The inspiration of my upcycling project is from the military style artworks made from military materials. When I was a child this type of products were very popular in the souvenir stores around the Chinese military bases for sale. I have seen people make some beautiful and practical stuff by using fired shell cases. Here are two examples that I found on Google:
Tank made with brass shell cases and bullets
Ball pen made from used ammo
It turns out that I’m a guy who enjoys shooting targets in the mountains with my friends. I go shooting a lot and I found out that ammo waste pollution is pretty serious in the national forests in Colorado. Since the shell cases are ejected from the firearms and drops randomly on the dirt, shooters tend to just leave them there and don’t care. So I think doing a brass upcycling project can in some levels show people that these fired brass also have their value. So next time maybe consider picking them up after shooting targets in the mountains and recycle them.
At the beginning I was planning to make a tank just as the example picture above. Unfortunately, I didn’t collect enough shell cases. So I had a plan change and decided to go with something smaller: a howitzer. The materials that I am going to use includes: .45 ACP brass shell cases, .223 shell cases, 308 shell cases, lego wheels and Loctite epoxy.
The first step was to clean the shell cases. These shell cases have been fired so there’s lots of gun power on them. The way that I clean them is to soak the shell cases in hot water, then add a spoon of salt and a spoon of apple cider. 2~3 hours later the gun power can be brushed off easily. After giving the shell cases a rinse, I simply dried them using a hair dryer.
The next step was bonding the shell cases into the major parts of the final design. To bond them, I used Loctite epoxy. The epoxy dries very fast so it was a little tricky to use. After 20 minutes of completely bonding, the major parts are done.
The final part was to bond the major parts together using epoxy. Below is the final project:
To conclude, the project achieved my functional goal, which is to be used as a piece of artwork. The project also achieved my artistic goal, which is to build a military style artwork by using shell cases. I am very happy with how it turned out. I will keep the project. Since I didn’t have enough shell cases to make a decent tank, I might try again and build a tank next time with more shell cases.