Bee is a sheet metal coffee table for the center of our homes. I designed and made bee as a one off piece. It's made of laser cut sheet steel, folded and powder coated. A clear acrylic top finishes it off. I folded Bee on a manual press break and magna-bend. Spotwelding holds it all together.
Hand sketching is the quickest way to explore ideas and communicate them to other people. Where I sketch has a big impact on my creativity. I sat outside on a balcony, roof lines initially inspired me.
Sheet metal is strongest on edge - this is why shipping containers are so strong. I used honeycomb because it would achieve the same strength as a shipping container wall.
Low resolution prototypes showed me the strong and weak points of the design. They helped me decide which concept to continue with.
Mistakes made in cardboard cost a lot less than mistakes in steel. I made two full sized cardboard prototypes, test if each of the folds are possible on the press break. It also highlighted missing and excess safety folds (seams).
I used Solidworks to draw the whole table in 3d. Using the sheet metal features means all the parts can be flatted out, automatically.
All the parts fit on a single sheet of mild steel. This reduces waste material and makes the parts cheaper to produce and transport.
Even though I made a full scale cardboard prototype, and tested it on the press break, I still had lots of trouble folding Bee. Parts of the legs needed to be folded on with a block of wood, clamps, a hammer and sheer determination. I also made the mistake of folding one of the legs inside out. Oh well lessons learn.
I am definitely not the worlds best spot-welder. But when deadlines call, compromises must be made. I will need to practice my spot-welding one day. Good thing I can MIG weld.
I made three left legs! Folding one to the legs inside-out, meant i had to improvise some repairs. The left and right legs are different. The assembly was very difficult anyway. Way to many pieces. If I ever batch produce Bee, I'll streamline the design for assembly.
Preparation is key to a great paint job. Its the same with powder-coating. Here I'm grinding all the spot-welds smooth. Then it is off to the powdercoaters.