Intro: 4 U Paper Puzzle
I was surfing the internet for a puzzle to make as a gift when I found this picture. The puzzle's design caught my eye and I found the solution pretty clever. Basically. you have four U shapes and one tray. The objective is to fit all four U's into the tray without ripping the U's into shreds out of frustration.
However, there were no accompanying origami instructions that I could find, and I didn't want to fold 24 sonobe origami boxes to make it. I also didn't want to just buy cardboard blocks to stick together and call a gift. Thus, I decided to make a version by cutting, folding, and gluing paper together.
If you like this tutorial, I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for me in the Holiday Contest! ^^
Step 1: Materials
- paper (thicker is better so use cardstock or construction paper if possible)
Step 2: Designs to Cut Out: Side Arms
To make the U shapes, you need 3 paper parts -- the two side arms and the one long rectangle in the middle.
Each U shape requires two side arms so you need 8 paper 2D patterns to cut and glue. I attached the pattern I used. I made each little box unit 2cm x 2cm so I put my ruler along the top edge and marked off a little point at 2cm, 4cm, 6cm, 8cm, 9cm, 11cm, 13cm, 15cm, 17cm, 18cm. I marked off the same points on the bottom edge and connected the corresponding points on the top and bottom edges to get the vertical lines (both black and red) in the picture.
For the horizontal lines, I marked off points along the left edge at 2cm, 4cm, 6cm, 8cm, 10cm, 12cm, 14cm, 16cm. I marked off the same points on the right edge and connected the corresponding points on the left and right sides to get the both the horizontal thin black and thick red lines. You'll need all these lines later, but for now, only cut
When you're done, cut out rectangles along the thick red horizontal lines (vertical: 9cm, 18cm; horizontal: 4cm, 8cm, 12cm, 16cm).
Step 3: Designs to Cut Out: Long Rectangular Prism
The other piece of each U is the rectangular prism connecting the side arms. Again, I put my ruler along the top edge and marked off a little point at 2cm, 4cm, 6cm, 8cm, 9cm, 11cm, 13cm, 15cm, 17cm, 18cm. I marked off the same points on the bottom edge and connected the corresponding points on the top and bottom edges to get the vertical lines (both black and red) in the picture.
For the horizontal lines, I marked off points along the left edge at 4cm and 8cm. I marked off the same points on the right edge and connected the corresponding points on the left and right sides to get the thick red horizontal lines. I added the thinner black lines (whichyou won't see in your markings) so you could see the units I used (one box = 2cm x 2cm) in case you wanted to change the sizing and make each little box 5cm x 5cm or something.
When you're done, cut out rectangles along the thick red lines.
Step 4: Making the Side Arms
Take the 2D cutouts for the side arms and cut out two rectangles from the bottom right hand corner. Also cut the two right-hand corners at ~45 degree angles.
Now fold along the thick (not THIN) black vertical lines. Then glue the thin trapezoidal tab to the left-most rectangular face to form the 3D side arm shape.
Step 5: Optional Step for Stability
For additional stability, make little caps for the two hollow tops of the side arms.
On another piece of paper, mark points at 1cm, 3cm, 4cm, 5cm, 7cm, 8cm on the top and bottom and connect the corresponding points to make vertical lines. Then mark off 1cm, 3cm, 4cm, 5cm, 7cm, 8cm, 9cm, 11cm, 12cm, 13cm, 15cm, 16cm on the left and right sides of the paper and connect the corresponding points to make horizontal lines. Cut along the thick red lines to get 8 4cm x 4cm squares.
On each square, fold along the dotted blue linesand red lines before cutting along the red lines. Then glue as shown above to get caps that look like square-base boxes without lids.
Apply glue to the four sides of a cap and push it down a side arm. Smooth out any wrinkles, and repeat for remaining side arms.
Step 6: Making the Rectangular Prism
Take your 2D cutouts for the rectangular prism and cut off the right-most corners (the corners of the long, thin rectangle).
To turn the 2D pattern into a 3D shape, just fold along the thick black horizontal lines and glue the thin rectangular tab to the left-most rectangular face.
Step 7: Connecting Side Arms to Rectangular Prism
To connect the units, take two side arms and glue them to the long rectangle at 90 degree angles to make your FIRST U SHAPE! Use your remaining units to make three more U's for the grand total of 4.
Step 8: Making the Tray
The tray's dimensions are 5.75 units long, 5.75 units wide, and 1 unit high. Thus, the paper for making this will be 31/√2cm x 31/√2cm. To get those dimensions, see my accompanying sketch.
Time for some hardcore origami.. (see the pictures because this is really hard to explain -- at least for me)
When you're done folding, you might want to put a bit of glue in the center where the triangles on the bottom of the tray intersect so that those flaps stay down.
Step 9: Aaannnnddddd YOU'RE DONE
Now that you have your four U's and the tray, try to complete the puzzle for yourself! Solution here, whenever you give up or want to check. ;) Enjoy!