Marine Corps Bell for USMC Birthday

Tira

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Today is 10 November, the anniversary or birthday of the United States Marine Corps which has its roots back to 1775.

This year I had the opportunity to engrave a 40 pound brass bell for the Naperville, IL Marines. The bell was solid brass with no clear coat, was 15 inches in diameter and 20 inches tall. It weighed 40 lbs. without the tongue (the part that strikes the side). I removed the tongue so it wouldn't shift during the process and cause the entire bell to fall. Balance was a big issue in engraving this piece because I had to lay the bell on its side for it to rotate. The bell had a tendancy to want to fall towards the heavy side so when I had it set to engrave I had one hand on it at all times just to make sure it didn't list to the side and fall.

The bell is going to be mounted in a custom made maple bell stand and used tonight at the Naperville Marine Ball for the festivities. The Marines are supposed to get a couple of good pictures tonight with the honor guard near the bell in dress uniforms. :)

The picture of the bell on the piano is to show the relative size of the bell.
 

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#2
Tira that looks great. Did you use a microscope for the detail:) That had to be a challenge just holding it. What kind of rig did you use? A 40 lb bell can't image 40 oz is about my limit.
Great job
Mike
 

sam

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That is very clean, crisp engraving, and you deserve even more kudos for being able achieve such nice layout and cutting on such an awkward and heavy object. You have my respect!

Can you tell us about your stippling technique? / ~Sam
 

Tira

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It took me 2 days to figure out how to hold this bell. I have done other bells and have made a jig for holding them in my manga block. Those bells were a bit smaller (only 12" dia.) and had a hole at the top to attatch the tongue. This bell had no hole at the top so I had to throw my jig over my shoulder and think about what to do.

I ended up with this set up in layers:

bell (with my hand on at all moments)
non-skid pad
25 lb. bag of rice - shaped as best I could to conform to bell side wall curve
larger board
non-skid pad
grs turntable
non-skid pad
wood board
upside down milk crate on cement floor

I spent a lot of time centering and balancing the whole setup before I even put the bell on it. By this I mean that not every piece was exactly centered to the one underneath due to the fact that the bell has a heavy side and a lighter side that had to be compensated for. The bell did travel slightly as I engraved it and had to be readjusted. What I was trying to avoid at all costs was a situation where the entire tower would fall over.

This was a difficult project due to the size of this bell. I had to pick up the bell and rotate it above the tower and then put it back down gently as I engraved so that I could continue lines, etc. around the curve of the bell. I did get quite a set of arm muscles by the end of the project. :)
 

Big-Un

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USMC bell

You did a great job on the bell; made this old "jarhead" mighty proud.

Bill
 

Tira

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Joe,

It took a long time. I think between the layout in Corel Draw, the transfer of layout to the bell, the actual engraving, and the photography of the bell it took almost 40 hours.....

I did learn a lot about cylindrical/conical layout and about taking pictures of a round mirror that catches a reflection in every direction.:eek:
 

Darren

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#10
Nice Job Tira. I can relate on doing them big hard to hold items.
They sure can be a pain.
I remember you from Travis AFB, Vacaville area out in Kalifornia.
Good to see your still hard at it and doing good.
Looking forward to seeing more.
Darren
 

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