Perfect Paper Cube: Laying out a project using parallel line development

7 Steps
Ever had an idea that sounded great in your mind?  It can be easy to hash out some rough concept sketches, but when it comes time to get the ruler and pencil out, things get a bit more tough.  If we know how to use a ruler to develop parallel lines, it can become a lot simpler and with some practice, you can be very accurate with nothing more than your ruler and pencil!

This activity is something I do with a 7th and 8th grade Metals class, and is geared to students in that age group.  Many of the "Rules" I make them follow will help anyone to be more proficient with their projects.  So what are we going to do?

Content Learning Objective:

By building a Perfect Paper Cube, students will practice and develop their ability to read a ruler and demonstrate accuracy.  These skills will later be demonstrated again as students make projects out of sheet metal.

Update!  A video I made showing the cube.

Please note that even though I do this activity with 7th and 8th graders, this instructable is hard for that age group to follow without guidance.  If you have a hard time reading a ruler, you may want to check out my instructable on "Drawing the Inch" first here:  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Read-a-Ruler-and-other-simple-tricks/

If you enjoyed this instructable you can continue on with the Perfect Paper Pyramid here:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-Paper-Pyramid-More-practice-with-project-/
Remove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Gather Supplies

This is a pretty simple project.

Supplies:

8.5x11 sheet of paper
Glue or tape (glue is stronger, tape is easier to work with)
Pencil
Eraser
Ruler
Scissors

A desk or other hard work surface generally comes in pretty handy too...
TSMD says: Jan 8, 2012. 8:39 PM
I use this same cube project in my classes but primarily to introduce students to object modeling/thinking in 3D. After introducing the assignment and getting students through this first cube, I challenge them further by having them create a 2.5" cube with a smaller 1" cube cut out of a corner and another project with a covered, sloping surface that's been 'cut off' 1" from the corner but still follows the same requirements. To see if they've mastered these design concepts, I have them make a final 3" cube out of a larger sheet of paper that has the corner cutout and sloping surface on adjacent corners. I'd also like to see your instructables on the inch and pyramid when you get them posted. Keep up the good work!
dbennett says: Dec 22, 2011. 9:32 AM
Why didn't you just use a straight edge and a compass? Geometry plays a large part in design and is visual- something the human brain does much more easily than numbers and measuring.
dorkpunch (author) in reply to dbennettDec 22, 2011. 9:53 AM
Because then the students wouldn't get to practice reading and using a ruler. I have a couple of other assignments- the "Perfect Paper Pyramid"- that we do use a compass on after they get a little better and finding those pesky numbers on the ruler. Also pretty hard to use a compass if you can't read the ruler to know what measurement to set the compass to.
Ken Chevy in reply to dorkpunchDec 23, 2011. 6:08 PM
Isn't that the truth.  There are so many people who can NOT read a ruler or tape measure, yet it is so logical.  Simple things like fractions of an inch.  That the parts of an inch are:
1.0 1 inch
0.5 1/2 inch
0.25 1/4th inch  Notice they have divided an inch into 4 pieces on the ruler.
0.125 1/8th inch
0.0625 1/16th inch  Or that for a 1/16th they have divided the inch into 16 parts.
0.03125 1/32nd of an inch
0.015625 1/64th of an inch
0.01 1/100th of an inch
0.001 1,000th of an inch

Numbers are fun!  You are doing a great service when you teach students how to measure things.  We even divide a year into 365 parts and each of those parts (a day) into 24 parts (an hour) and each of those parts into 60 parts (a minute).  We measure everything!

Kudos.
dorkpunch (author) in reply to Ken ChevyDec 23, 2011. 7:19 PM
Yup, its a great skill to have. I'll have to make an instructable for how I teach my students "The Inch", as I call it. Easy way to draw out an inch and label the fractions, then use it as a calculator to reduce fractions too!
Ken Chevy says: Dec 23, 2011. 5:51 PM
That is a  nice looking cube.  I like precision things like that.  At my automotive machine shop we measure things within 10ths of a thousandths,  but the way you measure the paper is something nice for people to learn also.  Well done!
thoraxe says: Dec 20, 2011. 8:58 PM
Great job. Good way to show students how to measure.

