Running Pepakura Designer on a Mac to Make Papercraft

Running Pepakura Designer on a Mac to Make Papercraft

Pepakura Designer 3 is a great and popular program for making real world papercraft models from 3D digital models. It folds out the model and adds glue tabs so you can print it on paper and make your model in real life. It’s an excellent alternative to 3D printing, especially for masks and helmets which you can reinforce with fibreglass and resin after they are glued.

But the program only runs in Windows. Can we do something about it? In this article we cover using Wineskin Winery to run what would normally be a PC-only program successfully under Yosemite on a Mac!

Papercraft is a great way to make prototypes of your 3D models, but the stumbling block for Mac users has always been that the program of choice for unwrapping your models as origami style papercraft models has always been PC-based. This is okay if you have access to a PC, but what if you don’t?

pepakura-tamasoftlogo

Fortunately, help is at hand with the amazing Wineskin Winery software which will enable you to run simple PC software on the Intel processor on your Mac.

pepakura-wineskin-winery-icon

First, get ahold of Wineskin Winery from this link. Wineskin Winery works on all Mac OS up to Yosemite. This is an acceptable limitation at the time of writing. If you are an early adopter of El Capitan, you are on your own.

Download the latest version of the Pepakura Designer app here. Bear in mind that this program is shareware; You can run it and print other people’s designs, but to do more than that and make PDFs of your own work and save/distribute them, you will have to pay the shareware fee to purchase the license code for the software for $38. You can use it for free with the above limitations as long as you like.

Save the Pepakura EXE file somewhere where you can find it easily, like the desktop.

Run the Wineskin Winery program and you will be presented with the panel to create a wrapper for your PC program.

pepakura-wineskin-start

Add an engine by clicking on the plus button. The one used in this demo was WS9Wine1.7.44, but try a more recent one first in case it works better. Click “Create New Blank Wrapper.” This brings up the Create a Wrapper panel.

pepakura-make-blank-wrapper

Name your wrapper. This will be the name of the “app” on your system, so give it an appropriate name. Click OK.

The busy sign will flash for a while. Depending on the amount of memory you have, this might take quite a few minutes, so it’s not broken; have a little patience. This goes for everything to do with Wineskin. It takes TIME. Just wait.

Eventually you will get a notice that the wrapper “app” has been created. To view the icon, click the “View in Finder” button. If you click on the wrapper app too quickly, you will get a an alert saying the app can’t be opened. If this is the case, wait a few moments and try again.

The first time you run the app, it will open the install panel. Click on the “Install Software” button to install your software.

pepakura-install-software

Choose the setup executable from where you left it before. Click install, and you will see the install process you will recognize from installing other things on Windows.

pepakura-welcome-to-installer

You will be asked to Agree on the license, so do that. You will then be asked to choose a destination for the software. Go with the default. Watch the progress bar as the software installs. When prompted, remember to uncheck the checkbox for creating a shortcut on the desktop. You have no Windows desktop.

When it’s complete, it will autorun, but you may get an Invalid Operation error. This is normal.

pepakura-invalid-operation-error

Just click OK, and the program will continue as normal. You will be prompted to check if you have the latest version of the software, but as you literally downloaded it a moment ago, it’s not really necessary.

Once the software is loaded, go to File -> Open (on the Pepakura PC window menus, not the Wineskin menus) and open a file.

pepakura-iron-man-mask

A good place to start is the Pepakura gallery on the Tamasoft site, and there’s lots here to get started with.

pepakura-jurassic-park-barbasol

The real strength of Pepakura designer is that you can load any 3D file, and it will not only load it for viewing but enable you to click the Unfold button on the menu to calculate how to unfold it into a single sheet of paper. Try loading your favourite 3D models into the program to see.

Obviously, the lower the polygon count, the better. You can load a model into Pepakura, but it might not be physically makable as a paper model if there are 16 million polygons … hundreds, maybe, but tens definitely.

Have you had some experience making papercraft models with Pepakura? Let us know in the comments below.

10 comments

  1. hi,
    Just wanted to let you know the Create New Blank Wrapper is not available, as an option.

    I am running OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 and have tried a few of the available engines (1.7.30, 1.7.44, 1.8), nothing seems to do the trick.

    Any help, please?

    Adrian

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    So many Youtube videos rendered useless with this amazing and actually understandable guide.
    However one issue I have, more of a question really:
    -I saved the Pepakura app in the dock of my mac and it has the Wineskin logo.
    -When I click it I get the “install software” menu and I click it and go to “Choose setup executable” and run the Pepakura.exe.
    -Basically I’m running the “install pepakura” process every time I open it.

    Is there any way to open the app faster or do I have to go through this process every time I wanna open Pepakura?
    Thanks again for the guide!

  3. Hi guys, well this happens from time to time (my version of a PC program called cgMusic does this) and I think it’s a failure to install properly. Either that or the default EXE file installed in the Wineskin wrapper is the install exe rather than the program executable. My advice is that my version of the program runs fine so it is possible to install. But your mileage may vary. Try a different engine, check the default EXE and failing that reinstall and hope for the best. If not, hey, it’s amazing it works AT ALL so we should be grateful. :D

    thanks for reaching out and for your great questions

  4. When I try to open the executable, a window pops up saying that no new executables could be found. Help ?

  5. given the range of different machines and OS variants this runs on, it’s not possible to give a definitive answer, but my guess would be the install failed for some reason. Wipe the app wrapper you created and try again. It does work, or at least it did on Yosemite.

  6. For those having installation issues whereby the first time Pepakura runs it gives the error listed above but otherwise appears to function ok but the second time you attempt to open it things go a bit haywire, keep reading:

    I had the issue where when I attempted to launch the application for a second time, I was being prompted to uninstall. This was occurring because the path that Wineskin was using to launch the application was not pointing to the appropriate executable. It may be that it just found the first executable in the application directory and didn’t actually grab the application associated with launching the app itself. If you are having this issue, keep reading (or keep reading anyway as this may fix your issue regardless).

    If you know where your wineskin package is located, go to its Finder location and right-click on it (if you don’t know, just search for your wineskin package with spotlight). Once you have it visible within the Finder, right-click or control-click on the Wineskin package and select “Show Package Contents”. Now you will see the contents of the Wineskin package. One of the items will be labeled Wineskin. Open the Wineskin app that is inside the package and a window will appear that gives you four options (at least in my version). Select “Advanced”.

    Now you will need to update the “Windows EXE” path that is most likely pointing to the wrong executable. In my case, the appropriate path is: /Program Files/tamasoftware/pepakura4en/designer/pepakura4.exe

    If you selected the default options when you followed Phil’s instructions above, your path will most likely be the same or similar. You can try copy and pasting the path listed above but the bottom line is you need the executable path to point to the pepakura4.exe (or whatever Pepakura executable was provided with your version of the application you downloaded).

    You can also update the icon file here (if you don’t know how to do this within the Finder anyway) but if you decide to use a custom icon and point Wineskin to it, remember that the icon file needs to have a .icns extension.

    Anyway, there is no save option or whatnot once you make your changes in the Advanced window. Simply close it out and re-attempt to open your Pepakura Wineskin package.

    Hopefully this works as well for you as it did for me.

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