About this project
How do you sculpt them?
We've created a set of animal sculptures inspired by some of the most wonderful creatures on earth. We have taken their form and simplified it whilst keeping their identity. We then take these 3D forms and develop them into foldable metal sculptures. The metal sculptures arrive in flat sheet form.
The individual components are chemically etched to produce perfectly cut parts. We have also etched in fold lines which makes it very easy to achieve great results.
Magnets are already fixed onto the sheet so that the individual elements of the sculpture are rapidly assembled into the final piece. We have developed the process into something that can be achieved by hand, with no additional tools.
We have worked on simplifying the folding process as much as possible and even though the pieces can be folded in several ways we developed a series of instruction, both in video and printed version, to illustrate the easiest way to fold them.
The first of our sculptures are the Penguin, Gorilla and Hump Back Whale.
We have also developed a range of insects especially for Kickstarter. They are simpler designs with no magnets. Each insect is one sheet that is folded by hand. Some folds are small and we supply a simple folding tool for these when necessary.
We developed our Small Asian Elephant especially for Elephant Family the UK’s leading charity for the endangered Asian Elephant. http://www.elephantfamily.org . We’ll be donating one of our elephants to Elephant Family for everyone which we give you when pledging. We’ll leave them to decide what they do with the elephants but be assured they will end up helping the Asian Elephants that remain
We use a process called photo chemical machining (also known as photo etching). It is a chemical milling process used to fabricate sheet metal components using a photoresist and etchant to corrosively machine away selected areas. The process is amazing – flat metal sheets are covered with a chemical resistive film. The film is super precise – covering areas you want to keep. If you cover both sides the sheet is kept fully, cover one side and leave a gap the other you get a half cut on one side. Have gaps lined up on both sides and you get a hole – or you cut out a shape. We cut out sheets and leave half cuts for fold lines.
It’s actually an ancient method of very intricate detailing on metal. Chemical etching was used regularly in Europe during the fifteenth century when it was used to decorate suits of armour. The earliest reference to this process describes an etchant made from common salt, vinegar and charcoal acting through a hand scribed mask of linseed oil paint. The process is still used for decoration but advances in accuracy mean it is used in a wide variety of applications from the automotive industry to the space industry to air filtration (you can etch thin sheet so finely that it can filter air!).
We fell in love with the process because it doesn't require hugely expensive tooling but gives highly accurate results with beautiful metals. It really has freed our creative thinking and these sculptures are just the beginning!
Its been a long way since the first paper models.
We developed the design especially for Elephant Family the UK’s leading charity for the endangered Asian Elephant. http://www.elephantfamily.org . We’ll be donating one of our elephants to Elephant Family for everyone which we give you when pledging. We’ll leave them to decide what they do with the elephants but be assured they will end up helping the Asian Elephants that remain.
We are very excited to be able to offer sculptures we think are beautiful but that you can also be involved in sculpting. We want to share them with you. However, we need to be able to finish developing the first three pieces. The Penguin, Gorilla and Whale are almost done but there is still some development needed to have the pieces finalised. Little details such as fold lines and tolerances need to be tweaked. This takes some investment in further etches. Also, with the larger order numbers we will be able to reduce the etching costs. We also want to be sure the experience for you, or for the person you've given this to, is totally enjoyable. With the funding from Kickstarter we would be able to put the time into the instructions and packaging so that the sculpting process is pure pleasure. Packaging is also an important area which needs final design work and investment for production. The packaging will be special but also very protective. We understand that that you may want to have something in hand more quickly and not have to wait for the further developments. That’s why we have a range of insect based sculptures. These are ready to be made and can ship soon after a successful campaign. We hope you are as excited as us by making beautiful objects with your own hands.
We are really keen to get insects sent before Cristmas as we know they make great gifts
Thanks to Anna Eijsbouts for all of her help and especially for her wonderful stop-motion animation and to our friends form Soundtree for the fantastic music for the video. Also a big thank you to Miles Pennington for bringing us together at the RCA and to Elizabeth "KUKI" Encinas for helping us spread the word.
Risks and challenges
We are very confident in production – prototyping is the same as production so we know we can deliver this. There are various chemical etch partners we have worked with in the UK and we even have the option of etching in other countries. Of course manufacturers can let you down, but we have experience with the guys we use and are very confident they will deliver.
There could possibly be delays to the manufacturing if the pledges are of many pieces. A good problem to have! It shouldn't be an issue because the manufacturing partners we are working with can do many thousands of parts reasonably quickly. We can also use with more than one supplier if it helps. If timings do slip – which we will try our best to avoid or even make them slip sooner – then we will be keeping you fully up to date.
We may have difficulty in making all the pieces super easy to make. We don’t think this will happen but it’s worth noting. Our test is to be sure we can do it ourselves. When we are finally developing the pieces we will get a few other people with varying abilities and hand strength to test prototypes so that we can tweak anything.
We've asked for your help because more supporters mean lower costs. If we get only a handful of pledges for a certain piece the worry would be that the costs is too high and we won’t want to supply that…..but you don’t need to be concerned. The great thing about etching is that we can mix and match parts to create a group build. Therefore a few Whales and many Penguins is pretty easy to fulfil in one order.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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