Paper doesn’t require any special equipment—“All you have to do is sit down, cut paper out, and score it, bend it, and glue it.”
A beautiful Herman Miller interview with designer (and paper engineer/artist/sculptor) Irving Harper. As design director for the Nelson Office in the 1950s and ’60s, he created and collaborated on iconic furniture, products and textiles in midcentury design.
While working on the Chrysler Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, he began making sculptures in his off hours to relieve stress. Some 50 years and roughly 500 pieces later, almost every surface of his Rye, New York home is besieged by evidence of his remarkable skill and creativity.
Irving Harper’s book, Irving Harper: Works in Paper, chronicles his intricate sculptures of paper, toothpicks and other household items. Excellent DIY inspiration.
Mixing physics, engineering, paper and what looks like some seriously rewarding folding, cutting and taping DIY, Andrew Gatt builds incredibly sturdy paper roller coasters out of heavy paper strips. Yes! Only paper and tape was used to make this paper roller coaster… and it almost reaches a two-story high ceiling!
I included just about every feature that I could think of when I designed this roller coaster. It has a switch, three funnels, a half pipe, track hidden inside the structural beams and columns, a jump, many spirals and loops, switchbacks, hill and valley sequences, and stairs. It’s 16’4” (4.97 meters) tall, yet its base is only 13” (33 cm) by 12.5” (31 cm). It’s free standing, so it does not lean against anything for support. It weighs 2 pounds and 10 ounces (1190 grams). Besides the cardboard base, it is made of only stiff paper and tape. Every marble takes between 90 and 115 seconds to reach the end.
“For years and years, vertebrate paleontologists have really been confined to working with the shapes, with the morphology, of bones and with skeletons, as you can see behind me here. And our hypotheses about how these ancient animals lived and moved was based on how we could put these bones together in the physical world.
“And now for the first time in the history of paleontology, we’re able to move beyond those methods and into this virtual landscape where we can test our biomechanical hypotheses in rigorous ways that were never possible before.”
In February 2012, Dr. Lacovara’s paleontology department teamed up with the University’s engineering department to scan their fossils to make 3D models that could be made into fully working arms and legs. Wrap some engineered muscles around those… add more parts… and perhaps we’ve got the most accurate robot dinosaur ever made!
SpaceX’s Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.
From Science Nation, mathematician and mechanical engineer David Hu studies the design and movement of slithering snakes:
Snakes certainly make it look easy when they slither forward, leaving perfect S-curve tracks behind them, but scientists have long been puzzled by the mechanics of their locomotion. Now, after a series of experiments and some computer modeling, David Hu has cracked the case. With funding from the National Science Foundation, he is using math to determine how snakes slither and it turns out they move in a very different way than scientists have long thought.