Introduction: 3D Printed (Soma) Cube Puzzle
In this Instructable, you will learn how to design and create a cube puzzle!
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Step 1: Create a Design
First off, if you're going to want to make your cube unique to you, it's important to create your own designs. This can be done with a simple piece of graph paper and a pencil. Simply draw three 3 x 3 grids, one for the top, middle, and bottom face of the cube, and pencil in different letters in each square. Keep these tips in mind while you brainstorm:
- Ideally, you want 5 pieces
- Be sure to keep each piece 3-6 cubes large (Don't leave single cubes stranded in corners!)
- Try and make the pieces interlock as much as possible.
- It's okay if one or two of your pieces don't interlock with others, it's not possible to do so with all 5 pieces.
Step 2: Start Creating Your Parts in CAD
For this next step, you might need a basic knowledge of CAD (Computer Aided Design). Choose your favorite CAD program (SketchUp is a good option that's free), and create each part in a separate file. I used SolidWorks for this step, and will attach all the files I used in both SolidWorks 2017 and 2015 format. In case you would like to know the dimensions I used, each cube was 0.5" (inches) making the finished and assembled cube 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch.
Step 3: Put the Parts Together
Next we're going to take all of the parts we previously made, and mate them together into one assembly file. This step does require knowledge of whichever CAD program you have chosen to use, but it is quite simple once you understand how to do it. I have also provided a small little animation I made with the assembly at the top.
Step 4: Print Time!
Now that you have assembled your cube, it's time to print! Based on what printer you have, transfer the files to it and print. My cube was printed on a stratasys uPrint SE Plus, and because it has dual extrusion and is able to use support material, I was able to engrave my initials on the parts of the cube. However, if you do not have a printer that has such features, I would avoid adding engraving as they won't look as clean as the ones shown in my pictures.
Step 5: Time to Solve It!
After the cube is printed and the support material removed if any exists, then congratulations on creating your very own puzzle cube! Now it comes time to try and solve it (don't cheat and look at the designs the first time you try and put it together), it's quite the challenge! Go out and see how fast your friends can solve it!