Instructables
27 3/4" clear acrylic cubes are drilled with 108 3/16" holes, fitted with 108 D32 neodymium disc magnets with proper polarities facing out from each, and assembled into a size-matched magnetic version of the original Rubik's Cube.


Update: Instructables user burzvingion has made a beautiful red translucent dice version of this cube. Make sure you check it out!


Tons more pictures of the process can be seen in

The pre-build gallery:
http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594101653870/

The build gallery:
http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594105668430/
 
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Step 1: Plan out polarities

Before I devoted my time to this idea, which came to me while imagining a version of the cube that didn't need the intricate connecting tabs found inside a cube, I checked Google for magnetic rubik's cubes, finding none (though a friend found one (theoretically) available in China by removing the 's from rubik the day before I finished this thing). Then I mocked up a 3D version in Maya to figure out the polarities of the magnets to see if it would remain sound as faces were spun all around. It appeared that it would.

Step 2: Get some cubes

I researched cubes of all sorts online, including wooden blocks, "learning cubes," cubes of ABS, PVC, etc, and finally settled on 3/4" clear cast acrylic cubes from Tap Plastics:

http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=136&

I got 3 sets of 10, as I needed 27. The extra 3 helped me test things out, which saved me some big trouble. These aren't all that precise, with romboid and trapezoidal angles aplenty, but in the end, they work well, especially as they're nicely rounded.

Step 3: Get some magnets

I found K&J magnetics through Google:

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/

They have a huge selection, and I settled on their D32 3/16" disc magnets, which are 3/16" tall.

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=D32

I got a pack of 100, and a pack of 25. I needed 108 for the cube prototype. If I build another, I'm going to beef up 12 of the magnets - the 6 pairs that form the axles off the center cube, probably to twice the width, perhaps to the D63:

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=D63
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NESmodder1 year ago
Very nice!
tap guy5 years ago
For a totally different look, make your own cubes from scratch with clear liquid resin. Add dye, pigment, embedments or swirled colors. The cubes could be cast with magnet hole already made. No drilling! Check out our video "How to make jewels, gems, crystals and pendants" on youtube or tapplastics.com
In the mid 90's I was really into resin casting. I would use molds and resin from Tap and rare earth magnets from Black Feather electronics. I would make interesting designs such as sea scenes with fish stickers and plastic plants from craft stores, as well as sand. I would tint the first few layers with blue dye and then the final layer with blue opaque pigment and the magnet, and maybe a thin layer with surface curing agent to prevent it from being sticky. Also I liked making domes with an artificial rose in a thick clear layer with a white opaque layer and felt behind it. I always wished I had a hood fan though lol!
In the mid 90's I was being born.
majorson2 years ago
Great instructable! If you interested in Rubik's Cube 
Than Visit my Rubik's Cube solution easy Website:

