How to Make Your Own Papermodel Car

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About: Hi. Im 19 and from Victoria Melbourne Australia. Papermodeling is just a hobby and passion that i enjoy doing and something I will for the rest of my life! C;

Hey guys and girls! This will be my second ever post on Instructable that I will be making and it is a much more updated and detailed version of my previous tutorial. So to start off I need to introduce myself. My name is Thomas Truong and I am a 19 yr old papermodel Artist from Melbourne Australia. I am also know as Hacaosuka Designs as some may have seen on Instagram. Although I spend my time in uni nowadays, I spend the rest of the hours building papermodels of peoples car which they commission. These end up being about 60cm long finished and they tend to become wall arts in someones home. My aim for these models is to make highly detailed 100% paper made model and making them one-offs where the files of each car is never released even at whatever price I receive.

Today I will be going through the steps of how you could possible do the same for any car you want starting from the 3D modelling process to unfolding the model in Pepakura. Then editing of the templates in Photoshop and finally of course, printing and building the model itself.

Step 1: Decision and Image Searching

This is where you decide what car you want to model and build. Once decided, do the investigating of what images and angles you may need to get it as accurate as possible. Although the images are more of the modified car, its also good to just search up what a stock body one would look like also and this can help a lot even when there's cosmetics that may have hid the car of what it looks like originally. This can also be the part where you start looking for images you could use as texture later on e.g Headlights.

Another thing to look for is the blueprints of the car. This image includes the front, side, top, rear views of the car at a orthogonal perspective and also the width, height and length.

Step 2: 3d Modeling

So for this stage, it doesn't really matter on what programs you have used before. Doesn't matter if you use Sketchup Pro, Blender or 3ds max, the same process applies to all. Although for people that haven't used any of these programs before I would recommend Google Sketchup due to its snap lock abilities making it easier for this kind of work. Although you have to pay for the program, there's the 30 day trial you could try out and I have added an extra thing for you at the end of this stage. :p

https://www.sketchup.com/try-sketchup

To start of first, You need to set up the blueprints which you need to crop first so that each part is touching the edge of the border. For e.g wheels touching bottom border, roof touching the top e.t.c e.t.c Import the images as an Image.

(Make sure the Camera is set to Parallel Projection by the way!)

Another thing to take note are those 3 lines. The green is the Y axis which moves back and forwards , The red is the X Axis which moves Left and Right and the Z axis moves up and down. Now that you know this, this is how you control your line. This can be done through your arrow keypads and will lock in the direction the line goes.

Now align them as shown above. Now from here my preferable way is to start from the bonnet tracing the lines from the top view. Then once done move the bonnet up to the height of what the side view looks like. Check the front and make sure its aligned up and then continue the same step by starting the line from the bonnet and working your way around the whole car. You only have to make half the car as it can be duplicated and aligned up symmetrically through this step. Tap 3 times to select the whole model, Right click and select make component, press create, and then CTRL drag the model. Finally flip the model by right clicking and selecting flip along components red and join the model. Now if you edit the right it will automatically edit the other side also.

I have added a file below for those who want to see the linework (image 4) and want to connect the polygons themself. The blueprint is also provided as a guide if you were to model your own car!! C; (Edit-Unhide-All)

Step 3: 3D Modeling (Wheels)

So lets say you have finished the model and now you want to do the wheels. Here is the easiest way for me to do it. Start with a circle template, Push/Pull to how wide the tires are (refer to front view blueprint). Then offset to how thick the tires are and then drag the outer tire wall on the red axis to how round/curve the edge is. Then drag the inner circle to the other side of the tire and tap the back side face and it should automatically remove the face leaving a wall. Now from here add you inner wheel detail which is mostly just the process of offsetting, pushing and removing. Use an image as reference of how wide each lip is and look at photos on the internet of how deep they are. And finally adding the rest of the detail of the rims. How much detail you want is up to you but make sure you can handle it and also cut and build.

Step 4: Create the Base/underbody

This step is quite easy apart from the actual wheel arches. The thing to keep in mind is that it has to be flat where the wheels stick on and to do this you have to start with a flat plane and in a way project it from the model itself using horizontal lines on the Y axis. After that its just joining the points which touch the face and removing the excess surface you don't need anymore. The rest is easy just joining parts from one side to the other. Another thing to take note is that you should always leave a hole in the middle as this will help with the process of building the model together later on when sticking templates together.

Step 5: Exporting/Unfolding

Your model is finally complete! Now is the next few final steps before you get to the point where you can print out and finally build your masterpiece! Now start with exporting the file by pressing the the very top menu on the left and tap file. Now select export as an OBJ file and choose 3d model. Make sure all the options shown in the 2nd are selected and press export. Once that is done press ok and open Pepakura Designer 4. (You need the full program to be able to save the file. Link Below!

https://tamasoft.co.jp/pepakura-en/order/index.htm...

