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From Oxford “origami engineers” Weina Wu and Zhong You, published as A solution for folding rigid tall shopping bags in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. ScienceNOW has an item that at least tries to explain why this achievement is scientifically significant, rather than just really cool. Which, frankly, I don’t quite understand. But then, for our purposes, “really cool” is all the justification we need.

The paper itself, unfortunately, is behind a paywall. But the phrase “made from a number of stainless steel plates, stuck on to a light, flexible plastic sheet,” together with some close examination of the published photos, looks like all an interested party might need to construct their own working model. I’m thinking one could apply an adhesive film to some sheet brass, for instance, and then photoetch the metal off along the creases. [Thanks, Alan Dove!]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


11 Responses to Flat-Folding Steel Grocery Bag

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  1. Anonymous on said:

    After reading the Abstract on their site, I’m left with the question- did they go to school for that? At first it seems like a relevant field, to design packaging, but…Why not just fold a stiff bag like you would a paper grocery bag? Did I miss something? Mountains out of molehills…

    • Yes, you missed something. It turns out you can’t just fold a hinged steel bag the way you would a paper one – the paper bag relies on paper-like flexibility to make its particular set of creases work. As a result, a similarly folding steel container has to be built differently. If you’ve ever tried to figure out how to fold an origami sculpture without instructions, you’d understand that something like this is a non-trivial problem.

  2. Daniel Kim on said:

    A steel and plastic “bag” is really only as strong as the plastic component. This would be better accomplished using metal hinges instead of flexing plastic joints.

  3. Needs handles.

    And would something like Tyvek work for the “hinges”?

  4. I have not much time, but I’ve got many useful things here, love it!

  5. Cool design but no handles?

  6. Good,we are long river package,if you need handle,we can help you,we are the manufacturer of package,any need pls feel free contact us  longrivergroup@gmail.com

  7. The Expert on said:

    In this paper, a new crease pattern has been proposed that
    allows a tall box-shaped bag with a rectangular base to be rigidly folded flat.
    Rigid folding conditions are established, and solutions that meet these
    conditions are found numerically. Simulations and experiments carried out
    demonstrate that the solution works. The new pattern represents the first
    practical solution for tall bags and can lead to direct applications in the
    packaging industry. 
     

    steel fabrication

  8. The Expert on said:

    In this paper, a new crease pattern has been proposed that
    allows a tall box-shaped bag with a rectangular base to be rigidly folded flat.
    Rigid folding conditions are established, and solutions that meet these
    conditions are found numerically. Simulations and experiments carried out
    demonstrate that the solution works. The new pattern represents the first
    practical solution for tall bags and can lead to direct applications in the
    packaging industry. 
     

    steel fabrication

  9. The Expert on said:

    In this paper, a new crease pattern has been proposed that
    allows a tall box-shaped bag with a rectangular base to be rigidly folded flat.
    Rigid folding conditions are established, and solutions that meet these
    conditions are found numerically. Simulations and experiments carried out
    demonstrate that the solution works. The new pattern represents the first
    practical solution for tall bags and can lead to direct applications in the
    packaging industry. 
     

    steel fabrication

  10. The Expert on said:

    In this paper, a new crease pattern has been proposed that
    allows a tall box-shaped bag with a rectangular base to be rigidly folded flat.
    Rigid folding conditions are established, and solutions that meet these
    conditions are found numerically. Simulations and experiments carried out
    demonstrate that the solution works. The new pattern represents the first
    practical solution for tall bags and can lead to direct applications in the
    packaging industry. 
     

    steel fabrication

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