• Kacy Middleton

Creative design & problem solving

Steel is a much more versatile material than many would expect. When you are willing to design outside the box, you can come up with some really creative uses. One of the more creative ideas we were tasked with was using steel as "slats" on a wall, similar to wood paneling. More often than  not a customer will give us an idea and we have to problem solve how to make it a living thing. The steel slats for Quarters Co Living is a perfect example. The customer wanted them to float off of the wall so lights could be hidden behind.


Our challenge was to problem solve a few key areas of this project 

1. What material to use (steel, stainless, aluminum...)

2. How to securely mount the slats to the wall of the room 

3. The customer did not want to see hardware, so how do we mount it from the top and bottom and what happens when we reach the ceiling and floor? How are the last two slats mounted when we no longer have access?

4. What shape do we make the slats that allows us to mount them

5. How do we achieve the look of the steel that the customer is going for. The customer wanted a "raw" look which we love, the mill scale (color and texture left behind from the forming process at the steel mill) is unique to each piece, very similar to natural stone. 


Something that most people don't realize, the majority of the time a project is in our shop, it is in the design and problem solving phase. The project spends more time in the office then in the fabrication shop.


Fabricating custom designed pieces is a collaborative effort between our shop and the customer. The goal of our shop is to make sure we have a solid grasp on what the customer is after, how we can problem solve any issues ahead of time and fabricate the items to the customers expectationS. Its a major perk when the project turns out as cool as the steel slats.


Wayward Machine Co is a custom metal fabrication shop based in Chicago, IL. We are able to ship nationwide, contact info@waywardmachineco.com if you have any questions or would like us to quote/discuss a job.

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