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  • Paper Patterns vs Flexible Shape Patterns

    As a sculptor, it helps me to understand how a job is to be (1) shaped/formed/arranged/carved/cast/modeled/fabricated as an approved finished job/object and (2) the process or processes to be employed to achieve the desired result. One of my Master Sculptors taught me the value of observing the work and methods of others without passing judgment. Learn and do while understanding why. This requires critical analysis, usually stepping back to observe to deconstruct what is actually being done. Don't overlook the obvious. Most jobs require an order of processes that may not be mandatory but that will be beneficial. Many new craftsmen seek to produce an aesthetically pleasing aspect of a project quickly to demonstrate their growing skill to others and to themselves. In most situations, an advanced craftsman will have learned to delay such gratification in order to more efficiently produce a more accurate result. The pretty stuff comes at the end and you learn the result is worth the wait. Choose your Master(s) carefully,understand what their Masters taught them & why and practice the methods that may seem boring and mundane until the elegance is revealed by developed expertise.

    In regard to metal shaping, a compare and contrast of Paper Pattern vs Flexible Shape Pattern is the subject of this thread. As a novice metal shaper, I hope to lend my critical analysis of the two from the different perspective of a professional stone sculptor. It is important as an apprentice to do as you are taught without question. Knowing why comes later. Time spent arguing is never regained.

    It would very cool for this forum (imho) if appropriate threads and topics could become Fundamental Topic Threads, maybe in a separate category, sticky, locked, whatever. That's all up to admin....

    Paper Patterns-

    These came first, which is relevant because they were very likely the inspiration of later methods. More to come later about this.

    The single piece of paper is monolithic, which is a direct equivalent to the single monolithic piece of sheet metal to be formed.

    Paper Patterns provide a clear metaphor to the actual outline of the necessary metal blank.

    Paper Patterns provide adequate information about the general 3D object/job.

    By virtue of gathered folds, tuck and creases needed to make the paper tightly conform to the panel, Paper Patterns capture and relay instruction about areas of no action as well as form (simple bending) and shape (shrinking, stretching) of how to transform the metal into an equivalent result.

    Because Paper Patterns clearly instruct where shrinking and resulting thickening of metal will need to occur to produce the desired job/result, placement of these thickened areas can be coordinated with planned welding so similar areas of either original thickness or thickened metal can be better matched. This may benefit movement of the joined parts during the welding process.

    Combined repetition of processes provides positive reinforcement of instruction/method and results. From the perspective of Behavioral Psychology, such approach benefits the learning process and proficiency of the craftsman.

    Paper Patterns are not aesthically pleasing to view during the work. Gratification is delayed while the craftsman works methodically and practices what is being taught. Speed and fluency come only with practice. There are no short cuts.




    Flexible shape patterns (FSP)-

    These are derivative of Paper Patterns. It was likely an effort to improve a dated method of patterning, such as Paper Patterning. This is important as as example of critical analysis and observation for a practicing craftsman.

    The FSP is constructed of numerous separate pieces of material. This is in no way analgous to the single monolithic piece of metal to be worked. It is more analogous to a panel that is being fabricated from any number of strips of metal, joined together. It is also more analogous to why a complicated job, like an entire panel or car body, is divided into smaller pieces to be shaped and joined because it is too difficult or impossible to produce the job from a single monolithic piece of metal. From a Behavioral Psychology perspective, what is being inadvertently taught & learned is not consistent and such inconsistency interferes with the growth of the craftsman.

    Becasue an FSP will not lay perfectly flat, it is less efficient in providing an outline of the necessary metal blank. Miscut metal may be wasted. The job may fail. Time may be wasted.

    As an FSP is constructed to tightly conform the the desired object, manipulation and overlap of the individual strips eliminates the instruction of how the job is to be produced. Information about form (simple bending) is not clearly communicated because information about shape (folds/creases for shrinking and likely areas needing stretching) is eliminated. Without clear instruction about either form or shape present, it is more difficult for the craftsman to clarify which process is required and where to apply it.

    with no clear instruction regarding shrinking or simple bending of metal, equivalent areas of thickness cannot be matched to facilitate welding. This makes subsequent work more difficult.

    FSP provide a craftsman with a simple and quick way to create an aesthetically pleasing result while simultaneously providing only information about the overall composition of the job with no clear instruction about how to produce it. The craftsman may still succeed, but clear instruction and learning is more difficult to quantify.



