Build a Frabjous

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Picture of Build a Frabjous
A frabjous is a cool looking dodecahedron structure made out of 30 "S" shaped pieces. Designed by George Hart (, my cardboard frabjous was inspired by Use his Flickr to help get a sense of where the pieces go.

Lots of cardboard
Box cutter/Hobby knife
Hot glue
Post-it notes
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Step 1: Cut out the pieces

Picture of Cut out the pieces
Print out the frabjous template and use it to cut out all 30 shapes.

This step takes a long time. I did it over the course of a week because I went through several blades and it tires out your shoulder. The cardboard gets bent and damaged sometimes but that is not a big deal.

When spray painting mine, I put a primer down first to help stiffen the cardboard up a bit. I then used indoor chrome spray paint because it sticks best.
frabjous.pdf(612x792) 345 KB
This was impossible for a year... until... I found this site:

Scroll down and print out the template for the 'dodecahedronlabeled.pdf'. Make the dodecahedron. It shows you how to match up the ends of a frabjous. You will love the person who made this available :)
Mindu1m4 years ago
Papercraft is one of my hobbys, but with this one, I have to confess that I´ve got completely lost. Until the end of step 2 everything worked really fine. My model was exactly as the photo. But after that, I´ve got a monster over my table, that didn´t look like anything on the photos. I´ve completed the conections table to organize myself but I simply can´t manage to put each "S" on the correct position. 
Point  1 connects to 13, 17, and 19
Point  2 connects to 14, 18, and 20
Point  3 connects to 15, 16, and 19
Point  4 connects to 11, 17, and 20
Point  5 connects to 12, 16, and 18
Point  6 connects to  8,  9, and 18
Point  7 connects to  9, 10, and 19
Point  8 connects to  6, 10, and 20
Point  9 connects to  6,  7, and 16
Point 10 connects to  7,  8, and 17
Point 11 connects to  4, 13, and 14
Point 12 connects to  5, 14, and 15
Point 13 connects to  1, 11, and 15
Point 14 connects to  2, 11, and 12
Point 15 connects to  3, 12, and 13
Point 16 connects to  3,  5, and  9
Point 17 connects to  1,  4, and 10
Point 18 connects to  2,  5, and  6
Point 19 connects to  1,  3, and  7
Point 20 connects to  2,  4, and  8
I know that all this numbers are correct, but  is there any way to know how to overlap each part?
I haven't built it yet, but it appears to be arranged like the compound of five intersecting tetrahedra. If anyone else trying to build this has some capacity for intermediate-level origami, I'd recommend folding Tom Hull's five intersecting tetrahedra to get used to how the symmetries work. The folding of the thirty pieces themselves isn't very difficult, it's the assembly that gets interesting. It's less confusing than this Frabjous, because the pieces are straight instead of S-shaped, so it seems like it would be some good practice. Plus, you'll have an awesome origami sculpture to show for it! :-D
Grymee (author)  Mindu1m4 years ago
This certainly was a big problem we ran into when putting this together. Be patient, this part is more about brute force and constant corrections than a systematic order.

It sounds like you have all the pieces connected to the correct blossoms even if they are not in the correct spiral order, which is where we wound up too. I talked briefly in Step 3 about how to make the corrections but here are some more details.

Start with a blossom and identify a piece that does NOT have two pieces underneath it and overlapping it (within the blossom, don't worry about the internal structure). See if the other half of the piece in a different blossom is in the correct spiral position, with two pieces overlapping and two underneath. If both halves are out of position, then re-thread the whole piece into the correction position for the two spirals. If only one half is out of position than you can probably just manipulate a few pieces in the blossom to get it in the right spot.

Get each blossom in the correct spiral pattern one at a time and repeat the process for each blossom, and hopefully by the end everything will be oriented properly.

This problem was why I noted to be forceful with the pieces because we had to reorient a lot of them within the structure and nearly broke the thing a few times. Doing it in paper might make this process easier since it is more flexible.

