Lexus builds an elctric car made from laser-cut cardboard

Lexus realises a “driveable” full-scale replica of its saloon with cardboard. And it’s powered by an electric engine.

It is called Lexus Is Origami and is a full-scale replica of the Japanese luxury saloon car. The peculiarity is that it is exclusively made from laser-cut cardboard and based on a digital full-size 3D model.




1700 sheets of cardboard assembled in about three months and mounted on a steel and aluminum frame. You can drive the care because it is powered by an electric motor and it includes rolling (cardboard) wheels.


Obviously, it won’t be put into production, but the Japanese car manufacturer wanted to realise this model to celebrate the art of origami making thanks to the collaboration of five designers and pattern makers from the LaserCut Works, Scales & Models and Ds Smith, a company that produces packaging materials.

Clearly, it wasn’t the car itself to make news, but the technology and materials used. The 3D model of the car was divided and then digitally rendered in slices. This perfectly functioning car, indeed, is made of thousands of sheets of 10 millimetres thick cardboard, cut and modelled with a laser and finally assembled.


“The seats took a few attempts to get just right and the wheels required a lot of refining”, explained Ruben Marcos of Scales & Models. “Once we could see the physical pieces taking shape, we could identify where we needed to make improvements. As we had all the resources we needed in-house, this made the changes easier to produce”.


Lexus has yet been on a roll with other similar projects. Last summer it contributed to realise the first hoverboard, inspired by that ridden by Michael J. Fox in “Back to the future part II”.

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