Shape representation by zippables

Christian Schüller, Roi Poranne, Olga Sorkine-Hornung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fabrication from developable parts is the basis for arts such as papercraft and needlework, as well as modern architecture and CAD in general, and it has inspired much research.We observe that the assembly of complex 3D shapes created by existing methods often requires first fabricating many small parts and then carefully following instructions to assemble them together. Despite its significance, this error prone and tedious process is generally neglected in the discussion.We present the concept of zippables - single, two dimensional, branching, ribbon-like pieces of fabric that can be quickly zipped up without any instructions to form 3D objects. Our inspiration comes from the socalled zipit bags [zipit 2017], which are made of a single, long ribbon with a zipper around its boundary. In order to "assemble" the bag, one simply needs to zip up the ribbon. Our method operates in the same fashion, but it can be used to approximate a wide variety of shapes. Given a 3D model, our algorithm produces plans for a single 2D shape that can be laser cut in few parts from fabric or paper. A zipper can then be attached along the boundary by sewing, or by gluing using a custom-built fastening rig. We show physical and virtual results that demonstrate the capabilities of our method and the ease with which shapes can be assembled.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA39
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).


  • Developable surfaces
  • Digital fabrication
  • Mesh parameterization
  • Zippers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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