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Print-In-Place Fidget Cube

by mathgrrl, published

Print-In-Place Fidget Cube by mathgrrl Jan 20, 2014

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Summary

UPDATE: An updated model of the Fidget Cube is contained in the new Fidget Star.

A print-in-place folding fidget cube, with customization options for size, shape, and clearances. As you fold the cube it turns inside out to form another cube! Makes a nice gift or 3D-printing demo, and is fun to fidget with while on the bus, standing in line, etc.

This model prints in ONE PIECE (!), fully assembled, without raft and without supports, and then you snap it open in a couple of places until it moves freely; see the instructions. Customize size and tolerances for you printer with the Customizer link!

For a video illustrating how this type of cube folds and moves, see emmett's great separate-pieces design at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:135836, which was the inspiration for this model.

For the smallest possible working fidget cube with clearances optimized for MakerBot printers, use the "fidgetcube48.stl" file.

For more information about how this model was made, see MakerHome:
Day 145
Day 146
Day 147
Day 148

Instructions

Print with no raft and no supports in the vertical position.

Each file corresponds to one of the colors of models in the picture; they differ only by size of model and size of hinges. One additional model, the "fidgetcube48", is a very small fidget cube that is optimized for .2mm/Standard on a Replicator 2.

After printing, carefully snap to free the vertical center hinges.
Then fold together vertically and carefully snap free the horizontal center hinges. If this doesn't seem possible then fold together vertically the other way and try again.

Finally, snap free the horizontal hinges near the top and bottom. Again, if this doesn't seem possible then change the vertical configuration first.

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I've been having some trouble printing this, even after changing some settings in a customizer. The file seems to print fine on a See Me CNC Orion printer, but no matter what I try, it doesn't work on the Makerbot 5th generation. Is there any possible way to get the individual cube files to then snap together. That would also allow for a multi colored cube. Thanks for posting such awesome designs.

I haven't had good luck printing fidget cubes on the MakerBot 5th gen either, at least for small/medium sizes. I can get it to work if I bump up the size of the cube and hinge radius (with hinge clearance maybe 0.5? -- can't remember). For example I can get the 30mm fidget star at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:929504 to work on a 5th gen, so probably a 30mm fidget cube would work too.

Fidget Star

I'll try that one next. I have a standing cube printing now with a bigger hinge clearance. On the best setting it's still another 2 1/2 hours to go.

I printed this, it came out great, but the hinges are not designed right. They just fall out or snap. Now I have like 2 broken models of these...

Hi Johnnya101, try looking through the comments below to troubleshoot what might have gone wrong with your print. The fidget cube is definitely a challenging one, but don't give up, you can do it!

Well, it broke apart easily and everything, but when you actually start to move it, the hinges fall out. The stubs on the hinges need to be bigger by just a little bit, so they are actually staying in place. Someone might actually have a remix with better hinges, as I have been looking at the remixes now.
Thanks for noticing my comment!

Well, it broke apart easily and everything, but when you actually start to move it, the hinges fall out. The stubs on the hinges need to be bigger by just a little bit, so they are actually staying in place. Someone might actually have a remix with better hinges, as I have been looking at the remixes now.
Thanks for noticing my comment!

Use the customizer to optimize the hinges for your machine. You can change clearances, etc to match well with your printer's resolution and tolerances. Press "Open in Customizer" to get started. Good luck!

the hinges will not snap :(

I think I finally found out why I can't get this to print! When I slice it in Simplify3D the hinges aren't solid and layered evenly. After running it through the Netfabb cloud repair tool I think I might be able to get a successful print.

This printed out perfect for me. I'll admit I had my doubts watching my Tiny Boy printer as it began the 2nd cube up mid air no support. It looked fused together when finished, but slowly eased loose on each hinge in succession with a generous amount of pressure- that I thought would surely break it. I had a fan outside the printer blowing directly on the build plate which I believe helped significantly. Now printing 6 more at a time to give out to friends. TY!

Wow that is great to hear! And on a TIny Boy!! I think you're right about the fan. Sometimes I have more success printing multiple fidget cubes, I think because the layers have a chance to cool while the other cubes are being printed.

Next... can your TIny Boy print a Fidget Star? http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:929504

Fidget Star

This build made me sad.

Sadness! Let me know if I can help, or what went wrong. This print is a tricky one, but once you find the settings and clearances that work for your machine, it should work consistently. Always happy to help the Doctor, especially the fourth.

Ha -- have tried once (red, pre-remix, sliced in Cura) and it appeared to be working until the hinges worked TOO well, and it fell over at a hinge point. (Build timelapse (1m03s) here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/am2nwijq730ikiv/day147_fidgetcube_red_20150531122419-failed.mpg?dl=0).

