View Full Version : Going big with wireframe sculpture - 9ft

03-21-2018, 01:47 AM
I have in mind a set of wireframe sculptures of angels that I want to make. What sets them apart from all the other discussion I have seen is that I want them very tall... over 9 feet.

The current design is a fairly abstract simple shape, with either a triangular or gently curving triangular, body shape. I was thinking about using some electrical conduit to form the main vertical parts, since that would be fairly strong. I would use another piece of conduit, to put a diagonal brace on the back side, to help prop it up.

I have attached a sketch of the basic frame. Version 1 uses conduit where the thicker lines are used. Notice that the top of the triangle goes to the top of the circle that represents the head. However, there are no clips that I know of, that will attach the lights to the 1/2" dia conduit. So, I would have to perhaps cable-tie all those lights. Also, I do prefer a shape that looks nicer in the daytime, so I don't really like the top of the triangle showing in the Angle's head.

So, in version 2, I am showing just using 3/8" solid steel rod. This way, I can bend the rod to make more of a key-hole shape. I can't do this with the conduit, unless I keep the bends to a 6" radius.

Note that I will be adding some wings, and things like trumpets to various versions of the angels. These will be 1/4" rod.

But, will my 9" tall angel be strong enough if I use 3/8" dia rod for the body of the angel?

Thanks for any advice.

03-24-2018, 12:26 AM
I have a policeman that Doug made for me.
It is 4 ft tall made with 1/4 round and plenty sturdy. You will notice that the policeman has a lot of interconnections. Your design is pretty open and will be TALL. My gut says 3/8 should work but you might want to get a long piece and whip it around a bit and see if it shows and tendency to fold up.
how are you thinking about to anchor them?

03-24-2018, 08:35 AM
A 9 foot frame is going to be top heavy when you add wings and will bend so you will have to support it with something. You will also need some cross bracing between the rods going up the frame to keep them from bowing out. I would say at least 2 or 3. You will need to use cold roll steel rods as the hot roll will bend to easy. Also, 3/8" rod is still going to flex.

03-24-2018, 12:49 PM
After inserting a drawing of a person in my drawing of the angels, I realized that I am going bigger than I need to. So, I have cut them down to be 7'-6". That should help things a bit.

I have a policeman that Doug made for me.
you might want to get a long piece and whip it around a bit and see if it shows and tendency to fold up.
how are you thinking about to anchor them?

Thanks for the suggestion about testing a raw piece of metal. As for anchoring, If you look at my sketch, you will see some vertical lines extending below the triangle. That part will go into the ground. Then, I was planning on adding a diagonal brace to the back side to help prop them up. Note that the arms have parts that cross the triangle at the chest area. This is where my back diagonal will attach. The diagonal will be staked to the ground.

For strength of the two main vertical members, perhaps I should change to pipe. 1/2" Conduit can be bent in a gentle curve by just adding small bends using a conduit bender at multiple locations along its length. I would have to use cable ties to put the lights on that portion, since there aren't clips available for that size.

For the other parts.... I wonder if it is possible to give the frame a spring temper after it is welded together? I think such tempering is done by heating up to some point, and then letting the metal cool slowly. But, this may not be practical for something this big. What if I put charcoal on the ground, and embedded the wire frame in the charcoal. As the charcoal slowly burns out, the temperature would slowly go down, and the remaining ash will also help keep it insulated a bit.


07-04-2018, 04:37 AM
I used 1/2x1/2 a513 for my angels they are very lite and are very strong. this site will not allow the pic to upload. If you care to see some pictures you can check them out at bethlehem hills christmas light park on facebook.

07-04-2018, 09:57 AM
39802 these are on 10ft sticks of 3/4. These are 1/4" rod.

Now the cat is off my lap I can type.. ha ha..

I made these out of 1/4" steel rod. I didn't use cold rolled, no need. I welded on some 3/4" conduit hangers so they could be supported by the 3/4" EMT running down the back. When it was all said and done, the EMT was painted green to disappear in my redwood trees. At night you could not see them until they were lit.

My recommendation is don't over think it.

07-04-2018, 11:59 PM
I used 1/2x1/2 a513 for my angels.

1st, for folks not in the engineering field, a515 is a type of steel.

1/2x1/2" Sq steel solid, or tubing (then what wall thickness)?


07-05-2018, 10:06 PM
sorry tubing with .065

07-06-2018, 07:52 AM
sorry tubing with .065

To be absolutely clear, square tubing, or round tubing?

How did you bend the tubing?


Wayne J
07-06-2018, 09:09 AM
Is aluminum out of the question?