I was browsing the web, randomly clicking, when I suddenly came across the idea of non-spherical globes - globes of the Earth that are not actually globes - dodecahedrons, octahedrons and cubes.
I decided I need to make one, so here it is.
Step 1: The Source
The images I used to create the files I made came from this website.
It was a fiddly job, but from those images I created my files.
If you want a full-colour cuboid globe, you can download one of those from the same link - if you print them off so that one face is approximately 50mm across, they will also fit in the same frame.
Step 2: Files and Materials
The "globe" files are scaled to be cut from material only 1mm thick, since I got hold of a stack of random-wood veneers.
The stand itself is scaled to be cut from 3mm thick materials.
You'll also need thread and glue to suit the materials you use.
When assembling the globe, you may find it convenient to have one or two thin-bladed knives handy.
Step 3: Cutting
Hardwood veneers are surprisingly tough - I find they can require the same power settings as softwoods three times as thick. If you etch lines too deeply, the parts can get very fragile...
So, if you haven't used your chosen materials before, I strongly suggest you use a scrap or spare piece to practise on.
Step 4: Assemble the Stand
The easiest way to build the globe is to start with the stand.
The stand has three parts - a square base, the C-shaped frame and a near-triangular reinforcement.
Glue the reinforcement into the slot at the base of the frame, then glue both into the cross-shaped hole of the base.
If that doesn't make sense, check the photos.
Step 5: Assemble the Northern Hemisphere
Assembling the globe can be quite fiddly, and you need to pay careful attention to the orientation of the pieces so that you don't make a mess.
Start by cutting a long piece of thread and tying a fat knot in the middle of it.
Identify the Northern and Southern hemispheres*, and arrange them on your working surface with the poles in the centre (see the photos).
Turn the Northern hemisphere over, keeping them in the same arrangement.
"Draw" glue along the joints.
Turn one square to meet the third joint, glue that, and turn the square back.
Lay the thread across the pieces, with the knot on the wood so that it will end up inside the globe.
Lift up the pieces of the globe to form half the cube. Make sure the thread passes directly through the corner of the cube.
Step 6: Assemble the Southern Hemisphere
The Southern hemisphere is constructed the same way as the Northern, you just need to make sure that it's the right way round when you trap the thread in it.
See the second photo shows the correct orientation - the insides of the hemispheres need to face each other along the thread.
It's practically impossible to clamp a box made of a single layer of veneer, when you are happy with the arrangements, use scraps of masking tape to hold the parts together as the glue dries.
Step 7: Joining the Hemispheres
When the two hemispheres are dry, they need joined.
Slide the thread through the corners until the knot is snug in the top of the Northern hemisphere. A drop of glue will stop the knot popping through later.
Fit the hemispheres together dry, to make sure you get them the right way round.
To glue them without making a mess, I used an unfolded paperclip to slip small drops of glue into the joints between the two hemispheres.
When the glue is dry, you're ready to finish the parts.
Step 8: Finishing
Before you permanently fix the globe to the frame, it's time to finish the materials.
If you have used wood or MDF, you will probably want to finish the material. I rubbed mine down with "Danish oil" (similar to tung oil), but you could varnish or paint yours.
If you have used acrylic for your globe, you might want to highlight your globe, but that's another instructable...
Step 9: Final Assembly
Obviously, you're going to be tying the thread onto the frame.
Once you are happy that the globe is settled on the thread, and the finish of the wood is dry, tie it off to the top and bottom of the frame using your favourite knots, and then snip off the excess thread. A tiny drop of superglue will lock the knot; when it's dry, you can trim the thread flush to the knot, doing away with all loose ends.
When you're done, put your cuboid globe on proud display, and share pictures of it with your geographer and physicist friends.
Step 10: Other Members' Versions
Member dablondeemu created a larger version of the cube, and has generously offered to let me add his file to my instructable.
Working with 3mm clear acrylic, DBE cut the design in a similar manner to me, then peeled the acrylic's protective film away from the land-masses, and sand-blasted those areas to add a frosted texture to the clear plastic.
I think it's really effective, and I'd love to see it lit from below, or under a small spot-light.
(If you create a version, let me know and I'll happily add it to this step.)