Watch Some Old Nuts and Bolts Morph into a Beautiful Wasp
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Wasps, love them or hate them, are quite remarkable and fascinating creatures. So, why not pay them the ultimate compliment by creating a model one out of nothing but nuts and bolts?
If this sounds interesting, then follow this simple guide to make your own. You will not be disappointed by the final piece -- it is quite beautiful.
Like any project of this nature, you'll first need some stuff to get you started.
Tools and equipment needed
- Brass and steel nuts and bolts
- Metal files
- Power drill
- Steel wool
- Metal scribe
- Marker pen
- Sticky tape
- Scrap wood
Step 1: Form the basic thorax
The first step is to prepare the materials you'll need for this project. You will need two long brass bolts and seven brass nuts, and a few steel nuts.
Take the longest bolt, and attach one brass and two steel nuts to one end. Then chop off the screw cap to the bolt and insert the entire piece into the chuck of your power drill.
Secure your power drill in a vice to make a sort of DIY lathe, and then you can begin to shape the nuts.
Turn on the drill, and grab your metal files. Use them to progressively round the edges of the endmost nut. Swap out the file for sandpaper at times to provide more refined control of the rounding process.
With that complete, turn off the drill, and turn the rounded nut around. Add another brass nut to the end of the bolt and tighten it by hand.
With that complete, turn the drill on once again and begin to round off the sharp edges of the nut with your metal files.
Use a combination of files and sandpaper to continue to round the nuts and merge the two brass nuts into one piece.
Next, grab some steel wool and continue to work the edges of the rounded brass nuts.
Step 2: Form the basic abdomen
With that complete, remove the rounded nuts and add five more brass nuts to the end of the bolt in the power drill.
Turn on the drill and round off the edges of the nuts using your metal files.
Next, continue to work the nuts to form the abdomen of the wasp. You will want to round and tape the edges as needed.
With that complete, use the edge of your metal files to add a series of grooves in the abdomen to simulate the wasp's stripes.
With that complete, remove the nuts once again. You should now have two rounded sets of nuts -- two to form the head, and the last five to form the abdomen.
Step 3: Form the wings and legs
With that, remove the bolt from your power drill. Heat it up using a blow torch, and place it against a solid flat surface -- like an anvil.
Hammer the bolt flat.
Next, wrap some double-sided tape around a block of wood, and stick the flattened bolt to it to hold it into place.
With that files the surface of the flattened bolt until it is nice and shiny.
Use some wire wool to help you out at times too. Turn the flattened bolt over and do the same on the reverse side.
With that complete, transfer the polished flattened bolt onto a piece of paper and trace out its outline. Then remove the bolt and sketch out the rough design for the wings and legs of the wasp.
Cut out the design and glue it to the flattened bolt. Then transfer the design to the flattened nut using a marker pen.
With that complete, transfer the flattened nut to your vice, and begin to trim down the edges to match the design using your metal files.
Once you are happy with the top side of the wings, remove the piece from the vice and drill a hole through the middle of the central portion to allow the wing portion to fit on the remaining bolt.
Next, take the piece and place it once more inside the jaws of your vice. Begin to cut out the lower details using a hack saw, as needed.
Keep moving the wing piece out of the vice jaws to expose more of the details -- like the legs and then continue to cut out the shape.
With that complete, remove the piece from the vice, and sketch out the individual legs on the leg block of the piece. Place the piece back into your vice and cut out the separate leg details as needed.
Once complete, remove the legs and wing assembly from your vice and re-polish as needed.
With that complete, grab your metal scribe and begin to add some fine details to the wings. Scratch the basic look of an insect's wings into the wing portions of the wings.
Step 4: Complete the thorax and start on the head
With the wing details now complete, we can now begin to finish the thorax of the wasp. Take the remaining bolt and secure it into your vice.
Take the twin thorax nuts you created earlier and thread them in sequence to the bolt. Add the wing and leg portion of the thorax between the two nuts.
With that complete, remove the bolt and gently bend back the wings, and splay the legs using a pair of pliers.
With that complete, take the scrap pieces of brass from the flattened bolt. Secure them in a vice, and begin to file them down to make the wasp's antennae.
With the basic shape complete, remove the antennae and hammer them flat using your hammer and anvil. Fold the piece in half, and then secure it once again into your vice.
Continue to file the piece as needed. With that complete, take the remaining bolt, and secure it in your vice cap facing upwards.
Place the folded antennae piece inside the groove of the nut head, and hammer the antenna into place.
With that complete, we can begin to form the head of the wasp.
Step 5: Form the head of the wasp
Next, begin to file down the head of the bolt to form the basic shape of the wasp. Use a mixture of broad and fine metal files to carve out the angular shapes of a wasp's head.
Form details like its mandibles, eyes, etc.
Keep working the head to the best of your ability and be sure to use a variety of files to get the job done.
Continue to work the piece using a mixture of sandpaper and wire wool as needed.
Next, add some grooves to the antennae, and then bend them outwards at angles to one another.
With that, the wasp's head is now effectively complete. Polish it some more if needed.
Step 6: Begin to assemble the wasp
Secure the bolt sideways in the vice, and then begin to file down the threads of the bolt in places between the head and thorax and thorax and abdomen. Shape the metal to replicate the connecting parts of the wasp's body.
Use sandpaper and steel wool to further refine the shape and thickness as needed. You can also use a hack saw to help thin and shape the metal.
Gently bend the piece as well to give the different parts of the model a more organic shape.
With that complete, mark out enough room for the abdomen at the open end of the bolt, and cut off any excess using a hack saw.
With that complete, turn the bolt in the vice to expose the cut end of the bolt. With that complete, begin to file down and shape the exposed end to make the stinger end of the wasp's abdomen.
Mold the end to form a dome with a matching curvature to the rest of the bolts that make up the abdomen nuts.
Keep working on the piece to polish it up and form the barbed end of the abdomen.
Step 7: Complete the piece
With that complete, we can now begin the final assembly. But first, grab the wings and legs and complete any final touches to it, if needed.
With that complete, add a layer of thread lock to the wasp's body bolt. This will fix the nuts into place on the bolt.
With that complete, take the thorax nuts, and begin to thread them onto the body bolt of the wasp. Next, thread on the wing and leg assembly, and then the final part of the thorax.
Tighten them as needed.
With that complete, grab the abdomen-shaped nuts, and thread them in sequence to the rear of the bolt. If not already done, add a layer of thread lock first.
With that complete, give the entire piece a good polish. Your nut and bolt wasp is now, finally, complete!
Now you can place your piece somewhere prominent in your house and give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.
If you enjoyed this project, you might want to consider some other nut-related DIY projects. How about, for example, turning an old nut into a beautiful ring?