Now to import the file, press file in the program and open the file you have just saved. The model should load in and skip ok twice until it reaches where you want to flip the faces. Press close and decided a scale you want for your model and accept. Now for the fun part! Unfold the model by pressing that massive button on top. Look at that! You have basically created a jigsaw puzzle which you now need to sort out into each page. My tip is to start with the front bumper and then move your way to the back of the car. The more you can cramp into 1 page, the less paper you need to use. These are the options you have to edit your templates. Before doing that the flaps tend to be a bit tedious so turning them off helps by going into 2D Menu and unticking show flaps. Now you can start moving it around, rotating, joining/disjoining parts.

Make sure to save every few minutes!

Once done you can turn on your flaps once again and you can edit they by right clicking and pressing edit flaps. Here you change the position and also the shape for it. The thing I would do first is change the height and then pressing and dragging the window through the templates which will then update them automatically.

Step 6: Texturing/Photoshopping

Before doing this step make sure to save the file one last time. Now export it through the File tab as Bitmaps per sheet. Set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch. Press ok and save it in a specified folder and as a JPEG file. Now for the next part, it is your choice for what style you want the textures to be. Weather its a illustrated detail or an image which you want to use that is all up to you. You could even go the extra mile and do shaded colours for a more realistic effect. Its the smallest details which make the big difference!!

(Shown above is what my textured templates look like! c;)

Step 7: Print It

The paper i'm using is Cardstock 180 gsm paper printed with a Inkjet Printer. Sometimes you have to print out a few pages and change the hue/saturation to colour match the exact colour your going for since at times the colour may be much darker or lighter when printed. Sometimes its even better to print separate pages in Greyscale so parts don't look brown or any other colour instead. It also speeds up the printing process and also at a higher resolution quality image.

Step 8: BUILD IT!

Well go on! Start chopping them up and joining bits a pieces together already! Oh right. The tools I used are shown in the first image. I will list them all down.

1. Scalpel/knife- Used for cutting out the paper and also scoring folds (Preferred: X-ACTO Z-Series Knife)

2. Metal ruler- helps with cutting straight lines

3. Tweezers/forceps- used to hold pieces together and bend flaps

4. Toothpick/scrap paper- used for applying the glue to the flap. Scrap paper is to store blob of glue

5. Cutting mat- Used to cut on and not damage the surface underneath

6. Scissors- helps to cut out intricate details when needed

7. Tacky Craft Glue- Glue recommended when using cardstock paper about 150-200 gsm (Preferred: Aleene's Tacky Craft Glue)

8. Black Sharpie- To colour in the edges and hide the white of the paper

9. Coloured Textas- To colour in the edges the same as the colour of the model

10. Sticky Tape- Helps to hold parts together when glue isn't enough.

11. Multiple clothes pegs- To hold a piece together in place when letting it dry out

OPTIONAL: Headphones/Earphones Helps you to get you through the long process C;

Here are some extra tips. Have something to help with rounding curves to give it its clean smooth bodywork. By having the same coloured texta you can hide the white edges of the templates making it look more realistic. Cut out only a few pieces at a time. Do full closed parts last for e.g the back wall of the tire which connects to the wheel arches. Superglue will be helpful in some circumstances also. Start with the front of your car and build all the way to the back. Then the underbody and finally other separate parts such as the spoiler, wheels, side mirror e.t.c e.t.c

Now that you know what to do, Go ahead! Try it out and once the model is done, apply a few layers of clear coat to give it that shiny finish! Go display on your bedroom wall or the living room next to your TV. The options are endless! Thanks for reading this Tutorial all the way to the end! Follow my Instagram @Hacaosuka_Designs and my Facebook page Hacaosuka Designs. Send me some images of your own creation you have created even! I want to see how far I have inspired people to try out this hobby through this Instructable! Apart from that vote for me for this years Paper Competition on here! The devices and equipment will really help with the process of my work!

Thanks, Thomas

Step 9: Bonus Images!

To inspire everyone even more here are some other cars that I have built in the past 2 year c;

Paper Contest

First Prize in the
Paper Contest

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    26 Discussions

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    KimE59

    3 months ago

    Sigh.. Did you really not include the finished papercraft file?
    By doing that, you effectively stopped 99% of viewers from trying the project for themselves.
    3D modeling is HARD work, not to mention that you need the full version of a paid software to SAVE your files!
    I know that papercraft files are your own work, and are sometimes even sold for money, but as a person who has done papercrafting for 6+ years, I was disappointed to see that you shared nothing that would actually get us making papercrafts. This project seems too "difficult" for normal papercrafters.

