Origami-Adapted Designs


Kevin C. Francis1, Levi T. Rupert1, Robert J. Lang2, David C. Morgan1, Spencer P. Magleby1, Larry L. Howell1
1Dept. of Mechanical Engineering Brigham Young University Provo, UT
2Lang Origami Alamo, CA

FIGURE 2: Thee origami models: (a) the origami source model created in paper, (b) a surrogate-fold mechanical hinge equivalent made with rigid panels, and (c) a surrogate-fold compliant hinge equivalent made of polypropylene.

Origami art provides possible inspiration for products that require extreme portability, stowability, and deployability. Origami-based design represents a possible source of innovative configurations for engineered products, which could meet challenging design situations.

FIGURE 4: An origami-adapted design for a backpack is the first design example. The triangular facets accommodate shape morphology as they are influenced by internal objects and external forces.

However, a fundamental gap exists between paper-based origami art and engineered products. This work proposes a basic terminology for origami-based design, and presents areas of consideration for cases where the final engineering design is directly related to a crease pattern.

FIGURE 5: The origami crease pattern adapted for the backpack shell is composed of isosceles triangles.

The considerations are applied after the crease pattern has been selected for a given application. Four areas of consideration are discussed: 1) rigid-foldability 2) crease characterization 3) material properties and dimensions and 4) manufacturing.

FIGURE 10: An analytical model of the tessellated triangle design used in the backpack design example was constructed in SolidWorks®. The rigid-foldability is demonstrated as it is able to transition from (a) the flat crease pattern to (b) a possible final state.

Two diverse examples are used to illustrate these areas of consideration: design for a backpack shell, and design of a shroud for an adjustable C-Arm x-ray device.

Origami art has potential for influencing future engineering product design, especially in systems where mass, stowed volume, or cost are to be minimized.

FIGURE 14: The slidable hinge method of accommodating for thickness is depicted. Panels are free to slide along common edges.

This influence may be as indirect as inspiring designers to consider folding in designs or to recognize the possible use of origami approaches in the design of new systems or the analysis of existing systems. But origami also has the potential of being a source of detailed design information.

As the potential benefits of origami-based design are becoming more apparent, it is important that resources become available to facilitate the design of origami-based systems.

FIGURE 16: Foam triangles that have been adhered to a sheet of ripstop nylon. An additional sheet of ripstop nylon will be adhered, sandwiching the foam to create the sheet material to be used in the backpack.

As a beginning, this paper describes areas of consideration for the most straightforward of the origami-based design cases: when the final design resembles the origami model on which it is based.

These areas of consideration will be helpful in the design of related products by introducing a conceptual map of origamibased design, identifying key decisions in the process and developing an explicit thinking pattern.

FIGURE 19: A sampling of full prototypes of the backpack. Top left: computer model. Top right: cardboard and paper model. Bottom left: foam models. Bottom right: production prototype.

These areas of consideration provide fundamental understanding in this emerging field and could serve as the foundation for future design methods, including those involving higher levels of origami-based design abstraction. Two examples are used to illustrate execution of these areas of consideration.

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