1130: Villeneuve Ornithopter v1.2

When I first read Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series of books, it was the mid 70’s and I was a teenager. The expansive universe captured my imagination like little else.

Dune Part 2 has just been released in cinemas, and the Denis Villeneuve adaptation is visually stunning. On planet Arrakis (Dune), a chosen method of air travel is the “Ornithopter”, described as an insect-like flapping machine.

’Thopters in the current movie series are astonishing, if illogical from an engineering perspective. Variously, ‘Thopters have 2 to 12 wings, each move independently in a coordinated buzz to provide controlled lift and thrust.

The origami world has a few simple ‘thopter designs, most modelled on the 80’s David Lynch film adaptation, so I thought I would have a go at designing one from scratch. Initially I thought to harness an existing base, but decided I wanted 12 wings, in groups of 3, and wanted landing gear, some paper for a fuselage and various flaps for some simple detailing.

There are many design methodologies I could have employed. Circle packing (each circle centre representing the vertex of a stickey outer bit), 22.5 folding to facilitate the point-splitting needed for so many separate flaps, but settled on box pleating.

First I sketched out a rough crease pattern (CP). 12 points along opposite edges of a square. The downside of this arrangement was the points ended up tiny – way too small for the wings. Rearranging them symmetrically allowed me to include extra flaps for landing gear, cockpit and more. Designing the collapse along a 2 unit strip of the central axis also gave me the bulk for the fuselage. I calculated I could achieve this with a 48 grid.

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Barnaby Blockhead

Everyone called Charlie Brown “Blockhead”, a past Deputy Prime Minister continually is caught acting like one, so I began wondering what that would might like:

I had recently folded Boice Wong‘s astonishing pair of figures called “Emptyhead” (I named them Dumb and Dumber), so started there, and re-familiarised myself with the crease pattern, devising a smoother collapse (as I adopted the much criticised method of “parachuting” the last time).

I briefly toyed with the idea of posing him like Neo during Matrix’s groundbreaking “bullet time” scene, but decided to go simpler because he would be a … simple … soul.

The tricky bit was to use minimal paper for a neck, leaving enough of a pleat tube to sculpt a 2×2 solid cube, and explored that geometry a bit before settling on a scheme.

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1125: Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”

After acquiring a copy of “Potential Origami” by top Korean Origami designers, I was struck with a choice – which astonishing model should I try first:

It is well known that i love a bit of classical art, and am fond of a fullsome bosom, so decided on Han Ji Woo’s astonishing design based on Boticelli’s painting masterpiece.

I started with a 90cm square of kraft, and intended to give this a try, fully expecting it to fail. My approach to designs outside my skill range is to “fold until it fails or is finished”. I have used this mantra for decades and, as was the case this time around, I discover I have “levelled up” in terms of skills.

The design here is genius. Although it is a boxpleated model, the allocation of flaps to details and proportion evident, as well as attention to the original artwork is outstanding.

From a single sheet of paper, we have a naked lady, masking her modesty with hands and a wicked hairdo. She is standing on an open scallop shell, because … well … that is how she as a Roman Goddess was apparently born. Clearly a little more is now known about where babies come from but it is a striking model version of Botticelli’s classic painting.

I want to tell you this model came easily, and that the shaping was intuitive, but … it wasn’t. I suck at shaping, so really feel like i have levelled up on this model – making the body luscious (yes, I know the breasts are a little “cubist”, but ample and pointed in the right direction. I am particularly happy with the much layered and frizzed hair.

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930: Ground Control to Major Tom …

…take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

I have waited an age to fold this model – I was waiting on finding some large format duo paper. When visiting IKEA, I came upon delicious 70cm wide rolls of duo Kraft paper (black on natural and white on natural), and bought a bunch of rolls. 

Folding a 24×24 grid on a virgin square of white/natural Kraft, the collapse lines laid in, the collapse proceeds to the first stage then you re-work each stickey-outey bit. Continue reading