We’ve talked about in class how the purpose of some of these assignments is to be able to construct something in a short period of time. I sort of took that to the extreme this week. Usually, I buy my materials on Friday, start working on Saturday and try to be finished on Monday however my dad came into town on Friday and I wasn’t able to get any work done on the weekend giving myself a really short amount of time. I interpreted that as a new challenge.
Rather than find two completely new separate materials, I decided to take advantage of an old broken bass I had laying around. I looked up the model and confirmed that it was indeed made out of Maple, making it eligible to be used.
Originally, I wanted to take some delrin, etch a design into it and fasten it to the empty space in the bass between the pickups and the bridge.
However, it would take a day or two for the delrin to get to me and I wanted to start immediately. Than I thought maybe I could use leather and it didn’t seem to appealing to me so I pivoted to aluminum. I found a shop in the city that sold it – Metalliferous – gave them a call to confirm they had sheets and head up town.
When I got there I found two sheets of aluminum and asked them if it was anodized to which they said they didn’t know but they were pretty sure it was. I asked if it could be laser etched then – knowing it needed to be anodized to be etched therefore if they knew it could etched with a laser it would be anodized – to which they said, “absolutely”.
Cut to an hour later, I decide to double check with John who shows me that it is indeed NOT anodized. I had two options: change my approach or go up and return the aluminum. I decided to go with the former. I figured I could just cut out my piece and than spray paint a stencil onto it.
I measured the area I wanted the aluminum to cover and used those measurements to make a cardboard prototype. Once I was happy with that I used those same measurements and looked for some nibblers to cut my aluminum. Jordan saw what I was about to do and introduced me to the power nibbler, which made that process a hell of a lot easier. After cutting out my aluminum, I focused on creating the design to put on top of it. A few nights prior, I had seen one of my favorite bands, Sigur Ros, live and was feeling really inspired by them. One of their album covers is a fetus and I thought it would be cool to put that in what looks like the womb of the bass. I took the album cover and put it into photoshop and, with much help, vectorized it and prepared it to be cut. I used some excess cardboard as material and cut out a little fetus I was happy with.
Knowing I didn’t have a lot of excess materials, I wanted to make sure I was going to get things right. I decided to take my fetus etch and spray paint it over some excess aluminum. I prepped the aluminum by washing it off and scraping it with a scouring pad, applied duct tape to the bottom of the fetus and placed it on the aluminum. My first spray was really successful so I moved on to doing the same procedure on the sized cut of aluminum. This one wasn’t so successful. I applied too many coats and it bled through the bottom of the cardboard and it looked awful. Luckily, the prototype spray looked good, so I just cut that out to the right proportions and screwed it on the bass.
I was unhappy with how the aluminum looked with the maple wood backing though so I decided to take the spray I had remaining and cover the entire bass black so the fetus would pop more. I think it ended up looking really cool. For the future, I’d love to make it so that when the bass is plugged in, the fetus lights up –hence why the umbilical chord goes to the plug-in jack – but that’s a project for a different day.