Building the project from the ground up

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Cheryl Schweizer/Sun Tribune - Jacob Joslin (left) and Enoch Figueroa (right) designed and built the fish-shaped bike rack destined for George Elementary.

MOSES LAKE — The bike rack is a commission, and the customer had one request.

The customer was the Washington Trust branch in Moses Lake. “It was a bike rack for – George? George, I believe,” said Enoch Figueroa, Moses Lake. It was in fact commissioned for George Elementary, and “they wanted a fish,” said Jacob Joslin, Royal City. “And we took it from there.”

Enoch and Jacob are students at Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center, in its advanced manufacturing program. Instructor Dave Oliver let them take the lead. “They tig-welded the whole thing,” Oliver said.

They looked at bike racks online for inspiration, then came up with a design of their own. Ckathleen Seanna also worked on the project.

“We made a template, kind of lined it out on the floor,” Jacob said. But the design was the easy part.

Fish are not, of course, square. And a fish-shaped bike rack isn’t square – in fact, there’s not one straight line or 90-degree angle in the whole bike rack.

“We started putting it together piece by piece from the base,” Jacob said. It required welding a lot really weird angles, while working in some tight spaces. “You have to go inside the fish, and you have to taper (the body),” Enoch said. “As you go down the thing it (the space for welding) gets smaller and smaller.”

And everything had to fit, even if it didn’t quite fit. “If it doesn’t line up exactly right, you’ve got to make it work,” Jacob said. It was a tricky job. “Definitely,” Enoch said.

Welding requires handling the pieces that are being welded (in this case at weird angles), the binding material and the torch, sometimes while lying down. “You’ve got to do a lot of things at once,” Jacob said.

Oliver supervised, of course, and made one revision. “Dave said, ‘It’s missing something,’” Enoch said, and at his suggestion they added an eye. That required use of the skills center’s water jet cutter and a ball bearing.

“It turned out well,’ Enoch said.

Oliver said the bike rack required the real-life application of classroom lessons. Taking the project from a drawing on the shop floor to a finished product “is huge,” he said.

The bike rack was sent out for its green-and-purple paint job, donated by Robert Bailey of R&D Powder Coating.

Jacob is a senior at Royal High School; after graduation he plans to attend Community Colleges of Spokane with the goal of becoming a lineman. Enoch is a junior at Moses Lake High School. He plans on college, and “I’m going to get as many welding certifications as I can,” with the goal of becoming a welder.

Editor’s note: The print version of this story misidentified the bank that commissioned the project. This online article has been corrected to reflect the correct name. The Sun Tribune regrets the error.

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