Part 3: Watering & Worry
This entire project took roughly 4 days, a couple hours a day to complete. We started work on Dec. 18th when my soldering station shipped, and completed in time for first watering on Dec. 22nd, the first day of true winter weather. More than once I stayed up past 1AM soldering, and the last night I spent sealing and shaping until 2AM. The morning of Dec. 22nd, the day of supposed installation, I wake up to find that the silicone had not stuck like glue but was peeling, and so following a moment of panic I decided to tape it up the best I could.
The massive list of things that could go wrong:
- The terrible solder joints could become unstable with temperature changes
- Fluctuations in temperature, humidity, or pressure could damage the light strip
- The silicone seals could fail, letting moisture from watering the rink enter the tube
- The tube could deform before the ice has a chance to solidify the shape
- The ice could be too thin and allow a skate to cut the wire or rupture the tube
We arrived a car full of guys the night of Dec. 22nd and entered the Leger kitchen by the back door, bringing in soldering station, pliers, wiring, packaging and an assortment of tools all laid out on the floor. After soldering the controller, we plugged it into the kitchen for the first multicolor test any of us had ever seen. After rejoicing and making a few final patches, we exited to the rink and centered the logo. The feed wire was about 2ft short of making it from boards to center and so we had to make the difficult decision of placing it slightly off center to avoid adding a potential point of failure. The second mistake was almost finalizing the position, and realizing last minute that the logo was actually upside down.
After correcting these things, we gave a preliminary watering while holding the logo in place, and realized that it naturally bent and did not want to keep proper form. To correct this we took the 2 player benches on the side of the rink and laid them upside down on the logo as weight, at least until the first layer froze. From this point on all we could do was wait until enough layers were applied to cover the logo. Off to bed while the Legers water all night!