The Local Germany (14 September 2015)
When one engineer in Düsseldorf began making paper planes to order, he realised he couldn’t do it all by hand. Luckily, he found a novel solution to the problem.
At the push of a button, the A6 1.0 folds, builds and shoots out paper planes.
It’s a revolution in the world of paper plane construction. But for inventor Dieter Krone, it all started out as a simple hobby.
‘They wanted 500 paper planes’
Engineering graduate Krone first became interested in paper planes on a business trip.
“Back then, things like television and internet weren’t freely available,” he said. But one thing he did have access to was paper – and lots of it.
That evening, Krone began making paper planes. Not long after, his first creation sailed out of the window. And from then on, he’d make sure he always booked hotel rooms on upper floors.
It some became more than an idle hobby though – as Krone set up a website dedicated to his paper creations.
As the site’s popularity increased, Krone received requests from viewers, asking him to make paper planes for special occasions.
But the pressure soon mounted when Krone received a request for a 50th birthday party. “They wanted 500 paper planes to fly from the stage,” he remembers.
A decent paper plane took around three minutes to make – so Krone knew he’d soon be overwhelmed if he tried to make all of these planes by hand. He needed a machine.
With hundreds of plane designs already in circulation, Krone had to work hard to come up with something new.
“It really wasn’t easy to develop an original plane, that also flew well,” he said.
But in 2007, Krone had a breakthough – and the Automatix was born.
The name was inspired by French comics Asterix and Obelix – and in total, the machine cost €2,500. “Every part is 3D-printed,” Krone explained.
But for the ambitious engineer, this wasn’t enough.
Krone soon developed plans for a new machine. It would cost around €8,000 – but the engineer already had financial support for this project.
Krone had uploaded a video of his first creation onto YouTube. For every 1,000 clicks on the video, he received €1 from YouTube – and the video already had 2.3 million views.
Krone’s new cannon-like device can build 60 paper planes a minute.
But despite his machine’s success, the inventor hasn’t forgotten where his passion for paper planes began.
“I still prefer to make the planes by hand,” he admitted.