We did something similar to this, but we built bridges out of manilla folders. The most accurately folded and cut bridges held the most weight.
dorkpunch (author) in reply to thoraxeDec 20, 2011. 9:02 PM
I'd like to know more about that! We do toothpick bridges in my Tech and Design classes, and have done spaghetti bridges in the past, but never a manila folder bridge!
thoraxe in reply to dorkpunchDec 21, 2011. 12:01 AM
Here is a link

http://bridgecontest.usma.edu/manual.htm
Ken Chevy in reply to thoraxeDec 22, 2011. 1:04 PM
Hi thoraxe,

When you wish to post a URL link, click on the RICH EDITOR button at the top right  corner of the reply box and it will allow you to make your links clickable.  Right after the B  & I letters is the URL button.  Click on it and a window will open that will allow you to enter your URL link.  That will make your link clickable like below.

http://bridgecontest.usma.edu/manual.htm

Dr.Bill in reply to Ken ChevyDec 23, 2011. 1:59 AM
http://bridgecontest.usma.edu/manual.htm

I always wondered how that worked.
Thank You
thoraxe in reply to Ken ChevyDec 22, 2011. 8:21 PM
Sorry, I assumed it would hyperlink automatically. Like every other website.....
a2e in reply to thoraxeDec 22, 2011. 11:32 AM
This is why I read commentaries!
Ken Chevy in reply to a2eDec 23, 2011. 11:30 AM
I have a Canon A2e in my safe!  If that is what your name is in regards to?
a2e in reply to Ken ChevyDec 23, 2011. 1:14 PM
Cool! I have a Canon SX-30 that is cheap and effective.
No, "A2E" is a phonetization of a more complex alias that I use for myself, until now I had no idea of such reflex camera... anyway it is always good to know.
Ken Chevy in reply to a2eDec 23, 2011. 5:47 PM
Yes, it came out in November of 1992 and with the vertical grip cost me about \$1,200.00 without a lens on it.

We had a very favorite dog that has now went to doggie heaven that we called A2e that was pronounced Ah Tu Ee. She is the white puppy taken in 1993 when I was building a small shop in my back yard. I never built the shop big enough, no room in it. :( Ani out rototilling our garden will give you an idea of how small it is. I should post some photos of what my shop looks like. There are a lot of people who post what their shops look like, but mine is so cluttered up and full of stuff that it is embarrassing.

Ah, took me a little bit of experimenting to figure out how to add files.  Always something new to learn.
Makedo says: Dec 23, 2011. 12:17 AM
I took a drafting class in 1972. we made shapes on paper then cut them out. we had to be exact and they fit together with all the tabs inside. Out of sight. and all the edges had to be exact and all had to fit with out any gaps. That was part of our final. We were not allowed to use glues tape or other sealants. it had to hold it self together. Try doing this by making a ball. only 4 people passed that one. I was not one of the four.
yoyology says: Dec 22, 2011. 11:12 AM
I love this project! Reminds me of when my dad and I made a poster about diamonds when I was in middle school. He taught me to use a compass and straightedge to make a hexagon, and we worked from there to make a drawing of the crown and pavilion facets of the standard "brilliant" cut. :-)

I'm curious about the "hems" you mention in the very last picture, on the note about the Pyramid shape. What are "hems" in this context?

I'd love to see a follow-up Instructable about making the Pyramid!
dorkpunch (author) in reply to yoyologyDec 22, 2011. 11:24 AM
A "hem" is another sheet metal term- kind of like the hem on your pant leg, you just fold the edge of the metal over on itself. Two reasons to do that- it strengthens the metal and also hides the sharp edge. I'll get that pyramid posted some time for you.
ncoleman2 says: Dec 21, 2011. 10:38 AM
This is a great instructable! Thank you for sharing! I am in a class similar to this at school and I LOVE projects like this. This is a great way to teach basic skills of measurement.