Metal Shaping: Toe Dolly and Utility Pick Hammer

Horace Hou and Zac Mau

Made by zmau

Shaping that metal.

Created: January 26th, 2015


In this exercise, we explored and analyzed the form-giving properties of a hand toe-dolly and utility pick hammer, tools commonly used in basic metalworking.

Through research, documentation, and experimentation, we were able to determine what we believe to be the appropriate function of our tools.

The toe dolly appears to work better for molding subtle, obtuse curves over a wide area. Despite having a few hard edges, the dolly does not work well for detail or sharp angle work.

The utility pick hammer is great for general purpose; the flat side is able to shape metal fairly well, while the 'pick' part of the hammer creates deep and narrow pockets which seem to serve to create a focal point in order to easily bend metal into sharper angles.

For our final artifact we created a series of curved pieces of metal to highlight the physical properties of the material and the capabilities of the tool; we used a thicker brass material which was a lot harder to bend and shape using the tool and as such it was harder to create curves with smaller radii compared to the softer aluminum we were using for our test pieces. From our experiments we found that our tools are good for creating curves with larger radii as well as for rough shaping. The tool has multiple curved surfaces allowing for the creation of many curves.

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16-455 Human-Machine Virtuosity

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Human dexterous skill embodies a wealth of physical understanding which complements computer-based design and machine fabrication. This project-oriented course explores the duality between hand and...more


Shaping that metal.