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industrial origami

Industrial origami

Found via future feeder.

very interesting process; looks like they have devised some methods for folding things from a single piece of sheet metal, including things like jack stands, boxes, 1U server chassis, etc. I’d love to watch the folding process for some of these, especially if it is completely roboticized.


  1. Do you understand how their actual innovation (which they call ‘smiles’) works? I’m trying to figure it out! Somehow, a curved cut in the material directs the stresses during folding to make everything align perfectly. Maybe we should have a look at the patent…

  2. I don’t understand, and I wish I did. folding sheet metal is tricky because often you are folding it against a natural grain in the metal (well, maybe not grain- molecular orientation? you know what I mean.) so you get some weird bulges in places that you might not want there to be any, and things don’t line up well. Look at any cheap PC case and you can see why- there’s more than one reason why the really cheap ones use super-thin metal.

    My guess would be that the curved cut is a pretty simple shape, which matches on both sides of the groove- just something to direct the folding towards the weakest point (most likely some sort of dip in the bottom of the curve) which would ensure that the metal folded at that line. probably also have something there to keep it from just tearing the metal there as well. I think that one could accomplish this through some heavy trial and error with a lot of machine tools.

    the folding methodology is more interesting and puzzling for me, at least- folding sequences are definitely non-trivial for more complicated items, and if they have found a way to handle this automatically I’ll be stunned and amazed.

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