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< prev - next > Manufacturing handicraft process industries KnO 100339_Paper based technologies (Printable PDF)
Paper-based technology
Practical Action
Basic knowledge and techniques
The main material used is waste paper and card. All forms of paper and card share some common
characteristics. First and foremost among these is ―grain‖. It is recognizable in paper and card as
the direction along which a piece of paper or card will tear, crease, or roll most easily. (In
corrugated card the direction of the corrugation is treated as grain.) Grain affects virtually every
operation. Don‖t fight the grain — use it!
Another important characteristic is the stretch/shrink factor. All paper and card swells and
stretches when it becomes moist, and as it dries it contracts. To prevent damaging shrinkage,
paste paper and card and leave it until the moisture has been fully absorbed, then finish your
layering as quickly as possible. When laminating card, on the other hand, cover it very thinly with
paste, and again work quickly.
Recognizing different kinds of paper and discovering and using their special characteristics is an
ongoing process. Flour paste is the other indispensable material. It is used in every APT
construction process.
Essential techniques include:
Knowing how to make and use different kinds of flour paste
Making and using mash
Tearing, cutting, scoring, creasing, and folding paper and card
Layering strips or pieces of paper and card singly or two or three layers thick
Rolling card or paper to make tubes of different strengths and sizes
Laminating sheets of card (or even paper) to make different kinds of boards
Joining components and strengthening the joints
Strengthening and tidying an article
Pressing and or drying, both between stages and finally
Standard approaches
These can be broadly classified according to the four main forms of paper they use: mash, paper
strips and pieces, thin card, or thick (i.e. corrugated) card. Generally speaking these main forms
of paper are used to make different categories of articles.
Mash is paper ground to a pulp and mixed with paste. It is moulded, and mainly used in products
for the nursery and pre-school.
Layered paper and card is used mainly for making various utensils for home and school, including
small light furniture and some articles for people with disabilities.
Thin card and tubes of thin card are used to construct a full range of light-weight legged furniture
referred to as the ―Classic style‖, and other things such as cots, lampstands, and hinged and
tubular apparatus for people with disabilities, such as walking frames and crutches.
Thick card is used for making boards for what has become the main range of APT products:
―Utility style‖ furniture. This includes a normal range of furniture as well as some large items such
as workbenches and wardrobes, and a great variety of equipment for people with disabilities.
The Utility style uses three approaches:
Slotting boards together and strengthening the joins.
Making a structure of two sideboards, joined by a system of tubes that fit into a pattern of
holes in the sideboards so that, where desired, they can support other boards. This
approach is used to make chairs, armchairs, tables, and shelves, as well as special chairs
and apparatus for people with disabilities such as lying, standing, walking, and rocking
equipment (horses, round rockers, and so on).
Making box structures, with or without supporting tubes. These range from cassette boxes
to coffins, and include more equipment for people with disabilities, a range of solar box
cookers, water heaters, fruit dryers, and heat-conserving boxes. (The glass for the cookers
is junk glass, including cracked windscreens from the car breakers.)