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Origami factory

Folding sheet metal
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(+3, -1)
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Some origami designs are useful, or would be if they were bigger and not made of paper. Methods of manufacture are currently complex and involve welding, riveting and the like, with various weaknesses and possibilities of malfunction introduced at each step. This could be circumvented by means of a factory containing an enormous pair of programmable hands, which folds a square of sheet metal into a useful shape. Simple examples might include wind turbines (i.e. windmills), boats, gliders, cups, bowls, buckets, bathtubs, residential pyramids, brass musical instruments, furniture, bricks, kung fu stars, knives, cutlery, shears and scissors, depending on the scale. More complex shapes would also be feasible.
nineteenthly, Dec 13 2006

Robot Origami http://www.cs.dartm...botics/origami.html
Dartmouth College Robotics Lab [TerranFury, Dec 14 2006]

The folding "Miura-Ori" http://www3.ec-lill...xtang/pliage1a.html
[angel, Dec 14 2006]

The above link came from here. http://www.merrimac...iles/mathlinks.html
"This fold is mathematically piecewise linear, which means it can be folded in sheet metal (if we make hinges at the crease lines). It also collapses and opens very simply, and thus has been used as a way to deploy solar panel arrays in space satellites." [angel, Dec 14 2006]

Details here http://www.medphys..../solar%20arrays.htm
Maps can be folded like this also. [angel, Dec 14 2006]


       The solar panels on Voyager were designed by an origami practitioner.
angel, Dec 13 2006

       Bender could do it "Futurama".
pydor, Dec 13 2006

       Which Voyager, angel?
jutta, Dec 14 2006

       just need bends then Bender could do it or he could build a roboT to do it while he dews it
bulb, Dec 14 2006

bulb, Dec 14 2006

bulb, Dec 14 2006

       I don't think that metal behaves the same as paper when it is folded.
nomocrow, Dec 14 2006

       There's a professor at my uniiversity who has done research in robot origami. It's the work that got him a lot of his press, but, interestingly, it's not the work he's proudest of -- and it's not so much the robots-making-stuff part of it that he likes as the math (topology) of how things can be folded. At any rate, it's relevant, so, [LINK!].
TerranFury, Dec 14 2006

       Thanks for the link, [TerranFury]. It's sort of what i mean, but it would be on a larger scale. I like the robot's simplicity. In reality, i'm sure such a simple set of manipulations would be ideal for origami, but actual hands, apart from being more fun, would also be able to do anything, theoretically, that a pair of human hands could do, but with larger end products. For instance, they could throw a pot.   

       I think i've heard of this guy. Am i right in thinking there's a connection with the mathematics of working out how to make virtually any shape by means of origami? If so, that would be an excellent application.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2006

       //Which Voyager, angel?//

Sorry, I was mis-remembering; not Voyager, but another, unspecified Japanese vehicle. See link (it's in French).
angel, Dec 14 2006

       So, it's a solar sail?   

       I thought i was expert at wasting my time until i read about the level 3 Menger Sponge made of business cards. That actually makes me wonder what constitutes timewasting, which is a very time-consuming thought. That is an absolutely fascinating collection of links though.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2006

       Try folding sheet metal a few times and see where it gets you. I think origami uses paper because of its abiltiy to fold as close to equall as possible. I could be wong.
Chefboyrbored, Dec 16 2006

       // Am i right in thinking there's a connection with the mathematics of working out how to make virtually any shape by means of origami?   

       Yep. He did the work first in order to prove what classes of origami his robot could fold (answer: not all; your hands would be more versatile).   

       Me, I've spent the last three years studying electrical engineering, not CS, and I'm not up on the computational geometry stuff. But I did spend an hour or two in his office talking to him, once, about the possibility of doing undergraduate research with him.   

       One bit he explained that I thought was cool is that many of the forms (like shopping bags) which his robot CAN'T fold have certain useful properties. Take shopping bags for instance. In the folded-flat state, none of the facets are flexed; same for the fully-open state. But to get from one state to the other, you need to pass through states in which the facets are bent, storing elastic energy. It ends up meaning that the bag has two stable equilibria - open and closed.   

       If you're like me, you're probably now imagining ship-in-a-bottle-like applications where you have a folded shape which is stable, add energy, and it falls into a different equilibrium. Could do neat things, eh?   

       As for your sheetmetal factory: I'd be worried about fatigue -- but I figure you could heat-treat stuff after folding to solve that problem.
TerranFury, Dec 16 2006

       [Chefboybored], highly theoretical reply to what you said - i.e. i haven't tried it - but the size of a piece of paper at least doesn't influence how many times it can be folded. Paper is more or less a haphazard mat of fibres, which don't have to be cellulose. Would paper made of metal fibres behave like cellulose paper? I don't know.   

       Right, less theoretical reply: One rectangular piece of copier paper two hundred by one hundred and twenty millimetres folded five times before it got difficult to fold it because it started to spring back out of shape. One rectangular piece of aluminium foil takeaway pcontainer of the same size folded _six_ times and didn't spring back at all. It folded unequally but had a thickened edge. I should probably try cutting that off before i try again. Incidentally, my fingers now smell of alu bengan.   

       [TerranFury], sadly i am very far from being an engineer, but it certainly seems interesting. It's a little hard for me to visualise. Heating the metal would also seem to work, or maybe the problem is using sheet metal in the first place. Other materials might be more liable to folding, such as a textile which could then be impregnated in a harder substance or a softer metal plated with a harder one.   

       Back to the shopping bag. That reminds me of auxetic foam, and i wonder if there's a way that could be made to form two different stable shapes. Just a very vague idea right now.
nineteenthly, Dec 16 2006


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