Is it possible to make a collapsible origami bellow/sleeve without using glue? I am interested in that because i want to make a plunger engine that would use such a sleeve made of fiberglass sealed with tar. Any use of glue is precluded cause it would not withstand the pressure.

  • The right glue could take the pressure as well as the fiberglass. In effect you're using the tar as glue anyway, just on a different scale. You need a design to avoid peeling forces, and supporting the glued joint might be helpful (bike inner tube patches and their glue can easily hold 7 bar, but they're supported by the tyre)
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 7:25
  • Just curious, wouldn't the fiberglass break down with repeated flexing.
    – rebusB
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


It is not a problem about origami so much as a problem of topology. If you are starting with a sheet of material its topology is genus 0. The shape you want, a sleeve, is genus 1 like a donut. The two are topographically unique and you cannot get from 0 to 1 without connecting the sheet to itself at some point, thus the glue.

If you had a seamless tube of fiberglass material, then you could get into the folding process that would give you the sleeve shape you want, but it is impossible with a flat sheet.

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