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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
 
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