When Nintendo Labo was announced in January this year, it turned many heads for players and people in the video game industry.
Popping out those DIY perforated cardboard cut-outs, assembling all of the parts, integrating them with the Nintendo Switch system seems like an innovative method to unleash the inner creativity of Switch users no matter how young or old you are.
The hands-on experience of assembling the cardboard pieces is what makes Nintendo Labo so appealing, especially among gamer parents who would love to share their love for games together with their children. But, how sturdy are these cardboard pianos and robots?
One particular thing I’ve noticed is that Nintendo Labo uses corrugated cardboard, the corrugated material made from layered papers that is light in your hand but strong enough to withstand certain amount of weight depending on its size and thickness.
To determine the strength of corrugated sheets, there are two ways to know the endurance of corrugated sheet and one of them is called the Edge Crush Test, or known as ECT. It’s a test by pushing the edge of a cardboard with certain amount of pressure until it crushes.
In case you’re wondering what the other test is called, it’s Burst Strength Test which measures the strength of corrugated sheets by puncturing the corrugated surface until it bursts.
Another aspect that makes corrugated sheets able to withstand certain strength is through the art of fluting. You must be imagining an actual flute but it’s actually not *the* musical instrument (don’t worry, I thought that too at first).
Fluting refers to the wavy part you see mashed in between corrugated sheets. There are many types of fluting that sorts by using alphabets: A, C, B, D and E. Each of the fluting has different flute heights and amount of flutes (the wavy part) which you can refer in the figure below:
Based on my observation, Labo’s cardboard pieces belong to F fluting family due to its tiny flute height and abundant of flutes in between each piece. The F fluting is often used for packaging (like wrapping a glass bottle) because it’s easy to alter its shape. This makes it the perfect fit for Nintendo Labo.
From what I’ve seen, the Labo’s cardboard sheets are quite thin which makes me doubtful these pieces can endure much force, but the slim size actually makes it easier for us to bend and customise these cardboard pieces into the shape that we desire.
Besides, the Toy-Con Variety set includes 28 cardboard pieces for you to go crazy with for your inventions. One piece of cardboard could very well stand on its own, let alone combining all of the 28 sheets together with various designs to make your ideal invention. It’s going to be solid.
I’m fairly sure that Nintendo needed Labo’s cardboard pieces to be in tiptop condition, so they partnered up with Japan’s top corrugated manufacturer and cardboard supplier designed for Nintendo Labo, Rengo Co.
Now we already laid out all you need to know about corrugated cardboard on the table, here are several ways that you can keep in mind to preserve your finest creations once you have purchased your very own Labo:
Store them in a proper container
An ideal container such as a plastic container will make your Labo creation last longer. In fact, plastic containers are more durable in the hot and humid Malaysian weather than regular cardboard boxes in the long run. Moreover, the clear see-through plastic containers could help you to spot pests like cockroaches or termites.
If you’re not using the see-through plastic containers, make sure you put proper labels on the container so you can identify where your creations are straight away.
Store them in a dry place
I think most of you know that cardboard is made from compressed paperboard. So paper and water are not exactly the best of friends. So here’s a tip: If you have extra silica gel from buying shoes, throw it into the container to free your Labo from moisture.
Place your Labo container in dry area of the house preferably away from the bathroom or the kitchen.
Waterproof your Labo
We’ve said it before that paper and water are lifelong enemies but corrugated cardboard could actually withstand a small amount of water permeation. Albeit, not much. However, you can further enhance the waterproof ability of your humble Labo cardboard pieces.
To keep your Labo safe and dry, you can apply a layer (or maybe two) of waterproof coating spray and use the spray for your Labo container as well. There is a well-known spray brand called Rust Oleum Never Wet which is able to repel moisture, but it’s a bit pricey. Another cheaper option is to put paraffin wax which works wonders in preserving Labo’s cardboard.
One more method you can try is to spread some varnish onto Labo’s surface, but if you do go with that, remember: it will ruin the colourful cardboard layout.
Nintendo is no stranger in thinking outside the box with their unique hardwares. This time around, they choose to stay inside the box and decided to make a robot out of it!
Nintendo Labo is available today on 20 April and it comes with two sets of Toy-Con though be careful as the cost could go as high as RM700 in Malaysia, more than double of what it should be worth. The Toy-Con set includes the cardboard pieces along with the game program that brings your cardboard invention comes to life.
There’s a lot of science going on behind these Labo’s corrugated sheets and this is just the basic information I know so if you have any other suggestion in keeping your Labo last longer or you have Labo tricks up your sleeve, let us know in the comments in Facebook and Twitter.