Rubik's Cube 

Foaly74 years ago
Could you spray paint the sides? And if so, is there any paint that would make it translucent instead of transparent?
Just use a matte spray paint.
Fabritren4 years ago
Hello" nice tutorial, by the way, is it possible to build a 2x2x2 cube using this method? I'm interested in building it, so, just want to be sure if it will work fine...
Thanks!
Sure it will. You just need to make sure it is a cube and you will need to rearrange the magnets and holes
reddevved3 years ago
About the sticker placement I think Asian cubes are the opposites on yours are adjacent (hope that makes sense) but I don't know what colors are opposite.
jj.inc3 years ago
Drop it, then just put it back together the semi-easier way
The force magnets exert on each other is explained by the inverse square law. Say you have 2 magnets (with opposite poles facing each other) 2mm apart. Now you move then to 1mm. You just halved the distance so the inverse square law says the force will be four times as powerful! Inverse square law works like this:invert the fraction that the current distance is of the original distance and then multiply it by itself. 1/2 inverted =2/1 2/1 (two) times 2/1 = 4
That is not entirely accurate. That would only be true if the magnets in question were magnetic monopolies (meaning one was entirely north and one was entirely south). Although nothing in Maxwell's equations forbids these from existing (on the contrary, if they did exist it would explain charge quantization) none have ever been seen. The magnets we deal with in every day life are rather more complicated. In the far field (so on a length scale much larger than that of the magnet) they usually approximate a dipole field, which obeys an inverse cube law. In the near field It depends on the shape of the magnet and the way that the magnetization is distributed within the magnet. It is probably best to deal with this as a multi pole expansion that can be truncated to whatever accuracy you like.
Zazou adastria5 years ago
del B = 0 forbids magnetic monopoles. You need to rewrite Maxwell's equations somewhat to allow for them.
do i remember an episode of big bang theory in which sheldon discovers a way to make monopoles possible?
adastria Zazou5 years ago
Clearly.
Look, physical laws are descriptive, not prescriptive. The only reason that magnetic fields have zero divergence (<nabla,B>=0...remember inner product. as you state it you are taking the gradient not the divergence) is that monopoles have not yet been observed. Obviously, Maxwell's equations could be modified to include magnetic charge. As is they just have that charge set to zero.
Zazou adastria5 years ago
Apologies--should have been div rather than del. Of course physical laws are descriptive, but by what you've said, you may as well say "nothing about the laws of thermodynamics forbids free energy devices". The presumption behind such a comment is that the mentioned law is an accurate model of the physical universe, otherwise you're just talking in tautologies.
ahhh! my uncontrollable cubing habit is driving my up the wall of awesome!! my record (that i actually timed) is 01:27.52. i might have done better with out timing, not sure though..... this is an AMAZING instructable by the way. i realllllly want to do this, but i dont have a drill press.... dang!!
get your own cube, already made: magneticcube.com
try a vice and a power drill (will take a few tries as you need to be dead center all the way through)
22killzz4 years ago
about how much was the total cost?
prodo1234 years ago
You know what would be cool? a transparent sticker on that cube. It has the Rubik's Cube feel while retaining the clear glassy feel.
How much money does it cost to get all those magnets?
$22+S&H
rjt1709774 years ago
Love it
How much did it cost in the end stickers and all?
ubercurious4 years ago
 hmmm, rather than stickers, I wonder if you could dye the cubes for the colors.  It would look much nicer and stick with the clear theme.
LocTite makes a UV cured adhesive that cures with the help of a special UV light it's practically invisible. Although for home use I think a glob of super glue should do the trick. Anyway really cool Rubiks Cube.
arhodes185 years ago
very cool! So you can't solve this by using the traditional patterns though? that kind of stinks... fave'd +5
JellyWoo5 years ago
Cool! A good place to find stickers is http://cubesmith.com/.
manman33308 years ago
How do you get Maya?
You don't. Use blender, which is an open source program that matches, and at times exceeds, the functionality. www.blender.org
Or don't. Blender is marginally more confusing than a book in a language you've never even heard of.
But it's free And there are tons of excellent tutorials on Blender. I would reccomend youtube username Super3Boy; that's how I learned
Blender really is awesome, and it does exceed maya at times. Although, it is very confusing at first, once you become accustomed to the controls, you find it is very quick and streamlined to use. I think blender will be easier for newbies to understand once 2.5 is out (no offence to anyone).
gfixler (author)  manman33308 years ago
You can buy it from www.autodesk.com, or try out their PLE (Personal Learning Edition - free trial), also from the site, or steal it somehow, say through bittorrent. It all depends on how much money and integrity you have. I have it because we use it (registered copies) at work.
I beleve that the PLE has no time limit, as long as you use it for only personal needs.
yeah, it just puts a watermark in the file and has a seperate file format.
bumper445 years ago
My record for solving is 1:41. Here is a video of me solving a Rubiks cube!

That's pretty good. Although, I think a friend of mine can do a 5 by 5 in a little under 2:30.
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