    I prefer Paper Patterns for a number of reasons. In the debates and discussions I've read, I've never seen any proponent or opponent clearly address some of the points above, especially the monolithic vs fabricated analogy. This, along with the information & instruction aspects of Paper Patterns vs the information-only aspect of FSP is also rarely clarified. If I were to produce and use an FSP, I would complete it with a top layer of adhesive or double-sided tape to which I would apply a Paper Pattern with all creases and folds present & held in place. This hybrid approach would employ the FSP to serve as a more durable support for the Paper Pattern. I've never seen this discussed or heard of it being done. No matter, this is analogous to the durable hard support (called a Mother) that I produce over flexible silicone molds used to cast models in my studio. But, since the Paper Pattern is now permanently adhered to the FSP, a duplicate Paper Pattern is now required to provide an accurate outline of the necessary metal blank.

    To me, the Paper Pattern proves to be more valuable than the FSP or the FSP-PP hybrid approach. It's important to understand why a traditional method endures. There may be ways to improve upon the past, but true improvement should be obvious and substantial. If it isn't, I was trained and have learned to trust my Masters, my training and my ability to critically analyze what is in front of me.

    Hopefully others can add more. Thanks, guys.
    Last edited by cliffrod; 18-08-19, 02:52 AM. Reason: edit 2- fix more two typos & incomplete sentence

  • #2
    i did wonder if this subject would eventuate over here....

    the main reason i am having this conversation if you would call it that with kp is after watching the said videos, it became very clear he doesn't really understand what he is doing and why. i am by no means an expert metalshaper at all, if anywhere close to being but i somehow manage to learn from my own failings and then reproduce a better part the second, third, fourth time around. the FSP pattern as stated by the inventor and his number one follower will fit the part being made when the part being made is correct. kind of obvious really. let's ask some questions about the FSP itself, does temperature affect it? would it shrink in heat? plastic usually does, i can remember when we were kids putting empty crisp packets in the oven under the grille part and watching them shrink lol. using the FSP while checking the shape, unless it's see through is not going to help. in the said video's he is checking the shape with the FSP even when it resembles a barrel and believing it is low in a certain spot. opening the panel up would make that area fuller than it actually is. hence the reason for stretching the edges to remove shape. using a paper pattern you would see what needs to be shrunk and what needs to be stretched as you have said. the FSP shows you shape but what goes where and how much? i don't believe in the FSP at all, it seems as though you would be working blind, not being able to see where it doesn't fit.

    i am in the process right now of replicating a panel that closes the inner trunk on the porsche. i took a paper pattern, marked out the information and started hitting the thing. now i have basic shape i marked a reference spot above the front axle and measured in 100mm increments. did the same on the new panel for the opposite side and then took a profile gauge and checked every 100mm. it might not be exact but it's within a mm or so, exact is down to me not the paper pattern.

    i'm more the same thinking as you i think, traditional works why change it. if changing a method makes it easier or quicker with the same results as before then all is well. if changing creates other issues then why change?

    i'm pretty sure other experiences metalshapers would rather use a paper pattern
    thanks neil

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    • #3
      There will always be differences in opinion. Some arguments are not worth continuing.

      I understand from my work that once a determinant but flexible pattern (usually a silicone mold of a clay model) is allowed to deform (because the hard mother breaks or fails), it falls on me alone to salvage the job. The flexible mold is not much help. As a professional, now it's "easier" to succeed, but it's still a crapshoot. So I have no interest in surrendering any information, like folds and creases, at any time. The FSP does exactly that. It makes the overall composition information portable and reversible, but provides no direct instruction about how to achieve the result.

      Having a a visual gratification of the target is a great way to sell the concept to people anxious to feel like they made something worthy. But people overlook the information that is being lost in the FSP process. To me, that's counterproductive and makes it not worth practicing.

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      • #4
        Nicely explained Clint, see you in Belfast.

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        • #5
          As I always said the FSP it's only any good when used to make and fly KITES!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Peter Tommasini View Post
            As I always said the FSP it's only any good when used to make and fly KITES!
            Peter, can you add more about planning folds and wrinkles on a Paper Pattern to help plan subsequent welds of neighboring pieces related to metal thickness? You speak about it on the first video posted, where you specifically direct the students where to only bend the metal (such as at 12:00 directly above the wheel) and where to create wrinkles to direct shrinking.

