Monday, May 26, 2014

simple sonobe

I'm prepping for an origami workshop for middle school students, and am thinking about focusing on modular origami with sonobe units. In modular origami, many folded pieces of paper are assembled to make a model. Usually, all the pieces of paper (called units) are folded the same way. Like other forms of origami, modular origami is generally done without glue or scissors, so the pieces need to fit together so that they lock in place - putting the pieces together often feels like weaving or braiding. In past workshops for children at this age I have used a simple waterbomb octahedron (like this), but the sonobe presents a bit of a challenge - I might fall back on something with less frustration potential. On the other hand, that frustration is part of the lesson that sonobe teaches - it always seems like it just is not going to come together, and then it does.

There are some good instructions for modular origami projects using the sonobe unit out there - for folding the unit this one is good, and for assembly I like this one.

The version of the unit that I like to use is a simpler one than is presented in the instructions that I have found online, and is taken from Origami for the Connoisseur, by Kasahara and Takahama (not really being a connoisseur, it is one of the very few things I can put together from this book). I've attempted some diagrams for this below.

The unit has a few less folds than the standard version, and this makes a difference when you are making 30 or more of them.

The Simple Sonobe Unit

Sonobe Unit Assembly

Update: a handout based on these diagrams is here.