Did you hear about the Origami business? - - It folded.

Searching through loads of origami.  If you don't have experience making an origami object, it may be worth your time to try to make something. There are several types of folds in origami but they all come from the Mountain and/or the Valley fold.  Their names hold no mystery. Up or down.

After experimenting with various origami animals, containers, flowers, etc., I found a few folds onto itself created load bearing areas within the paper plane. These areas aided in creating the desired dimension for the resulting object. Very satisfying. 

Here are a few sketch models for a container structure. One of the requirements for many origami objects is for one to start with a square of paper. This larger container is made from an 11" square.  

This container is made from the 6" scrap. (Same marble featured in both images)

Scale of the resulting object is clearly very important. Not only did I learn a lot about basic origami instructions, I am now experimenting with various scales for the marble's movement.

This container I think may be overly complex to serve as the best solution for this exercise. The marble doesn't seem to need very much to start or stop. Time to simplify...

This model utilizes the entire 11 x 17 sheet and you'll notice the large planes of paper left uninterrupted by a fold.  I wanted to simplify the boundaries and experiment with how much the marble would cause the paper to deflect. I reduced the incline of the start plane, and provided a large area for the marble to travel. With this combination of variables, the marble starts slow and has plenty of space to decelerate before colliding with the vertical, triangular surface at the end of it's run.  F=MA.  Very simple really. 

This is a closer view of the start plane at the top of the model.

In this model I used many of the same visual elements from the last model.  This model is however much smaller and intimate in scale. The larger one was more of a courtyard for the marble while this example is more of a small room. I am beginning to find that I selfishly prefer models that are open. So that I can see the movement of the marble. (And relish the results of this basic experiment :)

 You all may recall an interesting translucent effect that one of Elvis' class solutions had. I decided to experiment with that in this model as well. Also have a look at the torn edge of paper in the upper right corner. Interesting contrast. No?

There is so much more to consider and experiment with.  Let me know what you all are responding to in these few examples.


  1. Looks like you have done quite a bit of research! I agree that you should move away from the discrete origami object and towards the application of the methods you were able to experiment with while executing the container. I'm especially excited by the observations you have made regarding scale. In addition to scales of movement, what are other scales you can consider? texture? folds? thickness? The process of moving in and out of these scales might prompt discoveries. I like where you are going with the last model you posted which looks like it doesn't have quite such a straight, flat path...it almost creates a kind of jagged trough that holds and guides the marble. How might this be exaggerated or can it be combined with a more regularized structural approach? Should it be?

  2. Wow! you've made a whole lot of progress, and there are quite a few ideas of yours that I respond to, that also have me thinking of my own models in a new way

    "a few folds onto it's self created load bearing areas within the paper plane"
    ^ what a great discovery, it transforms this project and elevates your 'models' to 'structures'

    "container structure"
    ^ I like that as a foundation concept, it could be a starting point for all three of your models, perhaps you can study the limits of a container...can a container allow a contained object (marble) to move and change direction, purposefully, within the system?

    "scale of the resulting object is clearly very important"
    "now experimenting with various scales for the marbles movement"
    ^I always thought of scale as being related to spacial relationships, it's helpful to see scale from a different point of view...in my models I'm studding how repeated folds can affect movement and acceleration, now I'm going to add the scale of the folds into consideration, I'm also looking into how the changing scale of the repetitive folds can affect not only the movement but also the direction of movement and the acceleration of the marble

    " the marble doesn't seem to need much to start and stop. Time to simplify...simlify the boundaries and experiment with ho much the marble would cause the paper to deflect"
    ^it's great that you're taking into account how the form of the paper can affect the marble AND how the marble (it's shape and mass) can affect the form of the paper...I was just thinking of how the paper can affect the marble, and how it can direct the path...thanks for giving a different perspective

    "prefer models that are open...see the movement of the marble"
    ^you wrote that your prefrence for more open models was a bit selfish, that made me laugh, but yes not selfish at all, it's taking into account the way a viewer gets to/is able to interact with your model, also the viewers interaction with the model can be directed by the degrees of transparency throughout your model

  3. I agree with some of the previous comments. Scale is really critical. I have found that things get easier the smaller these models get. Of course the shorter the marble path is, the less dramatic it is.

    In your first image, the billowing rectangular area is very special. It is basically flat and smooth but has enough texture to be firm.