Most Productive Weekend Ever

So, Pastre definitely wasn’t kidding when he said that we got a lot done this weekend. As of just a mere moments ago (approximately 2am), we successfully attached both arms to the base and erected both sides manually with almost no kinks. I believe the only parts we are lacking at this point  are the winch, the locking key, and the stop blocks to limit the angle of rotation for the two larger arms. We may have accomplished more this weekend than any other weekend so far this semester, but it was no easy task.

I’ll do my best to narrate this epic weekend saga in a chronological order to the best of my abilities; but with little sleep, and due to writing this at 2:30 am, it might not happen. You’ll get your information though, you might just have to decode it as you receive it, like watching Memento. Also, I’m already having to go back and correct almost everything I’m typing, so please pardon any errors.

So on Saturday we started the day early by sanding some pieces that had been glued the night before. More cutting to shape of blocks occurred, steel rods were cut to length, and we were really beginning to see a lot of the pieces close to completion.

Sunday is when things really picked up. The first big event was the assembly of one of the arms.

Almost done

Shortly after this photo was taken, we finished the assembly, and this is where I planned on inserting an awesome video of the thing in action, but it turns out it costs money to upload videos onto this site (say what?!) , and its certainly  not going on my card. So instead of a video with the arm completed, I’ll have to give you a glimpse of things to come from a photo taken tonight.

The team lifting the arms

At this point, without the aid of a winch and stop blocks in the base, it takes a lot of people to lift these arms and prevent its tendency to collapse back into itself. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to Sunday.

So after the surprisingly successful first arm test, we heard from Ben, who had been diligently working on the trailer for who knows how long, telling us that he and John had nearly completed it. The wheels had been welded in place, the frame completed, as well as the tongue welded into place. So the studio as a whole went to check out their endeavors.

We were not disappointed

Sometime later, my mom, sister, grandma and grandpa came down to see me and the project, if not just to make sure I was still alive as I have had little time for anything but this project. I showed what we had done so far, and when it got dark outside I took them to Marion Square to see our last project. They were thoroughly impressed with both and excited to see this final product. Unfortunately they had to leave soon after and couldn’t see the substantial progress made on Monday.

We made such a big leap today and tied up may loose ends. Since JMO is off limits to us until around 5 during the week, not a whole lot was done up until that point. John and Becca prepared the trailer, now with cross-bracing, to be primed for paint.

Jim took our steel rod to a machinist to have the ends tapped with threads, which would allow us to add a compressive force to the hinge joints in the arms, preventing them from pulling apart. Going to a machinist was the right decision, as we failed horribly when attempting to tap the ends ourselves.

Ben and Niezer were kind enough to bring me some used brake drums to be welded and repurposed as the feet for our structure.

The finished product (minus one cap, who took that?)

I was really proud of these things, they definitely weren’t easy to weld and I thought they turned out nice, until I noticed that one was off-square and the welds on a different foot cracked due to Jim trying to use them as stilts. In my defense though, I didn’t have the time to grind off the rust which is almost certainly what caused the failure.

Once everyone got to JMO, we ordered some pizza, not sure if I can say the name but there were no Papa’s or Hut’s involved. I guess you could call it an early celebration because we had already decided that we were going to erect this thing tonight. And after the very frustrating process of trying to squeeze the rod through all 5 or so holes, (not even counting those wretched washers), we assembled both arms separately and set them in place.

The base in place and Jim pointing at it to let us all know where it's at
The right arm standing all the way up
A detail of the joinery happening at the meeting of the base and leg pieces. As of now that little space seems to be unused. My hope is to see it become a cooler.
A detail of where the locking key and winch will be inserted

So that’s about where we’re at, I know I didn’t cover everything, and I’ll probably hear from my classmates tomorrow that most of those events didn’t happen when I just told you they did. But, the important thing is where we are now. I think this photo really sums it up.


M for Magnificent. Or Massengill. Probably Massengill.


  1. the screen is looking really great. i cant wait to see it in person and working! congratulations on another long night, it sounds like it was very eventful.

    Thanks for the updates, even the smallest word will mean so much to you in a few years, cherish these design/build memories!

  2. You guys are rockin’ it! It is so great to see how far you have come in such a short time. I am really enjoying the blog, and have shared it with my students here at the College of Charleston. They (and I) are all amazed at the professionalism and commitment you folks are putting forth. And, did I mention the COOL factor? This project is going to look so cool in Cannon Park. Can’t wait.

    Great job, Studio V. My hat is off!

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