Keywords: Creativity Support, Fabrication, Method, Prototyping/Implementation
Abstract: 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.
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