Cool Box!

My eye doctor recommended some eye-wipes (or spray) to deal with a minor but semi chronic irritation problem (in addition to the dry eyes that afflict everyone in the region whenever the heater runs). I found a box of the wipes at the local non-chain drug-n-stuff store. The box doubles as a display (for office use), and was rather nice. When I finished the box, I started breaking it down.

It was all one piece! I must have spent a good ten minutes playing with it, sorting out the folds, how the machine cut it, how everything worked, and then showing Dad. He too spent several minutes folding and unfolding the little box before we consigned it to the recycling.

Yes, we’re Odd. And intrigued by technology, because first, someone had to design the box. Then someone had to sort out how to make a machine to make the box. And how to print the text on the outside of the box, allowing for folding, perforating, and so on. That’s a lot of work for a disposable piece of cardboard. It’s fascinating how much effort goes into packaging, and how much support technology making a small box requires.

Humans have been making containers for a very long time. Fold a leaf to carry something. Wrap long grasses around something. Twist grasses to make them stronger. Fold grasses together, make basket. Then clay, formed into hollow shapes. Now we use (among other things) mashed up trees turned into a pulp and then dried and folded. Or petroleum distilled, tinted, and spun, then made into a sack or a net.

In some cultures, the wrapping is part of the gift, a form of art. In the US other Western countries, we do that as well, just not as often. Instead we make boxes, some very simple, some astoundingly complicated. The mind that can visualize how to cut and fold a flat sheet into a box with all sorts of tongues and layers and so one . . . It ain’t mine. I have very little 3-D talent or spatial projection ability.

I just play with the empty box and admire the ingenuity and technology that went into it.


15 thoughts on “Cool Box!

  1. Odd is good.

    Says the person who just spent the better part of an hour trying to dust off knowledge of natural log progression that he hasn’t used in 35 years, trig he hasn’t used in 25, and thrice-cursed metric to try and figure out a measurement. When I knew from the very start that I was just going set the bloody thing up beforehand, and then simply use a knotted string to measure the thing against itself when installing, with the only math involved being an 8″ offset for the mount.
    But hey, I know the length of the string I should start with…
    About halfway in-between the reference measures provided in the documentation, plus a bit for the knots.

  2. And if it is *really* good, the punchout is such that it can be done with (nearly) 100% of the material on the ‘roll’. What some soi disant “environmentalists” fail to realize is that *waste IS loss*. Reducing waste INCREASES profit! Go THAT way, and you have allies. This why the best approach to dealing with Light Pollution is to call it “WAST(ed) Lighting” – people LIKE like, but HATE waste.

      • As ACH says, THIS!

        Mixed in here, some interesting multipart bending dies: . This is a specialty in mechanical engineering.

        I had a professor for a very soft economics course, a soft leftist (when such things were possible), who declared that if we ever faced the USSR in war, we should unleash an army of giant packaging machines to shrink-wrap and package all their tanks, artillery, etc.

    • When we moved to Flyover, Oregon, our neighbor had a mercury vapor light on the power pole behind her house. Even 7-800 feet away, it was bright enough so that I could see to walk at night. (OTOH, flashlight and large sidearm are a Very Good Idea in critter country at night.) That light was a mild PITA when I wanted to look at the stars. (We’re at 4000+ feet and the nearest city is 25 miles away. On a clear night, it’s glorious.)

      The neighbor passed away back in 2005, but her son kept it as a rental (there were some interesting tenants there), but finally sold it a couple years ago. One of the first things the new neighbors did was have Pac Power remove the frippin’ mercury light. Yay! Now I can stargaze anywhere on the property. Two of our outdoor lights are on motion detectors; either on 5 or 10 minute delays. That keeps the random light to a minimum.

      • Mercury vapor has a startup delay, so if you aim a photo flash at the sensor (if it has such) you might get 5-15 minutes of dark or near so. The one downside of LED….

  3. Soooo, what WAS that box? What was in it? What was printed on it? What business did you buy it from? (Inquiring minds WANT to KNOW.)

    • The product was/is OCuSOFT™ Lid Scrub wipes. It’s a mild acid preparation that you either mist onto your (closed) eyes or wipe on, then rinse off (Blue box, regular version). It seems to work well for me. I don’t wear eye makeup anymore, so I don’t need a heavy-duty cleaner.

    • Not so elegant as origami, not so crude as gluing popsicle sticks, nor as complex as the folding of proteins. But a fascinating exercise of engineering ingenuity.

      Waste is a shipping box that needs a tear strip to be opened, ensuring that it cannot be re-used.

  4. I have the same fascination with packaging.

    For the Famliar series, is this an inspiration for the boys, perhaps, to use as magic storage or possibly as spell or critter traps?

  5. The advantage of boxes that are all in one piece is that you can stack them very thinly, both before they are filled and after you are done with them and you need to break down the boxes.

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