Fabrication using microfold forming offers jewelry makers several advantages.
You can rapidly create complex and sturdy structures using very thin gauges of sheet metal, costing and weighing less than heavier gauges. The resulting folds and pleats can also be varied several ways.
One method of variation is die forming. Rather than stretching and thinning flat metal sheet, die forming microfolded metal produces dramatic and voluminous structures by opening the folds and pleats, similar to the way petals open in a blossoming flower. This blossoming effect also requires much less force than die forming flat sheet and can easily be done manually using a ???bolted sandwich??? method, though it is most easily and rapidly done with a hydraulic press and urethane punch-pads. Although it takes a bit of time to make a die, once made it can be used repeatedly and with metals folded many ways to form many different elements.
This project uses a precalculated shape of metal that will assume a final shape with ???ruffled??? edges formed by microfolding. You are strongly encouraged to practice both microfolding and pleating as well as the manual die forming with inexpensive, thin-gauge copper (0.007??? - 0.005???, about 34-gauge) before using precious metals. There are no hazards involved with the procedures used here; however, be sure to take the usual safety precautions, especially with eye protection when annealing, pickling, or soldering metals.