Exocubic Studio

Fire Tools: Fabrication.

Some process shots of building the tools.

Shovel and Hook.
Hook detail.
Tool trio.
Handle detail.
Tool storage: the
Fire tools in the hive.




Fire Tools.

Once I decided the CinderCone required an ash door to clean out the fire basin, it was pretty self-evident that some tools to facilitate the process were in order. That, and my own set of tools was pretty homely and long in the tooth. I elected to run with the hexagon motif and stick with solid stainless for the material.


The Poker/Hook. Went with hexagonal rod for the shaft to really drive home the idea that Hexes Are Awesome. ^


Shovel. 11 gauge stainless steel scoop with tab and slot construction. ^


And… the tongs. Challenging design, but worth it. ^


With the tools designed, I realized they needed a place to live — one that complimented the CinderCone but was capable of standing on its own, too:

Tool storage unit.

A “garage” to store the tools. The Hive!

Done and ready to deliver to it's new home.

CinderCone: Making V2, Part 2.

With the fire basin pretty much finished, time to tackle the upper section - the place where all the magic happens. These faces are where the cutouts reveal the fire through a pattern of flowing, distorted hexagons - giving CinderCone its unique look.


With the “belt line” brackets all welded together into a rigid ring, they can serve as a jig for aligning the patterned faces. I built a fancy fixture to hold adjacent faces while tacking their tops.


Adding the faces


Bolting the bottoms and tacking the seams is a pretty quick, straightforward proposition.


Belt line


Stitch welding.

Stitch welding the seams - an inch of weld, skip 3 inches, then another inch of weld. Lowers the amount of heat applied while allowing a bit of flexible relief for the strain of the heating/cooling cycle.


Bending the

On to the hardest part fo the whole process: the “eyebrow” over the fire door. All the other parts are just welded together in their flat state; the is one needs to formed into a curve. Hydraulics to the rescue!


Eyebrow attached.

The Eyebrow. Attached.


Finished upper section.

With that, the upper section is finished.

Aha! Well, that answers THAT burning question.

Upside down CinderCone? Door in an alien spaceship?

Chugging along.

Jeez, is that enough yet?

CinderCone: Making V2.0

Now that I’ve figured out how to correct the issues that presented themselves in V1, it’s time to implement the changes. That means generating new patterns for the laser and having the improved design cut. I also went with slightly thicker material — 11 gauge instead of 12 — to provide a touch more rigidity. Let the games begin!

CinderCone faces render.

The updated upper faces. Here you can see the threshold below the door, and the updated trio of fastener holes in the bottom of each face. ^

Laser cut metal.

Voila! The laser-cut metal in all its glory. ^

Bottom plate and fire basin faces.

The bottom plate and fire basin faces. ^

Bracket 3d model

The 3D model of the new & improved anchoring bracket… ^


… and its real-world counterpart. ^

Brackets bolted into basin.

To insure a proper fit, I bolt the brackets into the fire basin and tack them together while there. Here, you can see how the ring of brackets pins the grill in place. ^

Brakcet ring on fixturing table.

Once tack welded, the brackets are removed, clamped securely flat, and the final welds added. Oh - about that work surface: I was massively frustrated with how my fixturing and clamping setup worked on the prototype, so I broke down and bought a fancy German fabrication table. I really only spend money on things that make making better. ^

That’s the first half of the assembly for version 2. I’m really pleased at how the design is working out, and the new welding table not only makes things easier, but insures that the quality of my parts is top notch.

Sunday assembly. This is my church. Fellowship with molten metal.

Makin' chimeneas! Datz alotta nutz.

CinderCone: How, Part 2.

Now that the design and layout work is complete, and the laser has done its thing, the real work begins. Or the FUN, depending on your feelings about welding and sanding metal. The interesting thing about my process is just how much of the fit-up and fixturing is simplified by the earlier CAD work — there’s very little guesswork or problem solving left at this point. Photos below tells the story of assembling the first CinderCone prototype.

Cleaning and preparing the raw laser cut parts.

