Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chemistry Meets Origami Again

As some people may be aware and others not so much, I am a full time chemistry student in university at the moment. I've been interested in chemistry for seemingly forever, and I've made a couple models in the past to try to represent concepts in chemistry. However, for the longest time what I really wanted to fold was an organic chemistry model kit. I'd seen one before somewhere (if you find it, feel free to send me the link) but I thought it would be best if I designed my own. I didn't have the idea on my mind for the past couple of months until, taking organic chemistry my professor suggested we go out and buy model kits to help visualize the molecules we were dealing with. It wasn't until two days before my last final exam of the semester (which happened to be my organic chemistry exam) that I came up with an idea that worked.

My main problem when trying to fold a model kit was the tetrahedral shape. I could see how it would be possible to fold a unit from a single square, but not without wasting a lot of paper. Finally, for some reason I had the idea to fold two identical units that could fit together to make the tetrahedron. I tried folding the elbow section so that the slits on the two units would fit together, but that didn't have any way of locking. After playing with that idea, I decided to try something else: using two different units. At first, one unit was just a 90° elbow using reverse folds, and the other flat piece was simply slid into the elbow. That, like before, fell apart easily; however, by changing the elbow to have alternating 22.5° angles, the second unit locked in place nicely. I left the model like that until a couple days ago, when I realized that one of the units was too floppy. I added a sink fold to unit 1 and a crimp to unit 2 so that both units would hold their respective angles equally. The result is a couple of really simple units which can make just about any molecule, such as ethanol:

Facebook Logo, Ryan MacDonell

Or benzene:

Facebook Logo, Ryan MacDonell

The diagrams show how to make and assemble the two tetrahedral units, as well as the hydrogen unit. The tetrahedral angles should be 109.5°, but the diagrams use 90°. This is on purpose because the angles tend to unbend a little. Note that a lot more can be improvised such as double bonds and simply atoms like oxygen and sulfur. I haven't quite figured out how triple bonds or sp3 centres with a lone pair (such as nitrogen) will work, but I'm pretty sure they're both possible.

Click Here for Diagrams.

Normally I wouldn't draw diagrams, especially not for something so simple. For some reason I hope that the model might be useful for someone who, like me, never had a model kit. Unfortunately with things like closed sinks and crimps involved a non-folder might have a bit of trouble, although I would love to be proved wrong.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Digital Hermit

Two posts in two days? What is the world coming to?

I've actually had a lot of time to fold since the school year in May, but I only recently had the inspiration. Near the end of May, I finally did it: I permanently deleted my facebook account. I had only logged on once or twice since December, and was only keeping it so that I could use facebook chat (without loggin in, thanks to a plugin for Pidgin Messenger). I started considering deleting my account after reading an article by Themba Mabona (Sipho's brother), but ended up hanging onto it for another 5 months.

So why would I delete facebook? Well, facebook is the place to go in order to keep up with old friends. It creates "digital friendship", where you can interact with a friend but not be anywhere near them. Great, that means we're never cut off from anyone! In reality, we are almost completely cut off when it comes to interaction and I can't stand that. At the very least, I want to hear someones voice when I talk to them. For a reason similar to this, I have never owned a cellphone (although my cellphone aversion has more to do with the constant connection you have when you carry one). I don't think facebook and cellphones are bad things, they're just two things that I would rather live without.

Once again I've started to rant, so I'll just talk a little about the model. I enjoy trying to fold logos, so I figured the facebook logo might be a good challenge. I tried a couple different ways of making the "f" on a square background, but my first way ended up working the best. The major problem was the proportions, and once I had that I couldn't find reference points. I ended up having to change the references for each size of paper I tried. On the 2nd try with 10cm kami, I ended up with what you see below.

Facebook Logo, Ryan MacDonell

As it turns out, having a reason to rant is actually a pretty good inspiration to fold something...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not Sore Losers

I'll start off by saying I'm not a hockey fan at all, despite being Canadian. Yes, I folded a model just so I could rant.

I've seen a lot of different news and videos from Vancouver lately. In case you haven't heard, there were riots after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final last week. A lot of people attribute the rioting to "angry fans". Others say they were people who weren't even fans, but who were there to cause trouble. I'm not sure who the riot-causers were exactly, but I know for sure that there would have been a riot, win or lose.

You can't exactly say Vancouverites had nothing to do with the riot. Thanks to huge crowds of people in Downtown Vancouver for the game, there were lots of people that joined in. The part that upsets me most has to be the bystanders, a lot of whom stayed around just to film it on their phones or cameras, some who didn't like what they saw. The rioting was done for attention, so the fact that so many people stuck around and gave them that attention is, in my opinion, why it kept going for so long. An odd way to think about it is comparing the riots to Justin Bieber. If so many people dislike the young pop star, why does he have the most popular videos on all of Youtube? People will go just to dislike the video, and end up just contributing to the Bieber fever.

But enough ranting, this is still an origami blog. I originally wanted to fold the Canucks alternate logo with 2 sheets of paper to get the blue, green and white but the model ended up being too messy and with too much wasted paper. I ended up using the same hockey stick shape and adding arms and a body.

Riot, Ryan MacDonell

My colour choice is pretty clear from the picture, but I don't mean to say that riot had to do with the outcome of the hockey game. Take a look at the videos or photos and you will see the same 3 colours are very prominent. Its not all bad news, however. The day after, thousands of volunteers went to Downtown to clean up after the glass and board up windows that couldn't be replaced. To me, this is a better representation of Vancouver citizens. I may live on the other side of the country, but Vancouver is still one of my favorite cities to visit.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Break From My Break

For anyone that didn't notice, I haven't posted anything since September. This is mostly because I haven't had the chance, and even when I did I couldn't seem to design anything. I finished my first year of university about a month ago and had a lot of fun, sadly though no origami whatsoever. Somehow I also managed to get all my work done too, which I really hope will continue for the rest of my university years.

Anyways, as for the model, it is basically the result of a doodle. I started with a bird/frog hybrid base, similar to what I used for my Kangaroo. After a few folds, I knew that I was aiming for a dinosaur but I wasn't sure which one. I actually took the finished model and looked through pictures until I found one that looked the same. That dinosaur ended up being the Ornithomimus, as you can see from my picture:

Ornithomimus, Ryan MacDonell

Hopefully I will design a few more models over the summer, and perhaps for the school year too. Anyone getting this years OrigamiUSA Convention Book should see my loon diagrams inside as well as plenty of other great diagrams (although I don't think the contents have been released yet).