World & Cross Custom Design

This piece was built to highlight the church’s mission work across the globe and to be placed in a prominent location behind the pulpit in the sanctuary of a newly constructed church in White Lake, NC.  The piece is a large backlit Cross stood off the wall with an oval globe as the background.

This multi-faceted turnkey project utilized a wide range of my design, engineering, fabrication, and installation skills from creative computer design, CNC layout, metal fabrication, powder coating, soldering, all with turnkey installation.  From conception of the original idea to completion, this was truly a culmination of those skills and past experience.

The oval globe is 8-foot-wide by 4-foot-tall black powder coated 14ga carbon steel with all continents along with the major islands without any exposed mounting screws as the background of the piece.  I designed the visible world face to be smooth without exposed holes with the mounting screws hidden behind the cross.  This type of mounting sets the face of the world off the wall by approximately 1/4” which gives additional depth to the continents and islands.  

The Cross is 6-foot-tall by 4-foot-wide by two-inch-deep gloss powder coated 18ga 304 stainless steel that is backlit with LED lights as the forefront of the piece.  I fabricated custom mounting brackets to have an approximate standoff of 5 inches from wall to the face of cross.  The LED lights can change to any color and are remote controlled by Bluetooth or cell phone.
Metal Fabrication Tools Used:
•    CNC plasma table
•    MIG and TIG Welder
•    Grinder with varying discs and wheels
•    Finger Brake
•    Powder coating equipment (guns, oven, etc.)
•    Soldering Iron and Heat Gun for LED lighting

Materials Used:
•    14ga, 18ga, and 20ga Carbon Steel Sheet Metal
•    14ga & 18ga Stainless Steel Sheet Metal
•    1"x1" Angle Iron &  1" Tubing (for template)
•    3M VHB two-sided tape

In order to create the world with no exposed mounting holes, the metal was cut using a CNC plasma table to make three separate “layers” of the oval globe (as shown in the pictures):  the globe template, the globe backplates, and the final visible globe front plate.  First, I fabricated a 20ga carbon steel oval globe template which was used to locate the 65 mounting holes that were required for this project.  Attached were angle iron cross bracing and sturdy custom welded handles to hold the template on the wall to locate the mounting holes.  To accurately place all of the islands geographically, they were connected to a main continent on the template.  See picture of template with all islands and continents as one piece.  

The second layer of the oval globe is the 18ga carbon steel black matte powder coated globe backplates, which are permanently mounted to the wall.  The backplates have mounting holes for each continent and island.  In order for them to be hidden, they are slightly smaller than the final finished visible top plate.  After marking and drilling the holes from the world template, I mounted the 22 backplate pieces to the wall, which included four separate quadrant pieces for the oval frame.  Finally, using a combination of strategically placed mounting holes that would be hidden behind the cross at final installation and 3M VHB two-sided tape, the globe top plate was installed to the back plates.  In addition to the large top plate which included the major continents and the oval border, there were 14 individual islands that were also placed.

The cross was cut using a CNC plasma table with 18ga 304SS sheet metal, was bent into shape using a brake, and was coated with a gloss clear powder to enhance the light-catching swirls.  The exposed face of the cross was polished using a Scotch Brite pad to create a uniform surface.  Using a 6” diameter stainless steel twisted wire wheel, swirls were added by hand to create a surface that gives movement to the light reflections as people walk into the church sanctuary.  I used a flat grey primer paint on the hollow back side of the cross to eliminate unwanted light reflections and create uniform light dispersion from the LED lights.  The LED light strips, wire, controller, and power supply were soldered for a custom fit within the cross.  Finally, custom mounting brackets were fabricated out of 14ga stainless steel sheet metal and bent using a finger brake to achieve the desired distance from the wall.

Due to the fact that the mounting screws are not visible, the piece appears to float off the wall.  This sets this project apart from others where the mounting hardware is visible.  With the eye-catching Cross at the forefront and the oval globe as the background, the piece achieves the original intent to highlight not only the Cross, but to also highlight the church’s global mission work.  This project has made me a better metal designer and fabricator by requiring me to test the limits of the many various skills I have learned over the years.  I am truly proud of this project!

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