Boxes 3 : Concertina Box

“Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.”  – Prof Charles Francis Xavier

As I have said before, it started with a simple box, which grew in shape and size… But after making a quite a few, I got a little bored and they started to mutate. As with the doodles that had cluttered my exercise books of the past. The simplicity of plain boxes were transformed into patterned surfaces, tunnels and attachments that would new create box elements that would provide depth, complexity and interest not only to those 2D cityscapes but with my 3D creations.

It started with a simple box growth. An attachment that fitted into a window on the face of a cube, made up of a 5 sided box whose 6th side has been replaced with tabs allowing it to be attached to the inside of the main cubes body. Initially this process was fiddly and a little confusing in trying to get the tabs in the right position for a clean finish. Initial worries regarding the flimsiness of the 5 sided box were quickly resolved when it fitted snuggly into the window opening adding integrity to the attachment. Soon afterwards I realised that swapping the direction of the end and side tabs could create an inward version.

So the boxes started to mutate, each attachment (whether inward or outward) gave a new look, developing characteristics and gradually becoming more complex. Then one night I came up with a challenge. What if I could attach an attachment to an attachment? then another attached to this one? then another? So the concertina box evolved.

The main body is mid brown card constructed into a simple 6x6cm cube with two 4x4cm windows cut out in adjacent sides. Two attachments are constructed, an inward and outward pyramid. These are achieved by creating 3 individual boxes of decreasing size. The larger boxes have windows cut in them corresponding to the size of the box below allowing a snug fit. These were made out of alternate mid and light brown card. The process was far more fiddly, with a large degree of accuracy required with the measurement of boxes and windows. A frame of only 1cm left little space for tabs to be attached and required a clean approach. The process is repeated for the other attachment with tabs facing opposite direction.I remember how surprised I was with the sturdiness of the finished attachments and how good the finish was. These were attached to the main cube adding even more stability to the design.

I was presently surprised how it came all together and the clean finish that was achieved. But most of all the finished product looks great, like a combination of old school Egyptian step pyramid and MC Escher illusion. All that was left was to find a name, and I instantly thought concertina. Maybe it was the steps reminding me of the folds of the instrument or possibly I imagined that pressing the attachments would make that sort of noise. Unfortunately my knowledge of paper engineering is not enough to give this cube that auditory superpower mutation.

This entry was posted in box.

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