Origami structures morph between 2D and 3D conformations along predetermined fold lines that efficiently program the form of the structure and show potential for many engineering applications. However, the enormity of the design space and the complex relationship between origami-based geometries and engineering metrics place a severe limitation on design strategies based on intuition. The presented work proposes a systematic design method using topology optimization to distribute foldline properties within a reference crease pattern, adding or removing folds through optimization, for a mechanism design. Optimization techniques and mechanical analysis are co-utilized to identify an action origami building block and determine the optimal network connectivity between multiple actuators. Foldable structures are modeled as pin-joint truss structures with additional constraints on fold, or dihedral, angles. A continuous tuning of foldline stiffness leads to a rigid-to-compliant transformation of the local foldline property, the combination of which results in origami crease design optimization. The performance of a designed origami mechanism is evaluated in 3D by applying prescribed forces and finding displacements at set locations. A constraint on the number of foldlines is used to tune design complexity, highlighting the value-add of an optimization approach. Together, these results underscore that the optimization of function, in addition to shape, is a promising approach to origami design and motivates the further development of function-based origami design tools.

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