Kevin shows one of the 2 races that are part of the bearing. He shows how the ring of ball bearings that are part of this thrust bearing fits down inside the race. There’s another race that goes on top of the ball bearings which traps them inside.
With this commission, Kevin puts the lower race over a solid stainless steel 1″ shaft. He slides the race to wherever he wants it on the shaft, gets everything flat and straight and true, and then TIG welds the race in place on the back side. The lower race is now captive on the shaft with the bearing sitting on top. That explains the boulder with the shaft coming out of it.
But what about the other boulder? Kevin shows the upper race buried in the top rock. What’s below the surface? A piece of 1-1/4″ heavy wall 304 stainless pipe. The only problem is that the inside diameter of this pipe is a little bit bigger than the outside diameter of the rod. You can see the solid stainless steel rod wobbling around inside a little. Kevin Caron wound up making a bushing that slips down inside and fits on the shaft to take the “slop” out so the rock doesn’t wobble.
To make the top of the bearing, Kevin trues up the stainless steel pipe to get it nice and square and flat. Then he welds the upper race to the top of the pipe. On top of the race he puts a little collar the race will fit down inside, then he’ll TIG weld it around the top side so he’ll have a sealed unit – these bearings will be outside and he wants to keep out any dirt. Kevin shows the whole setup with the pipe – which is about 18″ long -the race and the collar down inside the rock.
Remember the brass bushing? He found something better: a linear bearing. Kevin shows the linear bearing and the rows of ball bearings inside. On the outside there’s a little slot running its length, which means it can compress a little bit. He’s ordered a bigger version of the linear bearing he’s showing that he’ll press down inside the pipe for a nice snug fit. Then he’ll turn down the 1″ shaft so it’ll fit inside this linear bearing to help keep everything nice and tight at the top end with the thrust bearing on the bottom. The bottom bearing is going to carry the weight.
Now the 2 rocks are ready to go together. Of course, if he were putting them together permanently he’d grease the rod. In a sped up section, you can watch Kevin lift the upper rock using his portable gantry crane, flip it over, lift it over the other rock with its rod sticking out, and lower it.
The 2 stones are touching one another, so Kevin just needs to stop the bottom rock from turning and keep rotating the top rock to get them to fit. After he gets everything put together, he’ll shape the rocks, adding pockets to catch the wind. This is definitely a work in progress and a long-term project.
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Before you go, though, you might want to hang around and watch him face reality ….