In the latest of the series of videos documenting Antonio’s projects (see the phonograph and the vacuum former for the first two films in the trilogy), the learning studio crew tests out a homemade spot welder.
The idea is that the two blue capacitors get charged up by a transformer and then release the electrical energy when the two sides of the copper clamp touch. We first tried to weld two pieces of an aluminum can together but the welder kept discharging too much energy, blowing a perfectly circular hole through the pieces. I suggested that maybe we could just redefine the project as a super powerful electrical hole-punch, but Antonio, Chad, and Tim were undeterred and kept tweaking the variables to try to get the machine to weld. Finally, Tim scraped off the rubber coating from the inside of two bottle caps and instructed Chad to hold them in place between the copper electrodes. Antonio turned the power all the way up and lo and behold the metal caps melted together.
I think we all really appreciate the way that Antonio shares his works in progress with the group. He gets the concept to a point where, despite the joking in the video, it’s a safe and mostly-working prototype. Then he allows us all to play with it and listens to everyone’s ideas on how to make it even better. In this example especially it was important to the process to have Tim’s substantial experience with metal working and Chad’s semi-reckless test-pilot type nature to support Antonio’s ideas that usually are just crazy enough to work.