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Engineering the Steel Support Column for “The Puff of Wind Sculpture”

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
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When the sculpture was installed originally we had to modify the column and have it self supporting with zero bolts in the ground.

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Since the ground was the (supposedly fragile) roof of a concrete public parking lot, no anchors into the concrete were allowed.

Also the weight had to be distributed evenly over a large area so the load didn’t exceed the City’s strict limited “claimed“ strength of the concrete.

So the solution was to use a shorter column mounted to plates of steel, stacked in a concrete container restrained by a steel rim on a 9 ft x 9 ft3/4” steel plate merely resting on the ground.

Worse, the ground had a slope in two directions. So I devised adjustable leveling bolts and use double what my engineer approved and that way made the main column absolutely vertical.

Then because we can have hurricanes of 80 mph and massive torsion and tipping moments, I added numerous 1/2”stainless steel cables to counteract tipping.

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That existing column at the original site was made of carbon steel. We have move to a much stronger and corrosion resistant steel.

Now, its its new location, at last, we can directly bolt to a custom engineered concrete base with 12 ft footings at The City of Long Beach.

I decided to use a more elite steel, 17-4 PH with much greater yield and tensile strength and hardness. So cables are not needed nor any giant counterweight. But the new column has to be 3ft taller to account for the missing height of the counterweights and the giant concrete pot.

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Computer Graphic of The Puff Of Wind
Set in a Panorama of the New Location
Below The Long Beach Museum of Art
And At the end of Junipero Road

As the new concrete foundation in Long Beach is now perfectly flat, no leveling setup is required. We have a much more refined and far strongly engineered support column of 17-4 Stainless Steel. Also we have double checked that by Finite Element Analysis and the City’s consult engineering firm concurred with the calculations.

A lot of thought, but the sculpture is actually designed to handle harsh winds up to 112 MPH, by turning into the wind. The massive SKF bearings are in two duplicated, sets, so even if one set was jammed, the other would work. But even if both were stuck and the sail is locked perpendicular to the wind, the sculpture will not fail or tip. It’s designed for that load! Meanwhile there would be no roofs anywhere in the City!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
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Here is the location, below the Museum of Art ( upper left), and in front of the STEPS, an iconic workout gym for the community and main route down to the beach!

part of the process and ritual is counting the number of complete exercise “cycles” one achieves!
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Folk use different means of counting complete rounds of up&down all stairs with markers.

One marks the earth with her finger:

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Another places tiny twigs in a little cluster on the wall.


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A third using acorn shells!

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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The plan is to have a minimum of

8” Long steel threaded anchors, 8” into the high pressure concrete (the City poured for us to depth of 12 ft).

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We copied exactly the hole pattern on the new column to an aluminum template. Using spray paint, the position of holes needed were marked on the concrete base.

Then we drilled 1/4” starter holes, before bringing in the heavy duty HILTI hammer drill and a 36” 7/8” carbide-tipped top of line concrete cutting bit. Although it was promised to ALSO cut through steel rebar like a hot knife through butter, it couldn’t get even a bite on rebar that blocked our progress at 6” depth!

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So we brought in hardened steel cutting drills and I worked out that when we harvested 3 chips of rebar, we could then use our HILTI drill again. But each hole too hours to get past the rebar!

But we did it! Thanks to José Reyes, our steel worker!

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The threaded rods are permanently fused to the concrete with an advanced high strength engineering epoxy which takes days to cure. In the image above, the injector mixes the two parts of the epoxy which is injected deep into the brushed and air pressure-cleaned perfectly/tapped 1” hole.

We have achieved a minimum of 600% of the needed holding power for the worse imaginable stress, tortion and tipping scenarios. So I am very happy. We still have to set the tortion on the nuts, but I will allow more time for cure!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Robert,

Thanks for dropping by. Learning about the personal rituals of exercise was big surprise and so fascinating!

Asher
 

Maggie Terlecki

Well-known member
I've checked out the link to your website, which has information on the sculpture. It is indeed impressive and lots of work. But once everything is installed it will be all worth it. Amazing!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I've checked out the link to your website, which has information on the sculpture. It is indeed impressive and lots of work. But once everything is installed it will be all worth it. Amazing!
It’s an attempt to embrace femininity on a massive scale. The sail curves match the thighs of a female model.