The parts that printed appeared fine, including effortless hinge operation. (Unsupported flats were rough, as others have reported, but not unacceptably so. I'm considering enabling supports in the slicer, to help support and to resist fall-over.)

Will try again.

This comment has been deleted.

The 3D printer printed in the air >:( COMPLETE Wast of my Time.

I'm sure you already solved this, but if you are printing into the air, it's actually probably because your build plate is too low, and your first layer is not adhering. Be sure you are level, and move it up by fractions of a millimeter uniformly, if you can figure out a way to do that. This problem can occur on some prints and not others because your first layer might be thinner, and thus it is more sensitive to a lower bed. If your first layer is thinner than the space between the extruder and the print bed, the print won't stick.

Hi krumerya23, if your printer is air-printing, maybe you are having an extrusion problem or a clog? Usually an air-print is due to a problem happening with the printer, not the model. If you're having trouble with only this one model, but other models print fine, then maybe try re-downloading this model again, or re-making it in Customizer if that's how you made it the first time.

In any case, keep trying. Part of working with a new technology like 3D printing is trying, failing, trying again, failing some more, and being willing to get up again over and over. Your time is never wasted; each failure is part of the iteration and learning process. Good luck.

What is the difference in the colors in the file names?

My cube always breaks after starting to print the next cube above. I think the corner curls up and the printer head knocks it off the hinge. Anyone have the same problem?

I am not able to print any of the print in place on a Da Vinci 1.0. Anyone out there had any luck with these? No joints are working.

Thanks!

My Da Vinci all in one printed it just fine. However, it broke when I went to snap the hinges loose. :(

echo, inside :)

My Da Vinci all in one printed it just fine. However, it broke when I went to snap the hinges loose. :(

My Da Vinci all in one printed it just fine. However, it broke when I went to snap the hinges loose. :(

My Da Vinci all in one printed it just fine. However, it broke when I went to snap the hinges loose. :(

For me this model works on a Rep 2 with .2mm layer height and no supports. If you're using the same and it still isn't working, try opening it in the Customizer and modifying the "hinge clearance" parameter. On my Rep 2 the magic number is .48. I had to experiment a lot until I found the right clearance for my machine. If you find something that works, please reply so that other with your machine can try the same settings.

I have a problem similar to ngageby's issue.

I just printed the yellow version, as designed without modifications, on a MakerBot Mini. The center hinges work great, but all of the other hinges broke when I tried to open them. Any suggestions?

Sometimes I have a problem with the outside of the horizontal hinges. Because they print without support, a little bit of material droops under the outside of the hinge. Then when you try to snap the hinge, the droopy pieces get in the way. Try this: before trying to break the hinges, keep the cube oriented the way it was when it printed and then use some snippers to remove any droopy bits that are under the outside of the horizontal hinges. Let me know if that helps!

What a killer thing! Printed great on a Robo R1 using the high quality setting. I just showed my friend next door and he couldn't believe I printed it in one go without snapping parts together and the hinges work. So cool. Thanks for sharing.

What infill should this be at?

I think it should work at any infill, but I use the default 10% on my machine. On the MakerBot you can choose between the default hex infill and a linear infill, and I think the linear one looks nicer on these models when the filament is translucent.

thanks

Not sure what I'm doing wrong but I can't print this.

I'm trying the black remesh at both .1 and .2 mm with and without supports and the hinges just aren't forming properly.

Any ideas?

Have you tried using the Customizer to fiddle with the hinge clearance settings? The example STL files are optimized for a MakerBot Replicator 2 printing at .2mm layer height (and definitely NO supports, or the hinges will lock shut). If you are using a different printer then you may need different clearances.

I have, I changed the clearance just slightly. With supports the hinges work perfectly, they just aren't fully forming so the cubes don't hold together. Also, without support the printer tries to print in mid air which of course it can't do so the cubes mess up.

Printing with supports works great except that the hinges don't completely form.

I use a FlashForge Creator X which is based off the open source of the Maker Dual 1 with a number of improvements.

The crazy thing is, this model is actually designed to print without supports. I know that sounds wrong - especially because it will involve not only printing hinges that stick out past the sides of the model but also, and even worse, involves printing one cube on top of another but not actually attached. However that's what this model does when it works! I don't know what you mean about the hinges not completely forming, though.

OK, so the hinges work by printing around cones. The problem is that some of the outer hinges aren't fully printing over the cone so the cone just comes out freely.

