Arizona · Welding

Disc golf practice basket

Even though I have other more pressing welding projects , I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a practice basket for my back yard. Sure, I could buy a freestanding practice unit, but we have a relatively small back yard, so it wouldn’t really be used to its fullest potential. Not to mention, I couldn’t find one for less than $150, and as enjoyable as I find the game, I’m not willing to invest that kind of coin in it.

So, tapping into my newfound welding obsession, I decided to build my own basket. Building it myself meant that I could modify it in such way that it could be hung on the wall in our back yard, as opposed to being on a stand. Not only does this give me the most flexibility as far as maximizing potential throwing distance, but it keeps it up and away from the dogs, who are constantly running around back there.

Using some extra metal that I had in the garage, I fired up the little Millermatic 135 that I picked up off Craigslist a few weeks earlier, and went to work.

Luckily, already had a length of chain that would be perfect for the project, so all I had to was put the pieces together. By the end of the weekend, I had a rough working version of the basket installed on the back wall:

After tweaking the frame a little bit, the time came for final prep work and paint, and now it’s there any time I want to practice at home.

Arizona · Welding

State of Arizona Wall Art

Outside of the normal project list from my welding class, I decided that I wanted to try doing an electrical piece. Having previously come up with an illustration that I thought would look great on a coffee shop wall, I wanted to incorporate it into a welding project somehow.

StateLightLogo

After creating a box by folding the edges of a rectangle in and welding the corners, I cut the Arizona state outline out with a plasma cutter, then finished by removing the star over Phoenix. Distressing the sheet metal with multiple applications of a mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and vinegar seemed like the best way to achieve the deep rust I was looking for without needing to purchase any kind of acid or harsh chemicals.

After getting the surface as textured as I wanted it, I epoxied a Dioder LED light set onto the back of the steel so it would reflect off the polished copper sheet that was bolted on last.

Unlit
Detail of the rust.

In low light, the LEDs shine brightly, highlighting the copper.

 

Illuminated, over my desk
Illuminated, over my desk

The piece is currently hanging in my office. If I had gotten my ducks in a row before the Practical Art Summer Group Show deadline, I would have submitted it to the competition…I think it could have been pretty well received. I guess there’s always next year.

Arizona

Whatever you do, don’t call it Frisbee Golf

Back in late 2012, a friend at the office invited me to play a round of disc golf with him over lunch. Having never played on an actual course before, or with “official” disc golf discs ­(Frisbees aimed at light poles in college doesn’t count)­ after a little research about the game I ran out to a used sporting good store and put together a cheap set: one driver, one mid-range, and one putter. All looked to have served at one time as dog toys or targets on a shooting range, but they were all reasonably round and flew straight with no small amount of effort.

The course near our office occupies a rocky, dusty little stretch of forgotten land between a canal inlet and a tall razor ribbon-topped fence around a municipal golf course, and is home to piles of trash, various desert reptiles, the occasional hobo, and jackrabbits the size of bicycles; in other words, perfectly appropriate for a newbie to the game such as myself. The piles of discarded building materials and cacti certainly aren’t going ruin my discount-bin discs, and the way the hills glisten in the sun thanks to the coating of broken glass is quite pretty, provided you’re wearing closed-toe shoes.

The details of that first outing are lost to me now, and although I’m sure it was a mixture of sweat, dust, cursing, and blood, it didn’t matter – I was hooked. Starved for just about any low-impact outdoor activity (not because I’m injured but because I’m lazy), we played at least once a week until the brutal Phoenix summer sun sent us running for our air conditioned offices. Since then, we’ve recruited several other players from our department, and even got our manager to play with us once. I introduced my brother in law to the game when he couldn’t play “real” golf any more due to surgery on both his knees.

My coworkers and I have gotten together outside of work on Saturday mornings – ­GASP –­ to play at nicer courses in town, even taking a day off and making a road trip to Flagstaff to play the course that weaves between the pine trees and ski runs at Arizona Snowbowl.

While we’ve all gotten better, none of us will be quitting our day jobs any time soon to become professional disc golfers. That said, I gathered up some of the video snippets of some of our outings, and with the help of the Cameo app strung them together into little 2-minute movie:

Besides being disc golf giants, a couple of the guys featured in this video are decent writers, too: Ed and Adam

Arizona · Life

Driving in Arizona

There are plenty of routes to get from east to west in Arizona, but there is only really one method for getting north to south, unless you want to spend all day on the back roads. One of the drawbacks to this is that when there’s an accident that shuts the freeway down, you are just out of luck. Even GPS can’t help you when that happens.

Red means stop.
Arizona

Lions and tigers and bears – in Arizona

 

Further proof that Arizona is just too hot: they put the Out of Africa Wildlife Park right in the middle of the state. I went with an out of town friend who was looking to get her blood and guts fix by watching the predator feed. The workers roll up with a big tub of used-to-be-animal chunks and toss 40lb pieces over the fence to the big cats. The lion caught his…I guess he just doesn’t like having his food in the dirt.