Corton steel pond feature for a rusted finish

Corten steel fountain water spout
rusty corten steel garden pond wall capping feature

We were contacted by our client Chris Prior Garden Design who tasked us with building a Corten Steel capping feature to go over a pond wall and integrated waterfall spout. The brief – to ensure it would look sleek whilst fitting in with the style of the ladscaped garden. Corten Steel was the material of choice to ensure it would achieve the desired rust finish the client was looking for matching the style of the garden.

After being given the initial design concept from Chris we went onsite during the early stages of the garden landscaping project completed by Greener Landscapes to take dimensions before creating the final design in 3D CAD where we produced our workshop details and flat patterns ready for manufacturing.

Garden Pond feature being built

showing onsite the first stages of the large pond being built, this is approximately 3.5mtrs x 2mtrs in size.
The steel capping feature had to fit nicely over the pre-made wall and pond which was also going to be rendered and GRP lined.

When designing the pond feature we needed to give a lot of attention to the design of the waterfall spout as this would shape the flow of the water to the pond. As the water would be a key feature this is a very important element.

fountain inlet reservoir cad design in progress
Corten steel fountain waterfall spout

we modeled the waterfallspout in 3d cad and created our flat patterns show here is the 3d cad model and the finished corten steel fabrication

We fabricated the wall capping so it ended up as one piece measuring 3.2m long x 1.85 metre wide. This was a big build needing to be made in sections.

We also needed to give thought to make sure all sections joined with minimal distortion to keep a nice looking waterline.

wall capping cad design in progress

We designed the fabrication in 3d cad taking into account the jigs that we also needed to design that would enable us to manufacture the corten steel wall cap.
When fabricating in the workshop we made use of our 3d jig table system to ensure the structure would come together as intended and with the jig table we could build the wall capping structure and control the welds for minimal distortion on the finished fabrication.

Corten steel wall capping featre being fabricated in our workshop
Corten steel wall Capping feature being welded and ground

The process involved waterject cutting the pieces from Corten Steel plate. We then folded all the parts, jigged up and fully welded with special Corten Steel welding wire, followed by fully grinding, sand blasting and sanding it so it became one very large part. The sand blasting and sanding were for surface preparation which assisted in creating a nice even rusted finish.

Corten steel provides a great rusted finish which was the perfect choice for this project as it blends incredibly well with the newly landscaped garden and over time it’s appearance will only continue to get better as the rust deepens and plants begin to develop and grow around it.

Corten steel fountain water spout

Read our post here on some other Corten Steel garden water feature work we did as part of this same project and find out more information about the beauty of Corten Steel and how it could work for your next garden landscape or sculpture project.

Contact us today to discuss you next potential project whether it is a simple sleek design or a large-scale 3D sculpture.

Deep sea core drilling core removal tool

ROV core removal tool

ROV deep sea core drilling attachments

final batch of 12 ready for deployment
A batch of 12 core catchers for deep sea ROV core drilling

We were commissioned to manufacture a batch of 12 stainless steel core catchers for use by the national oceanography center on their Isis ROV. We were approached with the design concept and shown how it should work on the ROV but the big problem was that trials could only be done when doing the actual job at depth. There were some guesses as to what the material would be at the location but until the dive was done no one was really sure, for the initial prototype and our trials we were given a cinder block as it was the closest material that resembled what they had hoped to find.

Isis Deep Platform ROV
The Isis ROV deep sea platform

The Isis ROV is a lot bigger than it looks in the picture standing at over 8 feet tall it is packed with some very expensive and cool gadgets, inc HD and special cameras, special lighting to a titanium robotic arm!

