Inspired by the 400-year old “Chakumi-Ningyo” (茶運人形) – the coil spring-powered tea serving robots that move when a cup of tea is placed on their tray – a Japanese man decided to see if he could do something similar, only with paper. Choosing to remain anonymous, the man (yes I’m being stereotypical by assuming he’s a man) writes about his trials and tribulations in devising his paper robot. After many prototypes he finally completed PR-III, a movable robot that, other than a rubber band and some bamboo pivots, is made entirely from paper. Impressive!
A time-lapse of the robot coming together, piece by piece, is captured in the video below. If you’re short on time, cut to 3:15 when the robot starts moving.
Confident in his new contraption, he’s put all the diagrams and instructions on a CD-Rom and is selling it for 3000 yen. But you’ll have to email him to make arrangements for payment and delivery. And even if you do, you’ll have to navigate a complete set of self-assembly instructions in Japanese. If you really want to take on the labor of love, try the “Chakumi-Ningyo,” which he’s put online for anyone to download for free.
As a youtube commenter pointed out, on a scale of one to ten, the difficulty level is “Asian.”