So I just pulled a tape measure across our build site, and we have officially built over 34 feet of humpback whale! 

This project has gone from being magical, to exciting, to insane and overwhelming and terrifying, to... still completely magical. Check it out, I can barely fit this thing in a photo anymore!

As we work down the body of the mother whale we increase the width of the structural steel several times.

Now, for the chest of mama whale, we need to manufacture three inch spheres on the CNC lathe and use one and a half inch bar stock for each triangle.

So many steps lead to the final product. Each time we change the size of our ball connections new parts must be made for the lathe. Andy custom makes each set of soft jaws and has fabricated a special alignment ring to better secure the metal as the spheres increase in weight. 

We are well on our way to completing the steel structure of the whales, and more and more interest is circling around the next big step: GLASS.

The CNC plasma cutter has been wired up and our practice cuts are looking brilliant. The plasma cutter will be used to create the metal outlines of the glass patterns in each triangle. From there each glass piece will be hand cut and placed by our volunteers.

This week we received the first images of Android Jones' designs and as always, his work is absolutely mind blowing.

The entire crew was crowded around a single computer as we unveiled the images. I am so excited to share photos of these glass panels in the future posts! 

Until then we press forward with our point plotting and welding, working on both the mother whale's body and head until we reach where the two parts meet. We will also begin building the baby whale, which will be constructed of our thickest steel. (4 inch balls and 2 inch bar stock) While baby is much smaller, it supports much of the load of the sculpture as it nuzzles against the mother, and therefore needs to be a stout little thing!

We aim to have all structural work complete at the end of June, and then will be full time on glass design and programming for the special effects of The Space Whale.

Special effects? Oh yeah.

While the physical structure grows the lighting and sound team are gearing up for their part of this adventure. They have the brilliant challenge of figuring out how to wire the whales from the inside, along each line of steel.

LED lighting will illuminate the glass at night, making the whales glow and pulse from within. And an ever changing soundtrack of whale song, deep space sound and mind expanding lectures will entrance all who enter the whale's realm.

Things are getting pretty wild around here and I'll be sharing more as plans unfold!

 

If you'd like to contribute to our work, The Space Whale crew currently has a fundraising page live on Hatchfund.com!

Donations large or small are all helpful, and come with some pretty sweet thank you gifts as well! It is our friends and followers who make this all happen, and we love you for it.

Thank you all for following along with our progress, and supporting our mission. For now, I leave you with a giant whale head, and a conveniently sized googly eye.