Paper prototyping: Differences in the purpose approaches

This is the second part of my posts which show some documented constructions I have made in cardboard. In the previous post we looked at the ideas of repurposing material and following purpose when creating. This is a quick rehash from the previous post with another example, the construction of an e-cigarette stand. Here you will see how different the purposing and repurposing approaches are.

The above photos describe following the purpose. I created a construction with the idea that you could flatpack the stand to take it with you on-the-go. I also wanted a type of box construction which could be fitted when it was made into a stand again, so there was use of inserts to lock the packaging and to attach the top half with the bottom half. As you notice, these were added as an afterthought. If I kept iterating, these would have all been part of the top or bottom half. I even had to add a layer to the bottom half so that the inserts would not affect the balance of the stand.

The stand was designed to stay in place when holding the e-cigarette, as the halves would fall apart if there was weight put on the bottom. As you can see in the top-left of the image, the construction suffers a bit of fraying as the top half’s material is just one layer of paperboard. As noted I added some of the flaps/inserts after-the-fact, and that definitely affects the rigidity of the construction. When you follow the purpose there is risk you may have to iterate the construction process more than a few times before you get something more than ideal. For example, more iterations of this particular construction should probably allow folding the whole object into a flat shape, as opposed to having to deconstruct it, and then perhaps be able to “lock” it from folding into itself when reconstructed. I have found the hole at the top to be rather arbitrary as well, since it would only fit a certain size of e-cigarette, so that would allow for larger sizes in further iterations. As far as construction goes, if one side was glued into another wall yet still allowed the construction to fold, that would reduce the amount of edges that will fray. I could go on but I believe you should get a good idea now how much more this can be improved.

In this version of the stand I repurposed the boxes that held the fluids as the top half of the stand, and simply taped thick cardstock together after cutting a hole that is slightly smaller than the boxes. This is known as press fitting. The friction of pushing the boxes into the hole compresses the materials and holds them together. Usually this is done with much denser materials as they have higher tensile and compressive strengths. The great thing about this is that it is easy to flatpack this stand; just use enough force to pull the top half off. You can easily replace the top half given you are able to buy the same boxes from an e-cigarette shop. The construction stays in one shape, but may lose it’s ability to press fit if it experiences enough friction from being deconstructed/reconstructed over time. This relies on how small the hole was cut and how well the cardstock holds up. There are possibilities in repairing this of course. One could use glue and affix the top half permanently to the bottom, for example. It may probably be even better to simply construct it again with the same amount of effort though.

This post gives insights to what the possible differences in approach means and what the results could look like. These documented series of posts are meant to illustrate some of the experiences I have had in constructing with these materials but should also give you a feel for what may work out. A lot of the time I go by gut feelings from previous experiences, which accounts for why these posts are not highly technical. As you see from this post, some methods are good for some reasons while other methods may be good for other reasons. Documenting them in this way hopefully allows you to understand my process and what I have learnt myself.

 

The paper prototyping series

Part I – Paper prototyping

Part II – Knowing your medium

Part III – Repurposing or following purpose

Part IV – Differences in the purpose approaches

Part V – Reinforcements and affordances

Part VI – Final thoughts on construction

Part VII – Chair epilogue

You may also like