Lexus Creates Full Sized Origami Car

Monday 5 October 2015

By James Mosley

Lexus has used 1700 laser cut sheets of cardboard to create a full size replica of its Lexus IS model.

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The model was inspired by the Lexus “Creating Amazing” campaign to highlight the skills of the brand’s “Takumi” craftsmen and women. The “Takumi” craftsmen and women who work on the Lexus production lines already use Origami as a way of honing their dexterity skills but the new Lexus IS model with its functioning doors and rolling wheels takes this one step further.

Currently Lexus is unique in that it actually uses Origami as a benchmark for the “Takumi” crafts people who are required to fold an Origami cat mid air with their non dominant hand within 90 seconds – quite a unique skill indeed.

The Origami Lexus IS also has a fully fitted interior with seats, and can actually be “driven” thanks to an electric motor and steel/aluminium chassis.

Lexus used two specialist London based companies, LaserCut Works and Scales and Models to undertake the task, with the team provided with the original digital models of the IS. Once the team had the digital model, they were able to split the car down into a series of basic parts such as wheels, doors and seats.

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Ruben Marcos, Scales and Models Company founder and director said: “This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modelling, laser cutting and assembly. Just like Lexus, we were committed to producing the best possible quality.”

The creative process was not without its challenges: “The seats took a few attempts to get just right and the wheels required a lot of refining. Once we could see the physical pieces taking shape, we could identify where we needed to make improvements – as with anything, there were some elements of trial and error, but as we had all the resources we needed in-house, this made the changes easier to produce.”

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Once the team had identified all the individual parts of the car required, they were able to render them into 10mm “slices”, providing the 2D profiles needed for the laser cutting of each sheet of cardboard. Each “slice” was given its own reference number to aid assembly, as the car was put together entirely by hand over a staggering three months. The team used a special water based wood glue that took 10 minutes to set after each application.

“In effect we created our own vehicle production line,” said Ruben. “There was a lot of repetition in the process and we had to work with military precision, just like the teams that make the real Lexus cars.”

If you’re interested in seeing the Origami style Lexus IS in the flesh, it will be revealed to the public at the Grand Designs Live show at the NEC in Birmingham UK from the 8th October.




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