Introduction: Kinetic Origami

About: enjoys making things

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share with you a project that I recently worked on for one of my design courses: Kinetic Origami!

I had a lot of fun making it and thought it was a nice mix of more organic elements like paper and cardboard with an electric servo motor. Hope you guys enjoy. :-)

Here is a beautiful video for inspiration:


Step 1: Folding the Origami

We will be folding a simple tessellation pattern. I first cut my printer paper into a square, then created grids and started folding. I used this tutorial I found online to create the origami:

Step 2: Setting Up the Servo

First, grab your metro and you will find the two items in your box (1st image). The stickers are just sticky grips you can attach to back of your metro board–I personally like to stick them near the 4 holes (red dots in 2nd image).

Now grab your servo. You will find three different arms you can attach to your servo (the black pieces in 3rd image), any will work fine for this project. Attach the arm of choice to the top of the servo.

Then, get your jumper wires and connect the servo to the metro (4th image). Although the image uses a breadboard, we will be using jumper wires to connect the metro and servo directly. The darkest wire of your servo connects to ground on the metro, the middle wire connects to 5V on the metro, and the lightest wire connects to the 9 on the metro.

Once you have completed the above setup, you can start programming your servo. Download Arduino on your device. Then, connect the metro to your device and run Arduino. In Tools, make sure you've checked the proper port. Then go to the Servo Library and upload Sweep into your servo. (You can also find the code here). Now the servo motor should be moving back and forth when powered. Feel free to change up some of the variables/other parts of the code to make the movement fit to your liking.

Step 3: Connecting the Origami and Motor

We have now completed preparing all the pieces we need for our kinetic origami product!

First, use your string and needle to push the string into the top of the origami (1st image). Puncture a hole to the middle of top of your cardboard box for the string (2nd image). Once that is completed, glue the origami piece in place with the string going through the hole.

Now inside the box, you can tie the string to your servo arm of choice and tape down the servo, metro, and wires to secure it in place. For this step, I highly recommend opening up your box to allow for easier setup. Another recommendation would be to attach all your pieces to the top lid of your box for easier setup. Make sure that your string and servo movement are aligned to make your origami fold up and down.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Congratulations! You have now completed your kinetic origami.

Feel free to play around with the different servo movements, and even entirely different origami pieces. The possibilities are endless!

I recreated the same project with a laser cut box as show in the final video.

Thank you for tuning in!

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