Final Passivation

IMG_3817 Yesterday finished assembly and this morning was the final passivation.

Early in the process we do a hard passivation with Nitric Acid, but at this point it is a special Citric acid solution that cleans and passivates.

Passivation sprayBecause it is a much less acidic solution, this one can be applied with a squirt bottle, and it tends to cling and stick to the metal.

We let it sit and do its chemical magic with the Stainless Steel,  and then Rinse like crazy.  After a few trials, we figured out that a regular garden hose just did not give the rinse we wanted without taking a very long time, so the last few have been power washes like the one this morning.


Hoist Away- the Final Gear gets Mounted

IMG_3803It was a moment to freeze in time just a bit ago when the final gear got mounted.

No video, because I was working the hoist chain to lift it into place, but some great shots to give you a preview of what it will look like.  IMG_3801

This picture with Dave standing next to it ( he is 6’1″) gives you a sense of real life scale.

The rest of today will be mounting that last piece of glass in place, and then all the final  clean and polish work in prep for the move later this week.    Although the statue is imposing enough at 8′ tall, and 2000 lbs, I like this angle on it as the gears, like Kokomo, reach for the sky. IMG_3804

Pin and Polish Day

IMG_3794Today was the day for the central stabilizing in, and polishing the large gear that will get mounted on the top soon .

In this shot, not only has the stabilizing pin been put in , but you can see all the amber glass mounted and sealed in the bottom gear.

IMG_3795 Dave uses polishing compound and a buffing wheel hooked up to his air tool to get significant shine on the top most gear.  You can see all the blue glass except for one section in on the top gear.  That last section will stay empty so we have a way to lift and mount with the crane, then the last piece of glass gets installed.

The Vision


The posts lately have been lots of pieces, parts and tools.. so this morning, as the silicone on the glass in the bottom gear is drying, seemed like a good time to flashback to the beginning and take a look at the vision that is getting very close at hand.  This week we had our meeting with the site prep crew , talked through placement and handed over the bolts that will fasten When the Earth Moves into the center of the City Hall fountain.  Soon they will be drilling and embedding the bolts in the concrete, awaiting the arrival of new art…..

Meet and Greet at City Hall


Last night was First Friday in Downtown Kokomo, and the City arranged for a meet and greet for us in front of the new fountain. We were able to bring the top gear ( the only one not yet installed) and show off a large picture of the statue.  It was a fun evening, and gave us a chance to continue explaining why Kinetic Artists are making a piece that will not move…. 

The fountain is a zero retention fountain designed for folks to interact and walk through.. which means they will be walking right up to and touching  When the Earth Moves as well.  Small fingers getting stuck in moving one inch stainless steel gears would result in potential serious injury… so… no moving gears. 

IMG_3784People got it right away, and the response to the statue was overwhelmingly positive. And hey- with a fountain that calls to people this strongly, how can you not let them play in it?


Prepping Glass for Silicone

IMG_3668The Glass inserts have gotten ground and smoothed for fitting, so today is a Silicone Test day.


We are using a Blue bat that was created just to test the functionality of the molds ( the bats are actually poured in amber for the statue) , and are letting the Silicone Set in the mold as a fitting, drying and function test before putting the rest of the inserts into the statue itself.





Power Tools… FTW

IMG_3675The base of When the Earth Moves is the Point where the largest base gear is erupting from the earth, so a smooth finish made no sense….  but the Hammered Stainless Steel looks man made and manipulated. We wanted something more natural and yet cracked looking.






After some experimentation on scrap pieces, David discovered that his air hammer made an excellent “crinkle” finish, so we are adopting that for the base.

IMG_3630 IMG_3631 IMG_3647 IMG_3666 IMG_3664 IMG_3663






















It is much faster than hand hammering, but LOUD.  Turn your volume on before hitting play…

Raising up Gears 3 and 4



The other day we reached the point where 2 more gears got mounted onto the statue. With the gantry crane and a helping hand from a friend, it went like clockwork, and was one of the easiest things we have done in the project thus far.




If I had a hammer……

We have talked a lot about “shiny” in these posts, but that is not the only finish for Stainless Steel.  On When The Earth Moves, the base and uprights are going to be forms of Hammered Stainless.

How do you get Hammered Stainless?

This is a fun part,( although kind of back breaking) and I even got to get in on some of the action: