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Rapid iteration is crucial to effective prototyping; yet making certain objects – large, smoothly curved and/or of specific material –requires specialized equipment or considerable time.  To improve access to casting such objects, we developed FoldMold: a low-cost, simply-resourced and eco-friendly technique for creating scalable, curved mold shapes (any developable surface) with wax-stiffened paper. Starting with a 3D digital shape, we define seams, add bending, joinery and mold-strengthening features, and “unfold” the shape into a 2D pattern, which is then cut, assembled, wax-dipped and cast with materials like silicone, plaster, or ice. To access the concept’s full power, we facilitated digital pattern creation with a custom Blender add-on. We assessed FoldMold’s viability, first with several molding challenges in which it produced smooth, curved shapes far faster than 3D printing would; then with a small user study that confirmed automation usability. Finally, we describe a range of opportunities for further development.

For more info:

Shakeri, H., Elbaggari, H., Bucci, P., Xiao, R., MacLean, K. (2021) FoldMold: Automating Papercraft for Fast DIY Casting of Scalable Curved Shapes. Proceedings of Graphics Interface New York, NY, USA, ACM Press.

Shakeri, H. (2020). Rapid mold prototyping: creating complex 3D castables from 2D cuts (Master's Thesis, University of British Columbia).

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