Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coffin Racer for Denton's Day of the Dead Festival

We have been hard at work in the Studio so we decided to take some time and create something fun. A friend of mine informed us that Denton hosts a Day of the Dead Festival each year. This festival is home to a soapbox race featuring coffin cars. Having never even been to a soapbox race, let alone building a soap box racer, we signed up. Over a team meeting, we came up with Race in Peace (R.I.P.) as our coffin racer’s name. We wanted to do something different from the competitors so we designed our coffin to be colorful and groovy.  Our creative process was as follows.

Inspiration: We decide on a trike

 Ken built the chassis using a steel frame, which included a steering wheel. We knew that the coffin car was something that we were going to want to keep so we weren’t thrilled about the idea of slamming it into a stack of hay bails to stop the momentum. Ken fabricated a brake system that allowed me to push on the pedals and it would effectively stop the back two wheels.

Completed Chassis

For the body, we cut the frame of the coffin on the CNC machine. The total length of the coffin ended up being nine feet long to house the chassis and allow for more than one driver. Ken hand-shaped a wood fairing for design and aerodynamics.

Coffin racer body

Hand carved fairing

To execute our vision, we made the decision to paint the body like an old school red and white VW bus and add some groovy details.

Base coat

Finishing touches

Weighing in at 223 lbs. Is there a prize for the heaviest car?

We had so much fun the day of the festival. We brought our kids to cheer us on as we competed against 40 other coffin cars. We ended up placing 10th out of 40. We were very pleased with this considering it was our first attempt at soapbox racing. Here I am ready for race #2.

Thank you to all of our friends and family that came out to help and root us on. See you next year Denton!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our Version of a Cat Scratching Post

Here at the Studio, we have two furry friends named Amos and Loki. We needed a scratching solution for them so that they would not destroy furniture throughout the space. In a hunt to find something to go in the Studio that wasn’t an eyesore, we came up short. We decided to fabricate something ourselves that would incorporate design and functionality.  We started out with a four-foot tall, raw, reclaimed pine beam. Ken hand chiseled a portion of the beam so that we could wrap it in .75 inch manilla rope and it would be flush with the wood.
Hand chiseling for the inlayed rope

In order to secure the rope, we wanted it to be discreet. We used a peg system on the backside to attach the ends of the manilla rope for a seamless design. Here is the peg system before we put on the rope.

Peg system

 For the base, we chose .25 inch steel plate with an oxidized patina.

.25 inch steel base

Side view

The cat scratching post is now a sculpture in our living room that is both beautiful and functional. The cats are able to scratch in style.

Amos enjoying her cat scratching post