            Most our probably understand why matching metal thickness when possible is an obvious benefit to welding and shaping. Knowing where to locate specific work may not always as obvious. Is it directed by areas where simple bending will created the needed result, is it more about how the joined metal may react to welding & possibly trap unwanted shape that is difficult to resolve, a combination of things or ??

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cliffrod View Post

              Peter, can you add more about planning folds and wrinkles on a Paper Pattern to help plan subsequent welds of neighboring pieces related to metal thickness? You speak about it on the first video posted, where you specifically direct the students where to only bend the metal (such as at 12:00 directly above the wheel) and where to create wrinkles to direct shrinking.

              Most our probably understand why matching metal thickness when possible is an obvious benefit to welding and shaping. Knowing where to locate specific work may not always as obvious. Is it directed by areas where simple bending will created the needed result, is it more about how the joined metal may react to welding & possibly trap unwanted shape that is difficult to resolve, a combination of things or ??
              Cliff it's probably best to show rather then try to write about the subject over a post , TOMORROW I will be filming the first of many video's about your question and many more concerning paper patterns and how to read shapes, how to wheel, and how to do many things of all kinds, AND MOST IMPORTANT WHAT NOT TO DO !!!! .I am planing to film as many video's as possible so this Forum will become a ('' book'' ) ....if you like..... but rather then have still pics, we will show real things, real shaping, where one can understand what is going on and learn in the process . WE WILL GET THERE!!!!
              Peter T.

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              • #8
                Guys.... Have you noticed that in the other ''forum'' some people are still going on with the debate about FSP versus normal paper patterns ? There are people there, that truly believe in that stuff , and believe or not, I can tell from what that they are writing, how little knowledge they have on making panels , the most irritating of them all, has to be Mr K**** P******* poor fellow I feel sorry for him.......................... And do you know what... If it was me starting that post, he would have put a STOP to it a long time ago!! Just like he did with some other post of mine!
                But at the end of the day... may be I am wrong and have been wrong for the last 50 Years ..NOT to mention my teachers that worked in the best car manufactures in the world for the best part of 40 Years or more . I am not been a smart a**e , but please just make your own mind up when you see work done by the likes of Mr Moss, Mr Gardener Mr Glover, and all the workers way back then at the Jaguar Factory or indeed Aston Martin, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo .... etc DO YOU REALLY THINK that they would have done that front of that Jag that way ???? Again .. please make your own mind up!
                And please if your knowledge of metalshaping is relatively NEW... do not just say..... FSP '' works for me'' ...simply because (like or not) IT DOES NOT !! .. Do not believe me...... well just ask the craftsman mention above, I can supply you with their Emails or phone N
                Peter T.

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                • #9
                  Well what a read, firstly Clifford great post and write up.
                  IMHO these have obviously worked for some and not for others, depending on the way y iu have been show, you will inadvertently choose that method.
                  as a not so qualified person to begin with, having been self tought, the paper pattern wins by my book, as for speed of application in knowing exactly what needs to go on when and where and exactly how to cut you sheet blank once all the lines are marked out. As these can quickly be placed back on the piece for reference checking. You know exactly where to shrink or stretch and how far into the piece.
                  I personally have tried the FSP and it's lost in transit, it's a hit and miss, takes 3 to 5 times as long, takes longer to actually produce one and is 5 times the price of paper. So it's a lodgical choice to go paper.
                  I mean with Wrays demo, it is a long process, and when fabricating that EType piece takes a long time, for Me! mark it out, cut it then beat it as quickly as possible, time to the customer is expensive.
                  in saying that FSP have a place if no buck or base shape is missing, compared to paper, but profiles are pretty easy cut and shaped by the use of profile gauges or MDF.
                  To me this shouldn't really be a debate by both a useful tool for either. For whose ever method you choose should not detrack on whose idea works better, its what ever ideas work best for you.

                  Cheers Reedy
                  Cheers Reedy,

                  There's nothing as Sweet as a EK V8

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Really interesting discussion guys. It’s great that we can do this without bias or fear of reprisals. I’ll come out of the closet and admit to you all that I am a fan of the fsp in some ways. Yes I know that a simple paper pattern will give you all the information and show exactly what needs to be done and where to do it but you need a buck or profiles to accurately reproduce the shape. A fsp allows the beginner to get reasonably close to the shape for the simple reason that it’s subjective whether each actually fit. When I first started wheeling I made a scale 356 hood. Always good to get a reverse under your belt ! I made maybe 5 or 6 then discovered the fsp method. I took a fsp pattern off the last hood and used it to make the next one. Seemed to fit pretty well where I pushed down and th part looked really nice. Shined up good. I felt pretty proud and thought I would confirm how talented I was by putting the hood under my profile gauge. Close but no cigar. Maybe the profile gauge wasn’t working properly. No. The two shapes were not the same. I put the fsp back on and kept pushing it down to try and figure out where the difference was. I came to the conclusion that a buck or profile gauge is very unforgiving. If your shape is wrong then it will be obvious and the panel will not sit on the buck. A fsp however will allow you to push down on the tape to get it to conform to the surface you are making. The fsp makes you look good even when you ain’t and that’s good enough for me!! Cheers John Goodenuff

