I want to share this quick idea for creating connectors for cardboard tube construction. If you like pizza and derders, you may like this mashup. I was already missing my daily dose of Leo Villareal’s Buckyball installation looming large at the Exploratorium entrance (above), when I saw this 3D-printed connector in an Instructables post about how to Turn Toilet Rolls Into Construction Toys:
These plastic 3D-printed connectors reminded me of pizza savers (those plastic pieces that safeguard the top of the pizza from the pizza box). I don't have a 3D printer at home, but I do have recycled toilet paper tubes and a taste for pizza. So I tried making a version of these cardboard tube connectors.
I found that there's variation in pizza savers, and I use the triangle-shaped version for these explorations. There's also variation in toilet paper tube roll diameter, which led to tighter or looser connections. I experimented with both tape and hot glue to combine pieces and make different types of connectors. Tape was ideal for creating hinges and adding movement. Here (right) I connected two triangular pizza savers with masking tape for each hinge.
Hot glue made for more stable pieces. I decided to make 3-piece connectors so that I could try to build my own version of a Buckyball sculpture.
My dad is a chemical engineer, and would want me to note that this is not actually a complete representation of Buckminsterfullerene, but I ran out of toilet paper tubes.
These three-part and tape hinge connectors are just two ideas for cardboard tube connectors. What other types of connections could you create?