Designers are constantly searching for new sourcing of inspiration for innovative design. Recently, origami has gained interest as one of these potential sources. Origami literally translated from Japanese means “paper folding” where “oru” means “to fold” and “kami” means “paper”. Since paper is insufficient to solve many engineering design problems, designers must turn to other materials. These materials will inevitably be thicker than paper and will often require different folding techniques and considerations. This thesis provides background information describing previous methods to accommodate thickness in origami-inspired design, presents a newly developed technique to address limitations of other methods, and explores the application of the technique. The newly developed technique allows designers to identify a desired motion behavior in an origami model and implement it into a thick mechanism. Many previous methods were incapable of preserving the kinematics and/or restricted usable range of motion. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of thickness accommodation methods empowers designers to better implement inspiration from origami into engineering design. The offset panel technique is further extended to include arbitrary thickness and arbitrary folding plane locations. The technique is verified through creation and testing of hardware, showcasing capabilities and limitations. Demonstration of these capabilities will serve as inspiration for furthering application of thick origami in engineering design. Preliminary work in thick origami led to the design of a thick origami-inspired medical gripper. These origami-inspired forceps, Oriceps, were designed by starting with an origami model exhibiting desired motion, grasping. The Oriceps show some challenges faced with accommodating thickness in adapting an origami model for application.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





origami, offset panels, rigid foldable, thickness accommodation