Local man sculpts camera entirely out of steel - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local man sculpts camera entirely out of steel

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Helmreich says the bellows were the hardest part to sculpt Helmreich says the bellows were the hardest part to sculpt
Laser-etched steel photos, highlighting the company's past Laser-etched steel photos, highlighting the company's past
The previous winning piece The previous winning piece
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Most of us are familiar with the look of old-time cameras--but have you ever seen one made out of steel?

Bruce Helmreich with Michelmann Steel in Quincy built a sculpture of a camera completely out of steel scraps from his company. Now, it's one of the top 5 finalists in a contest held by the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Sculpting the camera took a couple of months of evenings and weekends, and includes laser-etched steel photos from his company's history. He says photography is something that's always interested him.

"I've always been fascinated by the view camera--the bellows, and the shape of it," he said.  "I just like the look of them, and I thought it'd be a challenge to do. So I tried to figure a way to incorporate that into steel."

Helmreich says crafting the folded bellows was the most difficult part of creating the piece.

"Folding and bending and welding it together, and then grinding it--if you make them out of leather or cardboard or something, it's not too hard, but 3/16th steel makes it a little harder."

Helmreich won the same contest earlier this year with a different piece, winning a free catered lunch for all the employees of his business.  The next winner will be chosen in March at the American Institute of Steel Construction's conference in Toronto.

Michelmann Steel has roots in Quincy dating back to 1865.

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