Creating stories


Instead of suggestions on how to write good stories (which I am surley not be the best at), here you find some stories (well, currently one) about the creation process of various models of mine. The aim is to offer ideas, share some interesting moments of designing and reveal tricks of the trade.

The story of a storm

The story should start somehow like this: "It all started on a cold, stormy day with pouring rain..." But in fact, it wasn't. I can't remember how the idea came to fold a storm-cloud, but I know I was obsessed by it for days. I wanted to design something that has never been folded before, a mind-challenging action model. Folding a storm-cloud with lightning that strikes out of nothing in a moment seemed to fulfil those requirements. The idea came easily but how do I realize it? The puzzle was given: fold a cloud-like something (so far fairly easy) that has a hidden flap (preferably in a different color than the cloud itself) long and narrow enough to be called "lightning" (a bit harder but managable) and construct an action mechanism that triggers this "lightning" within a moment's time (now, that was the hard part). My first idea was something like this:

First idea for the storm-cloud

The lightning would have been closed up by a series of pleats and then hidden in the body of the cloud. Pulling the the tip of the lightning quickly down would have initiated the strike. The realisation would be easy but there was one problem: I did not like the idea that there would be a lot of unneeded paper on both sides of the lightning. Well, it could go for rain, but that's not dependent on the lightning, so why should there be any paper around the lightning? The first idea was trashed. My second idea was this:

Second idea for the storm-cloud

I envisioned what was the perfect origami storm-cloud for me, and started folding immediately. After some struggle I found a surprisingly clear and neat base for the task, which looked like this:

Final base for the storm-cloud

The potential flaps for cloud and lightning were both given in the right size and place, so a partial result has been achieved. Even more satisfying was the discovery that the lighthning flap could be swiveled inside-out the cloud flap. Moreover, this caused the swiveling of the "extra", fourth corner I haven't used so far! - Why couldn't be this action be made the other way around? - I asked myself and tried. Unfortunately it didn't work, beause there wasn't enough strength in the paper. So the next job was to weld these two flaps together in a way that the swiveling move would work both ways. Fortunately there were enough layers to be arranged in a fashion that ensured the strong connection between the flaps. And... bingo! I could manipulate the lightning invisibly (for the audience, that is) from behind the cloud. It was almost done...

A little problem was still left, though. The action was not quick enough, you could track the lightning coming down from horizontal position to vertical, which is not how real lightnings work. Since the motion of the action couldn't be changed, I had to think about something different. Something that forces the lightning to strike out instead of sliding out. I immediately thought of generating tension in the model which, until a certain point, wouldn't let the the move happen. Then, at this particular point, when the swiveling force wins over tension, the flap would be thrown out instantly. All this has been realised using only one fold, which fixed the lightning inside the cloud so that the action worked well finally. Ain't that a happy end?

If you are interested in folding this model, check out its diagrams.