Philipp Stollenmayer, known around the site as kamibox.de, is one of my favorite authors. His papercrafts are beautiful, intricate and inspiring. And his work on Instructables is only the tip of the iceberg! He also has a very fancy website, kamibox.de, that contains tons of papercrafts to browse, download and make for free. Philipp's also been dabbling in making apps that feature his papercrafts too - check out Tiny Paper Zoo in the app store. It's free and you don't even need a printer to use his models that way!
How did you discover the site and what inspired you to start posting projects?
My first Instructable will turn 5 years soon, it was one about ASCII Art, not even a pretty good one, but it seemed to be the first one on the web. I discovered that magic function of Word to fix images in the background, which makes ASCII Art a lot easier, and I wanted to yell my discoveries into the public. And Instructables was perfect for that. My first one has been well received and so I have kept writing some for those nice people.
Philipp's first papercraft design
What was the first papercraft you ever made? What got you started?
The first papercrafts I made were a bike from Yamaha Papercraft and some paper toys and stuff from Canon Papercraft. Both still provide great papercrafts, for free of course.
The first papercraft I designed was a Wii and controller. It is really ugly and it was the first and last one that was hand drawn. I do not have the nerves for these complex 3D thinkings, I trust 3D programs instead.
How do you design your papercrafts? You've got so many amazing ones - I especially love the interactive ones. Do you start 2D and then work to 3D? Do you use any sort of software, like Pepakura?
Thank you! First I sketch the thing I want to make with pencil on paper from a few perspectives. Then I think of how the polygons could be arranged to make it look nice, and draw that into the pencil sketches. I try to make the models with as many organic shapes as possible, because that makes them look convincing and reduces the flap count. Then I make a 3D model and unfold it with Pepakura, trying to avoid much flaps, much shapes, 2 flaps next to each other, etc.
When I think this could work, I print it out twice and make the first prototype, which usually doesn’t work. So I mark all spots that I should rethink with red, on the model and on the template. Then I draw everything again with vectors in Illustrator or InDesign, because these are better to modify and Pepakura doesn’t support those round shapes, it wants the models to look edgy, but I don’t. Then, I print and make it again, mark all spots again, and repeat until everything is fine.
The last time I make it, I take photos for the instructions. With an illuminated white background which adds a peak light from behind, making it very comfortable to handle, because there is no background to mess around with, everything is clean and can be put together easily. Looks like a 1.500 $ light kit.. is actually just the iPad you see on the desk.
Where the magic happens!
Is there anyone or anything that has been particularly influential towards your work?
For one and a half year, I have studied communication design, and that did have some great influence on my stuff, first of all I learned how to code a website, which is great. Before that, my crafts floated around in the internet anywhere, and I couldn’t really control it all at once.
And we got taught the advantages of new technology and how print would die, which made me kind of sad, because all I do is basically print. And as I am probably not the person who will revive a whole sector of industry, I have tried to combine papercraft and new technology. And things like the paper zoetrope and my app Tiny Paper Zoo came up, and I am already making my second app for iPhone and iPad, which I would never had imagined before, because I am not a programmer. And the app has already been downloaded over 50.000 times!
If you could give one piece of advice to all of the other authors on Instructables, what would it be?
So I am in the role of the advice giver now... My Instructables are not better than others, I like when I see how in other Instructables every step is depicted in great detail, and I am impressed regularly of what colossal works are made by manhood.
Of all the projects that you have posted, which is your favorite?
The paper clone is my favorite project, it was the first Instructable that had a lot of traffic on the first day, I was really impressed how nearly 100.000 people had watched it after 24 hours. I still get a lot of response to that, yesterday even from a TV company. And it was the first Instructable that won me a shirt! Those are comfortable.
Any exciting new projects coming up you could give us a preview of?
I am currently making an app about paper toys and gadgets, here is one that will definitely land on Instructables: It is a passive iPhone speaker... Sounds hell boring, but is an amazing upgrade for the sound and takes only 15 minutes to make.