Saturday, March 17, 2012

Emergency Surgery

I don't know if I ever got around to blogging about it, but a couple of the pieces we did in the fall for Maker Faire have had some additional life.  Last December we loaded two of the larger pieces up on the green roof of the Gates Center.

It makes a really nice display, and as a benefit is visible from the Purnell Center main staircase so we can see them all the time.

When we put them out there we joked about having a pool as a fundraiser for Senior Showcase.  We'd sell dates for when people thought the plywood would fail in the weather.  They made it all through December and rain and snow and just recently I started to think they would make the full six month display they are allotted.

But as it turns out, had we done the pool the winning date would have been March 16th:


Then there was a flurry of emails and today I found myself with a crew putting together an emergency repair call.  We knew we had a problem with the stegosaurus, but when we got to Gates we found that the other piece had taken on a fairly epic lean as well.

The failure we knew about looked even worse when we got close.  I started to think maybe repairing it might be impossible.  One of my guys thought we should just create a pool of tar around the base so it would look like it was stuck in a tar pit.

First thing we did was try to right the Parasaurlopholous.  After getting our hands on it we couldn't really figure out why it was still standing.  We also found that pretty much whatever we did it still wanted to lean.  I guess the pieces had warped into a stable but leaning shape, so when we tried to make it vertical it wanted to fall and if we left it leaning it seemed more stable.  In the end we tweaked things as best we could and tried to get the center of mass back over the center of the footprint, but I think probably in the not too distant future this piece will faceplant.

That right leg just has so much splay in it.

Then we went on to survey the damage to the larger piece.  It had a broken femur...

and also a broken foot...

We'd actually strategized a little about this one before coming over.  I felt like any repair to the legs was just going to be a band-aid, so we fabricated some quick steel stands so we could take the weight with the stands and just use the legs and feet as outriggers.  We installed the stands and then scabbed together the legs as well as we could.  It turned out we had to make them a little longer too in order for them to touch the ground in the new position (we failed a little, the left front foot is hovering a little bit off the ground).

Still, looks pretty good.

So here's an "after" photo.  I'm a little surprised how close we got to the original positions.  Not bad for two hours of work.

I do think it might be time to start thinking about a pool though.  It's unlikely the Steg will fall now that it is on stands, but that Parasaur... just a matter of time.

Wanna pick a date?

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