Introduction: Minimal Surfaces With Metal Shapes and Soap Bubbles

About: Graduated as a physicist and mathemetician, but ended up making a living through software and really enjoying it.

You can make pretty surprising surfaces when you dip closed shapes into a soap solution. There is a lot of math/science behind the surfaces that are formed, but it's easy to enjoy the shapes without any knowledge at all.

Photos don't do the shapes justice, you'll have to see them with your own eyes. Go make a few and experiment.

Step 1: You Will Need...

You will need the following items:

Nails (or paper clips or coat hanger bits. I picked nails because they were handy)
A small torch or soldering iron.
Soapy Water and string for dipping the shape.

Standard warnings: Fire is HOT, Flux is corrosive, lead-free solder is better than leaded solder. I can guarantee you will burn your fingers picking up a shape before it is cool, because even though I've done this stuff a lot, I still am too impatient.

Step 2: Solder Metal Bits Together Into a Shape

You can pick any closed shape, but polyhedra are all cool. Tetrahedra, cubes, pyramids all work. If you can build the items close to their ideal (e.g. equal angles and matching sides that are supposed to be the same length), your bubble surfaces come out with better aesthetics.

Some helpful hints:

A third hand is really useful here

You can be sloppy with your solder joints, because these are not bearing any force. It just looks better if you make clean joins.

Step 3: Dip Your Shapes Into Soapy Water and Be Amazed

Any good bubble solution works. I used dish soap and water.

You will need to hold these shapes by a wire or a string. Using your fingers will be messy and sometimes it interferes with the soap forming into the nice patterns.

Go Play!