Past Work

Fish in the Fire

 
  Completed fish in fire project
 
This is the completed project, fitted inside Sam and Natalie's electric fire in their lounge.

This project started when I remarked that the fire looked like an aquarium and suggested that I make it look even more so.

I ended up making a box in which I suspended 29 fish made from scrap aluminium drink cans.
 

  Completed fish in a fire project
 The box has mesh top and bottom.  The idea is that air movements through the fire will cause the fish to wobble about and shimmer.

You can take the whole box out if you want to turn the fire on.
  Mould for fish made from drink cans I made the fish from drink cans. 

The first step was to create a fish in wax, pictured. 

I ended up making a second fish that had less pronounced scales (but forgot to photograph it).

I made a mould with this fish and then broke it by exerting too much force on it, in a hydraulic press. 
 
  Mould for fish made from drink cans This was the mould I ended up using. 

I created it using polyurethane resin, largely because I already had some spare.  I backed the mould with a block of wood to prevent it cracking in the way the first one did.

I abandoned using a hydraulic press.  Instead I just cut a suitable piece of drink can, held it over the mould and rubbed it hard with a pencil.  I ruined a couple of pencils in the process.
 
  Fish made from drink cans First layer complete.

I used little lead weights, the ones used by anglers, to terminate the fishing line.
 
  Fish made from drink cans Getting the fish into the right position was surprisingly complicated!  

Here's how I did it for the second layer.

I created a frame the same size as the box and laid some paper inside it so that I could draw on where the rows of fish and fishing line needed to be.

I then made 4 holes in each fish and threaded them on to the fishing line, taping the line to the frame.
 
  Fish made from drink cans Then I turned the frame over and used a hot glue gun to stick the fish onto the lines .
 
 
  Fish made from drink cans I then flipped the frame over, put it on top of the box and took each end of a line and threaded it into the correct position in the box.
 
  Fish made from drink cans  This is the almost complete project - "almost" because the box has turned out to be slightly too big to fit in the fire.

I made the box from 1-mm-thick steel plate and aluminium angle and mesh, pop-riveted together and sprayed matt black.  I'm hoping the mesh will allow air to pass through the box, making the fish wobble.

There's 2 layers of fish suspended from fishing line stretched between the top and bottom channels of mesh.
 
  Fish made from used drink cans  Completed project, apart from seeing whether it now fits inside the fire.  I've shortened it by 1 cm.

 In the end I restrung all the fish, partly because I had to remove them to shorten the box and partly because my previous method of attaching the fishing line to the box seemed a bit naff; some of the lines had come undone and the hot glue I used wasn't sticking very well to the lines or the fish.

I've now fixed the lines to the fish using Araldite (epoxy glue) and taped the lines to the back of the box, doubling over the lines and using Gaffer tape.  I hope this proves less naff!

This is the same number of fish - 29 (I think) - but some how it looks like more.
 
     
     
     

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