Sheet metal is available in a variety of thicknesses, but even the thickest are relatively “floppy” until formed into a shape. Like a piece of paper, sheet metals can be formed, folded, and cut into many different shapes.
Adding to a sheet’s cross section stiffens the sheet and helps maintain flatness. Bead Rolling is a ‘wheeling’ technique used to selectively emboss/deboss sheet materials to increase part rigidity. The result is a panel with material properties that are visualized through geometry – the more shape, the stronger the panel becomes.
A rich tradition of wheel forming parts to increase their stiffness exists, from Jean Prouve’s Tropical House details to aircraft wings. The aesthetic of wheeled parts resembles that of stamped parts, a mass production technique typically only reachable by high volumes (due to prohibitively high tooling costs). Wheeling, however, offers designers the opportunity to explore formed sheet metal parts without the costs typically associated with stamping and other metal forming techniques.