Rigidly foldable origami tubes are widely used in origami-inspired engineering designs. Here, using a mechanism construction process, we show that these tubes can be combined with tapered adding parts to form new tubes with different-sized cross sections that are rigidly foldable. A tapered tube is proposed, whose geometries are provided based on the kinematics of spherical 4R linkages. Several variations of the tapered tubes are presented, and the flat-foldability of these tubes is studied, leading to the right-angled and non-right-angled tubes which can be folded along their radial direction. The approach can be applied to both single and multilayered tubes. Moreover, the thick-panel form of the right-angled tubes is developed. Our work provides designers great flexibility in the design of tubular structures that require large shape changes. The results can be readily utilized to build new structures for engineering applications ranging from deployable structures, meta-materials to origami robots.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues