The coolest thing I have ever done for an experiment is one summer hooking up with a blacksmith. I called him up, told him what I wanted to do, and he invited me to his home where he had a workshop set up for his own blacksmithing projects.
It was sooo awesome.
I bought everything, like my own crucible and heat resistant gloves, and the materials I wanted melted together, and he showed me how to do everything. He was also a great conversationalist as well, and spoke of his business, helping other people/students, and some of his history. Great guy.
After I got a few samples done, when it came time to make more, I made my own makeshift furnace, first out of concrete in a bucket.
When that didn’t work as well as I wanted (it didn’t get hot enough for me), I used a chiminea and a blow torch. Regular propane small blow torches didn’t work, so I got a larger version that was on sale. With the first torch the gas adjustment knob melted, I got another one and that worked for me (this year I found out there was a recall because some of them exploded—I took that back in a heartbeat and ended up getting a more expensive one that hopefully won’t explode).
I made my samples, ran my experiments, and learned a lot. My experiments veered away from blacksmithing for about a year, and now I find myself going back to it to make more samples, which I will once it starts warming up outside (have you ever tried to get something hot enough to melt when it is really cold outside? Talk about frustrating).
What’s the coolest thing you have ever done for a project?