US 20070007289 A1 Abstract A system whereby a collapsible box may be formed in the same way that standard cardboard boxes are made by folding a single sheet of material is provided. Square and rectangular boxes may be constructed which may be collapsed down to compact size and easily popped open. Boxes so constructed remain fully assembled with all seams and edges attached even as they are repeatedly folded and unfolded. The box may be made of corrugated cardboard or plastic and easily folded to a fraction of their open volume. The box may open instantly, and when opened, it becomes structural—that is resistant to applied loads—by “popping” certain points outwards. An element or construction that is comprised of a sheet of material that has been provided with a network of hinges such that when the element is folded its edges maintain a right angle relationship is also provided.
Claims(16) 1. A foldable construction comprising first and second members in which each member includes:
a first element in the form of a scalene triangle having a longer side opposite an obtuse angle and two shorter sides opposite two acute angles; a second element in the form of a geometric shape selected from the group consisting of (a) an isosceles trapezoid having first and second opposite sides of equal length, and third and fourth opposite sides of different lengths with the third side being longer than the fourth side, and (b) an isosceles triangle having first and second sides of equal length and a third side; a third element in the form of a scalene triangle having a longer side opposite an obtuse angle and two shorter sides opposite two acute angles; a fourth element in the form of a geometric shape selected from the group consisting of (a) an isosceles triangle having first and second sides of equal length and a third side; and (b) an isosceles trapezoid having first and second opposite sides of equal lengths, and third and fourth opposite sides of different lengths, with the third side being longer that the fourth side. wherein one of said equal length sides of said second element being in common with the longer side of said first element and foldable therealong; wherein the other of said equal length sides of said second element being in common with the longer side of said third element and foldable therealong; wherein one of said equal length sides of said fourth element being in common with one of the shorter sides of said third element and foldable therealong; wherein said first and second members are connected to one another along a fold line with one of the shorter sides of the first elements, the other of the shorter sides of said third elements and the third side of the fourth elements each being in common with one another and thereby defining said fold line; wherein said first member and said second member being mirror images of one another with the third side of said second elements being disposed along the border of said construction. 2. A foldable construction according to 3. A foldable construction according to 4. A foldable sheet comprised of four constructions according to 5. A foldable sheet according to 6. A foldable sheet according to 7. A foldable sheet according to 8. A collapsible box comprised of a foldable sheet according to 9. A collapsible box according to 10. A collapsible box according to 11. A collapsible box according to 12. A foldable construction according to 13. A foldable sheet that is comprised of two constructions according to 14. A foldable sheet according to 15. A foldable sheet according to 16. A collapsible box that is comprised of a top element, a bottom element and a foldable sheet according to Description This application claims priority of Provisional Application No. 60/697,420, filed Jul. 8, 2005. It is often useful to have a container or box that may be collapsed to a small volume when not in use and then expanded when needed. A number of different products have been developed for use in both consumer and industrial markets. Standard corrugated boxes do, of course, fold down to a flat sheet and are often transported in this folded state. Later, when ready for use, they are unfolded and various flaps are attached in order to make them rigid. The time taken to prepare the box for use, while not extensive, is often not convenient and discourages repeated use of the box. An alternative collapsible box design is made of rigid perforated panels and resembles a standard milk crate. It is comprised of a top and bottom panel, as well as sides that are articulated allowing it to fold. This type of box is distributed both as a consumer product as well as for industrial use. This design has several drawbacks. The number of parts is relatively large, leading to higher costs. Another limitation is that it is not possible to seal this type of box due to its perforated sides and the difficulty of sealing hinged panels. As an alternative to collapsible boxes assembled from multiple parts, I have invented a method whereby a collapsible box may be formed in the same way that standard cardboard boxes are made: by folding a single sheet of material. Boxes made according to the following disclosure may be made of corrugated cardboard or plastic and are easily folded to a fraction of their open volume. They open instantly, and when opened, they become structural—that is resistant to applied loads—by “popping” certain points outwards. Construction is simple: boxes can be made of a singled sheet of folded material, or, in some applications of a rigid top surface, a pleated side surface, and a rigid bottom surface. The simplicity of construction leads to low manufacturing costs. An alternative manufacturing technique would be to produce the box out of a single piece of blow-molded or roto-cast plastic. In this case it is possible to make the collapsible box entirely sealed and water-tight. The design possibilities are extensive allowing for collapsible boxes of different sizes and proportions to be built. Beyond the ability to make such boxes flatten in one dimension, another embodiment of this invention allows boxes to be built that fold in multiple dimensions. Generally speaking, in accordance with the invention, an element that is comprised of a sheet of material that has been provided with a network of hinges such that when the element is folded its edges maintain a right angle relationship is provided. This maintained or invariant angle is a critical innovation of the disclosed invention, allowing for a method whereby square and rectangular boxes may be constructed which may be collapsed down to compact size and easily popped open. Boxes so constructed, according to the present disclosure, remain fully assembled with all seams and edges attached even as they are repeatedly folded and unfolded. Further disclosed are boxes that have second degrees of folding such that they fold in half even as they flatten. The scope of the invention will now be set forth in the following claims. Referenced by
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