Undergrads reinvent the cardboard box


How many of the rapid packing box can you cut out of an arbitrarily large piece of cardboard? It doesn’t look like a shape that will tile easily with minimal waste.


Pops open by pressing down on the top. That ought to work just fine in transit.

Looks to me like they studied marketing more than engineering. Gee. that clumsy dude on the right is having a lot of intentional trouble with his regular box. I am totally convinced.


Why didn’t the box-making industry think of this 50 years ago?

Because I couldn’t drop kick it across my yard without it falling apart.


Big cardboard ain’t gonna stand for this.


Four straight haters, right out of the gate. I think it’s a cool idea, innovative, perhaps in need of some maturity before it rolls to market, but you know, instead of inventing a box I just watch old movies on Netflix all summer…

  1. Visible tape that can’t easily be removed or replaced without damaging box is a security feature that makes tampered with boxes obvious. Hidden tape where the box can be opened, contents swapped with a rock, superglued closed aren’t.
  2. The template box used to quickly form the box is one size. A template per person per box maybe expensive.
  3. Does the design scale to larger boxes?
  4. How much packaging is currently done by robots that would have to be completely redone to use these?
  5. How much shipping vs. receiving do you do that reusing the boxes is a significant resource reduction?

Why didn’t the cardboard box magnate Michael Feterik think of this? I will put two words here. Adhesive kickbacks.


I think it’s a good idea for small companies that do a lot of mail order business. I doubt it’ll replace all packaging.

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A ) it’s way faster to assemble a traditional box (assuming you’re not an infomercial reject)
B ) Traditional boxes won’t fucking explode in the back of a van when you ship them.


‘just press down’… which is what every single package on top of it will be doing.

i love the idea of ‘better boxes’ and i hope for these guys that their concept works in the real world.

if it were a kickstarter i might throw twenty bucks in… but nothing more.

With over 400,000 google patent results for “cardboard box” what are the chances that it’s been done before?

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I think you’re missing the point of the invention. Much like Gutenberg’s innovation wasn’t the printing press, which was just a repurposed olive press, but metal type that could be standardized and reused, the innovation here isn’t the box, it’s the jig. And you’d need a jig for every size box. I have to think that outfits such as Amazon have a machine that creates boxes to go with orders so they can just be packed. Which suggests the economics of the projects aren’t strong. The small business person who would buy a standard box, say, a jewelry maker on Etsy or a used record store with an online presence, probably doesn’t need a special jig and special boxes to save him or her time because they don’t have huge volume.

In addition that jig wouldn’t work for odder boxes, such as a pizza box, of which I have assembled hundreds and hundreds while working at a pizza place. There’s no glue and it all locks together with tabs, but it’s not an unfolded cube: it’s a tray with sides and a lid. Besides, after doing a few dozen pizza boxes, you can whip a couple out every minute at least.

And I agree that the engineering genius on the right has been watching too many of those infomercials for devices that do things even a child can figure out. Fold the bottom and top and then tap them, moron.


Prior art and patents hasn’t stopped people from lodging their own patent anyway.

Oh how all my life I have wished for a box that would pop open and lie flat in front of me. The dark days of having to peer into the box and lift the item are now gone.

Umm wait what about the packing peanuts?


Fellowes made a no-tape, fold into shape boxes back in at least 2009. Amazon promoted them back then, and I got some medium and large sizes. Wonderful. Really does work well. So, it’s not really a groundbreaking idea, though they are going about it in a different way.

I think this is a great start, and I hope they keep developing their design.

It seems like a stack of these boxes wouldn’t be stable, since the top appears not to be flat. Also, I’m curious how this box stands up to crushing forces. Specifically, the side walls may actually be weaker because of the tab design. And if the side walls crush outward, the contents of the package may be exposed and fall out. Usually a box with tabs like this includes some way to lock those tabs in place.

Also, there are a lot of scenarios where it isn’t desirable to have a box pop open like this. For instance, if I’ve carefully packed multiple small fragile items, wouldn’t they all spill out all over the counter when the box pops open?

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Well thank god that they are going to patent it. Could you imagine, cardboard cubes without intellectual property rights? How would the box industry ever make money then? How would we ever monetize packaging, creating an incentive for artists to make new, better packaging?


Here’s the thing. I can go to any Staples right now and buy no-tape boxes that ship in a flat pack. Or if someone wanted to get enterprising fast, they can mostly copy the USPS priority mail box design and scale it to any size without much fuss. So one thing that has me scratching my head is the claim that someone didn’t think of this idea yet.


Having actually worked for over a year on a packing line, around the age these 2 gentlemen are now, I can say it looks like they wasted a lot of time in school. Can’t say I blame them, what were their instructors doing? The first thing I thought was what in gods name can you actually ship in a box that size, then the whole idea of just pushing in the top to open it, oy, oy vey, then the idea that I think the post office has a ez-peel strip on some, though not all, of their Priority Mail boxes, then I just thought these 2 lads ought to get real jobs in the real world & see what problems actually need solving before they spend so much time & effort & expose themselves to the less than merciful criticism that the world is apt to provide them. Having worked in shipping, in receiving, & being the recipient of many cardboard boxes over the years I can’t help but think that maybe boxes are the way they are because they are as cheap & as effective as they need to be to do the job.
And as for the peanuts, they’ll be ALL over the place as soon as the box pops open. Inside the truck that picks up the box from the shipper.