Tuesday, Jan. 25: The fun and work begin

How exciting to be finally sculpting after almost a year of planning. It took us 11 years to figure out, but we finally have a decent wire saw (airplane wire with rivets). Dan made it, it works well, and we removed tons of snow today via various vertical and horizontal prisms, and skew planes. It took a couple of hours of marking, but then once we started cutting it went very quickly, with giant slabs falling everywhere. And the planes that remain are perfectly smooth. So tomorrow we will mark up the revealed planes and start carving.

Of course, there are always surprises. We had to spend a half hour at the beginning clearing hard packed snow from the base so we could place our wooden frame of four 12-foot long pieces. And on our first use of the wire saw one rivet broke, making it a little harder to use.

There are 15 teams this year: Austria, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, three from Canada (Yukon, two from Quebec), Mexico, Alaska, Wisconsin (2), Colorado (2), and our hybrid Swedish-USA team.


The start: Place the frame and start marking.


After lunch we give the wire saw a good test with some huge cuts. Here is a very large vertical plane cutting off a tetrahedron.


Eva takes a turn on plane number 2, a simple vertical prism ... and down it comes. The snow piled on the corner of the frame is so that the falling blacks do not destroy it.



Hmm..  Looks like we left a tape measure on the top. I wonder if we ever recovered it! (We did.)


By day’s end we had removed several tons of snow: an impressive pile. The cut plane shown is actually two planes: we cut down at a slight angle to the intersection, and then out. I probably don’t have to say that Mathematica was instrumental in making the computations necessary for these cuts.


After dinner we had energy to return and look at things. A passerby took this photo while Eva held on to his dog. Again, the straightness of the plane cuts compared to our past work is amazing.


Rich at work. The concrete blocks are in place to support the new light system, which this year consists of LED lights, an improvement over the gasoline powered lights of the past.


And here is a bizarre picture shot by Dan atop the block, with Rich, Eva, and me below trying to do something.

Spikey Created with Wolfram Mathematica 8.0