Lexus creates a working cardboard version of its IS sedan
To demonstrate the its dedication to craftsmanship, Lexus has created an impressive drivable replica of its IS model sedan using 1,700 pieces of precision-cut cardboard.
When manufacturers design an automobile, there are several different methods that can be used. Usually starting from drawings, the more popular option used to be creating a scale model with clay and painted to resemble a real car as closely as possible. This method of model making is sometimes still used even in today’s computer-controlled design studios.
The more modern method, however, is to model the vehicle completely on the computer. From there, designers can feed coded information to a milling machine which will cut out a 3D, solid version of what’s designed on the screen. This method is much quicker than the traditional drawing and clay modelling method.
Lexus IS sedan, made from cardboard
When Lexus decided to put together a model of their IS sedan, the company decided to demonstrate their skill by building a version out of cardboard. Lexus’ origami inspired cardboard car, however, may include a steel and aluminum frame and an electric motor, but it’s still an incredibly complicated paper sculpture.
The cardboard IS sedan is inspired, according to Lexus, by an origami test the company requires its production line workers to complete. It’s one of the qualifying tests for an upholsterer; folding a piece of paper into a perfectly constructed origami cat. To make things more interesting, the folding must be done with only one hand—the non-dominant one—and it must be completed in less than 90 seconds.
However, when Lexus constructed their IS model, they took the same computer-design files that they used to create the real IS, only applied those specs to carve into a series of cardboard sheets with a laser.
The sections were digitally rendered and cut as 1cm slices, then given individual reference numbers to ensure the car was assembled in the correct sequence. Every layer was then fixed together by hand using a water-based wood glue, which had to be left to set for 10 minutes after each application.
Making the origami inspired car
Although it’s only a prototype showpiece, it still boasts a full interior and functional doors and headlights. Watch the behind-the-scenes video below to delve into more detail about how Lexus and its creative partners, LaserCut Works and Scales and Models, actually made the car.
“This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modelling, laser cutting and assembly,” said Scales and Models founder and director Ruben Marcos.