This work develops models and tools to help designers address the challenges associated with designing origami-based and developable mechanisms. These models utilize strain energy, kinematics, compliant mechanisms, and graphical techniques to make the design of origami-based and developable mechanisms approachable and intuitive. Origami-based design tools are expanded through two methods. First presented is a generalized approach for identifying single-output mechanical advantage for a multiple-input compliant mechanism, such as many origami-based mechanisms. The model is used to predict the force-deflection behavior of an origami-based mechanism (Oriceps) and is verified with experimental data from magnetic actuation of the mechanism. Second is a folding technique for thick-origami, called the regional-sandwiching of compliant sheets (ReCS), which creates flat-foldable, rigid-foldable, and self-deploying thick origami-based mechanisms. The technique is used to create mountain/valley assignments for each fold about a vertex, constraining motion to a single branch of folding. Strain energy in deflected flexible members is used to enable self-deployment. Three physical models, a simple single-fold mechanism, a degree-four vertex mechanism, and a full tessellation, are presented to demonstrate the ReCS technique. Developable mechanism design is further enabled through an exploration of their feasible design space. Terminology is introduced to define the motion of developable mechanisms while interior and exterior to a developable surface. The limits of this motion are identified using defined conditions. It is shown that the more difficult of these conditions may be treated as a non-factor during the design of cylindrical developable mechanisms given certain assumptions. These limits are then applied to create a resource for designing bistable developable mechanisms (BDMs) that reach their second stable positions while exterior or interior to a cylindrical surface. A novel graphical method for identifying stable positions of linkages using a single dominant torsional spring, called the Principle of Reflection, is introduced and implemented. The results are compared with a numerical simulation of 30,000+ mechanisms to identify possible incongruencies. Two tables summarize the results as the guide for designing extramobile and intramobile BDMs. In fulfilling the research objectives, this dissertation contributes to the scientific community of origami-based and developable mechanism design approaches. As a result of this work, practitioners will be better able to approach and design complex origami-based and developable mechanisms.



College and Department

Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





origami-based design, developable mechanisms, bistability, compliant mechanisms, deployable mechanisms, multifunctional, design tools