Well, I hope you understood that and that I could help. Please let me know how it turns out.
cleffjark3 years ago
I am lucky enough to have the use of a laser cutter. I've just cut all the pieces out of clear acrylic and now all I have to do is put it together. I put little holes to wire it together at the joints. Only problem is I'm loosing my mind because I can't put it together. So confusing. I'll take a day off from this and come back to it when I have 5 hours to put it together. Thank you for doing this. I know it will be awesome when I finish mine. If I finish...
Trebawa4 years ago
But...but...frabjous is an adjective! D=
I seriously believe Jabberwocky was the seed of inspiration for Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Oh frabjous day! Calooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy. (Jabberwocky)
T'was brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All Mimsy were the borogoves and the mome wraths outgrabe. Ahh... middle school.
I could recite it from memory, but I'll spare you. I do love that poem.
So do I - I had to learn it at school too
emattrose4 years ago
I made one out of red vinyl, and I'm very pleased with how it came out. I'm about to post a slideshow with pictures of the process. Thanks for the fantastic instructable!
Madelon4 years ago
Look great! It's incredible you constructed this from 30 identical shapes! 

I was just wondering... has anyone tried placing a light source inside? Is there room for it?
The first time I saw this instructable I thought "Hey, that'd look slick in sheet-metal". Then again, if you built up a plexiglass one and had a light source in the centre, thatd look incredibly cool.
chavier4 years ago
In my second picture, the two pyramids are held at points 1 and 3, and they are connected at point 19. In the 3rd picture with three pyramids, the intersections are points 1, 3, and 4 connected at points 19 and 17 So the point 17 is the joint of 1 & 4? or 3&4?
Grymee (author)  chavier4 years ago
Point 17 is the joint of 1 & 4
Very Nice, I did not realize the effort involved in making this until I made one for myself! Not a simple project, but very rewarding to see after completion. Thankyou and great work!!
Grymee (author)  Confounded Machine4 years ago
Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely a deceptive project, even using the one I have now I think trying to build another would still be difficult.
polyestere4 years ago
Nice. Can I do it in metal ? Yep, the dude already did it on a slightly different version of it. Very very cool still though!!
You can try :P Unless you have a laser cutter, then you can do it.
mathman474 years ago
Make it larger and make it a bicycle. Very cool project I also noticed that you ship at Newegg.
Coolboyme4 years ago
OMG SUPERB it is indeed it is But its a bit tough to do isnt it BUT STILL IT IS MIND BLOWING!
where can i find the template?
Grymee (author)  asevangelista4 years ago
It is in the "frabjous pdf" under Step 1.
Kaelessin4 years ago
Woah . . . That's wicked-sick! It'd be really cool to get some aluminum or steel laser cut and weld it! *muses*
I like the design and doing it in metal would be perfect. I was thinking if it was scaled down a bit you could use flattened out soda cans for metal (naked side out). If I could figure out a nice looking way to use glass I would turn it into a multi-color solar lamp!
If you used a laser cutter to cut different colors of plexi-glass that would look really cool. I wish I had a laser cutter...
osgeld Sunbanks4 years ago
dont we all
agreed . . .should form a group "Support group for the laser cutter defficients"
love it, where do I get registered as a laser cutter deficient?
jeff-o Sunbanks4 years ago
You can cut plexiglass on a scroll saw with speed control and a crown tooth blade. It's about $4500 cheaper that way.
3frog4 years ago
This looks like a great project, however I do not think that I have the patients to do this! Good for you, you should be proud of yourself for this, this could be the start of something big!
you could also make this out of mirrors right? (and that would be cool)
Poelite4 years ago
I've been looking at the instructables for quite a while and this spurred me to finally make a profile. Being a culinary student, it jumped into my head that if you did this as sugar work you could more than definitely win a competition somewhere. Very impressive.
Hmmm... Look at

They already have made sugar-based Frabjeese (I think that's the plural of Frabjous)

vstarkgraf4 years ago
You might have to change the scale to fit, but wouldn't this make a KILLER "Sun" in the middle of a model of the solar system??? If you were really clever you might use gold foil and wire it up with an LED in the middle. Actually, and LED would work well with some of the other media suggested here as well (and I'm wondering if it would work with the sugar one, because THAT would just be insane -- and cool).
Of course!!! But of course, the hard part is getting that ball in the middle and assembling it... But it's of course possible, just a little more work! I was thinking of that ice ball Instructable... Hmmm.... Now If I made one of these with sheet metal...

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