The waves match the curls in Botticelli’s Venus’ hair. Look at the video explaining its construction.

The boat doesn’t beat the wind but rather it has to negotiate to move forward!

Asher
 

Maggie Terlecki

Well-known member
I went back to check the videos you put up. Very interesting and shows the idea behind it and also how difficult it seemed to get the shapes all rolled and cut out. I would suggest perhaps putting the video (at least the 1st one) on youtube, where you could get more people to see it and also because I had to watch more than once to get the video to play without the loading pausing out. The second time around it ran without a hitch, but I would also think you'd want more people to see it without having to find it on your site. Just an idea, of course! :) Maggie
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Maggie,

OPFrs are just getting an early explanation.

But, having said that, it’s helpful to know that hosting videos on YouTube or the like would be an advantage!

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
I really enjoyed your videos showing the construction and concepts Asher. A massive undertaking and commitment. You have my respect.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I really enjoyed your videos showing the construction and concepts Asher. A massive undertaking and commitment. You have my respect.
Robert,

I have been blessed with so much. If I can create art that uplifts and inspires folk then I feel very fortunate that my effort is appreciated.

it also increases my respect for every workman and engineer who make ideas become real!

I feel so privileged that my imagination can greet thousands of folk coming to the beach each day and those who use the enormously steep stairway as an outdoor free gym!

Imagine, in the period for public comment, folk could have easily blocked my art being installed. Fortunately that didn’t happen!

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
That is impressive Asher. Thanks for sharing the project for us to follow here on your forum over the past years. Also really appreciate the link to the press release.
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
I remember your original model!! Those anchors will definitely keep it from floating away. Nice to see your completed work. Would be nice to physically see it.
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Here in Europe one cannot have access to the online press release…

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So here is the text:
“Puff of Wind," a public art sculpture donated by Dr. Asher David Kelman, has been installed at its new Long Beach home at Junipero Beach, just below the Long Beach Art Museum.
The sculpture is 31 feet high and 17 feet long. It features a stainless-steel sailboat and the artist said he hopes young people are inspired when they see it. The boat is a fully rotating sculpture that will sail (rotate) with the wind. It is anchored 12 feet in cement.
Multiple cities were vying for the sculpture but Kelman credits Long Beach’s Eric Lopez, director of Public Works, for serving as the “puff of wind” that gave Long Beach a leg up in securing the piece.
“It has been a pleasure working with the artist on the relocation of this beautiful sculpture to the city of Long Beach,” Lopez said. He added that the City Council authorized the installation of the Puff of Wind at Junipero Beach in August 2019.
The staff report at the time said, “The ‘Puff of Wind' sculpture serves as a metaphor for the journey of life and the wish to inspire people toward the American Dream.
"The sculptor imagined a magical boat for their odyssey and urged the sailor to catch a ‘Puff of Wind, to sail toward their destiny.”
Tom Shadden, founder of Aquatic Capital of America and a government and corporate liaison during the 1984 Olympics said, "To have ‘Puff of Wind' installed at the foot of Junipero in Long Beach is a fitting tribute to the 1984 Olympic sailing venue and an inspiration to our youth to pursue their dreams."
Kelman said, “Individuals pushing beyond apparent boundaries is what sustains humanity. That is the odyssey we want for each child,”
The sailboat is a stylized version of a Beetle Cat that Kelman witnessed sailing along the eastern seaboard. Initially he observed young sailors on the water from a large sailboat. Next, he chartered a plane in North Haven, Maine, to fly over to look at the wake the boats left. That night he dreamt the curly hair of Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was what the wind and wake resembled and incorporated that into the design.
Beetle Cats are to Massachusetts youth sailors what Naples Sabots are to Long Beach sailors. Jacqueline Onassis had a Beetle Cat shipped to Greece in 1969 for John F. Kennedy Jr. to learn sailing. The boats have a distinctive Gaff rig with a four cornered sail with a pole (Gaff) at the top.
Kelman continued to pursue inspirational excursions including a visit to Chicago to see Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” and capture the mercury-like surface that reflects images in playful ways.
More research included a quick flight to France, where in Bordeaux he met with French sea captain and yacht photographer Nicolas Claris, who urged Kelman to be sure the boat would rotate with the wind.
The project was an international endeavor with experts from all over the world providing input: a Bulgarian guru on curved steel, a bridge expert from Pakistan, an aeronautical engineer from Holland and a civil engineer from Manhattan Beach, all working in concert with the artist.
Puff of Wind was the winning entry in the Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Commission’s contest in 2014 for the Sculpture Garden Exhibition. It was planned as one-year display, yet remained for four additional years.
The sculpture was displayed in a plaza-on the roof of a parking structure., at 15th Street and Highland Avenue in Manhattan Beach. The display did not allow the boat to move with the wind. Kelman said he wanted the sculpture in a spot where the wind could make the sculpture come alive, and Long Beach was the perfect venue.
Thank you Asher to quote me, but my contribution was not so important with regard to the work you accomplished... Bravo!
And yes, I admit that to a certain extent, I am proud to have introduced you into the world of sailing boats!
 

