Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Making Origami Base Units

I just finished what I think will be the final base unit of the next modular ball. It's based on the balloon base. I made this one after fiddling around with a sheet of paper I had pre-creased into a combination of the most basic combination of base folds and went from there. Once I found a base set I liked, I kept folding until I ended up with a middle I was happy with, and a pocket/tab set that would work to hold a modular unit together.
Finished base unit
I make it sound so easy! Trust me, I was two seconds from smashing the darned thing before it finally came out to this. The orignal sheet of paper is pretty mangled as it is. Lots of folding and refolding. Origami is about patience. Lots of patience. It took a few days.

It will be a 30 unit ball, so the pocket/tab needed to be at 90 degree angles to work best. I could base it off another angle, but this is easiest for me. I'm not that good yet.

I'll be making it out of a trio of matching chiyogami paper, one of the brown sets I just picked up.

So here's all the pre-folds I did while coming up with the template. Also, don't look at my terrible nail polish.
Lots of folded templates
Ha! That's a lot of near balled up bits of paper!

I do a lot of marking my paper so I know where bits go after I unfold them, that's why there's those pencil marks. Often I'll outline a particular part in a specific color or loop when the paper is folded so when it's flat I know where it was when it was folded. Helps me see how it all goes together.

It can be surprising how often a bit of paper you think started out on that side of the paper ends up all the way over there. Folds get funny like that.

If you ever want to wonder about dimensions folding in on one another, take up origami and mark your paper up once it's folded, and see how the marks end up when the paper's flat. You'll be surprised.

If you fold paper to make figures, along the designs that people have already made and set out, you don't really have to get into all the abstract thinking of it. I only get into it when I start thinking of my own designs. Especially with modulars. Each base unit has to connect to three other base units on one side, each three connects to five, 3 connect to 5, connect to make 30. 30 make a ball. Once you make one modular ball with 30 units, it's easy to see the pattern.

A quick example... The minty ball I did, I wanted to make a central hole in the base design, but if I just folded the base unit down, it hit the next base unit because the second base unit hits that spot, so I had to do a reverse fold so the base units went down, then back up. As long as the base units all had a down, but back up, design, they would all fit together.

A lot of it is trial and error. I have a stack of cheap origami paper I use for trial runs. As long as I can get a trio to match together to make a base 3 unit, then 5 to make a base 5, I can make a base 30 without having to make a entire trial ball.

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