Origami: The failure files


Sometimes an origami model just doesn’t work out.  Here’s a collection of some of my failures.

failed flexible polyhedron
One thing I’m interested in doing is finding unusual polyhedra, and designing origami around them.  This here was meant to be Steffen’s polyhedron, which is a flexible and concave polyhedron.  “Flexible” means that it can be deformed even when each of the faces is rigid.  “Concave” means that some of its edges are bent inwards instead of outwards.  Cauchy’s Rigidity theorem states that convex polyhedra cannot be flexible, and Steffen’s polyhedron is an example of why it doesn’t also apply to concave polyhedra.

Anyway, this is tricky to design because I basically need to make a bunch of triangles of arbitrary sizes, and I need some way to attach them together.  At some point, I got the bright idea of making triangle edges rather than triangles.  And I didn’t even have to design my own edges, I just took the “Jade” units from Ekaterina Lukasheva, which are designed to be of arbitrary length.  I carefully cut the paper to size (which required a bunch of oddly dimensioned rectangles, like 10:17), and started putting pieces together.

But it turns out, the design was fundamentally flawed.  The geometry of the jade units doesn’t work out, and you just can’t put arbitrary triangles together with it.  Well, back to the drawing board.

failed doe

Here’s a failure using one-piece origami.  I was interested in folding objects directly from crease patterns, and for my first attempt I tried folding Robert Lang’s Doe.  This probably wasn’t a good choice for a first model, given that I had no idea what I was doing.  Well, it’s not bad for a first try.

failed boxbot

This was an attempt at Carnation Leroy by Carlos Cabrino.  It’s a guest model in Origami Inspirations by Meenakshi Mukerji.  Well, this one wasn’t my fault.  The diagrams were awful.  My units looked completely different at the end, and I couldn’t figure out how the pieces were supposed to fit together even in principle.

failed carnation leroy

Okay, so this model isn’t really a failure.  It’s an aesthetic failure, okay?  I took Meenakshi Mukerji’s Flower Cube unit, and tried connecting larger units to smaller units.  Design-wise, it was sturdy and solid.  But what was I doing with the colors?  It’s too busy and neon.  I also think it looks like boxbot, ie terrible.

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