Packable springs

Katja Wolff, Roi Poranne, Oliver Glauser, Olga Sorkine-Hornung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laser cutting is an appealing fabrication process due to the low cost of materials and extremely fast fabrication. However, the design space afforded by laser cutting is limited, since only flat panels can be cut. Previous methods for manufacturing from flat sheets usually roughly approximate 3D objects by polyhedrons or cross sections. Computational design methods for connecting, interlocking, or folding several laser cut panels have been introduced; to obtain a good approximation, these methods require numerous parts and long assembly times. In this paper, we propose a radically different approach: Our approximation is based on cutting thin, planar spirals out of flat panels. When such spirals are pulled apart, they take on the shape of a 3D spring whose contours are similar to the input object. We devise an optimization problem that aims to minimize the number of required parts, thus reducing costs and fabrication time, while at the same time ensuring that the resulting spring mimics the shape of the original object. In addition to rapid fabrication and assembly, our method enables compact packaging and storage as flat parts. We also demonstrate its use for creating armatures for sculptures and moulds for filling, with potential applications in architecture or construction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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