algorithmic modeling for Rhino

Paper-fold models in Rhino+Grasshopper, can you advise, please?

Hi everyone,


I would like create some grasshopper definitions of paper models that we are making by hand and to be able to change them in 3D (and compare the results) by changing the 2D geometry (the unfolded pattern). I think I would like to achieve something like the software Rigid Origami does, but using Rhino+Grasshopper instead.


Although being an architect myself I am a beginner in Grasshopper and therefore I would like to ask you for some advice on where to start, how to define the paper folding behavior in GH.


I am doing some research into paperfolding and make paper models with the students at the Brno University of Technology Faculty of architecture:


I found this website of Tomohiro Tachi very inspirational, especially this article:


I found some descriptions that I think are useful here (however I would like to be able to change the geometry in 2D-unfolded pattern instead):


I also liked one example (the outcome) made by Michele Calvano and left a message on his page but he did not reply:


Could you please advice me?


Thank you.





24.6.2011 update:

I have been researching and experimenting a little bit however got stuck, could anyone please advise on simplification? Here is the discussion post:

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Replies to This Discussion

Here's a link to a screencast that will show a simple fold and what's involved. 


I'm just passing by the computer for a few minutes and haven't had a chance to look at your links yet. Apologies if my definition is too simplistic to be of interest...



Thank you Chris, that is pretty good for a start and thank you for the definition as well. What would then be the logic behind making multiple folds do you think?

I have this planar shape in mind now (without the flaps on the edge). 1. How can I make this "piece" behave like a segment with multiple folds? 2. How can I add more of the same segments (join them on the sides) in order to create a closed object? 3. I would also like to be able to change the number of border edges as well and to be able to control the position of those points in order to make differently shaped "planar pieces" and different objects in the end.

All ideas are appreciated. Thank you. Jiri


Here's a slightly more complex effort. 


If I understand you correctly you want to make folded-surface-sub-units that can be combined to form a single closed surface.   It sounds like you want to arbitrarily define the shape of the sub-surface yet I doubt the problem can be approached this way with any hope of ending up with a closed surface.  Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something...

It seems like you have to go the other way, ie. start with a closed surface and then unfold it to get the sub surfaces. 



hey Chris,


in your example the srf should have a area of 9. But this works only for the parallelogram not for triangles. Do you know why? During a paperfolding all the areas should stay the same size. I have this problem faced quit often! Mh?


In my opinion it has to do with the path of the rotating edges of the parallelogram?!


Best Regards



Good catch on that.  As you suggest the problem must be with the parallelogram since the triangle by definition will always remain planar...probably the parallelogram outer point coincident with the triangle outer point needs to rotate around a differently oriented vector or around the same vector at a different rate which I believe will twist the parallelogram out of planarity while it's folding.   So it looks like the parallelogram needs to be diced into triangles (as in the paper model) to keep all surfaces planar and hence there will have to be more folding vectors and rotations in the definition. fun here.



Yeah folding paper in real shows always that some faces leave planarity :-) But strange anyway and hard to solve :-)
that's cool!

Thank you Chis. I have downloaded your definitions and will study them.

I have also been working on this paperfold (with parallelograms divided into triangles) that I would like to figure out in GH.

Can you help me on this one as well, please?

Thank you. Jiri


Look at this.  I think you'll find it to be more in line with what you're looking to do.  Accomplishing anything like this is way beyond my skill set at this point.  This has been a very interesting topic though and I'll continue to dabble at it.



Hi Chris,

could you please have a look at this and tell me if there is a way to simplify it? Link:

Thank you.


Hey Jiri,

I'm working on something similar to the four point star here:

I've posted some links in the original post and I think another one under the comments. But there are some paper folding templates which I've managed to successfully make. Though I'm still lost when trying to formulate a grasshopper definition!

Hi Ra,

can you post me some of your successful templates, please? I am interested how far you got. Thank you for sharing the link to Issey Miyake. He makes paperfold light shades which I am also fond of.







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