream of a co-worker; he’s talked with me about it for a few years, and now it’s a reality.  You can see the process in the images below.  There were a few challenges in this project; the first of which was figuring out how it would mount on his roof.  He had an existing bracket from on old antennae already in place, so we first had to figure if we could use it and then how to mount the vane in it. 

The next challenge was to figure out how to get the wind vane to not only pivot in the breeze, but also to point in the right direction.  Did you know a wind vane points to the direction the wind is coming from?  If the wind is from the north, the vane points to the north.  So, to make it work, it had to be mounted in a specific position.

Finally, I had to consider the size.  Since this was going to mount on the roof, it had to be big enough to see from the ground, but not too big for the mounting equipment or so big that a strong wind could pull it off the roof; put all those factors together and it’s a working (hopefully) product.

Project fabrication included the CNC plasma cutting machine and the MIG welder.  Most of my custom designs (which I could do for you, too) start with an image or a drawing.  Sometimes, customers provide me a picture of something they like, and I use that as a starting point for the design process.  Other times, I create sketches based on client discussions as a starting point.  The part I like is the creative process of taking an idea and coming up with original art. 

I use graphics software to convert my drawings into computer language to drive the CNC machine. And then, the computer drives the cutter to create a metal version of the art. It’s so cool!  Once the parts are cut, it’s on to assembly, finish work, and final touches. And then the project is out the door and into the customer’s hands!

Some jobs require a lot of consultation along the way.  The playing card (Ace-King) commission is a good example of that, as I consulted with my client often.  Other projects are straight-forward and require little contact during fabrication.  With the wind vane, the only consultation was to decide on paint colors. 

My favorite moment is always when the client sees the product for the first time and the wonderment that comes with it.  I love taking an abstract idea, something drawn on a piece of paper, and making that thought into something real and tangible; it’s the best thing.  I can’t wait to do this for you.  I’m taking commissions – what can I build for you?

Published by Lorenzen Customs

Designing and fabricating amazing custom furniture and art. Artist, welder, fabricator, husband, dad, and teacher.

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