DIY, magnetized sheet metal designs help real-life animals
Whether you’re an animal lover or art aficionado, you can try your hand at making your own unique metal animal sculpture, thanks to Poligon, a DIY art project. Poligon, created by London artists Rodrigo Solorzano and Matthew White, uses foldable metal sheets with magnets that allow you to build your own animal masterpiece. If you’re having trouble with your creature construction, Poligon also offers instructions with each piece so you can follow along to create a specified animal.
The project, inspired by the beauty of nature and the artists’ interest in geometric design, sculpture and metal, includes a variety of animal options. The first designs of the collection are the Penguin, Gorilla and Hump Back Whale. The artists have also created a special insect collection available on Kickstarter, which features simpler designs and no magnets. The insect sculptures – which are a single sheet of metal for each insect – can require small folds, so Poligon offers a folding tool to help. The insects include Bedbugs, Woodlouse, Ant, Mantis and Dragonfly.
In addition to the regular animal sculptures, Poligon has developed the Small Asian Elephant piece especially for the non-profit Elephant Family, the UK’s leading fundraising group to save the endangered Asian elephant. Poligon donates one of their metal elephants to Elephant Family for each Kickstarter pledge. The charity is then free to use the elephants however they want to raise funds and awareness.
The Kickstarter project has already surpassed its goal of £15,00 by a landslide, and the funds will be used to finalize development of the Penguin, Gorilla and Whale.
Solorzano and White, the artists behind the sculpture project, met at the Royal College of Art in London. Solorzano, a sculpture artist interested in integrating folding into sculpture, and White, armed with a background in manufacturing and folding metal, collaborated to create the innovative Poligon project.
For the metalwork designs used in Poligon, they used a process called photo chemical machining, or photo etching. The process uses a photoresist (light-sensitive material) and etchant to corrosively machine away selected areas. The result is metal sheets with very fine detail accuracy.
You can get the materials to build your own Poligon by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign.