Circuit Board Origami Puts You Face-to-Face With Low-Poly Electronics

Paper craft has been around almost as long as paper itself. It’s fun to mimic paper craft and origami with low-poly 3D prints, and [Stephen Hawes] wondered whether it could be done with copper-clad PCBs. Two years after the question arose, we have the answer in the form of a fantastical mask with light-up eyes. Check it out in the video below.

[Stephen] started with a model (Update: [kongorilla’s] 2012 low poly mask model from back in 2012 was the starting point for this hack) from the papercraft program Pepakura Designer, then milled out dozens of boards. Only a few of them support circuitry, but it was still quite the time-consuming process. The ATMega32u4 on the forehead along with the fold-traversing circuitry serve to light up the WS2812B eyes. Power runs up the copper tube, which doubles as a handy mounting rod to connect to the 3D-printed base.

To be fair, eighteen months out of the two years this project took was spent hand-sanding a chamfer on every edge of every panel so that they could be glued together. Soldering the edges together didn’t work as well as you might think, so [Stephen] used Superglue mixed with baking soda to give it body and make it dry faster. The result is a low-poly human face of shiny copper with TQFP-44 chip package a the all-seeing eye in the middle of its forehead like something from Tron come to life.

Just a reminder — we have a circuit sculpture contest running now until Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm PST. We’d love to see what you can do, whether it’s in brass rod, copper clad, or a combination of the two. Take a look at the submissions we’ve received so far, and then show us what you’ve got.

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Animal Crossing IRL With Nova Lights To Mark The Passage Of Time

We feature a lot of clocks here at Hackaday, but it’s not often that one comes along and makes us stop in our tracks and reconsider the fundamental question: just what is a clock? [Charlyn] has managed it though, with her Nova Light clock, which doesn’t so much measure the passing of time, but mark it.

The clock itself is a set of origami pieces in the shape of the Nova lights and a star fragment from the popular Animal Crossing New Horizons game, and each has a multicolour LED underneath. The star fragment pulses, while the two Nova lights imperceptibly slowly change colour, one over the course of the day and the other over the course of the week. Except for Fridays, when in celebration of the end of the work week they pulsate with different colours. Under the hood is an Adafruit Feather with a real-time clock module, and since all the code is there for your enjoyment you can have a go at making your own. Below the break is a video showing the clock in action.

[Charlyn] is no stranger to these pages, in fact we’ve featured her exquisite use of origami before. It’s probably her rideable rocking horse that’s the most memorable among her projects though.

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Paper Glows Up With This Origami Wall Piece

[Charlyn] recently found herself dissatisfied with the blank expanse of her bedroom walls. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she set out to build this exquisite origami wall sculpture.

The piece was inspired by a work originally created by [Coco Sato], which she saw on Design Sponge. Materials were sourced, and [Charlyn] began the arduous process of cutting and folding the many, many pieces of paper that would make up the final piece. There were some missteps along the way, which served as a lesson to test early and test often, but a cup of tea and perseverance got the job done.

With the paper components completed, she looked to the electronics. Ten Neopixel LEDs were hooked up to a Particle Photon, giving the project easy IoT functionality. Thanks to IFTTT, the display can be controlled via Google Home, either glowing to create a relaxing vibe, or shutting off when it’s time to sleep. There’s also a smattering of flowers decorating the piece, somewhat of a [Charlyn] trademark.

The LEDs shine from behind the paper structure, creating a subtle, attractive glow. We’re big fans of the combination of LEDs with origami, and hope to see more projects using the material as an effective diffuser. You can even experiment with conductive materials to take things further. Video after the break.

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Tessellations And Modular Origami From Fabric And Paper

You may be familiar with origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, but chances are you haven’t come across smocking. This technique refers to the way fabric can be bunched by stitches, often made in a grid-like pattern to create more organized designs. Often, smocking is done with soft fabrics, and you may have even noticed it done on silk blouses and cotton shirts. There are plenty of examples of 18th and 19th century paintings depicting smocking in fashion.

[Madonna Yoder], an origami enthusiast, has documented her explorations in origami tessellations and smocking, including geometric shapes folded from a single sheet of paper and fabric smocked weave patterns. Apart from flat patterns, she has also made chain-linked smocked scarves stitched into a circular pattern and several examples of origami tessellations transferred to fabric smocking. Similar to folds in origami, the stitches used aren’t complex. Rather, the crease pattern defines the final shape once the stitches and fabric are properly gathered together.