Maggie Terlecki

Well-known member
Bravo, Asher, Puff of Wind finally finds its much needed air! I'm so proud to say I know you and that you created this inspiring sculpture! :) Maggie
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Here in Europe one cannot have access to the online press release…

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So here is the text:


Thank you Asher to quote me, but my contribution was not so important with regard to the work you accomplished... Bravo!
And yes, I admit that to a certain extent, I am proud to have introduced you into the world of sailing boats!
My dear friend,

No way this would have come to being without being inspired by “Only Now” and other Claris Vision documentaries of majestic boats. Except I wanted a boat that a 15 year old could take on the ocean and be safe!

Also, in the back of my mind was always your hanging colored palette of skins of leather and Romain’s “La Robe” to inspire me to be poetic and not merely make something engineering-wise perfect, but lacking soul.

All you guys here are my emotional conscience and I owe you a lot for my being able to create in an otherwise very risky, hugely expensive and lonely art space where the chance of being selected for a commission is something like 1 in 600!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This might give an idea of the serious steel loads we were dealing with. It means going first class in equipment and rigging engineering! No way one could compete without funds!

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Asher Kelman: Rigging “The Puff of Wind”

In one city they want work to cease by 4:30 on latest and be off the site by 5:00 pm. That alone extends the rental of the crane and puts us into first “overtime” and then 4 x time after 12 hrs. So just the Spyder Crane is almost $11,000.

I guess the aphorism, “To fish in deep water, first get high wading boots!”, might be worth paying attention to at the planning stage of such a project, :


Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

I am just so proud of you for this stupendous accomplishment. It has taken you into so many realms. The result is wondrous, not only the piece itself but also the social context by which it had has several homes.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
How exciting for you and great to see the video of it coming together (the sound track brought to mind another sailing ship sculpture Sun Voyager by Jón Gunnar Árnason). Had you considered any alternatives to supporting the sculpture on a pole? Might be something to consider when developing your next design.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
How exciting for you and great to see the video of it coming together (the sound track brought to mind another sailing ship sculpture Sun Voyager by Jón Gunnar Árnason). Had you considered any alternatives to supporting the sculpture on a pole? Might be something to consider when developing your next design.
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Sun Voyager by Jón Gunnar Árnason

This artwork is for sure, not derived from visiting Nicolas Claris’ photography of fabulous yachts in Bordeaux or watching teenagers learn to be independant In a Beetle Gaff-Rigged Sailboat off the coast of Massachussetts or Maine!

The Sun Voyager is far more of an ethereal abstraction of the cultural heritage of Mongols and Norsemen who were all close to the sea at birth.

It’s a wonderful eye opener for me and I will be influenced by its beautiful simplicity and unity of form!

I so appreciate the introduction!

Having oars does make for a novel and stable construction!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
How exciting for you and great to see the video of it coming together (the sound track brought to mind another sailing ship sculpture Sun Voyager by Jón Gunnar Árnason). Had you considered any alternatives to supporting the sculpture on a pole? Might be something to consider when developing your next design.
Alternatively, we could suspend the boat from the air as in Baron Munchausen tales!

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It all started as exaggerated war stories and then these gor written down and in the end a fabulously free spirited movie, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen!

Still, I think the sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason is much more of a stimulus for my esthetics!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I think my next work will have an entire sea with giant moving waves and the boat will have a spinnaker! I have to study a lot more!

......or else I will do an entirely wild mythic work inspired by Jón’s epic sculpture “Sun Voyager”!

Asher
 
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