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LRTC student's sculpture wins gold medal

Lakes Region Technology Center (LRTC) Precision Manufacturing student Jadda Doucette, seated with her teacher, Scott Meserve, won a gold medal for her metal sculpture in the Skills USA competition on March 20 at the Manchester Community College. Next she will compete at the national level. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
April 03, 2019
WOLFEBORO — Lakes Region Technology Center (LRTC) Precision Manufacturing student Jadda Doucette won a gold medal for her metal sculpture in the Skills USA competition on March 20 at Manchester Community College. LRTC Principal Bruce Farr has placed it proudly on display in the lobby of school, and invites the public to come look at it close up.

Jadda is now preparing to compete at the national level in Louisville, Ky. the last week of June.

She says the inspiration for her realistically scaled and textured metal sculpture is the common fall activity in New Hampshire of anyone who needs to chop wood to feed their wood stove. The scene features a tree stump with an axe blade inserted in the smooth cut surface and split wood scattered at its base, as if the woodsman is just off taking a break.

The work began in the Precision Manufacturing classroom of Scott Meserve with a four-and-a-half-inch diameter tube of solid steel.

Asked to describe the steps involved, Jadda provided the details. She used Mig Weld beads to make the tube's surface look like tree bark. When she finished welding the "log" she cut it down to 7 inches, and proceeded to remove some of the weight by milling out a hole at the bottom and programming the Bridgeport Milling machine to take away 10 pounds.

She moved on to weld another log from a four-inch diameter steel pipe, again welding the Mig Welding beads to create the look of bark. She cut the pipe in half and then cut each of them in half vertically.

The maple leaf shapes placed along the front of the sculpture (which spell out Skills USA) were cut from eight inch sheet metal using a leaf shaped outline available for use with the Plasmacam program.

Jadda milled down two by three inch tool steel to make the axe head, milled a hole for the handle to fit into, made a wedge to hold it in place with the axe head, then connected the parts together. Once the parts were in place, she says she took metal chips saved from the axe and rusted and heated them with an acetylene and oxygen torch to attach to the bottom of the base to give the appearance of saw dust.

The result was a winning design at the state level. Jadda plans to study advanced welding technology at White Mountain Community College, with the goal of working as an underwater welder at the shipyard.

Varney Smith
AB Logging
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