An engineering friend of mine thought it would be cool to create an origami model in a 3D drafting tool and then send the file to a company that has a 3D printer (A 3D printer allows people to make custom parts of all shapes and sizes. Plastics and metals can be used, and possibly other materials. The final product looks like it was molded, except there is no mold for it to have come from). The first step is to see if origami makes sense in a 3D drafting tool like SolidWorks.

My father is an experienced drafter and offered to try rendering a model in SolidWorks. He asked for something simple, where there was a minimum of paper laying directly on paper. I suggested the Spanish Pajarita, which when standing up the paper is open, and not laying on itself. He said it was a bit complicated because the digital sheets are not as flexible as live paper. He had to create each facet individually and connect them at the edges. Also, with real paper, if the planes line up in such a way as to crimp or pucker a corner, the paper simply absorbs it. In SolidWorks, the material is not forgiving, forcing the designer to make detailed edits so that the planes do not collide or fail to connect.

I will suggest another model, slightly more difficult, and we'll see how it goes!

Also, here are some interesting thoughts on the pajarita.

[The image is my own, of a traditional Spanish Pajarita]

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