In college I was a business major and a studio art minor (metalsmithing).  To this day I wonder which part of my college education better prepared me for my career.  In my business courses I learned about Porter’s Five Forces and SWAOT analysis, but my art courses taught me how to improvise, solve problems, and get things done.

Allow me to explain.

One of my favorite things to do is to create something beautiful from spare parts.  My goal this weekend was to create a tiny candle powered windmill from my bag of work scraps.  I haven’t done much work recently, so my work scraps barely fill up a sandwich bag.  All in all, a nice meaty problem.

I started by crafting the rotors.  I only have three temperatures of solder and the rotors required 6 different solder points, so I had to be very strategic in the way I fabricated it.  First I assembled the base ring with high temperature solder.  Then attached the four rotors, and the base connection to the wire-top-cap connection all at once using medium temperature solder (full disclosure – it took me three tries to get this one right).




Finally, I put the heat on once more and attached the top cap – being very careful not to break any of my previous solder points.



Then I went to work on the base.  I got very lucky that I had a scrap brass dowel that could act as the main support for the rotors.  I also found a great pointed silver scrap to serve as the “friction point.”


The end result:


Now let’s try the candles:

Doesn’t quite generate enough heat to spin on it’s own yet – but I’m confident it’ll get there as the candles wear down.

Overall, a successful art day.

The Importance of Art Time
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