Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The past few days have been spent developing a modular hexagonal box which bounces and a related modular hexagonal box which stacks but does not bounce.

The two box types can be combined, in various combinations, to form a tier box which bounces. The combination model can even be connected near the base to form strings of boxes or hexagonal "circles" of tiered boxes.

The photo shows one way of connecting the sections. It is a photo of the rough proto-type models so don't look for perfection. Expect to see crumple, because it is certainly there! Designing a model generally results in a lot of messy models before the final version is reached. Unless you are Robert Lang, of course.

There are six sheets of paper used for each of the several sections.

Almost all of the starting sheets are half squares, that is, rectangles with a 2:1 ratio. The patterns can be printed onto paper via an ordinary computer printer. The limitation here is that the largest piece can be no taller than the length between the minimum printer margins at the top and bottom of a page. This translates to a box with a diameter of about 4½ inches.

The sections stack inside or around each other. Lids become bases to accommodate stems. Stems end in boxes which accommodate other boxes and/or lids.

There are two lid styles. One is an overlay style, the other fits flush with a base box but overlays an inlay box. One of the two lid styles is being used as the base for an extension tier in the photographed example while the other is on top of the model.

The box wobbles from the base. The wobble part is obscured in the photograph which was taken from the top to show the lid decoration.

It will be several days before all the problems of its construction are resolved at which point I will make it with a variety of colored papers which will better demonstrate the modular and the sectional construction. Then I will post the Crease Patterns for each model of each section.

There are several sections which are not shown in the photo. One inlay box style is still in design infancy. Two other inlay styles were stackers which were not photographed because there insufficient lids to accommodate them. Photos of these will be posted in blog postings to come.

This is a fun box which, nevertheless, has practical applications.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


After inventing the New Year Box I began exploring the twisted look some more. I came up with the Round N Round Box. I had some trouble with the floor and am still working on it.

I turned the box inside out, and that looked good too. The problem with that model was that what started out as a six-sided box turned into a seven sided one. But the floor worked!

I remade the Round N Round Right-way-out box with seven sides. It went together better. Now it is time to make it out one more time, with a less crumpled look, before graduating to the good paper.

Many of the items which end up on this Blog are made from ordinary copy paper rather than nice paper. The reason for this state of affairs is that this blog is about my adventures in origami design, not in the folding of extant models. Designing generally results in a lot of wasted paper so it makes economic sense to use the cheap stuff to make all the mistakes with.

I was puzzled by the seven sided nature of my Round N Round Inside-out box. At first, I could not see what I had done to turn a 6-sided box into a 7-sided one. I decided it was time to do a little exploring into the realms of angles and their origami approximations. Out came the compass and the graph paper. This was followed by a visit to some web-generated geometry sites where I indulged in lots of semi-educated trial and error investigation until, finally, I "got" it.

I have added a chart to assist those of you who want to make n-walled origami boxes. It details the folding approximations which can be used to create the correct angles from a flat sheet of paper. The chart assumes that your paper has a horizontal crease, which separates the walls from the floor, and a vertical crease, which divides one wall from its contiguous wall. Your job is to create an angle between these walls which will allow the box to have n equal sides in 3 dimensional space. Your aim is to do this without using a compass to measure the correct angle and without covering your paper with a lot of complicated creases which become more inaccurate as they multiply.

While the methods listed in my chart are almost entirely approximations, they are good enough to produce a neat looking n-sided box.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Here is a New Year's present for intrepid folders to try.

This box began gestating on the last day of 2008.

A visitor to my house noticed a box I have had on display for several years and asked if I could show her how to make it. The original was a modification of original modular pattern designed by Tomoko Fuse. It was a creative recyling of American Letter-sized advertising flyers which had been printed on one side only. I put the printed sides together and made up the box and its lid from double thickness paper. The photo of the originals can be found on my photo site at in the recycling section.

I took the box apart, re-discovered how I have made it and then taught my visitor how to make a similar one from a single layer of colored copy paper.

After she left I found myself considering how the original box and its lid might be modified and improved. The original box has a slanted design on the lid which was echoed in the base section. Due to techicnical problems which I did not know how to solve back then, the slants were not at the same angle on the body as they were on the lid and they did not meet neatly when the lid was fitted on the base.

I decided to redesign the box so that the slants on the box connect with the slants on the lid and both slanted at the same angle. This was not a simple problem because I was working with American Letter sized copy paper. In case you have not notificed, standard copy paper is not square, or even an integar multiple of square.

New Year's Day was spent folding and refolding prototypes until, finally, I came up with something which satisfied me. Here it is. I hope it satisfies you, too.

Enjoy! Espero que todos tienen un maravilloso año nuevo or simply have a great new year.

P.S. The reason for the color differences in the photos of this box is that some of them have been taken under ordinary lighting and some under sunlight spectrum lighting. The greener of the two was taken in the sunlight spectrum and more faithfully depicts the real color of the paper. Personally, I like the aqua color better.