Cardboard Construction

George Hart

This is another in a series of giant cardboard constructions I have been doing with various class groups.  We are at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, where we spent the afternoon creating this six-foot diameter cardboard sculpture. 

It is made from sixty identical pieces of cardboard which we cut with a scroll saw and glued together.  This photo shows it during the assembly process, with clamps still attached to hold the parts in place as the glue dries.

Each piece has this shape, something like the letter E, scaled to fit in a 1632 inch rectangle.  There are three flaps to fold at the ends of the arms.  The other marks indicate where to align the pieces during assembly.  If you would like to make your own copy of this design, print out the full-scale PDF file, trace it on to cardboard to make a master template, trace that on to your cardboard sheets, and cut them out.  The overall process is very similar to this video, but uses this E-shaped template.

The final result is quite impressive and extremely sturdy.  It hangs from one point with no distortion.  The many connections between the pieces make for a very solid structure, even though it is made of ordinary cardboard and the design is very light and open.

Thank you Brendan Kinnell for inviting me to visit this special art and math class, which worked enthusiastically for three hours to assemble this.