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Sculpture

Pineapple

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"Words cannot express how thrilled and delighted I am with the Pineapple. Thank you so much for all the creative thought, engineering skills and time that you put into creating it. Amazing!!!"
Pineapple client, UK


(Click on any image to enlarge)

This piece is not exactly in my usual style, but when a client says "Can you make me a copper pineapple?", you have to say yes! Because it's so unusual, and presented a considerable challenge to construct, I thought it worthwhile to offer some technical detail regarding its development.

So, how do you make a copper pineapple? Milling it from solid was out of the question; trying to shape it from one or a small number of flat sheets using panel-beating techniques would have been supremely difficult (one wrong hammer stroke and you start again....).... so the technique adopted was to create a large number of individual overlapping copper panels, attached to an underlying structure of layered stainless steel discs, held together using a number of vertical threaded rods.

After constructing a full-size cardboard model to test the feasibility of the idea, the panels (3 different sizes) and discs were designed on CAD and cut using a CNC laser cutting machine, with pre-cut matching bolt holes. Each panel was then individually shaped, planished and edged using a pneumatic hammer, bolted on to its alloted disc, and custom-fitted to its neighbours.

The copper leaves were hand-cut from flat sheet, rolled (vertically), then shaped and planished using the pneumatic hammer, with tabs formed on each to facilitate bolting to a brass base-plate.

On completion of assembly, the entire piece was completely dismantled to facilitate final polishing and finishing. Every piece and bolt-hole was uniquely numbered to facilitate successfull re-assembly!

In theory, it should have been simple to bolt the piece onto its steel plinth using the large threaded rod emerging from the lowest disc. However, that would have required access to the underneath of the plinth! So, a complex engineering solution was devised: a "sandwich" of steel plates was constructed to surround the top surface of the plinth, with bolts welded to the plate pre-fixed to the underside of the plinth-top, and mounts for the piece welded to the upper plate, with the two plates bolted together through the plinth after placing the piece, and the entire system enclosed within a polished brass custom-shaped collar.

Statistics:

Materials: copper, stainless steel, brass
Dimensions: 23" x 23" x 53" (57cm x 57cm x 135cm)
Weight: 80lb (36Kg)

This piece was constructed for a private client, and is therefore not for sale (and even if it were, it would be for a great deal of money!).

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For details of exhibitions of work by Nigel Williams, please click here.

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