Steel is used extensively in the products, infrastructure, vehicles and buildings all around us. In architecture, the design, detailing and general understanding of its properties often fall short of its full potential. In this assignment we learned about steel as a construction material, it's basic properties and associated fabrication processes through research, lectures/shop tours, and hands-on making exercises (i.e. - welding, cutting, drilling, tapping, etc.) with outsourcing water-jet cutting. Then we implemented the knowledge and gained further experience, through the fabrication of full scale steel staircase prototype.

Step 1: Mockup

  • We made a mockup chipboard model of staircase to understand the process and scale of the staircase.

Step 2: Materials

  • We used 1" thick plywood for making the tread.
  • 2" thick plywood for the handrails.
  • 3/16" thick 1" square tube for railing
  • 3/16" thick metal sheets for CNC parts.
  • and some nuts, bolts and washers.

Step 3: Tread

  • 1" thick Plywood tread was designed digitally and cut by CNC routing.
  • Four drills at the corners were made for screwing it with the bottom steel frame support.

Step 4: Sanding

  • Finishing was done by sanding the plywood pieces.

Step 5: Waterjet Cut Parts

  • 3/16" thick steel plate parts were digitally designed and waterjet cut for getting accuracy in joints.

Step 6: Baluster

  • 3/16" thick 1" square tube steel balusters were cut to desired lengths by using a horizontal band saw.

Step 7: Welding

  • MIG welding was done to the parts.
  • Steel tubes were welded as per design to the waterjet cut steel plate connecting the floor.
  • Steel tube framing was done between the two opposite balustrdes to form a base for the tread.

Step 8: Grinding

  • Grinding on Welded parts were done using a metal grinder to make the pieces even and to take out excess weld.

Step 9: Painting

  • Metal pieces are painted to give a smooth and even finish.

Step 10: Joints

  • Different joints were made by welding, cutting and using nuts and bolts

Step 11: Connections

  • Steel plate connector connects the balustrade and supports the wooden handrail.

Step 12: The Starircase

  • This is how the Staircase looks after the fabrication.