As much as I enjoy giving gifts, I hate wrapping the damn things even more. I have all of the crafting ability and coordination of…um…something that has about zero of each, so if I can avoid it, I never do my own wrapping. At times that aren’t Christmas and even plenty of times that are, this can present issues.
Have you seen the cost of gift bags lately? Jimminy…Christmas! If you hit the wrong store on the wrong day and know enough people, you can almost blow the gift budget before you’ve even started! And who designed the handles on those things? They’re shit! You look at one the wrong way and it fucking unravels.
There’s always the charity gift wrapping stations, yes. Those are handy. They usually do a decent job and the money goes to some worthy causes. Carin and I have made liberal use of them when they’re available. But that’s the thing. When they’re available. For some reason, cousin Stan’s mid April birthday has never found itself to be an event worthy of a wrap stand. This is a problem. Also inconvenient is having to bag up and carry all of the gifts you didn’t buy at the location of the wrapping kiosk over to the location of the wrapping kiosk so that you can get them all wrapped and then drag them back home. Thankfully we live across the street from a mall now which makes it slightly less of an annoyance, but in the grand scheme of life this is a new development that we’re still kind of getting used to. The mall used to be a bit of a haul away from us and since blind people and driving still isn’t a mix conducive to surviving until Christmas, it was a serious pain in the ass for many a year.
All of this to say that I really wouldn’t mind owning one of these automatic paper cutting machines. It can’t yet wrap the gifts (I will pay extra when it can), but it’s a good start since it takes much of what I’m not good at (measuring and cutting a straight line) out of my hands.
The video is a quarter past useless if you’re blind as I am, but here’s a helpful enough description by way of Gizmodo.
This machine measures in at around 45 inches long, which makes it large enough to hold a standard sized roll of wrapping paper. Even more noteworthy, this thing is almost entirely built from Lego pieces, including gears, pulleys, electric motors, various sensors, and a Lego Mindstorms EV3 programming brick that controls it all. The only things not made from Lego are the cutting head, some of the cabling (there’s a lot of wires on this one), and the custom software it runs on, which was coded in Python.
Presents—at least those inside a box—are placed on a separate area, also made from Lego, where two optical sensors analyze and calculate its dimensions. From there the custom code calculates the total volume of the box, and then the amount of wrapping paper needed to completely cover it with enough slack on the ends to make some fancy decorative folds.
The machine then automatically unravels a role of wrapping paper to the desired length, where a cutting head on a sliding track makes a series of slices to remove any excess length. A perfectly proportioned piece of parchment then rolls out of the machine ready to be wrapped around your gift.
Unfortunately these don’t appear to be for sale, but I guarantee you that we are not the only household that would pay and pay well if ever they are.