Lexus builds a driveable “Origami Car” made of precision-cut cardboard

origami-inspired-lexus-is-front angle

Lexus has been on a roll lately with extra-curricular activities like its hoverboard. The Japanese automaker has now decided to turn its attention to what it calls the “Origami Car.”

Modeled after the IS sedan, Lexus designed and built a perfect replica of the model made entirely from precision-cut cardboard. From the smallest interior details to its functioning doors, headlights, and rolling wheels, the Origami Car is totally unique.

Perhaps I shouldn’t say it’s made completely of cardboard, because its body is mounted on a steel and aluminum frame and is powered by an electric motor. That means you can actually drive the vehicle. Lexus partnered with LaserCut Works and Scales and Models, a London-based business that specializes in prototypes, architectural models and bespoke commissions to bring the Origami Car to life.

Based on a digital 3D model of the IS, the engineers divided the project into a series of steps that were then digitally rendered in 10-mm “slices.” This allowed the team to provide the two-dimensional profiles needed to laser cut each of the 1,700 sheets of 10-mm thick cardboard. Holding the vehicle together is the work of a water-based wood glue.

“This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modelling, laser cutting and assembly,” said Ruben Marcos, Scales and Models company founder and director. “Just like Lexus, we were committed to producing the best possible quality.” Lexus reported that it took the development team three months to complete the project.

Considering the scope of Lexus’s last few projects, from a futuristic toy to a tree-based vehicle, it’s worth wondering what the Japanese brand has next in the pipeline. Whatever it may be, don’t expect your own Lexus to hover or be manufactured from laser-cut cardboard anytime soon.