Metals I, Fall 2015, Instructor: Peter Prip

Tin-Plated Steel Studies (2015)

A materials investigation in tin-plated steel sheet stock.


Timeline: 4 Weeks

Create a series of studies using tin-plated steel as a material, using its constraints as a material to help inform and shape your ideas.


We first learned how to make connections between plates. I decided to make a geometric form using connections relying on tension. A central hexagon form was created as a base structure, with the six other square-shaped elements connecting to this structure using tension. The exposed edges of the material were folded using the finger break, so that the object could be handled safely.

To further practice using connections and the finger break, I made two star-shaped forms. The one on the right is a tension fit, containing a square within the outer star form.

Next, we learned about how to make hinges. I proceeded to play with the idea of repeating modules. I created the following object which could fold and unfold.

I established a continuous pattern using the rotation of the modules I had created.

Below is another study with hinges and repeated modules to form a jitterbug-like form. All exposed edges are once more folded over to be user-friendly.

I then created another jitterbug, which I had intended to rotate in a complete cycle. Below is the second of two models I created. The first model was able to rotate with ease due to looser hinges. However, the second model was only able to rotate halfway, due to its precision.

The last piece I decided to make was a collapsible octahedron. First, I made two square jumprings, to which I connected eight hinged modules. The ends of the wire hinges were capped off with bronze tubing and slightly flared so as to secure the connections.