Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Minimalist Modular Origami
 
Minimalist modular designs are modular designs made from modules which are created using the minimum number of structural folds. Since the modules for many classic modular designs, such as Paul Jackson's Cube and Robert Neale's Octahedron, which are not considered minimalist, are created using just four structural folds, the maximum number of structural folds available to create a module for a minimalist modular design is just three. Moreover a minimalist modular design is still modular and therefore, by definition, required to be self-integrating (see the Definitions and Notes page) and reasonably stable in its assembled form.

Meeting such tight criteria means that it is likely compromises will have to be made elsewhere in the design. This may mean, for instance, that the design may be best made from card, rather than paper, as, for instance, in the case of the traditional 6-Card Cube, or that the number of modules a design requires might need to be to be increased beyond what might otherwise be acceptable, as in the case of my own 2-Fold Cube, or that the paper shape might need to be, for instance, triangular, as in the case of my 2-Fold Star.

To some extent stability may also need to be sacrificed. The classic example of this is Kenneth Kawamura's Butterfly Ball, the module for which is made with just three structural folds, although in this case the instability of the design is cleverly exploited as a feature.

 
1- Fold Designs
 
  Name: 1-fold Coaster - probably the simplest possible modular origami design.

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 4 modules from silver triangles using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: David Mitchell, 2002.

Diagrams: On-line diagrams are available on the Modular Designs page of this site under the title Coasters Supreme.

 
  Name: The 1-Fold Cube - a design that can be loosely constructed on a flat surface but is not sufficiently stable to be picked up. It is therefore more of a multiple-piece than a modular design, but I include it here for the sake of completeness.

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 12 minimalist modules from squares using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: Kenneth Kawamura, 1977.

Diagrams: Diagrams were published in Kenneth Kawamura's booklet 'Meditations on a Waterbomb' in 1977.

 
2- Fold Designs
 
  Name: The Two-Fold Cube - a minimalist modular design.

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 24 modules from squares using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: David Mitchell, 1995.

Diagrams: On-line diagrams are available on the Modular Designs page of this site.

 
  Name: 2-Fold Star

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 8 modules from silver triangles using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: David Mitchell, 2003.

Diagrams: On-line diagrams are available on the Modular Designs page of this site.

 
  Name: Rotor Coaster - a 2 fold design..

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 4 modules from silver triangles using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: David Mitchell, 2002.

Diagrams: On-line diagrams are available on the Modular Designs page of this site under the title Coasters Supreme.

 
3- Fold Designs
 
  Name: The Butterfly Ball

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 12 very simple modules from squares using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: Kenneth Kawamura, early to mid 1970s.

Diagrams: Diagrams were published in Kenneth Kawamura's booklet 'Meditations on a Waterbomb' in 1977.

 
  Name: Spiral Coaster - a 3-fold design.

Modules / Paper shape / Folding geometry: 4 modules from silver triangles using standard folding geometry.

Designer / Date: David Mitchell, 2002.

Diagrams: On-line diagrams are available on the Modular Designs page of this site under the title Coasters Supreme.