Laser Cutter Origami Answered
The New Yorker printed an article about engineer/physicist turned professional origami artist Robert Lang.
He's dropped by Instructables/Squid Labs to use the laser cutter to score curves otherwise impossible to fold; it's some neat stuff. This spawned a comment thread on using origami techniques to mold concrete for the Universal Nut Sheller. (Scroll up one comment for first post in the thread.)
I don't know how long the article will be available, so here's the laser cutter's cameo:
One clear, chilly day not long ago, I met Lang at Squid Labs, a high-tech research-and-development company headquartered in an enormous concrete building that used to be part of the Alameda Naval Air Station, near Oakland. Lang and his wife and their teen-age son live about twenty miles east of Oakland, in a comfortable ranch-style house that has a separate studio building in the back yard, where Lang works amid a clutter of math books, seashell guides, computers, and a menagerie of paper animals. He was spending the day at Squid Labs to use its industrial laser cutter to help him crease paper for some complex folds. He said that he may be the first origami artist to use a laser cutter, which he dials down to a smidgen of its power, so that it scores the paper rather than slices it. Lang was working on paper prototypes for two commissions: one for an interior-design piece to be made of metal, another for a leather fashion accessory, and on a design he was making for himself, which he didn't want to describe, in case he jinxed it. All three of the designs were so intricate that it would have taken him hours just to crease the paper in preparation for the final folds. He was using large squares of tweedy-looking mauve Hanji paper from Korea, which is sturdy but still slightly translucent, like the flesh of a fish.