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Remember that you need profile gauges for FSPs as well, that's the second part of the method. Making a part with FSPs is a two step process:

                      1) Shrink/stretch/wheel the metal until the FSP fits, and then
                      2) Bend the piece until the profiles fit.

                      If the piece fits the FSP and also fits the profiles, then it should fit.

                      I think the major skill involved in the FSP method is reading the fit of the FSP. If you watch Wray's videos you'll see that he lightly taps it with his fingers to see if it's tight. When I took Wray's class (I live in the area), he had to demonstrate this to me a couple of times.

                      I think another limitation with the method is that if you have a big complex piece with lots of locked in curvature, it can be very difficult to bend it to the final arrangement. I think this is why Wray typically divides a big piece into lots of smaller pieces.

                      Bear in mind that I am a very inexperienced metalshaper, but I have successfully made a few simple parts using the FSP method. If an idiot like me can do it, there's definitely some value to the method. However it is quite unconventional.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by joeswamp View Post
                        I think the major skill involved in the FSP method is reading the fit of the FSP. If you watch Wray's videos you'll see that he lightly taps it with his fingers to see if it's tight. When I took Wray's class (I live in the area), he had to demonstrate this to me a couple of times.
                        this is one of the reasons why a lot of people don't like the FSP method. wray seems to expect students with very little knowledge to understand what needs doing. paper however would give you a better understanding of what needs to be done, as paper behaves the same as steel. peter has produced a couple of video's which demonstrate this principal very well.

                        thanks neil

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually the hard part (to me at least) is not understanding what needs doing -- basically, wherever the FSP is loose, you wheel the panel. To me the hard part is figuring out where the loose parts are. This is easy in the beginning but at the end when it's almost fitting is where a little skill comes in handy.

                          The FSP method is useful when you want to shrink/stretch/wheel a panel when it's far from the final bending arrangement. Perhaps you've seen folks straighten a particularly curvy panel so it fits in the wheeling machine, wheel it, then bend it back so they can fit it on the buck. Using the FSP method, you only have to perform that bending once. This is why Wray had that Jag panel in the crazy barrel configuration -- was very easy to wheel that way, and he knew he could bend it to its final form later on.

                          In the end the FSP method is just one more item in the tool chest -- Wray points out in the first video that he still uses paper patterns as well.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by joeswamp View Post
                            The FSP method is useful when you want to shrink/stretch/wheel a panel when it's far from the final bending arrangement. Perhaps you've seen folks straighten a particularly curvy panel so it fits in the wheeling machine, wheel it, then bend it back so they can fit it on the buck. Using the FSP method, you only have to perform that bending once. This is why Wray had that Jag panel in the crazy barrel configuration -- was very easy to wheel that way, and he knew he could bend it to its final form later on.
                            people do that so they can use the flattest anvil possible, i honestly believe some work was done off camera.

                            Originally posted by joeswamp View Post
                            In the end the FSP method is just one more item in the tool chest -- Wray points out in the first video that he still uses paper patterns as well.
                            i don't understand why he would if his FSP method is far superior?



                            thanks neil

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                            • #15
                              I don't think the FSP method is always superior, but to me it seems useful when:
                              • You have a shape you you want to copy (like an existing panel) but don't have a buck
                              • The piece you want to make is relatively small, so the final bending stage is manageable
                              • You are a beginner and have poor intuition where the piece needs to be wheeled
                              • The final shape of the piece won't easily fit in the wheeling machine
                              As a beginner, I like how the FSP highlights nonintuitive features of the original panel. On the Jaguar nose, the FSP showed very directly that the rolled over section needed stretching instead of shrinking. Peter demonstrated that as well with the paper pattern on the Ferrari nose, but I thought it was harder to see. Could also be that the stretching wasn't as pronounced on the Ferrari.

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