GarE (pronounced “Gary”) Maxton has always been drawn to metalworking. At school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he learned the basics of welding, and his interest was immediately caught. He saved up and bought his first welding setup which he installed in his parents’ garage. He knew he wanted to be an artist, but practicalities prevailed, and he ended up having a successful career in real estate. So successful, in fact, that he was able to retire in 2000 at the not-at-all-ripe age of 46. He immediately purchased a micro-mill and welding equipment, and got to work learning the ins and outs of machining. Less than two years later, he started his own website to showcase and sell his machined puzzles.
“The metals used in his sculptures range from common to exotic to precious. They include brass, aluminum, cast iron, neodynium iron, stainless steel, steel, magnesium, titanium, copper, pewter, tin, zinc, aluminum bronze, white brass (Babbitt metal), bearing bronze, silicon bronze, Monel (is that even a thing?), tungsten, Inconel (a very difficult-to-machine space-age metal used in jet engines), silver bullion, 24K gold and various forms of Makume Gane and on one occasion even Damascus steel (which would make a great band name).” –CraftsmanshipMuseum.com
You can purchase at least some of Maxton’s pieces on Ebay, and the rest can be gotten (if you’re lucky) by making inquiries on his website.
Here’s a video of the artist disassembling the thing. I do love his one blue fingernail!