Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Stage 2- PLAY...Magnetic Purse

After making the coin counting purse i wanted to find a non electronic way of organising change within a purse.  I realised after some time that copper coins are attracted to magnets whereas all the other coins are not.  The concept prototype below shows this ideas built into a dolly purse, with magnets in the base. 

The purse itself was made using the traditional clasp mechanism and packaging foam as it was easy to cut and work with quickly for mocking up a prototype.

I used 4 small strong batteries and superglued them onto thin lego blocks to avoid them attracting each other, then covered them in another layer of thin foam.  As shown below the coppers gather at the bottom of the purse along with the other change....

.......until the purse is emptied, the coppers remain in the bottom allowing the other change to be removed easily.

Like the other wallets and purses, i decided to do a material exploration on this concept too.

I liked the idea of opening the purse using a hinged mechanism but wanted to find out if any other materials could have similar properties with the idea of opening and closing.
For the aesthetic side of the purse, the idea of having wood seemed to be a nice twist on a traditional look.

To bend the plywood I used various methods including soaking, steaming and laminating.

Below: 2 pieces of plywood glued along the full length, bent round a pipe and clamped together

Below: shows different thicknesses and lengths of plywood soaking in a bath of boiling water, some with extra weights to hold them down.

Below: 2 pieces (different lengths) of plywood held together using wood glue and clamps at the ends.  Created to leave a gap in the bottom for the magnets when fully set in the desired shape after being held in the vice.

Below:  The finished shape after glueing and held in the vice

Because of the natural springy quality that plywood has, this meant no hinge was required.  A catch or clasp had to hold the plywood shape together when the purse was closed.  I tried using a strap/ button fastening....

After speaking to my tutor, he suggested that i look into using sprung steel as it has similar springy/ bendy properties as plywood.  I was informed by the workshop and the sculpture department that they do not use sprung steel as it is too hard to work with and that normal steel could work just as well.

Below:  The first prototype made using spot welded steel, finished with leather.

Below: The steel used was too thick therefore restricted the spring quality of the material, resulting in the right aesthetic qualities, but lacking practicality of opening and closing the purse

Below:  The 1mm thick steel was bent and spot welded to created the frame.  The inside bend is there to create a slot where the magnets would sit, and the top frame has a slot in which the fabric can be slotted inside and attached. 

The steel used did not have the bending properties that the plywood did so i decided to attach a hinge on the bottom so the purse would be easier to open and close.

(1) The base of the purse frame was marked out and secured in the vice

(2) Using the angle grinder, the frame is cut in half

(4)  The image below shows the piece after it is cut...

(5)  The sharp edges are then smoothed using the belt sander

(6)  The hinge used had to be made of steel so that it could be welded on to the frame, however the only hinge available had a brass coating

(7)  The brass hinge is then cut to the correct size

(8) To remove the brass coating on the hinge it is clamped and sanded until the steel shows (this helps with the welding process later)

(9) The hinge was then spot welded to the bottom curve of the frame so the purse is easier to open and close

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