Making an Elephant from Fire, Sweat, and Steel

What is something you have always wanted to do but for whatever reason haven’t done yet?  One of my things is to become a welder.  Now, let me preface everything I am about to say with this:

Welding one time does not a welder make


For father’s day my wife got me a gift certificate for a welding class with the Tampa welding art studio Rustic Steel.  Not sure what to expect, I came to the class with a pair of welding gloves my wife got me as well as some long sleeves and a few ideas in my head dancing around like sugar plum fairies.  Those bouncing ideas congealed into my final vision,  to make a Stee-lephant (get it, steel + elephant).


Spending my first 40 minutes, I went through all the metal in the Rustic Steel warehouse bins, shelves, and tables to select my assortment of gears, chrome sheet, sprockets, and such.  Once I had a table full of various metal shapes the design began to take form in my head.  It would have this spoke/sprocket like head and butt with a round curved belly.  It was incredible to watch my design come to life with each piece I welded.  I wanted my elephant to have long spindly legs like the elephants painted by Salvador Dali.  To get those legs I took slim pieces of steel and cut them shorter and began to bend them by hand.  After the pieces were bent to the desired shapes I welded the various individual pieces back together to create the effect I desired.  My final elephant weighs in at somewhere between 25-30 lbs and sits in the front entrance inside my house to greet any visitors.


Are there better elephants (or stee-lephants) out there?  I’m sure of it.  The thing is, this is mine, and I am very proud of the effort I put into it and I’m happy with how it came out.  All of this is thanks to my wonderful wife for knowing me so well, this was the perfect gift!


I have future ideas in my head scratching and clawing to get out, but the next step for me is to decide if I want to begin saving for my own welding equipment. Also, if anyone has any help / suggestions / ideas of how best to get your own welding rig let me know in the comments. I’ve begun looking on craigslist for a reasonably priced used rig, but I’m not educated enough in welding to know what price ranges are “reasonable” for used equipment.  I also am not entirely sure what kind of equipment a beginner welder would need (it seems like from my initial research that the sky is the limit on what you can spend).

Here is an Imgur gallery of the creation of my Elephant

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