ROV core removal tool
our initial trials with prototype in cinder block in use by hand applications

We needed to make a working proto type that had to be tested and approved by the client before the final batch of 12 were produced.
The cores were to be core drilled with a diamond core drill bit that would be driven by an underwater air driven motor held in one of the manipulator arms, but the issue was then retrieving the core sample after drilling as it was from deep sediment rock. The idea was to slip the core catcher over the core after drilling, then gently pull and wiggle it with the robotic arm manipulator, it would brake off whilst the teeth would dig in allowing it to be retained in the tube whilst it was removed from the rock bed.
We were given a cinder block as it was thought to be the closest material to the real stuff. 4 holes were cored so we could have a play.

first proto type gripper
the 1st prototype gripper
second proto type gripper
the 2nd prototype gripper
Third proto type gripper
the final protype gripper

We went through three design variations on the gripper before we got it working to how we thought it should work. We then presented it to the client for their own trials in their workshop with the ROV manipulator.

final batch of 12 ready for deployment
The finished assembled batch of 12 core catchers

The top T handles were T shaped as it is best for the robotic arm manipulator to grip onto and use, these were made so they could be unscrewed afterwards and removed so that the core could be slid out. The teeth dug into the core sample so it couldn’t fall our and the teeth were so good it was impossible to slide them the other way.
This was all machined, waterjet cut and welded in 316 grade stainless steel

final gripper design installed in the collection tube
a close up of the finished assembly showing the teeth on the gripper end
ROV core drill core remover in action
this is the view from the command room on the ship looking through the ROV cameras

You can see in this picture some of the camera views from the Isis ROV whilst at the bottom of the sea bed the two lower screens show the core catcher being deployed and in use at the bottom of the sea bed. The design worked perfectly!

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Corten steel fountain base water feature

close up waterjet cut feature holes in corten steel fountain base
corten steel fountain base with water fountain running
corten steel fountain base

Waterjet cut Corten Steel Fountain Base

Safire were commissioned to manufacture the steel work for some garden water features designed by Chris Prior garden design including this fountain base. In the picture above you can see the finished project which had been precisely installed into the ground by greener lanscapes,  set under the main grating is a hidden steel framework which houses the pump, reservoir and pipework.

Safire manufactured all elements to this in our workshop in Southampton. The main frame was fabricated from 50mm x 50mm steel box section and the top grill feature was waterjet cut from 6mm thick corten steel plate. There are over 4000 feature holes waterjet cut into the design. It takes a long time to waterjet cut this many detailed holes but the outcome is worth it, not only is the waterjet cutting clean and virtually burr free, there is also no heat involved during the cutting process which can distort metals like this especially with the amount and size of holes in this design and how close they are together. A slate vase sculpture sat on top of the center disc and the 4 quadrant plates were removable to gain access to the workings below.

close up waterjet cut feature holes in corten steel fountain base
the main top grill was made in 5 sections, the centre disc and 4 quadrant sections
waterjet cuts in close up detail
you can see in this close up the quality of the waterjet cut feature holes in the 6mm thick corten steel plate, the top face has been sanded ready to start the rusting process.
Large rolled ring
ring rolling of the main frame ring
fountain base frame being fabricated
positioning of the middle stand section
fabricated base frame on our jig table
taking shape on the jig table
finished fabrication on the work bench
the finished fabrication on the bench
with the supporting frame underneath painted we placed it on a pallet ready to ship.

Rusting Corten Steel looks great for Garden sculpture and artwork but what is Corten steel?

Corten steel is a high strength, low alloy, weldable structural steel possessing excellent weathering resistance.
Weathering steel is often referred to by the name COR-TEN steel and sometimes written without the hyphen as corten steel.
corten weathering steel is popularly used in outdoor sculptures, design work and furniture for its rustic antique appearance.

Corten does need special / extra processing to ensure it weathers well and more evenly.  When the steel plate arrives at our workshop it has a mill scale on the steel and this needs removing either before, during or after the fabrication work and depending on the work we are doing as to ho and when we remove it. We also use special grade welding wire for the welding process.
Unless the rust is accelerated the work will be generally finished to a linished / sanded appearance and will look like nice clean prepared metal. Although it will start rusting fairly quickly if the weathers right.

The rust layer will build up over a year or two.
Even though it is rust and rusting metal is normally a bad thing, with corten steel it actually creates a sealing layer that protects the steel underneath so with corten Rust is good and it looks great!

Please contact us if you would like a Corten steel sculpture or design for your Garden or space

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