Cleaning and preparing the raw laser cut parts. ^


A closer look at the warped hexagonal pattern.

A closer look at the warped hexagonal pattern. ^


Welding the attachment nuts into the brackets.

Welding the attachment nuts into the brackets. ^


Welding the attachment nuts inot the brackets.

The bracket parts have hex cutouts to accept the nuts. Simplifies positioning. ^


A quarter for your brackets

A Quarter for Your Brackets - These brackets will hold the top section to the bottom fire basin.^


Hexagonal standoff

These hexagonal standoffs accept the leveling feet. ^


Attaching the legs to the base.

Attaching the legs to the base plate. Pretty colors. ^


All the legs attached to the bottom plate.

All the legs attached to the bottom plate. ^


Bottom basin.

Finishing up the fire basin and adding the brackets. ^


Upper section welded up and bolted to the fire basin.

Upper section welded up and bolted to the fire basin.


Adding the “eyebrow” above the main door; bending metal of this thickness is never easy.

The Hard Part - Adding the “eyebrow” above the main door; bending metal of this thickness is never easy. ^



How many clamps can you fit in there, dude?


Finishing touches.

Eyebrow on and grill in place. Just a few final details. ^

Finally finished up the tongs for the fire tool set.

#sculpture #functionalart #metalshaping #metalart #metalartwork #tig #handmade #metalfabrication #metalworking #sheetmetal #maker #weldporn #ckworldwide #tigandchill

Fire tools: poker and shovel. Stainless steel ftw.

#sculpture #functionalart #metalshaping #metalart #metalartwork #tig #handmade #metalfabrication #metalworking #sheetmetal #maker #weldporn #ckworldwide #tigandchill

Fire tools in their storage garage.

#functionalart #metalshaping #metalart #metalartwork #tig #handmade #metalfabrication #metalworking #sheetmetal #maker #weldporn #ckworldwide #tigandchill #fire #tools #poker #shovel #tongs

Fire tool handle glamour shot. Lots of deburring and tons of grip.

#functionalart #metalshaping #metalart #metalartwork #tig #handmade #metalfabrication #metalworking #sheetmetal #maker #weldporn #ckworldwide #tigandchill

Got some time in on the fire tools and their storage garage. . . . .


sculpture #functionalart #metalshaping #metalart #metalartwork #tig #handmade #metalfabrication #metalworking #sheetmetal #maker #weldporn #ckworldwide #tigandchill #hexagonal

CinderCone: How.

Once I decided I wanted to make a chimenea, it was time to address the “How?” I’ve spent 25 years slowly incorporating computer-aided design elements into my work, including patterns that are warped and deformed algorithmically. I had a vague idea of how I wanted the perforated pattern to look, but utilized the "mess with it 'til it looks good" method to arrive at a layout of hexagons, warped along a curving path. Not to get too far into the weeds, but that curving path acts as an attractor, deforming the hexes more strongly relative to their distance from it.

Chimenea attractor curve


Since the humble hexagon was the seed for the pattern, I thought it appropriate to use it as the driving motif for the chimenea’s main form, too. Given that there are some immutable constraints at play - scale, containing the fire, supporting the wood, channeling the smoke, etc. - much of the remaining design choices were just a matter of adjusting the form to allow for said constraints. I worked up the basic shape, then stuck an average-sized human into the scene to check the scale. The initial 40 inch height just felt too small when viewed in this context, so I added a foot. Ta Da!


Original, too-small design Revised, taller size


Once I have the design finalized, I lay out all the parts as flat patterns for the laser cutter, then send them off to be cut.

laser cutting layout

(Laying out the tong handles, and getting them tacked together.)

Series of shots showing how the ash door works.

Build your own press. The only limit to what you can do with these fab tables is your imagination.

A stitch (weld) in time saves… OMG what the hell am I doing!

Tuh. Duh. Why are hexagons so cool? CinderCone 2.0 upper section almost done.

Yep, that anchoring "ring" makes assembling the upper sections easier, too.