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Yet Another Fidget Infinity Cube

by austinvojta, published

Yet Another Fidget Infinity Cube by austinvojta Oct 20, 2017
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Summary

I have revised this model and released v2 of my cube! Please check it out here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2848678

I loved the idea of a 3D printed fidget infinity cube, but was sorely disappointed by the models available on Thingiverse. Some printed well enough to turn, but none had been optimized well for 3D printing. I set out to create my own version, with tolerances and hinges designed perfectly to turn right off your print bed.

Prints at 0.2 mm layer height and takes about 4.5 hours. Please let me know your results!

UPDATE 12/19/2017: Fixed a couple of internal walls that were causing issues with certain slicers. Thanks to @th_in_gs for the help!

UPDATE 3/31/2018: If you're using Cura, be sure to disable "Ignore Small Z Gaps" under your "Shell" settings! Thanks @runtimeterror for discovering this fix.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:

Prusa

Printer:

Rafts:

No

Supports:

No

Resolution:

0.2 mm

Infill:

20%


Notes:

This thing is optimized for 0.2 mm layer height. Please try that first before any other resolutions. It's also optimized specifically for a 0.4 mm nozzle width, so no guarantees it will work well if you're using another size.

20% infill gives it a tiny bit of heft so it feels better to spin around, but you could probably go up or down from this number depending on your preferences.

Some other tips for best print results: use a skirt that's close to the model and goes up 5-10 layers, keep part cooling fan off for first layer then on for the rest, turn the model diagonally in your slicer so that X and Y axes move together for most of the moves, use 3-5 vertical shells/perimeters to avoid curling, and print at the coolest temperature you reasonably can for your material to avoid stringing or lamination where it's unwanted.

Post-Printing

Break free and loosen it up

The cube's hinges should all turn freely straight off the print bed. However, you can get it a lot smoother by grabbing an individual pair of hinges and working them back and forth repeatedly to "wear" them in.

How I Designed This

Tinkercad

This model was designed 100% in Tinkercad. I used cubes of 3.2 mm radius along with a lot of cylinders for holes and pins, plus a lot of handwritten calculations to ensure even tolerances throughout the part. For example, the radius of each cube is equal to the outer radius of each pin, so that the corners do not interfere when rotating (as they did on many other models I tried printing).

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Anyone has this issue with the internal hinges? Using Cura 3.2.1

Will tell you in about 3 hours ;)

Looks fine in the slicer, so far ...

Edit: Nope - the problem is already visible in the slicer - dammit. I fixed that once. I'll have a look at it again.

Edit 2: It's the "Ignore Small Z Gaps" in the "Shell"-section that has to be disabled. Quite annoying. Now I have to decide if I cancel the print... Is your cube technically still usable?

Thanks a lot I thought I was seeing something wrong in the slicer layers.
On my print some hinges were fused and one can be seen broken in the photo. Not sure if its due to this setting but definitely it was not helping. Will do another print at night and let you know in the morning if it prints ok.

Now printed ok. Thanks again.
Had some fusion at the vertical hinges due to not so good bridging but managed to snap it free.

Dang, thanks for the heads up. I slice with Slic3r Prusa Edition so I've never run into that issue. I'll be sure to add a note in the description to warn people to disable that. Did your cube turn out ok?

The first few layers with full cross-section area (the ones right after the bottom roundings) glued together very hard and I have no idea why. The bottom hinges were also very hard to break free - It's a wonder they didn't break. I already reduced the printing temperature. Maybe the bed was too hot (50 °C, PLA).

Maybe related: The overhangs of the rounded bottom warped upwards and the nozzle kept colliding with them. Maybe this decalibrated the bed/nozzle distance and squeezed some layers ... just guessing. Maybe this can be avoided by Z-hopping during travels.

The rest is of really good quality: The vertical hinges are perfect and the top hinges are a bit looser. Perfect hair gaps between the cubes. One can see the effort you've put into this model!

Other settings I made in Cura 3.2.1

  • Wall line count: 3
  • Top Layers: 6
  • Bottom Layers: 6
  • Top/Bottom Line Direcntions: [0,90] (compensates the 45 ° rotation of the object around the Z-Axis)
  • Ignore Small Z Gaps: Off!! (seems to be a bug - top layers of the hinges are being printed within the infill and the infill fills the gap)
  • Combing Mode: Off (prevents under-extrusion after travel)
  • Retraction Minimum Travel: 3 mm (prevents 90 % of retractions due to "Combing Mode: Off" - don't know a better workaround, yet)
  • Infill Line Directions: [0] (compensates the 45 ° rotation of the object around the Z-Axis)

I wouldn't recommend these setting to everyone until I know, what's happening with that glue-layer.

See: https://www.thingiverse.com/make:471262

Yet Another Fidget Infinity Cube

Made one on my Form 2. doesn't appear the hinges are moveable. I'm fairly new to printing. Any tips would be appreciated.

I'm not incredibly familiar with SLA printing technology, but I'm quite sure that the bridging and overhang ability required to make this thing print right mean that it wouldn't be possible on a Form 2. I designed it to work with FDM. Sorry man.

Trying it again on high res. Probably a waste of resin but trying to learn. To the uninitiated it would seem the higher accuracy of SLI would make it work better than FDM, but I'm not aware of all the intriquacies of the process.

Let me know what happens. I think for SLA this thing would be better printed on a diagonal axis instead of flat on the build plate. But even then I'm not sure it's possible, since you need to have small gaps where "no contact" is being made (on FDM, this equates to layers being "unstuck" enough that they're easily broken apart).

I saw everyone that already made it, used PLA...

Is there the possibility to print that using ABS or this kind of design is just for PLA?

