Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Modular Designs based on the 3x3 and 5x5 grids
The oldest modular design known, the Tematebako, is based on the 3x3 grid. When I began creating my own designs this quickly became one of my favourite motifs.

The 5x5 grid is much less used. There must surely be other designs that I am not aware of?

Where designs are not otherwise attributed they are my own.

Designs from the 3x3 grid
  The Tematebako is the earliest known modular origami design, dating back to at least 1734. It is made from six modules developed from the traditional Menko using cuts.

More information about the Tematebako can be found here.

Online diagrams can be found on the Designs of Unknown Origin page of this site.

  My Simplex Cube is a robust cube assembled from 24 L-shaped Simplex modules. Cubes made from larger numbers of modules are also possible. In fact this is probably the best way to make complex cubes from large numbers of modules.

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

  Simplex modules can be used to make any shape that has square, truncated square or silver triangle faces. This is a Simplex module version of my Ball of Cubes design.

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

  The Eureka Cube is an even earlier 4-part design - from 1988 - that depends on the division of a square into thirds. It is so named because I visualised the design whilst lazing in the bath. Usually in these circumstances the design does not work. This one did.

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

  The module for the basic 6-part Darwin Cube, which I designed in 2001, is a development of the Sonobe module. The basic Darwin and Sonobe cubes look identical but this is only because the four small flaps which allow the Darwin module to be reconfigured to create many interesting contrast patterns on the surface of the cube are concealed from view in this configuration. Several of these contrast pattern Darwin cubes are shown below.

On-line diagrams for the basic module and many of its decorative variations are available on the Modular Designs page of this site.

  Photoframe Cube - from 6 squares divided into a 3x3 grid. I discovered this cube in 1989. Subsequently Francis Ow sent me a copy of his privately published book on Modular Origami which also contains diagrams for this cube. I do not know which of us has priority.
  These Pinwheel Cubes, were conceived of as a modular assembly challenge. The basic cube has four wings, all visible in the photo. The challenge is to take the modules apart and then put them back together with one, two, three and finally four of the wings tucked away inside the cube. The design is from 1999.

Diagrams are not yet available.

  The 6-part Rhombicuboctahedron can be made from squares divided into either 3x3 or 4x4 grids. The 3x3 grid version was discovered by Kenneth Kawamura in the early to mid 1970s. Robert E Neale independently discovered the same design, and quite possibly also the 4x4 version, but cannot now recall at what date the discovery was made. Michael Naughton and I both also discovered both versions for ourselves in 1991 and 1988 respectively. Michael realised that the proportions of the designs could be varied so that the flat faces become oblongs rather than squares. He calls this variable version the Multi-Ball. The 4x4 version can be tweaked so that it becomes an even distribution design.

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

  Gaia is one of the designs that I discovered while playing with the possibilities inherent in the Enigma base in 1989. Like my 6-part Enigma Cube it is a three stage modular design in that the form continues to develop after the modules have been assembled.

Diagrams can be found in Paper Crystals - David Mitchell - Water Trade - ISBN 9780953477494.

  My 2-part Enigma Cube is developed from the Enigma base, hence the title of the design. This was the earliest version of the Enigma form. In order to maintain the integrity of the curved collars the design is best realised using foil backed paper.

Diagrams can be found in Paper Crystals (2nd Edition) - Water Trade - ISBN 978-0-9534774-9-4.

  This is a 3x3 grid version of my Omicron design folded from 6 squares.

Diagrams are not yet available.

Designs from the 5x5 grid
  Borromean Links - improved modular method for Thoki Yenn's Umulius Rectangulum - 12 squares.   Y054   1999   Diagrams not yet available - photo only in Origami: The Complete Guide to the Art of Paperfolding - Rick Beech - Lorenz Books (Anness Publishing) - ISBN 0754807827