WikiSeat Catalyst Jig2

Introduction: WikiSeat Catalyst Jig2

About: Artifact Designer at Institute for the Future, and Pier 9 AiR

A WikiSeat is a three legged stool that is built by hand. Each WikiSeat starts with a Catalyst that acts as a central support structure. The creator of a WikiSeat has the freedom to gather materials and find their own methods for building the seat. WikiSeat creators can share what they have made and become inspired by others at

This jig lets us make more Catalysts faster! This is necessary because as of November of 2012 there are over 5,000 people who need Catalysts for building WikiSeats, and, well, the first jig took too long to set up. This newer, faster, more awesome jig can only be made using a finished Catalyst though. This finished Catalyst serves as the catalyst for building a jig to build more Catalysts. It is sort of viral like that, like a meme made out of metal. You can make a Catalyst by following this Instructable, or you can acquire one through

Step 1: Tools and Materials

You will probably need this stuff:

+One completed Catalyst. 
+MIG welder
+Something to cut steel: chop saw, band saw, hack saw
+Something to file/grind steel: metal file, grinding wheel
+Drill Press
+Giant red arrow magnet... it's a basic welding tool and is important for this project. 

Jig Materials
+ 12" section of 3/4" angle iron
+ 4" section of 2" x 3" angle iron (or any scrap with a surface area of about 3x4)
+ Some wood for the drilling jig.

Catalyst Materials
+Angle Iron 1"x1", 15" length per catalyst

Step 2: Prep the Jig Metal

Take your 3/4" angle iron and cut two 5" sections and one 2" section. 

The two inch section shown here has some fancy shapes on the end, but that doesn't really matter. It is artifact from tinkering with the length. 

Why is one of the sections shorter? It is necessary for removing Catalysts once they are welded in the jig. It will be clear later, think of it for now as having your fist stuck in the bottom of a pickle jar. 

Step 3: Rig the Jig

Take your Catalyst and clamp one bit of 3/4" angle iron to each side. 

Make sure that the inside length of the 3/4" piece is flush with the edge of the Catalyst, and that the bottom is touching the table. 

Step 4: Weld the Jig

Center the "Rigged Jig" on the 2" x 3" angle iron, or whatever scrap you have laying around. 

Weld the points where the 3/4" angle iron touches the base. 

You will want to build up the bead with a few passes to give it enough strength for repeated use. 

Step 5: Remove Catalyst

It should just slide right out, you may have to give it a little push... with a hammer. If you do, don't worry, this is entirely normal. 

Step 6: Prep Catalyst Metal

This is the 1"x1" angle iron this time. 

Cut it into 5" sections. I figured out that the local metal shop has a million pound press that can esily sheer through angle iron like hot magma through... metal. Its $0.25 per cut, but it's about the same price as saw-zaw blades and it's way easier if you're making hundreds of Catalysts. 

Grind down any sharp corners. 

Drill two holes in each section. If you set up a jig like what is shown in the picture, this goes pretty quick. Just clamp the bit in, drill it, flip it around, drill it again. 

NOTE: On the Angle iron, there is a "left" and a "right" side that you can drill on. The jig pictured here only lets you drill on the left side. This matters because the Catalyst we are using has a clockwise rotation. If you start with a Catalyst that you get from us, it will have a clockwise rotation. You can just set up your drilling jig like the picture shows. If you made your own Catalyst using this instructable, there is a 50/50 chance that it has a clockwise rotation. If you rotated counterclockwise, just drill the holes on the "right" side of the angle iron. 

Step 7: Weld the Catalyst

Place three pieces of angle iron in the Jig. 

Hold the pieces in place and slide the whole jig to the giant arrow magnet. 

The pit of angle iron on the short end of the jig should be touching the edge of the magnet. This will help hold everything together. 

Tack weld the corners.

Remove the tack welded Catalyst... may require a hammer. 

Run a bead up the three inside seams (it works much better if you go up, rather than down).

Flip it over and weld the bottom just for fun. 

Step 8: Repeat and Share

Repeat steps 6 and 7. 

Share your Catalysts and make WikiSeats!

Share your WikiSeat online at or post it anywhere else online and simply share it to our twitter @WikiSeat or email us at info[at]wikiseat[dot]org and we will repost it. 

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    i'm a bit confused.
    are these supposed to be the legs for a stool (if so those are awfully short stools), or is just a bracket that legs, and eventually a seat top will be attached to.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction


    Your second guess is right. Sorry, I could have explained that better. The idea is that you start with a bracket to help hold the seat together. Then you can use any materials for the legs and the seat. WikiSeat works particularly well as a educational project because each student has the same rigid constraint (the Catalyst) but they have complete freedom to explore how they will make their seat. 

    This video highlights how this projet works in the classroom. We're also running an Indiegogo fundraiser to get Catalysts to over 100 classrooms and 5,000 students who have signed up to participate. If you can, please spread the word and help out :)