Use Inkscape extensions to create 3D objects from paper

Papercraft is coming back into fashion. Linux users can turn to Inkscape and plugins such as Boxes.py, Paperfold, and Tabgen to create templates from 3D objects for printing.

Papercraft is an old form of crafting. It requires nothing more than scissors, paper, and a little glue. Architects use the technique to visualize models quickly and inexpensively, despite digital developments such as virtual reality. Driven by trends such as low-poly modeling and Minecraft, the technique is also experiencing a revival in the hobby sector. In some areas of the world – such as Japan, which has traditionally cultivated origami, another papercraft – there are now many creative people posting their work on the various social media platforms. In Japan, this form is called pepakura, and there is also a software tool of the same name for it.

Unfolding objects and displaying the individual sides as faces is also the basis for other crafts – they usually just require a different node definition for the individual nodes. The templates you need for this can be created with Inkscape in combination with extensions such as Boxes.py [1], Quickjoint [2], Lasercut tabbed box [3], and Paperfold [4]. The tools prepare the objects in such a way that they can be further processed in Joinery [5] without any problems.

More Than Just Boxes

Boxes.py is very interesting here, particularly because it comes with a variety of predefined objects – and by no means just simple boxes (Figure 1). For example, rendering a Raspberry Pi case is child’s play. But more complex designs with curves and similar features are also available in Boxes.py, you just have to adapt them to your own needs. Pepakura [6] and other software tools for this work are only available for Windows, which forces Linux users to find other ways to indulge in their hobbies.

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