VCR Rollers revisited [Sept 2011]

VCR tape rollers, stainless steel wire, hematite beads, clock and watch gears, small springs, brass rod

I've been playing with the tape rollers again, but have been getting a bit more creative with them.  Ive been slicing up the roller itself, and inserting drilled out clock and watch gears, slices of brass rod turned down to the same size, hematite beads and other things.

I like these earrings, and will be doing more of them (as soon as I can get my hands on some more junked Videocassette Recorders.) - they are nice little mini projects, that can be completed in a single session.

Nick's Piece (aka 'Infinite Patience') [remade May 2011]

Computer Hard Drive Spindle Parts, Hematite Beads, Small Camera Lens, Thrust Bearing, Watch Glass, Steel Watch Gear, Marcasite, Syntheric Ruby Watch Jewel.

This piece was originally made for my friend Nick some time around 2005, but possibly even earlier. It originally looked like this:

Computer Hard Drive Spindle Parts, Hematite Beads, Brass Watch Gear.

The greying of the alloy parts is due the natural corrosion caused by body oils and sweat. Some alloys are more susceptible to it than others. He wore it almost continuously until the brass gear in the centre detatched and was lost, and he gave it back to me for repair. This was around 6 years ago. For some reason I just never got around to fixing it up. Nick has been abroad for many years, so I havent seen much of him - until last week, when he visited Australia briefly to renew a visa and visit family.

He stayed with me and spent a day in my studio while in transit in Sydney, and with a smile and infinite patience asked me about his old piece. I dug out the bits, and decided that it (and Nick) deserved more than just a basic repair, and so the piece was made over.

The original spindle with its 8 inset hematite beads was retained, but I replaced the outer, finned part with a new, unmachined version of the same part that I had. The simple brass gear that had been lost was replaced with a more intricate arrangement of parts, but one that still referenced the original design.

A tiny brass and steel thust bearing was inserted into a slightly machined out centre, with a small steel watch gear of similar design to the original brass gear set in its centre. A piece of faceted marcasite was set in the centre of the gear on the front, and a synthetic ruby watch jewel was set in the same place on the back. A small camera lens was recessed into the front, and the back is protected by a watch glass that is sandwiched between the finned outer part and the inner part of the spindle. I spent a while crushing tiny hematite beads in a vice in order to obtain the six halves that are inset into six holes on the rear of the piece. Like most of my more recent pieces, it can now be worn either way around.

It has been a long time coming, but I finished the transformation while Nick was here with me watching the whole process, which made it quite special, and he had it on when he boarded the plane for New Delhi last night. :)

Rollers [Apr 2011]

VCR Tape Rollers, Stainless Steel Wire, Hematite Bead

Made a bunch of earrings from tape rollers from salvaged videocassette recorders.  For icons of 1980's technology, they have a surprisingly art deco feel to me.  Each VCR has a pair of these rollers, and I'm yet to find two pairs that are the same.  The steel shaft is extremely tough steel - I broke a number of solid carbide drill bits before getting the technique for drilling them down.  As you can see in the photo below, I started off using off-the-shelf earring hangers because i had run out of stainless steel wire.  I thought these let the earrings down though, so ordered some 0.5mm SS wire and made my own hangers, complete with a little cylindrical bicone hematite bead.

There are a few pairs of these left - if anyone is interested, email me know.  I'm asking $60 a pair.

A blast from the past - The Beginning [1996/97?]

Cut section of Steel gear and splined shaft from car gearbox, brass pin.

This is where it all began.  The first piece I ever made, some time back in the mid 90's.  I found these images as black and white photo negatives in a pile of old darkroom junk I had in a box under the house.

I remember I had been pulling apart an old car gearbox, and something about the way the gears looked on the splined shaft stirred something in me that has been growing and evolving ever since.

I used an angle grinder to slice off a section of the gear and shaft (took a long time - gears are tough!) and smoothed the back, somehow (I can't even remember how) fixed the shaft end into the middle of the gear, polished the whole lot and found a small brass cone shaped pin that fit into the centre hole in the shaft.

It was a heavy piece, being solid steel. It was given as a present to an ex-girlfriend, who may even still have it. I hope it hasnt rusted...

Anomalous Piece [Feb 2011]

beam splitter, stainless steel surgical bone pin, spring, titanium rod.

This piece is something of an anomaly for me, because it isn't round.  The glass beam splitter block is also something of a mystery, as I can't remember exactly where it came from.  Either a camera or a piece of old scientific equipment.  Camera most likely.

the pads glued to the sides of the block are machined from titanium rod - incredibly difficult given their size and thinness.  The bent rod that holds the block is cut from a stainless steel surgical bone pin, from the Vet where my partner Rachel works.  the ends were rounded to fit in the hemispherical cups machined into the pads.  The block is free to rotate, held in place by the spring tension of the steel rod. 

A Spring is used to attach the work to the fine coated steel cable, the spring being held between two stoppers machined from titanium.  small grooves were milled in the top of the stoppers, to hold the ends of the spring and also to prevent the wire from kinking where it comes out of the spring at the stopper.  Again, very fine and fiddly machine work required here.

It is extremely difficult to photograph this piece, as it dynamically changes with light and surroundings, and flashes gold or irridescent orange when it catches the light, and looks translucent blue or purple from other angles.  it also partially reflects its surroundings.

This piece is a gift for my partner, Rachel.

...and there is a secret circle in there too ;)