Rubik's Magic Cube

by Nudel_P, published

Rubik's Magic Cube by Nudel_P Apr 15, 2010

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A Magic Puzzle Cube.
The cube in the thumbnail is printed by Robo http://www.thingiverse.com/Robo . Thank you very much Robo! See comments for details.
I don't have my own printer, yet, so I'm not able to test this model myself. Feel free to modify anything so we can have a printable, working cube.
When the cube is functioning mechanically, perhaps we can distinguish between the sides without colors? See corner_color for an example.
My 3D background is from image and animation rendering, where it's important to maintain quads and avoid many edges meeting in a vertex. I don't know if it matters much in 3D printing? The flat sides on the pieces are 20 Wings unit wide/high/deep, which should equal to 20mm.
EDIT: I split the side and the corner (diagonally) in two parts to make it printable, but it needs to be glued together afterwards. Files updated.
EDIT2: "v2" New side and corners, resting on side. Scaled 10x from before.
EDIT3: "v3" Side piece turned the right way this time. Raft and flat bottom version of axis. All new objects combined in one Wings3D file for less clutter.
EDIT4: April 17. 2010 - Robo printed the first working cube!
EDIT5: "v4" Updated the corner piece with smaller connection part and beveled edges/smoothing (polygons went from 67 to 3432). Would love feedback and thoughts on this.


Modeled in Wings3D http://www.wings3d.com original sources files included. cube_WIP.wings features a assembled cube for test fitting the pieces.
The challenge is to deal with overhangs, find a good solution for the screws and springs and of course make it rotate well.
I've made individual files for every part, some cleanup, smoothing and drilling is probably required.
The screws needs to have threads only in the part which screws into the axis, so the center pieces can rotate freely. Perhaps it's possible to file off the upper threads one some screw? Springs is not critical for the basic mechanical function. See the attached picture for original screw, as well as an idea that might work without filing.
You need the following number of parts.
1 axis
6 centers
8 corners
12 sides

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Very nice. I lost a few pieces from an old cube, so I printed a few corners and edges and now I have a hybrid cube.

the hole in the core is not big enough for the middle piece

the hole in the core is not big enough for the middle piece

by the way, what kind of printer made the cube on the 3rd picture (really really low res)

The pieces won't snap together, you need screws and springs to assemble it. You can find screws and good cores on ebay, search for "rubiks cube core set" or similar.
I can't recall what printer it was printed on, I think Robo had a cupcake back then, but you can read the old comments to see. Remember that was four years ago, and home 3D printing was very young, so don't judgde old prints on apperance. :)
Thanks for your interest in my old design, I really have to print one myself soon.

I might make a Rubik's cube eventually but if i do the pieces will snap together, or i could edit your file

Got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The first printed Rubik's cube in the Thingiverse, possibly in the universe.

It is not the smoothest running Rubik's cube. Actually it doesn't run as bad as I imagined.

Just used wood screws. I did not have the-high tech bolts and was too lazy to get them. I had to make the holes in the axis 3mm and the ones in the center-stones 4mm.

Nudel_P did a great job! There may be some improvements, but you made something that works and without testing it in real life.

Impressive Robo!!! Thank you so much for printing the model and giving feedback. I quite honestly can't believe this! :-D

The screw is only a spare I have left over, but if you send me your snail mail address to vindusviskeren {at} http://gmail.comgmail.com I'll send you a set of cube stickers for your cube, on my cost of course.

Looking at your cube I have some improvements in mind for the model, especially making bevelled edges
and a bit smaller connection stone for the side piece.

I set your completed cube as thumbnail picture, hope it's okay.

Haha :-D This is so great!

I've added a photo of the cube next to an original one (see above).

I'd like to take you up on the sticker offer if you can spare them.
I've used some small stickers in the meanwhile....doesn't look that good. The printed cube is only 3-4 mm larger than a original one (i've got one from the 1980s).

I'll add a photo of the inside, when the first layer is taken off
. You can see that the hole isn't really circular, more like a well rounded square. I think that beveling every edge in the geometry would do miracles for turning ease. Still I can't believe how well this worked just from your drawings.

Looks great!