I am having issues with the first horizontal hinges. The vertical one prints cleanly, but then I lose it on the others. Attached is a photo. Any ideas?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxdmp56Q0VErRlpudnFaQ1loTXc/edit?usp=sharing

It looks like the right thing is happening - is the print stopping/crashing at the stage shown? If it is only the raggedness that is the problem then let it finish printing; it works out okay in the end. Sometimes the bottoms of the horizontal hinges need to be cleaned up because they print unsupported.

It's not crashing, but it's getting messy and the filament begins to not stay in place. I think you're right about it not being supported. What about cooling fan speeds? Any tips on fan speed that might make it print cleaner for the horizontals?

When the print completes, does the hinge work? I usually print these pretty small, so the hinge messiness isn't really apparent. I don't know about fan speeds, but if you know how to add only external supports (not internal or the hinges won't work) then you could also try that maybe.

The vertical one works perfectly and it's really clean. I think I'll experiment with supports. Thanks for your help!

Awesome! I will have lots of fun with this xD

I'm now getting better results with Hinge Clearance at .47 than with the default .45 that is in the Customizer, so I recommend starting from there if you're printing on a Replicator.

This is awesome! What did you use to design the cube? Can I take some tip to design print-at-once-hinge? :)

I made the cube in OpenSCAD so you could grab the code from the Customizer link and steal the hinge part. Although a stand-alone hinge is a good idea, to have available for other projects. I think I'll make a file for that this week and post it!

Yes I am looking inside it, and it would be nicer if you take hinge parts as the component library! I'd appreciated it :) I have my own hinge design in OpenSCAD, but it works for different supporting materials using 3D printer, such as Object3D, and Dimension SST, not for Makerbot.

Customizable hinge now posted at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:436737 !

Customizable Hinge

I used your print-in-place hinges with some modification in my mars base: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:353959http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
Thanks for sharing them!

MarsCosy - A minimal mars residence
by makkuro

Which modification did you do?

I split up the difference and union parts for the door and the wall to be able to put the hinge in an existing geometry. This way i was able to put the hinge into the mars base.

Wow, very cool!

Humm... why did you upload a different stl per color? o.0

Each stl file is for a different size fidget cube, which you can see the relative sizes of in the picture by color. The hinges are pretty much the same size on each one - meaning that they aren't just scale-ups of each other. For best results I recommend using the Customizer to set your own hinge size and clearances.

What is the difference between the day 146 black and the remeshed black. I have a Rep 2 which one would you suggest?

The remeshed was put through a couple of filters in MeshLab to remove some non-manifold faces and/or edges. For some reason MakerWare didn't have a problem with them, but Slic3r did. So if you use Slic3r then use the remeshed. The problem seems to lie with direct OpenSCAD output, which is what my sample files are. If you make your own new files with the Thingiverse Customizer then they will not require remeshing.

I found that on my Replicator 2x, taking the acrylic dome off helped to allow for faster cooling. Nice design by the way! Nice giveaways! Would it be alright to sell these?

That makes sense - I think my prints of this model turn out better (on my Rep 2) when I print more than one at a time. It must give them time to cool.

For selling, as long as it is within the standard Thingiverse share/attribute license then of course!
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/http://creativecommons.org/lic...

I am wondering why you decided to go with the tapered pin hinges rather than just using through pins, since it is printed in one part anyways. I have been having trouble with printing this, as slicer seems to have an issue with the top central hinge, even after running it through netfabb. I would have thought simple through pins would be simpler and might even print better.

hi pyrophreek, I tried through-pin hinges in a previous design (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:144645)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... but the hinges weren't as reliable as I wanted. with these cone hinges, they sides of the hinges never touch when printing (except when printed vertically), and there is nothing to break or bridge inside the hinge. this makes the hinges really strong even when they are really small.

Hinged butterfly

Having an issue with slic3r and the yellow one, the top central hinge always seems to print garbage, causing it to seize. All the other hinges work great. See http://www.thingiverse.com/make:64658http://www.thingiverse.com/mak... for an image of the garbage in the g-code. This was only on the yellow one, and doesn't appear on the red one, so I am going to try that one tonight.

Print-In-Place Fidget Cube

Maybe try a Customizer-generated one instead of one of my sample files. The samples were generated with OpenSCAD, which seems to sometimes cause a problem with Slic3r. Let me know if that works!

Your Fidget Cube has just been featured on 3D Idea Forum's "Thing of the day" because we think its awesome!

Check it out here: http://www.3dideaforum.com/forum/art/342-thingiverse-thing-of-the-dayhttp://www.3dideaforum.com/for...

