While earning my Master's degree at the MIT Media Lab, I took a class called How To Make Almost Anything! It’s as amazing as it sounds. In the first assignment, which was about designing tolerances with fabrication techniques in mind, we made a press-fit kit using cardboard and a lasercutter. ** Press-fit means that no screws, glue, or tape are needed to join two bodies. This requires really tight tolerances, a little too loose and it doesn’t hold, too tight and it doesn’t fit. ** In an attempt to be cheeky, I made a press-fit kit that, once fit together, could press-fit with other completed parts. I learned from a clever design from the 1970s by Jef Raskin and made this meta press-fit kit.
Two years and thousands of hours later, I have refined the initial design to be a products I can say I will truly be proud of. The tolerances are so tight, that it is difficult to believe this is what can be done with paper. Die-cutters and manufacturers along the way have been blown away by seeing 3D forms folded out of the very pieces they are cutting, and the die makers have told me this is by far the most unique and beautiful die they had ever made.
Pics or it didn't happen
You can see much of my previous work and experiments in this Instagram feed of #troxes, also, this Tumblr covers some nice detail of development.
The design process is long and complicated, so I won't bore you with the details here. Instead, check out the slideshow of imagery from all of my experimentation, technical sketches, and fun in the process. If you would like all of the nitty gritty, you can start here and you can see some experiments here.