July 26, 2005 on 8:55 pm | In Robo Tech |

I’ve been searching for a technique to bond fabric and plastics. Why? The most recent oribot prototypes have been made with plastic and fabric laminates. Basically the crease pattern is cut out of thin plastic with a gap at the creases to allow for folding, and then sandwiched between two layers of fabric. The result is a highly flexible and durable oribot, unlike the original paper bots which tended to ‘wilt’ in time (a fact which I liked as it added to the fragility of the work - but technically I was not happy, as I think a bot should be strong enough to perform its actions).

These guys look like they have what I’m after, according to them it remains extremely pliable and strong even as the materials bend and deform - we’ll I can certainly put that to the test.



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  1. Hi Matt,
    Remember those school lunchboxes with
    the molded polyproplene hinges. I wonder
    if you could get sheet polyproplene and
    form the creases with a hot pointed bar.

    Sharpen the edge of a short steel ruler
    heat it electrically and make up a wooden
    handle so you don’t get burnt. Then attach
    to a slide mechanism so as to limit the
    travel, so you don’t cut all the way
    through the polyproplene.

    Most model airplane hinges are also
    polyproplene and they are very durable.


    Comment by Ray — July 30, 2005 #

  2. That sounds like a great idea. I’d like to experiment with that. Though this tatami floored studio may not be the best place to try it out.

    Ah! but a soldering iron is safe enough and it might work - I have one here.

    In fact, I stopped writing just now to try it out, and it works! In that the soldering iron can be used to melt creases. I think the plastic I have is a bit too thick, so the creases have a little too much friction. That’s the great thing about fabric, it has far less friction on the folds, and less friction is better for mechanical movement. But _this technique is great_, I hadnt thought of it before, thanks.

    The direction of the folds is important when melting the crease lines. I had thought the melting should be done on the concave side of the crease. However it was the opposite, as the convex side requires the largest amount of movement, and so the melt line opens like a mouth as the fold is actuated.

    You can see this kind of technique realised industrially - see
    Industrial Origami Cube

    Comment by Matt Gardiner — July 30, 2005 #

  3. Hi Matt,

    I seem to remember the hinge profile
    was bevelled like so..


    always time for ascii art…


    Comment by Ray — July 31, 2005 #

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