A new fold design for cardboard boxes

Packaging Professional magazine
8 May 2008

A rigid cardboard box that can be unfolded with its bottom in place, much like a paper bag, has been designed by Dr Zhong You, a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, UK.

An expert on shape-changing structures, You has created a folding pattern for rigid materials, such as cardboard, that does not require two open ends, so one side will not need to be sealed after unfolding before the box can be used.

‘Rigid origami means that one folds a rigid panel that cannot be bent or stretched. So each panel can only rotate about the creases in an origami folding pattern,’ explains You. ‘One needs to consider every state during the folding process to ensure the materials fit together, which is mathematically difficult.’

The box is folded in two steps – first shaping the structure into a ‘T’ shape, then turning the vertical part flat.

You has also created a folding pattern for a rigid shopping bag that has a flat bottom. He says his design can be replicated by a machine, and hopes to publish a paper on his work within the next year.


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