Chapter 3: Roof geometry, pattern making

Chapter 3: Roof geometry, pattern making

Architectural knowledge, drafting, and geometry are requisite to creating permanent metal roofs, and for any sort of finer vessel making or architectural metal work.  Metal is a sheet good, as is paper.  Creating a successful pattern on sheet metal is no different from producing a technical drawing or blueprint.  However with metal we are taking what is in the flat, and turning it into some kind of 3d shape through joinery or folding.

In the case of metal roofing, the most important subject to master is creating accurate roof plans, learning the fundamentals of framing geometry used by the people who cut and frame the roof structure will unlock another level of understanding geometry needed to fold metal roofs.

The resource library contains full-scale patterns for standard details based on framing square pitches (1:12, 2:12, … … etc).  Find the pitch, and description of the detail you are looking for, and print the detail to use directly on the metal to create the pattern.


One of the best industrial-era resources for decorative work, and pattern making is William Neubecker’s “The Universal Sheet Metal Pattern Cutter, VOL 2.”

This is without a doubt the definitive resource for pattern-making of decorative architectural elements you commonly find on preservation projects.  Your education in sheet metal knowledge of any kind should start here, and end when you’ve completed a good portion of the examples.


Metal Roofing Bible