What you likely knew about the enthusiasts of makers local is that we drink a lot of soda.  What you may not have known is that we recycle every can of tasty beverage we slam down, but it’s not always taken to the local recycling center.  Some days are melt days.

On these glorious days makers converge on 414 Stevens to bring fire to the forge once more, and enjoy a day of watching the change that a fierce fire can bring.  One to three crushed cans at a time we drop our empties into a crucible sitting in a tornado of orange flame.  The silver puddle in it grows and deepens until there is enough liquid aluminum to pour into buckets that once held tasty pickles, and now hold engorged water beads.


As the metal hits the cooler water it forms around the water beads and creates a beautiful sculpture, which upon viewing is immediately recognizable as akin to ocean coral.

This might look like an expensive hobby, but once you have the tools on hand, it’s really only about $25 worth of consumables (propane and water beads), and as many aluminum cans as you can bring to the fire.  Our tank of propane was released at about 10 psi, and lasted us for hours.

The final step in the creation process is to clean all of the water beads trapped in the sculpture out.  We found using pressurized air to be the most rewarding way to do this, as it causes most of the beads to explode and spray everywhere.  We recommend safety glasses, but you do you.

Some of these sculptures will be sold as a fundraiser at the upcoming Brews to Benefit event on May 1st at Straight to Ale:

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