Joining Tubes and Sheets:

Now that you've made a few tubes, you're ready to assemble them into structures. The video explains itself, but I'll add:

  1. In case you couldn't see, the angle joints are made of two tubes with a single tube between and inside them; the joining tube is folded in half and inserted halfway into each of the others.
  2. Joining big tubes is just like joining small ones. An advantage is that you can use toothpicks or pop rivets as the holding pins instead of staples. Big structures tend to bear more load, so multiple cross-pinning at 90 degree angles to each other can be a good idea.
  3. Punching holes in small tubes is hard on your pushpins. Keep replacing them regularly as they dull.
  4. Keep your tubes tubular as best you can. If you fold or crease them for any reason, they lose considerable strength.
  5. Staple joints are strong, right up to the point that they aren't. The trick is to avoid cracks and tears, since they propogate forward like cracks in a windshield.

  6. The little staple ends that jut out aren't friendly. If you're making a permanent structure, consider using a glue gun to cover up the pokey bits.
  7. When inserting one tube inside the other, pay attention to whether they are wound in the same direction. If they're not, then winding one to reduce its diameter to make it fit in the other tube can be troublesome. You might tighten the insertion-tube just to find that it locks and forces itself against the receptacle-tube.

  8. You don't need to use just one staple. You can use a group together. Just make bigger holes with the punch.
  9. When piercing the small tube, remember that the point suddenly and forcefully pokes out the other end. Make sure your fingers are clear. Make sure you don't scratch the table.
  10. Don't forget: tubes can be nested inside each other for strength or to make them "telescope." When making smaller-diameter tubing, you'll want to use strips that aren't as wide or long.
  11. We don't yet sell the plastic joints for assembling small tubes. We will if there's sufficient demand, so let us know if you want them.

To join sheets linearly, you can create a flat lock panel seam by folding the ends back on each other several times, like this:

  

Alternatively, just create a line of staple holes using the wheel and fold-in the staples:


Or, combine the two techniques by stapling the flat lock seam.

Tubes can be joined to each other with a pop rivet. Here, I used aluminum large-flange rivets ($0.03 per) and a rivet gun ($11.00) I bought from Graingers.com to join overlapping tubes:

  


To learn specific designs, click: DESIGNS