View Full Version : Pricing for a Massive Steel Sculpture
Brandon U Mass
12-07-2005, 06:00 AM
I am a MFA student who is need of the advice of sculptors. I am currently working on a theoretical proposal to build a large scale sculpture made of a solid steel inverted arch supported by 3-5 steel pillars. This object will be between 12-30ft in length. I was wondering if any of you might know which companies would one contact in order to price the steel and to hire to execute the sculpture. Any help with this is greatly appreciated as I am having no luck finding this information on my own.
12-07-2005, 09:42 AM
Look in your Yellow Pages under Steel Fabricators, Architectural Steel Fabricators, Structural Steel Fabricators etc. Might as well start locally so you can actually speak directly to someone about what you have in mind and get some expert advice as well.
12-07-2005, 01:57 PM
Would your teacher know any different between "made up" numbers or real numbers from you finding answers? I would simply list the various tasks involved, estimate time, estimate material, and come up with a pricing model whether it is accurate or not. just don't use crazy numbers. For example, you could say the pillars cost 1,000 in materials and 40 hours by a sculptor to create. Pay your sculptor $75 and hour or whatever you want. Say the steel is $6.00 a foot. Of course these dolalr amounts are highly subject to who is doing it, what materials chosen, etc...at least you are being methodical in establishing your costs. make up tasks like design, fabrication, assembly, finishing, coating, delivery labor, delivery costs for truck, site prep work, etc.
Brandon U Mass
12-08-2005, 05:48 AM
Thank you all who have posted thus far. Your help is greatly appreciated. I am looking into all of the advice you have given me. This is a great group of people you have in your community. I can use more advice up till Monday morning when I have to wrap up my project.
Thank you all
12-08-2005, 12:33 PM
If this is a purely theoretical sculpture and not something that is intended to be built, I would tell professionals that up front, so as not to waste their valuable time with a lot of calculations coming up with figures. Ask them for a ball park figure/estimation and you can get a much quicker response.
Many steel vendors have small booklets that give you the weight per foot of all steel beams and plates. Which may help you do some figuring as well if you work from a sketch to calculate cost and total weight. These sizing scales can probably be located online with a quick google.
12-08-2005, 05:21 PM
Fused is right in that companies do not like to want to waste time. But if you tell them out front that this is an academic exercise, some may give you some ball park figures and even some tips. Do some homework before approaching them so what what they tell you are valuable additional information, guidelines and tips.
12-09-2005, 06:35 PM
Any steel supplier in town can give you the quotes you need for the steel. Start first with finding out if the variety of steel you require is available locally. As for fabricators, look to the high schools or community colleges for welding classes that have students who can use your project as a class assignment. The instructor can easily assess your needs and recommend particular students in various catagories that can facilitate your project. The instructor can also help you achieve a discount in price from the steel supplier, and, if the project is to be a permanent public art piece, donated by your services as artist and designer, it's quite possible that the supplies and expendables required to fabricate the work can be a write off for the supply company as well. Everyone wins all around on a project of that type.
P.S. most every town has a scrap steel yard that cut offs and extras off projects get liquidated through at severe discounts. It's sorta like a recycler for structural steel. You can usually get what you want for pennies on the dollar what you'd normally pay.
Good luck with it.
P.S.S.... figure about one hour shop time for every two inches of welded seam. I know that sounds high, but realistically it's not. Consider preparation time to bevel each joining piece, lay in tack to secure them in place, weld one side, clean that weld and inspect, rotate the work, prep and weld the back half, clean that weld and inspect, etc...., then finish the welds to desired surface effect, ....... it sucks up time in a hurry. Especially once the piece starts get'n large.
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