Inspired by a picture and encouraged by a faculty mentor, a first-year welding and fabrication engineering technology major has replicated a Native American headdress with impressive intricacy and realism. Michael A. Cramer, of Mahaffey, a student in Michael K. Patterson's Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting course this past semester, fashioned his creation entirely from scrap steel. "I always wanted to make one out of metal, but never thought I could ... until I got the chance to do any project I wanted," he said. "I told Mike about it and he immediately gave me the OK and seemed excited about it." Cramer said it took more than two weeks to form, hammer out and color all of the feathers, then another week and a half to make the headband and put it all together. "I really think that the details, such as the small engraving and the color, bring it to life," said the student, who added that Patterson was never far away with ready answers to any questions. "I loved a quote that Mike wrote on a white board: 'Take the metal to places it has never been,'" Cramer said. "I think I will use that for the rest of my life working with metal. I think that welding is seen by a lot of people as 'just a dirty job that can pay well – 'Why would anyone want to do this?' – but I want to show people that working with metal is more than that. You can make such beautiful things out of scrap metal in a Dumpster. I want my work to be inspirational to others and maybe get them to try welding and working with metal."
Photos by Matthew W. Nolan, welding lecturer