The Fitful Flog

August 14, 2005

Spiral Data Tato

CP (American Letter)
CP (A4)

Update: now there’s an tutorial with video and everything!

It all started in a Marketing and Recruiting meeting at this telecom call center I was working for. It was at the height of the dot-com idiocy and I must admit, I was being just as idiotic as the next chap. (Hell, I’m proud of it – it’s not like I got fat and rich off my idiocy.) The theme of the telecom’s advertising at the time was Soviet Constructivism and you can guess how many units that moved. The campaigns looked like something out of Weimar Germany, all red and black and sepia-tint – not the nice parts of Weimar Germany, you dig. We were spending several dollars a piece for Welcome Kits – just a fancy holder for a CD containing our ISP’s dialers and other people’s software. The manager of our call center said that these Welcome Kits weren’t terribly welcoming and most of us agreed warmly – nobody wants to do business with neo-Nazis. The nice young woman from Corporate began to speak very slowly and distinctly, as if she were talking to some particularly backwards third graders. She explained the psychological underpinnings of the ad campaign and hinted around some about our undeniable provincialism and lack of marketing education. I tried to get across to her that it wasn’t that we didn’t understand these lofty concepts, it was just that we thought Corporate was dead wrong.

Later on, they switched to an S&M theme that was even more offensive, yet even less successful at capturing customers. And boy, it was expensive. Those Corporate kids really could pound dollars down a rat hole when they put their minds to it. The whole thing is moot now – the call center is gone and the telecom is long since out of money. I’m now at a heavily endowed liberal arts college and those Corporate kids are off robbing somebody else’s pension fund.

I began to think of ways to make an inviting CD holder cheaply at that meeting. I came up with several ideas, but I liked this one best. It’s made with American letter paper, the old 8½ × 11 medium I’m so fond of. It’s a sort of tsutsumi, you know, that fancy Japanese gift wrapping that’s so pretty and complicated that you’re afraid to open it. But this one has a zipper so you can do it up again. (An Origami Zipper®? Sure, wherefore not?) Plus, it’s mailable without using any sticky sealers.

It’s not elegant – the math here is a sort of brute force arithmetic to get to the right diameter. And it takes a long time to make. If you want something simple and elegant, I will recommend Tom Hull’s American CD Case.

The crease pattern can be had here. I still haven’t gotten around to diagramming it, but here’s a slideshow that explains how to do it from scratch. (In the interests of fair play, I’ll mention that I got this script from Zinkwasi. It’s called PHPSlideShow v0.9 and was written by Greg Lawler.)

And I also realize that most of the world still languishes under the conceptual hegemony of the Vichy metric system and does not know from inches and pounds. Until they leave their heathenish ways and convert to a less arbitrary, more humanist system of measurement such as US Customary or Roman Imperial, we must make allowances. Here’s a crease pattern for A4 paper. It uses elevenths instead of ninths.

Creative Commons License

The Spiral Data Tato (American Letter Paper Version) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Creative Commons License

The Spiral Data Tato (A4 Version) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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2 Responses to “Spiral Data Tato”

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    The Fitful Flog » Spiral Data Tato

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    Design your own CD/DVD sleeve w/Photoshop brushes | Freebies | Digital Scrapbooking Says:

    […] And here is what the final product looks like: (For more info go to The Fitful Flog) […]

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