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Conductive Origami Lights Up Your Life

It’s taken mobile phone developers years to develop electric circuits and displays that can fold. Finally he first few have come to market — with mixed reviews and questionable utility at best. For all that R&D, there are a lot of other cases where folding circuitry might have been more useful than it seems these handsets have been. One of those is conductive origami, which in this case allows for light fixtures that turn themselves on as they are unfolded.

This conductive origami is produced by [Yael Akirav] using a 3D printer to deposit the conductive material onto fabric. From there, the light fixture can be unfolded into its final position and turned on. This isn’t just a decorative curiosity though, the design of the folding material actually incorporates the ability to turn itself on as it is unfolded. One device brightens itself as it is slowly unfolded.

This is an interesting take on foldable circuits in general, especially with some of the functionality incorporated into the physical shape of the material. We’ve seen conductive elements embroidered into fabric before, but this takes it to a new level. Surely there are more applications for a device like this that we will see in the future as well.

Thanks to [t42] for the tip!

Beautiful Moving Origami Light Made From Scrap

Whenever [MakerMan] hits our tip line with one of his creations, we know it’s going to be something special. His projects are almost exclusively built using scrap and salvaged components, and really serve as a reminder of what’s possible if you’re willing to open your mind a bit. Whether done out of thrift or necessity, he proves the old adage that one man’s trash is often another’s treasure.

We’ve come to expect mainly practical builds from [MakerMan], so the beautiful ceiling light which he refers to as a “Kinetic Chandelier”, is something of a change of pace. The computer controlled light is able to fold itself up like an umbrella while delivering a pleasing diffuse LED glow. He tells us it’s a prototype he’s building on commission for a client, and we’re going to go out on a limb and say he’s going to have a very satisfied customer with this one.

Like all of his builds, the Kinetic Chandelier is almost entirely built out of repurposed components. The support rods are rusty and bent when he found them, but after cutting them down to size and hitting them with a coat of spray paint you’d never suspect they weren’t purpose-made. The light’s “hub” is cut out of a chunk of steel with an angle grinder, and uses bits of bike chain for a flexible linkage.

Perhaps most impressive is his DIY capstan which is used to raise and lower the center of the light. [MakerMan] turns down an aluminum pulley on a lathe to fit the beefy gear motor, and then pairs that with a few idler pulleys held in place with bits of rebar welded together. It looks like something out of Mad Max, but it gets the job done.

Finally, he salvages the LED panels out of a couple of cheap work lights and welds up some more rebar to mount them to the capstan at the appropriate angle. This gives the light an impressive internal glow without a clear source when viewed from below, and really gives it an otherworldly appearance.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a hacker put together their own chandelier, or even the first time we’ve seen it done with scrap parts. But what [MakerMan] has put together here may well be the most objectively attractive one we’ve seen so far.

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Soda Can Art

A can of soda costs about half a dollar, and once you’re done with the sugary syrup, most cans end up in the trash headed for recycling. Some folks re-use them for other purposes, but we’re guessing no one up-cycles them quite like artist [Noah Deledda] does. He turns them into pieces of Soda Can art that sell for anywhere between $2000 to $3000 a pop.

Don’t be fooled by that smashing hit in the GIF. It’s just some trick photography that [Noah] did to impress people. If you looked at the end product without the back story first, you’d think the cans were manipulated in to contorted shapes using some kind of mechanical assistance, at the very least, or probably a purpose-built machine.

But [Noah Deledda] does it with bare hands. This is the bare-metal version of Origami. While on a road trip many years ago, he was bereft of electronic devices to keep him busy. Playing with an empty can of soda, he started denting and squeezing the thin metal in to an abstract shape. That’s when the artist in him realized that he was playing with an exciting new medium. After making some abstract art pieces out of empty cans of a vermillion bovine energy drink, he figured it would look much more awesome if he could remove all the paint from the cans and give them a smooth, polished, natural finish. He made a little machine that rotates the cans so he can strip the paint and bring the cans to a high polish. The technique is simple but requires a lot of patience, practice, time and skill, not to mention that it will cause a lot of pain in the thumb.

If you’ve ever been to Japan and drank a can of Kirin Hyoketsu, you’d notice the un-opened can is smooth, but immediately changes to a pattern of indented diamonds once you open it. That design was created by Kyoro Miura, well-known for the Miura Fold that lets you fold and unfold large sheets of paper in one smooth movement. Like that discarded map in the glove box of the car you’re riding in, while playing with an empty can of soda.

If you want to hone some ambidextrous skills, this would be a good way to do it while on your next road, plane or train trip. Check out the two videos embedded below. In the second one, you can see snapshots of the design process.

Thanks, [Keith O], for this tip.

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