What would you suggest for the infill, shells, temperature, and File to download? I am unable to get the cube to work, the hinges always break after I take it off :(

The default clearances work well on a Replicator 2 with MakerWare .2mm/Standard with no rafts and no support. That's .2mm layer height, 2 shells, 10% infill, but on a different printer things might work a little differently. For me when the hinges broke off during testing, it was either because the stacking_clearance was too low (and thus too much force was required to snap open the model), or way more likely, because the hinge_clearance was too low (and thus the hinge ended up being stuck together or glued to the adjacent cube). So I recommend using the Customizer to increase your hinge clearance. Then print one and a half levels of cubes and test from there. If you get it to work please leave a note here with your printer and the settings/clearances you used so that other people with your machine can get it working too.

Thanks mathgrrl! I'm going to give this a try tonight. I've printed eight of the "stock" versions on my Replicator 2 using the settings suggested, but the horizontal hinges always break. I'm hopeful the customized version will take care of the problem because I love this Thing you've created!

Shot in the dark here, but... any chance you are using supports? I know it seems impossible but this model is built to print with NO supports and no raft. If you were using supports it would glue the hinges together and they would break. Since you have a Rep2 like me, I'm thinking the same settings should work... ? Please keep me posted, I'd love to know what makes it work for you. (Also, sometimes I have had better luck with translucent filament than opaque filament, and all the filament I have used for this project has been from MakerBot. Not sure if that makes a difference but it might, in the clearances?)

JONeillSr - here is an update that might help you. I just tried the smallest default model (the white one) with an opaque MakerBot filament and it broke (although for me it was the vertical hinges). This model had printed fine with translucent filament previously. So I tried again but increased the hinge_clearance to .5 and it worked perfectly! I hope that works for you too.

Thanks! I'll give that a shot. I am happy to report that after trying a few customizations based on your tips, I finally got a working cube! Just in case it helps anyone else, here are the specs I used for this cube:

25mm Cube Height
.4mm Stacking Clearance
3.0mm Hinge Radius
.65mm Hinge Clearance

I had Glow-in-the-Dark PLA on the spool for this make, so I bet I probably could've gotten away with lesser hinge clearance using a "normal" PLA. The glowing cube is pretty cool though!

Thanks again Mathgrrl! Awesome work!

trying this now

Is there a Slic3r fix for the manifold issue?

Yes, I posted some remeshed versions from MeshLab in the download list. If you want to see how MeshLab can fix files like these for Slic3r, there are instructions at http://makerhome.blogspot.comhttp://makerhome.blogspot.com (day 148).

Thanks the Blue Remeshed worked

hi all of your objects were not slicing properly in slic3r saying it wasnt manifold. i tried all of them and none worked.

Hello Nicbane, I tried finding non-manifold faces, vertices, and edges in MeshLab and can't see what slic3r might be having a problem with. MakerWare can slice these but I know things differ between slicers. Even though the OpenSCAD-generated STL sample files aren't working for slic3r, perhaps an STL generated by the Customizer would work? For either type of file I'd love to know where the non-manifold places are; I'm not seeing them on my end but that doesn't mean they aren't there!

they are different for every file but they all are on the right column of blocks. either one or two of the blocks will totally vanish after slicing in repetier host. thanks and ill give the customizer a shot

this truly is an amazing model and look forward to printing it. thanks

Nicbane, I did some random clean/repair operations in MeshLab just in case it helped, even though I can't see the problem. The resulting file is now in the download list with your name at the end. Let me know if that works and if it does, I'll check that it is still good on the MakerBot and if so I will update all the files.

thanks so much i will try it right after i finish my chain mail print. i will let you know how it goes

i just sliced the file labeled with my name and it sliced perfectly. i will now print it and let you know how that goes but you did fix the slicing problem. Thank you

Okay, I put remeshed versions of the files into the download list. I'll describe what I did to fix them on my blog tomorrow at http://makerhome.blogspot.comhttp://makerhome.blogspot.com (day 148). Thanks for letting me know there was a problem for slic3r users, Nicbane!

awesome man! i'm a big fan of Emmet's folding cube, if this will come out in one peace, you're the best! I'll try to make it and post a picture. thanks for model & script!

You are my hero! I am going to try to print this soon. I read that assembling Emmett's cube is difficult, does this one move as smooth as that one once you get it loosened?

Yes, and you can make it tighter or looser by changing the hinge clearance parameter in the customizer. Glad that you like it and I hope it works for you! If you make one could you please post it as a "make" with details about your printer and the clearances that worked for you? I've found that tolerances can vary widely with different printers.

From which software can I change the parameters like hinge clearance and tolerances.

Hi raneya1, click on "Open in Customizer" above the download button and the Thingiverse Customizer app will open and let you change the parameters as you like. Then you can download your custom file from there. Post a make/picture when you're done if you can!

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