I finally ordered a box design from the current version of the Housifier box-maker application last week. I picked it up from the good people at Ponoko today, and it works! I already knew it worked – I had assembled it several times in various animation packages. You can see the way it should work in the Unity3D app below. It’s a looping animation, and you can rotate around the object by moving the mouse on the screen:
Knowing that it’ll work is still qualitatively different from seeing it work, though. Having the object in hand, and knowing that it was produced from an almost totally automated process is fantastic. I say almost because the part of the process where the shapes are packed into the minimum dimensions possible is not yet complete, but little by little the pieces are falling into place – not unlike the animation above!
A note on using Unity3D to view this: My apologies! I actually had this animation ready almost a week ago, and have been struggling with various conversion process from Blender and other applications through to either Away3D (broomstick) in Flash or some kind of webGL-based display. I could push through static geometry, but neither framework seems to have support for an animation format that I could find. If anyone has succeeded in converting Blender animations into something for Away3d Broomstick or any kind of webGL framework, I would love to hear from you!
UPDATE: I have replaced the Unity file with a Unity-produced SWF file! the down-side is that the files are relatively large, because the engine binaries are effectively packaged inside the swf. I look forward to playing around more with what can be accomplished with it!