I think PLA works best because you can use the part cooling fan without compromising layer adhesion. The print has a few tricky overhangs that benefit greatly from having the fan running at full speed.

Thanks Austin, my kid loves this thing. WELL worth a $3 tip!

Wow, I am flattered! Not just by the tip, but by the fact you took the time to comment. So glad your kid likes it. This made my day! Cheers!

Just curious: what's the reason for suggesting to print it diagonally? Less resonance artifacts?

Yeah, that's the idea. I print most (non-organically shaped) stuff diagonally just because I see less slop in either the X or Y direction that way, since neither motor runs at full speed or acceleration on outer perimeters.

Printed last night:

Red ABS
200 C first layer, 195 C for the rest
3 perimeters, 20% infill
Fan off first layer, constant 50% cooling for the rest

I just couldn't seem to print this before. One of the hinges kept failing on me. I had to tighten up my printer, to be able to do it. Definitely a learning experience.

Thanks for the great model!

Cool, glad it helped you hone things in. Thanks for sharing!

Just printed it, took about 3hrs 15mins on my Monoprice Select Plus printer. I used 10% infill, and that is fine. Thanks for the great model!

Thanks for sharing!

Is it supposed to have open squares in one side on the cube's

I don't understand the question. Can you post a picture of what it looks like?

New version should completely solve this if it was a thin wall issue in Cura! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2848678

Yet Another Fidget Infinity Cube v2

No, definitely not. That's got to be a slicing issue. Which slicer are you using, and what were your infill settings?

I am starting to experiment with making a puzzle box that needs multiple pieces held together by a pin and would appreciate your insights.

What tolerances between pieces did you use when designing this model? In other words, what was the gap between pieces both horizontally and vertically to ensure the parts did not fuse together?

For the vertical hinges, did you have to modify the hinge piece shape to keep it from fusing to the adjoining pieces?

Did you learn any design tips for this type of project while making this?

Thank you. Any info you would like to share will be appreciated.

Hi there! I used 0.4mm for both horizontal and vertical tolerances in most places on this model. This works because my nozzle is 0.4 mm, so it leaves a ~1 nozzle width gap, and I use 0.2mm layer height, so it skips 2 layers between parts that shouldn't be fused vertically. Because the horizontal and vertical tolerances are the same, each hinge is actually entirely identical throughout the cube. That was part of the design goal when I was optimizing it for 0.2mm layer height!

If you bring the .stl into a program like Fusion 360 or Solidworks, you should be able to convert the mesh into bodies and then use the "Inspect" tool to measure whatever distances you'd like. I'm currently working on a parametric version of this model that can be scaled up or down without messing up the tolerances, and can share the Fusion 360 part file for that once I'm finished if you'd like.

Thanks a lot for the details!

I wonder how small one can print this model as soon as there's a parametric one.

Bleh, I keep meaning to work on it but have been very busy with my senior design project and other coursework. It's pretty much done, but I was working on a redesign of the vertically-printed joints, and wanted to print some tests out to see which design worked best. Printer is out of commission until I replace the heated bed, but I'm out of town all weekend... maybe sometime before April! Haha

This model printed wonderfully. It was so satisfying to pick it up off the print bed and have the hinges immediately be movable. I had previously tried to print similar models without success. There always seemed to be one hinge on the other models that would not come loose. Thank you o much for producing and uploading this design.

My settings were:
Filament: PLA 1.75mm
Printer: xyzprinting Davinci 1.0a (no mods)
Slicer: Simplify3d
Nozzle: 0.4mm
Extrusion Multiplier: 0.90
Layer Height: 0.2mm
Top Solid Layers: 3
Bottom Solid Layers: 3
Outline/Perimeter Shells: 3
Infill: 20%
Support: None
Raft: None
Orientation: Diagonal on printbed per project description suggestion.

Thanks for the comment, glad you like the model!

Everything came out great except for one of the hinges. 4 prints with different filament, different speeds, same result. Same hinge was faulty in all of them. Middle hinge on the right.

New version's hinges are much stronger and should print without issue. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2848678

Yet Another Fidget Infinity Cube v2

Dang, sorry to hear that. You printed at 100% size and at 0.2mm layer height? Did you try orienting diagonally on the print bed as specified?

What is it about moving x and y simultaneously that makes it easier to print?

If either individual axis has looser belts or causes vibrating issues, this minimizes the issues by moving each axis slower. Basically neither has to move as quickly since they share the velocity in both directions.

oh ok very informative, thanks

Printed it yesterday on my Anet A8. Came out beautifully!
The side of one of the hinges was lightly fused, but it was freed easily.
Some playing was required in order to make everything move smoothly. But once done - it's so much fun!
Thank you for a great design.

I looked at your Make - looks great! I see there are a couple of surface errors in the model - for my case, the slicer ignored them, but for you it looks like they're very visible on the print. I'll work on updating the model to remove those. Which slicer did you use?

so i used a raft, and it kept breaking

Bummer, what printer?

Comments deleted.

If anyone gives this a shot on their printer, please let me know how it turns out! I would love some feedback.

Printed several of those on my CR-10. My friends love it, it's addictive.

Lol, mine too! When I first made this and had one in class, I had requests for 6 more of them by the end of the day.

Printed this today. Worked straight off the bed. Followed your instructions on Tronxy X3 printer, 1.75 filament, Slic3r, 0.2 layer height, diagonal layout, 20% infill, 3 shells, 200 degC first layer, 195 degC 4 rest, no brim. No extra cooling fan (Stock setup), but with Greg Wade extruder modification. Thanks, BTW this works better than the others on my printer.

Great, thank you! Glad it printed well.

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