The inside view was nice. I see now that the fat/outer part of the center pieces is a bit larger than some of my other cubes (attatched), so I'll try to change that. Springs might be needed to avoid pieces popping off though...

I'll also smooth the rounded parts, scale the connection stones down
by about 10%, bevel the edges a bit and clean up the models overall.

Check out the version with the stickers. The springs you sent help a lot in turning the cube. It makes all the difference.


It looks gorgeous!

You're welcome, I was hoping the springs would help. Lubing it with a little silicone spray will also help, just don't put on too much.

No, thank you!

I've printed the corner stone.

It took me about one hour because:

  • I had to scale it up 10x, it was 2mm in size.
  • Then I turned it 45deg twice to put it up to its (inner) corner.
  • Then I added a pedestal.

As you can see I had no problem with overhang.

Can you scale the objects and turn them in the right direction and then
give it a small flat bottom? Then I think it is printable and you'll see photos of fully assembled copies turning up here pretty soon.

P.S. the side stone should be at 45 deg (once) with the outer corner turned downwards.

That... is... extremely awesome!

Added new models of the corners and sides like you suggested, it really didn't occur to me to build it standing up like that. Brilliant!

I also scaled the model 10x in wings, and added scaled models of the axis and center piece as well. Hope it helps.

Will clean up old files when new files are c
onfirmed to be working.


When we can print this, this will probably be the coolest thing in the thingiverse.

I guess there are two hickups:

  1. The side stone needs to be up side down compared to your current version, because I cannot print the overhang as it is. I guess you don't want a flat surface on the outside of the cube. The surface only needs to be about 1mm wide. So it will stand on a surface of
    1mmx20mm. Probably you probably wont even notice it, when printed.

  2. I guess that Skeinforge doesn't like things without a flat bottom. I get an error stating that the object has a 0 area at the first layer. I found out it will not print a raft. So the center axis probably needs something flat:
    a flat surface that we can break away (1mm high is fine). I'll try it myself if you don't get around to do it before I start printing.

I hope I can print some parts tonight (European time).

Yes, this takes DIY-cubes to a new level!

  1. Of course, stupid of me not to see that. A tiny ledge on the outside won't matter, in fact it's probably needed to bevel all the edges anyway to ensure smooth operation. How is the new scale? If the stone surface is 1cm wide, then 1 Wings3d unit equals 1mm. Would be good to know for future refe
    rence. Which program could I use to check the scale properly?

  2. I will make a axis version with a manual raft, and will also make a version with larger footprint, as making it a bit flat won't matter to the mechanical function. Should I make it with or without the holes?

Will try to do the change
s tonight (European time).

I won't do a lot of detailing of the model at this stage, as I feel getting a working mechanical construction is more important. The "connection stones" will probably need to be scaled down a tiny bit, and the size of the holes need to be decided. I know there are cube de
signs which doesn't use screws, but I'm not familiar with that construction.

About the units: Most (if not all) STLs do not have a unit. Skeinforge/makerbot assumes all units are mm.

For the axis, I think I'd like one with the holes

Excellent. So the model is a bit too small compared to the original cube where each piece is about 18mm wide. Should I scale it up?

I made the holes in the axis 2mm. Added a picture of a cube4you screw which is the same size.

What I forgot to mention: the pieces are 20mm in size (not 10mm), so they are about the right size. You probably have no sense of dimension from my photo's. Next time I'll add a Euro.

Pretty sweet

I'm printing... it takes about 20 mins per piece. Remember there are 27 pieces. It'll take about 9 hours of printing to do the entire cube. I hope I'll have enough to test some sliding action tomorrow.

I found out that the holes just fill up with material. They are just too small. No worries for
now. I'll just drill them out and it can be fixed in later versions.
The axis was messed up but not fubar, so I'll just use it as-is.

Well, no. I was unsure on how to make the support structure properly.

http://www.thingiverse.com/image:12050http://www.thingiverse.com/ima... have the pieces with support.


It's not that far from being printable without support. Remember that 45 deg overhang prints pretty okay. If you can turn it on its corner, it'll probably print right away.
I had my doubts about this: http://www.thingiverse.com/image:10790http://www.thingiverse.com/ima...
but it is probably one of the best printable items.