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    Hacaosuka DesignsKimE59

    Reply 3 months ago

    Ahahaha. Yeh sorry :c. I could possibly add up like a sketchup untextured file without the wheels and base for some people to try and add their own touches to it? Also a obj file for the unfolding part also and a few pages of the templates? Haha

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    KimE59Hacaosuka Designs

    Reply 3 months ago

    Aw, that sounds nice.
    It's good to see that you care about your readers :)
    It would be better to have the whole file (why not the wheels though?), but I think it would also be interesting for people to add their own textures, since you did write about that on your post.
    And as a side note for anyone who's reading; You CAN save your Pepakura files, even on the free version! You just need CutePDF and GPL in order to export it as a PDF.
    (Further info: https://www.instructables.com/id/Pepakura-Convert-PDO-to-PDF-/)

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    Hacaosuka DesignsKimE59

    Reply 3 months ago

    Reason I haven't posted the wheels is because I want people to try it out for themselves. Secondly it is really difficult to explain how to do the wheels fully detailed like I did because it involves a lot of moving polygons around to see what works or not, duplicating, and refixing the texture when its out of place. I wouldnt know how to reexplain how I trialed and errored. As for texturing I want to do a separate tutorial another time because Blender is soo much more better for that. Also to say its free. If anything by the way, send me a message if there's anything else I should do! thanks C;

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    KimE59Hacaosuka Designs

    Reply 3 months ago

    Oh, I understand now.
    But, just saying from some experience with 3D modelling; It's not easy. At all. I don't think anybody would be willing to create their own wheel, then unfold it into a papercraft template, THEN assemble it.
    You do it your own way though, I'm just making suggestions X)
    Great model by the way, in the beginning I thought you would just get a pre-made papercraft template then make it, but you actually taught us how to create it from scratch! I actually voted for your design in the Paper Challenge; I hope you win!

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    Hacaosuka DesignsKimE59

    Reply 3 months ago

    Ahaha. Theres soo much to go into when your making your own paper model. I could go into full detail but I know people would get bored :p I try to be original as possible and people appreciate it so much! Got interviewed a few days ago also haha. That's why I love what I do! And thank you for your vote. Very much appreciated! C;
    PS. message me some papermodels you have built yourself xD
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    KimE59Hacaosuka Designs

    Reply 3 months ago

    Ha ha ha, I know; 3D modelling (and converting that to papercraft) is so difficult.
    Unfortunately, I never CREATED any templates by myself; I tried working on a slightly advanced project, but failed because there were way too many vertices and the textures went wonky. (I do think it's actually make-able, but the template is so cut-up that it would take ages to figure out how to put them together.)
    I did make some papercrafts though, like an Iron Man Mark 7, Rubik's cube, etc. (I read up the Rubik's cube on here on Instructables, although it turns out I didn't really need it, since there's nothing really technical about it.) You can see some photos here, if you'd like X)
    https://cafe.naver.com/papermodeler/111400
    https://cafe.naver.com/papermodeler/112357
    https://cafe.naver.com/papermodeler/111635

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    Hacaosuka DesignsKimE59

    Reply 3 months ago

    You did a pretty good job on Ironman and that bike actually. Ahh the too many vertices problem. Haha xD You should try out and do the linework file that I posted. Think of it as a dot to dot and connect the vertices to create the shape all around. Maybe that will help you with knowing how much vertices is good haha

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    KimE59Hacaosuka Designs

    Reply 2 months ago

    First Prize! Congratulations!
    What are you going to do with the paper cutter you won? :)

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    KimE59Hacaosuka Designs

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks for the compliments, I'm too lazy and those projects took me over a month to complete, each. lol
    About the model. I recall there being over 100,000 vertices (!) on my 3D model until someone told me that those programs don't convert edges into "smooth edges", and that I had to do it all by myself, manually.
    I got help from an expert (who also developed a papercraft add-on for Blender), who was helpful enough to re-create the model into a simpler version (of around 5000 vertices), but then the script stopped working properly (because of too many vertices?) and wouldn't put the pieces together into an easily-foldable form, not to mention the textures being overlapped. (Pepakura was even less helpful on this one XD)
    I may get back to it sometime though, it would be a cool project to complete X)

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    amenintriagoKimE59

    Reply 3 months ago

    I think that the real purpuse of this instructable is the 3d modeling part and the unfold one. There are tons off free 3d models out there for trying it out. And lots of ready madre papercrafts templates too.

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    Hacaosuka Designsamenintriago

    Reply 3 months ago

    Yep! I tried my best to write this but to simplify it as much as possible also haha And yes when you have just started papermodeling it would be building/trying somenes work out first before moving to a stage where you to decide to design it yourself c:

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    KimE59amenintriago

    Reply 3 months ago

    True, but people who are new to papercrafting probably wouldn't be able to know all that, and there aren't really that many people who would be able to create a nice-looking car with a 3D program here. I was just saying that including the 3D model would allow people to follow the instructables better, and probably get into papercrafting as well.

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    Hacaosuka Designsfarna

    Answer 3 months ago

    Well social media. Its listed at the very last paragraph c: