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
Flash671 month ago
Quite clever. Good job
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.
majorson3 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?
ubercurious5 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.
it took you forever to solve that. but, not everyone can solve the cube. so i got to give you props
casey321b6 years ago
the bad part is when you drop it and the pieces fall everywhere and you have to put them all back together
haha that would suck!
phoshizzle8 years ago
is there any place that sells these or do you have to make your own? Excellent job man!
gfixler (author)  phoshizzle8 years ago
Sorry I'm so late in replying. I invented it after playing with an official cube for a few days, so there probably isn't a buyable one available. The idea came to me while I was falling asleep one night, as many little ideas like this do. As I've said previously in this Instructable, playing with my first cube ever (after 26 years of them being available) saw about 12-15 fairly varied ideas based on the Cube come to me over the course of a month or two.

After doing some preliminary sketches, I searched Google for quite awhile, but couldn't find anything but a mention that Erno Rubik originally thought he might have to make his concept magnetic, but he really wanted it to be mechanical, and kept at it until he invented what we have today as the official cube. I took this to mean there wasn't one out there, as I had searched quite a number of possible terms to see if anyone had made a magnetic cube. I like to be thorough.

Later, a friend, not believing me that it hadn't be done misspelled "Rubik's" as "rubix," and managed to google up the idea already in prototype form in China - an actually manufactured, black plastic with silver magnets cube, but the site was a product design place, and they were looking for manufacturers for the idea, with seemingly no takers. Still, it was a tad disappointing to see the whole idea already built.

I would never consider bringing an idea I first learned of through someone else to market, but as I did invent the entire thing, and had 2/3rds built without any outside influence, before my friend found the prior example, and in that I put in all of the legwork to flesh out the design, and build the prototype, figure out magnet polarities, and even make an animated 3D model for myself to get it all figured out right, I could possibly see trying to get the idea manufactured here in America. Then non-makers, or busy makers could just buy them.

Of course, I can be pretty lazy, so I'll likely never act on that :)
Fentro gfixler5 years ago
you didn't see my invention, which has been on the market since 2004 www.magneblocks.com check it out. They were available in the UK by Nexus; I have since gone bankrupt :-( - the toy market is pretty tough, and I'm detailing my experience in a book "Inventing Magneblocks" which I hope to publish later this year. I'll post info on the site...
I guess you weren't very lazy writing all that
not to rain on your parade but the first cube was held together with magnets but the Hungarian company decided to use plastic due to financial reasons. you should look it up in wiki. sad thing is I grew up having heard that the idea was originally designed in ancient Greece before they had materials to actually make them thus the reason they had not been around until recently

here is a link to the wiki on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik's_Cube

I would like to state that a magnetic cube I think is far superior so your instructable has got to be the most important thing in the Rubik's world since the mass production that allowed us all to know about it and get to play with one. now we all need one that is magnetic based :D
(removed by author or community request)
just buy those blank name tag things and print your own designs. much easier
climber boi7 years ago
wow that is way cool! so far i have made three and gave them as gifts to my friends
hi can i know how much does it cost a for cube
could you make one for me that I could buy? I'll pay for shipping you could sell it as buy-it-now on eBay and I could just buy it like that so that we could have an honest transaction. Thanks!
gfixler (author)  climber boi7 years ago
Awesome. If you take any pics, feel free to share the links. I like to see other people's versions of these things.
sicesp6 years ago
I just thought of a nice variation. In image 5, 6, and 7 you can see the colored sticker from the other side of each cubie while retaining the transparency. You could place all the colored stickers on the opposite sides, over the magnets. That would make a cool cube. Considerations would be (1) the effect on the appropriate magnet depth and (2) the effect on the stickers with the constant friction. Need to use the thinnest stickers possible.
wouldn't work because when the cube is scrambled, the colour opposite can be anything. Good idea though, maybe use it on the 'centre caps' peices
PKTraceur5 years ago
So, you can instantly solve this? Schweet! -RoAr
corncake215 years ago
Hey, I was thinking about make a 5x5x5 and I was pricing the magnets and I was think if it was better to get them at kjmagnetics.com or magnets4less.com. the ones at magnets4less are (obviously) less but are they really durable?
tomtomson5 years ago
what if you made a kit to make custom cubes 27 with one on all sides 162 with one on five of the sides 216 corners. (this could be alot smaller but for what i would want to make with it would require this many) About how much would this cost? Probably 475$-575$ right?
Spense097 years ago
this is cool. I would make it but i'm only 12 and my mom won't let me use her power tools :(
12 is old enough for power tools! tell her she's mean! or at least she could help you. i mean how are you supposed to learn safe usage if you never get to use them in the first place?! some parents are just silly. tell her i said so.
actualy i turnd 13 last week nd she let me make it about a year ago. maybe febuary, i forget. its realld make it
Carmelite6 years ago
just a quick question- I've seen lots of videos of this concept, but they all seem rather clunky and hard to turn. I used to be really addicted to these cubes, and the magnetic ones got me thinking. Is there a "magic distance" that gives the cubes almost the same twistability as normal rubix cubes without sacrificing the strength of the bonds?
I just finished one of these and want to label it. I think it would look great with transparent colored labels. My google abilities have failed to find such a thing. Any ideas where I might find some? They need not be sized perfectly, as they can always be cut to size.
cubesmith.com free shipping w/orders over 15$ shipping is 2$ otherwise
When my old Rubik’s cube lost its labels I used colored plastic folders and cut them out to size using a square hole punch. In your case, you can use clear colored plastic folders. A square hole punch is hard to find, so cutting them manually would be the next best thing. To stick them on you can use clear urethane paint or clear acrylic paint.
Colored duct tape is easier
joshuaat76 years ago
where can i get itttttttttt
the guy who made this got ripped off. i found a site where you could buy FIFTY cubes for only $19.70 AU or $18.50 USA. im sorry bout this, but its the truth.
What site????????
yanan16 years ago
I bought some magnets from applied magnets, man, they are amazingly strong. I am not sure about the sizes the cube uses. Dave
Hello gfixler, it's a great project.
Does anybody know if may this cube be sold or there is some patent law that do not allow?
Some pics of the magnetic dice cube from Magnetic Rubik's Dice Cube
arthurfierro09@hotmail.com

Arthur
DSC04556.JPGDSC04532.JPGDSC04538.JPGDSC05034.JPG
I read on the site that he got those from that those kinds of magnets are an invention, therefore patented, so you might have to look it up.
so how did u get the free magnets from the website?
When you buy magnets from them, I did, they give you a small bag with 3 random magnets inside
Big Mike926 years ago
is it possible to make one of these but on a larger scale... say a 6x6x6 rubik's cube. IF so could you tell me the best cube size and magnet size
Orn3108 years ago
why not use LEDs to use as lables? or just to make it look cool
gfixler (author)  Orn3108 years ago
Don't worry. I'm working on a better idea than this that will use LEDs as the core concept :)
prank gfixler8 years ago
So, there's this cool thing I like to do with acrylic. If you scratch the face of an acrylic sheet, and then light it from the side, the scratches will glow(It works because of frustrated total internal reflection--email me at enjrolas@mit.edu if you want a long boring explanation). My mental cogs are turning thinking of a nice asthetic way to integrate LEDs into a cube to sidelight it. I think it could look really nice. This is an awesome project, by the way. Really nice work
gfixler (author)  prank8 years ago
Thanks very much for the kind words, and the acrylic info. I've been very busy in my non-making life lately (sigh), but I've been working on an LED cube idea so complex, I'm not even sure I'll be able to do it, or that current technologies will make it feasible, or even possible for someone without some pretty specialized equipment, and I just bought a mini-mill, and mini-lathe, both with CNC abilities! I'm hoping they're enough. This of course doesn't mean I'm not eager to get some free time to finish the design, and machine it out. Wish me luck :)
Orn310 gfixler6 years ago
you know, I've got an Idea, why not make the rubric's cube out of acrylic, and then attach leds in the six colors, so that the cube lights up when all the pieces are aligned?
That sounds cool! Have you ever taken apart a 4x4 cube? It is a lot different. Inside, there is a ball-like thing on which all the pieces can rotate. I think it should work with a 3x3, and should be easier to keep all the LED circuits in place. It would also probably be much easier to go with small colored lamps, because they aren't polarity sensitive.
gfixler (author)  zachninme8 years ago
At its core, the Rubik's Cube functions on the principle of a sphere. The parts that make it look like a cube are just extensions. Most of my other Cube ideas are based around the idea that the cube has within it a sphere. I have not gotten my hands on a 4x4x4 or higher yet. I figured I'd exhaust some of my 3x3x3 love first, but it's still going strong :) The 4 and 5 cubes are on my wishlist, though. I have thought about lamps for at least 1 cube idea that was a little large for LEDs, but for the rest I think I'm going to stick with LEDs for now for 4 reasons - they're very tiny (surface mount), generate essentially no heat, are a bit more manipulatable color-temperature-wise, and they draw much less amperage, which is crucial for things like battery life, and running so many LEDs at once. Thanks!
Do you know what would be really cool, is that if you were able to find bi-color LEDs, ones were if you reverse the voltage, you get a different color. You could probably rig up a cube where magnets transfer the power, and as it moved around, the colors would change. That would be AWESOME! I would so buy one!
or you can get micro-leds in blue and make a base that sends voltage in the air, just enough to light the leds, I have seen some base that puts voltage in the air, arghhhhhhhh, I forgot the video, OH WAIT HERE IT IS!
, Maybe more likely flat, like a mouse pad? so you can play better? I'm confused :/
gfixler (author)  iPodTouchMaster087 years ago
Yeah, I considered something like this for charging internal batteries, believe it or not. I'm a big ThinkGeek fan, and they have LED candles that recharge this way, so it was on my mind. I'm moving currently (just put down some money last night on a new place!), and will finally have a garage, and no immediate neighbors (i.e. - the apartment kind), so I can hopefully finally, at least, really and truly get to my inventions again. I'm so anxious to return to my maker lifestyle, especially with the Maker Faire getting closer. Anyway, cool clip there - it's neat to see how it can power so many kinds of lights so easily, and related clips showed me that the field can be induced even in coils that aren't lined up with each other - something I didn't know. This lends hope to the idea of a cube that has batteries recharged internally. More fuel for the fire, and for that, I thank you! :)
hey any chance you might need any help with your inventing maybe we could swap capabilities.
Your Welcome
actually that is not passing electricity in the air but instead it is pulsing a magnetic wave and a coil that is in its area of effect would generate electricity problem is if it would interfear with the magnetic structure of the magnets since it is in essence a ANTImagnetic device (demagnatising devices work like this with the power slowly decreasing but the fluctuation is still the same until you have no magnetic wave at all
I don't think theres enough space to fit a coil in there. (Thats how that stuff works, you know ;-) )
gfixler (author)  zachninme8 years ago
That seems like a great core concept for a totally different direction than the one in which I've been heading, wherein the cubies have hardwired pathways through them that create a continuous circuit. One such example would be that every spin of the cube connected different paths, and being bi-colored, based on polarity, maybe only the right alignment would make all of them light up green, but any other would leave some red? Seems like the real puzzle is how to even lay out the polarities in the first place :)
I really wanted to do this, but I know cost will be a huge issue. I was planning on doing 2 SMLEDs per face, so roughly 20 of each color. Those will be hard to get, as some are like a buck a piece. Then there is a whopping 3 magnets instead of 1, so like 330 magnets total, averaging to 0.30 $ per magnet. A quick total so far, is like $200 dollars, not worth it, for me :-( A question on your cube, that I just thought of, what is it like if you remove the center? I'd assume it would still work, but it would feel awkward :-)
Simpler (though far from simple) would be to just use one led per visible cube side, with each correct side a different color (aka, just like a normal rubik's cube). Since everything would always be lit the same, the logic of your power pathway would be much simpler. You would still need to figure out a way to make sure the power always flows in the right direction, which would be difficult, and of course just figuring out how to power it at all would be complicated (any battery small enough to fit in the cube would not have much life driving all those LEDs). I don't see any reason to use more then one magnet per side. Just use a single magnet, but use conductive plates in from of them to route the electrical pathways. Just use small PCBs, and if necessary drill out a hole large enough for the magnet (I doubt it would matter, though). It wouldn't be cheap, but should be well under $200 (probably < $100).
Continued... Instead of using SM LEDs, use regular through hole ones, and leave the leads long enough that they stand a half inch or so above the PCB. Use superglue or something to assemble the various PCBs as necessary (ie, for a corner piece, you'll need to assemble three appropriately colored PCBs and the appropriate magnets into one unit) and cast each cube in clear epoxy to make the square. With careful assembly, the extra height of the LED should make each face clearly only a single color. If you want to get even more fancy, you could try to make the faces themselves out of silicone so it would be translucent instead of transparent. I doubt it would work to have entire cube made out of silicone-- I don't think it would turn well. This would be a decidedly non-trivial project, but if you could make it work, it would be -extremely- cool. I'd love to see it if you ever decide to run with it.
Thats not what I wanted to do.... I wanted more than one per face, as that is the whole point!! And you realize magnets conduct electricity, don't you?
Sure, magnets conduct electricity. I'm not saying your way wouldn't work-- it would, and I'd love to see it if you build it-- only that this might be a slightly simpler & (only slightly) less expensive option. Whichever design you chose, it would be a very cool project.
Just as much fun to do as to put together :-P But it would defiantly be a unique cube. It would be much harder, I think. More memorizing :-)
Now I kind of want to build one...I might go check some things out...
ghot1 gfixler7 years ago
Usually you can find 5x5x5's at Barnes and Noble's, if you know where one is. Its about 30 US Dollars.
in a 3x3, there is a ball-like thing that rotates i (accidentally) broke a rubiks cube, and i got to see what's on the inside very interesting
You could install a button cell per cube to power the led's although i dont know how you would change them
Mr. Fixler, I am getting e rror messages trying to send you a private message.....is there an e-mail address I could e-mail you at, or some site where I can send a direct message.... you can reach me at DavidIanColman at gmail dot com I appreciate it..
orri6 years ago
After a moments thought, There are 4 types of subcube, Core, C Midface, M Edge, E Corner, V And they conect in that order. Which means that if all the magnets in the C and E have the same polarity facing out, and the other have it facing in, they will all stick together. The V cubes must have all their magnets in the same way as they can be in 3 different orientations at the same possition. The E and M could have opposite polarities for the 2 face types they have, which might lead to a slightly stronger assembly. It's probably best to stick to each kind of cube having it's magnets all the same way, realising that until the glue is set, the magnets will have a tendency to mutualy repel.
jman51786 years ago
is there any way i could buy one of these from you that is made. Just give a price.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
dubbs6 years ago
wow do you sell these, I would love to get one
ON the step 3 picture, it shows the magnets bag saying free sample, or something. are there really free smaples at the site? btw great instructable! I've had my rubik's cube for a while, but I havent actually cubed until ~2 weeks ago. My cube is damaged a lot already! Some of the orange pieces look like red.. Anyways, you should do what that mintyboost person did. get the little cubelets, predrill holes, order a lot of magnets, and sell them as a kit! That would be awesome!
Vertigo6667 years ago
is this possible to do with hand held power tools?
i might try a soldering gun to melt the holes think that would work?
Oh no way, I tried to do that to a bottle cap, it turned out horribly. It looked like white gooey crap. And that was just trying to fine the edges. The holes look not unlike bullet holes, just it's not goan to be very good. I only asked b/c I don't own a nice fancy drill press (or even a crap one for that matter)
ok thanks for the tip i wont then :-P
viviluk7 years ago
it looks so cool! can i buy it from shops?
Antorni7 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
cross the boarder maybe
monkeyhihi7 years ago
That would be sweet to make. How much did the materials for this project cost you? (Including the stickers)
I'm 11 but I can use drill but no saw
Top Dog7 years ago
You'd buy that for 50 dollars! It is like probably less than half that at rubiks.com
blazr_raidr7 years ago
thats soooo mad i wish i had one :(
i would buy one from you for 50 dollars what city do you live in? my email adress is kai3927@aol.com
RubicksGuy7 years ago
This is so cool and I want one so bad but i cant find it =( If you can sell one to me and i won't get sued or anything for having something so cool please send a note to my email ded.icate@yahoo.com Please =)

morphious697 years ago
this got me to thinking. you cant patent a cube of acrylic (or any other material) having some holes drilled into it. anyone that does not have the ability to drill with that exactness can contact me and I can make the cubes have holes with in a thousandth of an inch center and diameter(I can even thread them too) and this goes for any other project on this site. I am open to trade both in the areana of materials as well as skills. and if that does not work then good old fashioned money will do as well though I hate money and prefer barter. if money is the desired I can get and drill those acrylics for around $50 with out shipping costs(you pay shipping if necessary.) unless I get a lot of interest in the cubes then I can doa run and reduce the costs dramaticly and that includes interest in barter to go with those only wanting to purchase with out bartering
Can't be bothered reading the entirety of the comments and instructable, how stable is it?
morphious697 years ago
to any one interested I am working on a project that requires dead un assembled hard drives AND I have a mill so I could make "kits" basicly all the parts so that all one would have to do is put them together, in exchange for a batch of dead hard drives or some other items that I may need. you can see my site over at www.geocities.com/morphtrust
gork7 years ago
Neat little cube toy. I had two suggestions to solve problems you had: 1) You should be using a Forstner bit to make the holes. The edges are straighter and the bottom is flat. If you only ever want to use the bit on a press you can file out the central point so you get a 100% flat hole bottom as well. 2) Instead of using a bit stop you should use the stop on your drill press to set the hole depth. Ideally you only want to use bit stops when hand drilling. If your drill press does not have a stop you can rig one up with various jigs. Although it appears your press has a depth gauge you should probably not really rely on it. A rotary gauge will give you much better accuracy and you might be able to make yourself one. }}}
wwjoshuad7 years ago
this instructable has inspired me to the point where i could kiss merely every object in the room and not feel weird about it in the least bit. very nice job - i was wondering about your labels, did they come pre-arranged on that translucent sheet, or is that just a sort of tape that you arranged the stickers on before sticking them on the finished cube? and if so, where did you find them slightly smaller than 3/4 inches - i googled it a bit and didn't really find anything nearly as intricate as those that you used... in any case - i love your idea and it's a shame that you couldn't patent it. i am highly looking forward to your later projects on this concept - especially if you use led's, my friend, good stuff. fare thee well!
you know what. i just saw the reference to rubiks.com on your flickr page and now i feel completely retarded for not even considering going to their website. so... forget about that last question - but it still doesn't change the fact that i pretty much discovered a bowl of chocolate pudding in my underpants after seeing this instructable.
seeem7 years ago
oooh this makes me feel tingly in the pants :) I wonder about all the great things I could make based on this excellent idea.
This project is awesome-can you put lights in the cubes?
TheREALdude7 years ago
the led cube is being made by rubiks already...its called the rubiks revolution, a 3 by 3 by 3 cube with leds and wifi acess for multiplayer and stuff
gfixler (author)  TheREALdude7 years ago
What I've been designing is significantly different, and many times more advanced than the Revolution. That thing doesn't really count as a Rubik's Cube to me. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it's a very disappointing product to me.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HuIVlrmU86s
men!! i realy like your rubix cube ia awsome... jeje but i think i wouldn't paste the colors it looks great in acrilic and useit yust for fun!! jeje congratulations!! good proyect!!
ru8ikscu8er7 years ago
I really would like one of those cubes, but I lack the tools and materials needed to make one. Is there any way I could buy one from you pre-made? I tried the China site, but they only sell in large quantities and threatened to sue me if I made one myself.
gfixler (author)  ru8ikscu8er7 years ago
Haha. Looks like no. At least, not without being sued :)
could i buy one from u or some1 u know?
LOL! thats harsh man sue you :(
wow. how long did it take you to make? its amaseing. best magnet instructable so far.
gfixler (author)  knex hater hater7 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. It took 3 nights to make (after work let me go home). If I had more of an assembly line set up, probably a few hours per cube. Much of my time was spent checking things, or setting up the next step of the process. And of course, if I had a manufacturing plant, tens of thousands per hour!
microman1717 years ago
Her s my Idea......... Well a thing in the word is button cells right...... if you 'carve out' your cubes until there is only a little but of cube for faces. Then you could resin a SM LED into the bottom (Better yet put somthing frosted before then you would have even light) then make the rsein thick to that you would have just used slightly more than half the cube. No with ou ittle wires that I didnt mention you can put them into the right shape and everything (I have the Idea in my head) then you resin the shape of the cell then you make a screw on top with the magnet on it. That way to change batteries you pull it apart and unscrew it then change bat.
gfixler (author)  microman1717 years ago
Cool idea. I've been working for quite awhile on a few ways to get LEDs in the cubes, including some that would put a button cell and SMDs in each cube, and others that use a new kind of way a cube could be made to function. I now have a mini mill, and have built a few of my next concepts in 3D - including the one that would let the whole concept work from a centralized bit of power and electronics - and have plans to mill out a prototype when I get some free time. Right now my job, and moving to a new location soon are keeping me from accomplishing much in the way of my inventions, sadly. They're piling up on me!
sumplesnoob7 years ago
Are you a profesional photographer?
sumplesnoob7 years ago
Nice pic, very artistic.
spartin1177 years ago
that is so kick assssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
staythehand7 years ago
CAUTION: I just made one of these babies and was about to apply the stickers. I always clean a surface with alcohol before I apply a sticker, but this was a mistake. As soon as the alcohol touched it, the acrylic crazed all the way through. I was able to crumble one of the blocks with my fingers. Needless to say, this makes for a pretty touchy situation as the magnets are now loose and prone to flying off. Got to buy another set of ten blocks and remake a third of my cube now! At least I can use the same magnets...
gfixler (author)  staythehand7 years ago
Good to know! Thanks for the warning, and sorry the alcohol messed up your cubes. Sounds like a fun technique for a completely different project, though.
I just noticed that you saw the same effect when you put the glue in (page 7). I think the higher viscosity of the glue and/or the bonding effect kept the crack propagation to a minimum. I'm just using the press fit to hold the magnets in. Anyway, let me just say that I think this project is the coolest use of supermagnets since the Levitron.
If you get bored you can make a REALLY REALLY big one. Like this: http://www.alltooflat.com/pranks/cube/
that was funny
Vertigo6667 years ago
so what's in the middle?
Vertigo6667 years ago
they look like ice cubes the most perfect ones in the world can you get them in stores?
manman33308 years ago
Can you turn the 3x3x3 into anything else between 3x3x3 and 1x1x1?
gfixler (author)  manman33308 years ago
I think that only leaves a 2x2x2 :) Good question, but I don't know. I haven't tried it. I don't immediately think it would work, as then there isn't any guaranteed symmetry for the magnets.
burzvingion8 years ago
I am thinking of making one of these, however If I do, I think I will use larger magnets on the center cubies, perhaps D62's or 63's. The problem is, these magnets have a 3 times greater pulling force, and only a marginally greater surface area in contact with the glue. I would really like to avoid having my magnets fly out and embed themselves in a wall. Would cylindrical magnets provide enough pull force and surface area to not fly out (they would be closer to each other inside the cubie) Veovis, has your friend made his with D63's yet? I'd be interested to know how it worked. Thanks
gfixler (author)  burzvingion8 years ago
That's a good question to which I don't know the answer. Poke around in the comments here - someone used bigger magnets, but they only *just* fit, because the magnets are wide and deep enough to touch each other corner-to-corner. I would imagine it's very hard to push some magnets in, too, because for example, the middle cubie has 6 magnets that push in with the same polarities inward. The smaller sized magnets I used were pushing really hard on each other already. The cubie is essentially always under explosive pressure - the bigger magnets must really want to get away from each other!

If you do it, make sure you come back and share some pics and/or stories! Sorry for the delay in responding. Thankfully instructables has finally started sending me email notices. I don't know how that happened, but it's a welcome addition.
I decided to go with D62 magnets. They are slighly thinner than the D63's, but I think they will work nicely. I'm not completely done yet, but its looking good so far. The glue I used says it has a bond strength of 1600 psi, or 11 megapascals. Therefore, the force required to dislodge one of the large magnets (ignoring air pressures) is 1834 newtons. I don't know the equations to calculate exactly how much force the other magnets will exert, but from K&J's data, I was able to calculate that 2 large magnets in conctact with each other would require 79 newtons of perpendicular force (less if it's a shear force). So I think it's unlikely that the remaining 5 sets of magnets in close proximity would create the required force of 1750 N to break the bond. Anyway, when I finish I'll let you know, although it may be a little while. My free time is currently going towards finishing a website I've been designing.
gfixler (author)  burzvingion8 years ago
Awesome news. Best of luck, both in finding time, and in the project itself!
I've finished the cube, it turned out fantastic. Turning it isn't too difficult with the D62's, but speedcubing or one handed cubing is out of the question.

Here is an instructable I made.
chazepping8 years ago
I was going to say exactly what alekz said. Great Instructable.
gfixler (author)  chazepping8 years ago
Thank you very much!
I'm interested in doing this project, but would like to know how the large magnets worked on the center cubie. Also, does cube lube help it at all?
gfixler (author)  a random John8 years ago
I never went back to do the big magnets, but some others have - scan through the comments here. There are some nice success stories! Apologies for the 2+ month response delay - didn't know I had all these additional comments sitting in here!
thydzik8 years ago
this project is simply amazing
gfixler (author)  thydzik8 years ago
Thank you so much, and sorry for the massively delayed response time!
blade7408 years ago
I wonder, if you could use this technique to make previously impossible cubes, like a 10x10x10? Because the magnets hold the edges, etc to each other, without needing to have a bit directly into a sphere in the center, it shouldn't matter if the outside pieces pass completely outside the cube, because they're still held to the pieces next to them. Someone should try to build a bigger cube. Just make sure all the polarities are figured out. It would take 1000 acrylic cubes for a 10x10x10, but maybe just a 5x5x5 or something to see if it'd work.
gfixler (author)  blade7408 years ago
Yes, I've wondered this, too. I haven't taken the time to give it any real thought, though. Lots going on in life these days. Another comment here by bursvingion shows he's been thinking about it some, as have a few others. I don't know if even numbered cubes (4x4x4, etc) could work. As possible proof, consider that the center lines of such cubes would need positives on one side, and negatives on another, and it should be possible through spinning to have cubes meet back up with unlike polarities, but it might be possible for all odd numbered cubes (5x5x5, etc) to always line up, as there's always a center cube to hold like-polarity on either side, which then ripples symmetrically outward. At any rate, it's cube for thought. Oh, I didn't just say that :( Sorry for the 2+ month delay in response times! This place should email me when I get comments, so I know to come back and continue the discussions.
WarmShadow8 years ago
I just ran across this site, and this idea for a magnetic cube, and I am already making plans to build a larger cube, probably 7x7x7. and yes, it would certainly be possible to make larger cubes, like the 10x10x10 mentioned earlier. the problem with larger cubes like that becomes the size and cost. a 10x10x10 cube would be a 7.5 inch square cube, which is pretty big to be handling and turning. also, such a cube would require 1000 blocks, and 5400 magnets, and using the same materials as the original model built for this site, I figure that would run about $1300, just for the material for those two parts. I am really not sure how much the thing would weigh. anyway, I do plan to build a larger one, maybe a 7x7x7, though I am considering going with slightly smaller blocks, maybe the 5/8th inch acrylic blocks.
gfixler (author)  WarmShadow8 years ago
Thanks for the comment. I know it would be possible to stack cubes and magnets in this manner, but have you given thought to all the polarities of the magnets, and also how these polarities will line up as the sides turn? If like sides pass each other, the cube could be forced apart by their repulsion force. I'm imagining that cubes wouldn't be able to flip in an oddly dimensioned cube, but I have a suspicion that even numbered cubes would end up with cubes "backwards" in their positions as the cube was put through its paces, leading to a cube that lost its stability. I haven't thought these things through, but perhaps you have. Also, sorry for the 2+ month delay in my response - haven't been around here at all for awhile.
zachninme8 years ago
As said above, it is hard to turn. The best thing I can think of to keep it together is to not use magnet dots, rather arches. So the magnets are always in contact with each other.
gfixler (author)  zachninme8 years ago
Good thinking. Arch magnets would be very cool for this. Arches factor heavily in another Rubik's Cube idea I've been designing for about a month now. I'm thinking maybe possibly it could even become a product. This one doesn't relate to magnets, however. Thanks for the thought. Apologies for my enormous delay in responding.
alekz8 years ago
Great project. Did anybody mention that the photography of your project is excellent? Nice lighting and macro shots. As you can see in this site, some people have great projects but their photography skills are sub par. Your's, however....well...let me just say that you can work for a magazine...Hint....
gfixler (author)  alekz8 years ago
You may be the only one who's mentioned it, and I thank you! Sorry for the 2+ month reply delay - super busy, and not with making :(

For the photos, I used a Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Elph Gigantic Name camera, mounted on a tripod. I set the timer, so it takes pics after I let go, which gives the whole thing time to settle, for sharp photos. I have 2 Dell 1905FP monitors mounted on Ergotron LX arms at my desk, which lets me move them all over the place, and rotate them 90°. I've made a graphic I can open on each, and make fullscreen to turn the monitors into all-white softboxes, and then I pull them into position to light what I'm photographing from behind, and a bit above. I often hold a piece of white copy paper, or two up while the camera is doing its timer-wait, getting them into position to reflect the light back on the front of the objects. This sometimes makes a dramatic difference in the photos - they look much better with some reflected front light.

The camera itself has a great macro, but it doesn't let you choose at which point it'll focus, as though a bit pricey (when I got it), and pseudo-higher end, it's still just a point-and-shoot. It focuses on one of 9 regions (3x3, just like a Rubik's Cube), wherever it can best detect a sharp contrast. When it finds its best focal point, it draws a green box around that region. I often use my fingers near the lens (too close to focus) to block out regions I don't want it to focus on, and fight it until it finally focuses on the spot I like. Alternately, I've use something contrasty in color, like a piece of paper against a dark object, or something flat and dark against a light object to create a sharp edge of dark vs. light. Sometimes that gets it to focus where I'm hoping. Other times, I actually move the object such that the point it seems to like is where I want it to focus, and then move the object back after it's locked on. Once it locks, you can press the button all the way, and it takes the pic (or starts the timer) with no more focusing.

I often lay down a sheet of copy paper under the object, and prop the back end up with something underneath it (Rubik's Cube, deodorant, phone - whatever's handy) to make a nice edgeless gradient backdrop. If the object's too big, I've used 2 or 3 pieces of paper overlayed, or just given up, and cleaned up my desk a bit so it's more presentable in the background :) I've been very into the tricks and techniques of taking nice photos since college. I went to art school (Ringling School of Art & Design) back in the late 90s, and got very into the photography courses (not my major). I took enough to double-minor (though it all only counts once), and tried out all kinds of techniques, equipment, and processes: 35mm (Nikon F1), 645 (Mamiya something), 4x5 (Sinar F2), studio, location, hot lights/strobes, B&W/color printing, 8x10 Cibachrome slide printing, a few experimental techniques, like Cyanotype, and Kallitype (or maybe it was Van Dyke Brown printing), and lots else - about 3 years, and maybe 12 classes. I built my own darkroom, too. I was really into it all. These days, I've sold all of that off, or given it away, though I've kept my old Nikons, as they're family heirlooms. I've joined the digital age, but I still like to replicate some of the techniques from the old studio work wherever possible.

Thanks again for the kind words.
Well done - excellet job - I'm a magnet addict - all the jewelry I sell is made entirely out of magnets. www.dynomighty.com Really nice job.
gfixler (author)  dyno-mighty-18 years ago
Awesome - I'm glad I could help appease your addiction. If you were also a Rubik's Cube fanatic, this would've been some kind of double-whammy. Your magnetic jewelry is beautiful! Excellent stuff - thanks for sharing.
the dice idea has been done, ella made one after she made an original one. and the larger cubes idea has been mensioned, but (to my knowledge) never done. and it would only be possible, with this method, to made a cube with an odd number of blocks, ie, 3x3x3, 5x5x5, 7x7x7. ones with even numbers dont have a centre cubie as such, so it would need a completely different mechanism, probably a much more complicated one, especially with magnets, as i think polarities would get messed up. if anyone does make a 5x5x5 or 7x7x7 or larger, i would be very interested in hearing about it, i would love to make one, although i lack the time or money to make more than my 3x3x3, which is still amazing to me :-) also, someone asked, having larger centre magnets is the only way to go, i believe (have said in previous comment). after seeing the vid of the original one, and using my one, i would never make one with smaller centre magnets. and for the ppl interested in the bigger cubes and up for a challange, you should make a 3x3x5 or something different like that, it would be a little difficult as when it is scrambled, it would not be a cube, and cubies would stick out the sides, if they are only held on with a single round magnet, then there is nothing stopping them from spinning, and if they dont line up when you turn it again they are going to not only end up the wrong way around, but probably pop off... you could either use multiple magnets for the extra layers or use rectangular ones... but this would make creating holes for them difficult also, i think having 2 round magnets per cubie on the extra layers would be the way to go. anyone interested in more details please email me on andyholloway@hotmail.com
gfixler (author)  andyholloway8 years ago
Sorry I took almost 2 months to reply to this - been busy! If you have, or eventually get any pics of that dice cube up online, I'd love to see them. That's a great idea. Well done.
Supa Kleen8 years ago
nice idea one way to have identifiable sides and yet still have a clear/translucent cube would be to use dice. You can get dice in clear plastic that would look good. It might get a bit tricky working out which sides go where, especially with the corner dice, but i reckon it'd be worth it
gfixler (author)  Supa Kleen8 years ago
That is a very cool idea! I like that even just for regular cubes, that aren't magnetic. It has me thinking that it would be cool to make a single giant die out cubies, which would be extra easy, as each cubie side would either have a large dot, or no dot, so multiple cubies would be the same. You would have to imagine in your head where you need, and don't need dots, though, so perhaps it could be trickier. Thanks! And sorry I took 2 months getting back here - been busy :)
praguequest8 years ago
Hey, so I finally got up the courage to make something from the and decided on your sweet tutorial for the cube. Turned out pretty good. I made it for my friend's birthday. Just FYI, the D64 mags were too big and having the same polarities face each other in the cube was next to impossible when trying to get them glued in. So I went for the D42 mags as the axes instead and it works great. Made MC Escher prints for the cube faces to make it a little different. Check it out: http://flickr.com/photos/praguequest/sets/72157594286803559/
gfixler (author)  praguequest8 years ago
Wow! Sorry I've been away from Instructables for so long. Super busy - this thing needs to email me when I get new comments, so I can know to come back. Anyway, your cube came out great! Congratulations. Thanks for posting pics online. I've been curious to see how other makers would do with the project, or what variations they would devise, and you've done both, and well! The Escher theme is sweet. He's my favorite M.C. :)
Yakeyglee8 years ago
That is SUCH a cool Idea.
gfixler (author)  Yakeyglee8 years ago
Thank you!
Veovis8 years ago
Sweet! Thank you so much for the idea gfixler! I made a cube, my brother made a cube and one of my friends will make one. I used D32s for everything except for 12 D42s for the kernal. It helps a little but it still kinda slips a bit if your not careful. My friend will use D63s for the center. Also we were a bit lazy with the drilling and some of the magnets stick out a bit, so its slightly lopsided, but hey its still WAY COOL! So if i was to do this again, i would probably use the magnets that are like donuts and put rods through it. (to lazy to look up the names). And take more time drilling to get all the magnets in perfect. I also messed up the polarity on 2 peices and couldnt get the magnets out so i had to throw them away and redrill an edge and a corner. All in all Great stuff gfixler!!! thank you a million times! I had thought of this idea before but wasnt willing to do the research and spend $50 before i knew it worked. thanks! i cant wait to show it to the rest of my friends.
gfixler (author)  Veovis8 years ago
Sorry - been out of Instructables for quite awhile - but that's great news! I'm glad the project brought you, and your friends some joy. Also, thanks for the info on the magnets.
wrique8 years ago
This cube looks so cool without the labels. Anyone know if you can get transparent or translucent labels? I think those would suit this project better than something opaque. Can you dye or otherwise colour acrylic? Also, if one used slightly larger, more powerful magnets for the core block and the center blocks where they contact the core block, would it make it easier to rotate this puzzle like a normal Rubik's cube? I don't know, maybe that's not a issue.
jhdesynz wrique8 years ago
You can get a dye for acyrlic and glass called Roscolene from Rosco Labs (www.rosco.com). Just check out their sight and find a dealer near you. You would have to paint it on each piece. Its also very popular for dipping light bulbs in to make your own party bulbs.
gfixler (author)  jhdesynz8 years ago
That's great info! I'm glad I eventually returned to this page :)
gfixler (author)  wrique8 years ago
Yeah, before I applied the labels, I had a look on Rubik's site for translucent labels, but of course, with opaque cubes, that's kind of pointless, and they don't have any. I was considering cutting squares of colored cellophane, soaking them in some kind of clear glue, and dropping each one on a face, kinda like how you apply model decals. That would create a solid bond underneath, and a kind of coating on top. I also briefly considered glass paints, as I once made a 'rose window' for a girlfriend, but I'm kinda stuck on liking the professional look of die-cut stickers. I'm still considering something more translucent. These PVC deals can always be peeled off, after all :)

As for bigger magnets, totally. I mentioned that in step 3 here, and on Flickr:
http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/127662849/in/set-72057594105668430/

and I think it's the way to go. I'm going to order a set of 25 of the D63 mags from K&J and see if only replacing the central piece's 6 magnets with these double-wide ones will help. This will be a quick and dirty test to see if I can avoid replacing the 6 center-face pieces, too, as that would require me to peel the labels off. I'm not *quite* ready to destroy a good set of PVC labels.
dapinoyba8 years ago
Wow, this is a really cool project, and I love how it turned out, it looks amazing. Great job.
i am just wondering on how it axactly works and what exactly it is if anyone could answer my question i would be delighted!!! :) XD
gfixler (author)  angle of fire8 years ago
Sorry for the long delay - haven't been around Instructables for awhile.

It is a Rubik's Cube that works with solid cubies that connect together magnetically, as opposed to non-solid cubies that connect together mechanically, as with traditional Rubik's Cubes.

You can see more of what went into the making of my cube here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594101653870/

and here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594105668430/

and you can see what's inside a store-bought, regular Rubik's Cube, in this set, wherein I disassemble one:

https://readerservices.makezine.com/backissue/subbi.aspx?PC=MK&AN=&Zp=&PK=

or what's inside an all-white "assembly cube" (more professional model) from the Rubik's website in this set, wherein I assemble it from a parts kit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594089454051/

Hope that helped, though late :)
gfixler (author)  gfixler8 years ago
That's weird - copying the disassembled cube's URL from another tab in Firefox copied something from a different tab (thankfully it was only to another Make page! :)

Here's the link to the disassembly photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594065054337/
gfixler (author)  dapinoyba8 years ago
Thanks very much!
manman33308 years ago
Where can you get the PVC labels?

Also, to see how it works go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaDY80TsTuQ
A nice way to keep the magnets visible would be to put half of a sticker (diagonally cut, it looks better) on an upper corner of each visible cube, so that you can still use it, and all the effort put into it is visible. Great work!
Fog8 years ago
that's the easiest Rubik's Cube to solve, if u get stuck u can disassemble it and then reasembleit again in the right way!
Wonderful project. I love it. Just ordered magnets, cubes and labels :-) I ordered two sets of magnets for the 12 axis magnets: - A set of D52 (5/16 x 1/8) - A set of R622 (3/8 x 1/8 with a 1/8 hole) Two ideas here: These 12 magnets should be flush with the surface, rather than slightly recessed. A high shear strength is desirable. I'm planning to try 1/8 axles running through the centerbore of the R622. We'll see which idea works better...
gfixler (author)  chrisinphilly8 years ago
Excellent! I'm particularly intrigued by the centerbore magnets idea. It seems that will keep the sides from popping off, as happens somewhat easily with mine. You should definitely document the process and share your results. I'm curious to see how it comes out. Please feel free to come back in here to brag, and to point me to any online stuff you post. Good luck!
Actually, if you make your center magnets *stick out* significantly on the central cube and *recessed* significantly on the face-center cubes (with slightly enlarged holes), then you'll provide a *mechanical* bearing for the axes to rotate around. The sticking-out magnets will act as mechanical shafts, bearing in the plastic material around the recessed magnets' holes.

It will reduce some of the neat, unique sliding and springiness that you probably get with an all-magnetic solution, but allowing for some mechanical integrity will make rotation more reliable and precise.
Will certainly report back. Have you experimented with testing different types of glue on those 3 extra blocks? I'd like to avoid the bloom effect.
ello, i also made one of these cubes (me and ella made em together) i just thought i would add that if u use the D63 magnets, you have to be very careful about making the holes in the dead centre piece perfect, as the magnets are actually big enough to touch each other in this piece, so if the holes are slightly off centre, then you are going to have trouble fitting them in as they will get in the way of each other... also we plan on making more, but using clear or coloured translucent dice instead, (no stickers, so you can still see inside it and use it too, and a lot cheaper, and perfect cubes in shape) i searched for magnets to fit in 16mm dice, and found D62s would be good to use for centres. they were thinner than the D63s and stronger :D (and cheaper, and lighter). i then thought it would be a good idea to search for new ones for the smaller magnets too, and found D401s, they are cheaper and a little stronger (not that they need to be). so i ordered enough of these to make one more cube, we will be using 19mm red translucent dice for this one. we then plan on taking it a step further and attempting to make a 5x5x5, will probably also make some more 3x3x3s out of dice, in different colours. and depending on how the 5x5x5 goes, i may go all out and try and make a 7x7x7! that will be amazing if it works... its a lot of work and money, but worth it :)
ella8 years ago
just finished making my magnetic rubik's cube. using the d63 magnetes worked great, only trouble was encouraging them into the centre peirce. by the time 5 were glued in, the 6th one needed alot of pressure, alot. If u had glue in the holes (i used super glue) and you didn't hold the cube tighly , it would flip out so the wrong polarty was facing outwards. My advice to anyone making this project; 1. drill all your pieces first, start with the corner pieces, so if you stuff up by possibly drilling to far, u can use those cubes for other parts (mostly if you using the d63 magents, as they are thicker)then do the 12 edge pieces, then the centres and finally the dead centre. 2. Test your glues, practice how much glue u need. I used super glue and where there was to much glue its made a mess of the cubes. 3. make your corner piece polarites attract to the centres, so that when you turn it keeps together well, although either way is still good. 4. when drilling the holes, try turning the cubes around to increse the size of the hole. this will centre the hole better as the cubes are not excatly the same plus, sometimes the magents get stuck in the holes when checking if the depth is right, turning the cube will drill a slightly bigger hole. 5. make sure u have some spare cubes and spare magnets just in case. the cube turned out incredible, for turning it you just need to hold the edges, so that the corners don't come out. enjoy
Cyrus8 years ago
They usually send free samples of different magnet types when you order from them.
johnpombrio8 years ago
Great project! Use a forstner drill bit. It makes a smooth sided hole with a flat bottom. I have used it on plastic and it works ok (but still may need to be cleaned out after a cut). With a flat bottomed hole, it is a piece of cake to get consistently drilled hole depths. These bits are sold in any hardware store or Sears.
fishcatcher8 years ago
ill draw the schemtics just give me a couple days
fishcatcher8 years ago
could you do this with an antfarm? u could make the queen in the middle an make all the ants return to the city. also u could make tubes run thru the inside of the cubes and u could twist it on them and totally piss them off! imagine keepin an ant out of the city for hours! i crackle just thinking about that. give it a shot anyhting is possible!!
ella8 years ago
hey, lol, i changed my idea, my teacher really doubts me adn i doubt that wil be of any help. I've been reading thorugh ur site again, and have ordered cubes and magnetes,plus some of the stronger magnets you seem to keep recommending for the 6 centre pieces. Thanks heaps for the recomendations, il take note of that. i'll make sure to send u a pic when im done, hopefully itl go well, and your site helps alot. Fiure also on the centre peices, with the stronger magnets, the drilled hole shouldnt have to be just under the surface, rather flush because they won't need to slide against the other cubes. Thanks again. Oh, and have u managed to make ur rubik's mosaic? should post a pic of it on here. bibi
ella8 years ago
hey, this is such a great design, really impressive and well planned. i wonder if u could give me some advice...? im going to attempt to make a wooden rubik's cube for a school project, do u think itl be possible? Any tips? any help is good. cheers
gfixler (author)  ella8 years ago
Thanks! I think a wooden cube would be great. It's one of the things I've been wanting to try on the new Sherline mini milll I finally picked up. I've wanted a mill almost my whole life :)

I would say if you don't mind using some non-wood in the project, telescoping tubes, available at hardware stores would make nice spindles from the center. You can find springs at hardware stores, too (at least a few I've been to), which will help to push the 6 center faces down toward the center, to hold the rest in. I have 2 Flickr sets of Rubik's pieces taken apart from many angles if they'll help you:

http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594065054337/

http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/sets/72057594089454051/

It will be a bit tricky, but it's totally doable. You may need to hand whittle some parts, or hand-sand some things a lot, but it would be rewarding to know you made a whole cube yourself. Best of luck, and drop me any more questions if you think I can help further.
What an awesome idea! When I was a kid I had a period of cube solving and was fun. My method was kinda slow, but I did solve it a few times. This project makes me want to go back to that and improve my technique. This version of the cube would certainly go really well with my interest for magnets as of late. Thanks for sharing! I'll probably wait until you have an improved version of the mechanism, though. I'm kinda poor and rather spend on a sure-fire version. About the center magnets touching each other, wouldn't this be bad for them or are the surfaces pretty tough?
gfixler (author)  Cristian Lavaque8 years ago
none of the magnets actually touch, as all of them are sunk a bit below the level of the plastic edges. I wanted just the plastic to slide against itself. It's cool that you solved the cube, and what sounds like on your own. I used Lars Petrus' method to learn how to do it, available at http://www.lar5.com/
I was thinking that you probably could do with half the magnets, by using them on only one of two adjacent cubes, on the other one you can just use a ferrous metal. That'd make the project less expensive while keeping it simpler because you don't have to worry about pole pairing. Maybe the central ones should remain pairs of bigger strong magnets, though.
gfixler (author)  Cristian Lavaque8 years ago
Yeah, I considered it for cost reduction, but I wanted to see what else would be possible with all the blocks containing real magnets. I.E. what other shapes I could create, etc. It would definitely work to use half magnets, though I would say that pieces from which others branch should all be the same. In other words, the centerpiece cubelet should be all of one or the other, the 6 that connect to it should be all of the opposite of that, and onward.
chwilk8 years ago
I just finished making one of these cubes. It was a great project, lots of fun, pretty forgiving, and gives a great sense of satisfaction when completed. I've a few suggestions to feed back into the forum: - I changed the magnet specs based on gfixler's suggestion that the core links should be stronger. I was able to get by with 1/4" dia by 1/8" thick magnets for the core, and I went through K&J's surplus magenets and got a great discount on 100 6mm magnets. They're less thick axially than the D32, but are close to 15/64" in diameter (which is the drill bit I used). - I found that most of the magnets formed a friction fit once I tested them, and I couldn't get them out. A few have popped out since I assembled the cube, and I've been glueing them back in piecemeal. - The glue I'm using is "gorilla glue" I found at Lowes. A dot on the magnets seem to keep everything in place, without scarring the plastic. Excess is easily scraped off with a sharp knife. I use a bench vise to hold the magnets while the glue sets, which takes about 3 hours. - The larger magnets for the core do help quite a bit, I can tell the difference between having a face with a good core and one without (one popped out, and I couldn't turn the face without it deforming) - Lastly, I found a slightly easier way to keep track of magnets (but I fudged up once too): Once you lay in the first magnet, just hold the stack of magnets close to the already placed ones. If they attract, you've got the correct side to insert into other holes on the same cube. If you want to pick polarity for adjacent cubes that must attract, make sure the magnet stack repels the cube you want to attract. I flipped polarities between cores, edges, and corners, so that corners don't fit into edge slots without popping out and vice versa.
gfixler (author)  chwilk8 years ago
Been awhile since I checked in here, but that's great news! I'm glad you got to make one, too. Any pics we can see? Now I'll wait a month for /your/ reply :)
led5558 years ago
this is a very neat project, I like those clear cubes. good job!
gfixler (author)  led5558 years ago
Thank you!
Just wondering: It says "Free Samples" on the packet. I've looked all over the K&J site and can't find any info about free stuff. Do you have to be a customer to get free samples?
dosher8 years ago
How's the action on this? like, is it easy to turn quickly without it flying apart? Awesome project, by the way, I'm seriously interested in doing one of my own, maybe in wood with different species of wood on the six faces.
gfixler (author)  dosher8 years ago
Forgot I had this wooden magnet cube in my Amazon wishlist for awhile. It's sort of a blend of my magnet cube and your wooden cube ideas. Not quite either of our ideas - this one is meant to only combine in one way, so the trick is to fight the magnetic polarities and find the way that all of them can be assembled, and it's just made of wood, not unique woods per face, but it might give you a sense of the way a wooden cube can look:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0009XS9Q0/103-7295538-6155065
gfixler (author)  dosher8 years ago
Good question. It's interesting. Most people I've handed this to have had trouble, and it was tricky for me at first. Some people did send blocks flying, and I've once or twice in the past few days knocked a piece out while solving it, which really messes you up (had to just take it apart and put it back together solved). I have solved it once as a typical cube with only a minor problem (knocked a corner off, but remembered which way it was facing, so I just put it back).

It's easy to spin a face clockwise with my right hand, but the reverse is more difficult, and everything is more difficult with my left hand. I counted that I'm able to spin clockwise with my right hand about 24x in 10 seconds, with 1 minor screwup (face slid off a bit). Left hand clockwise I got 16 spins, but kept accidentally pushing some cubes out of line a bit. There's a certain finesse you have to learn to do it right, which I think would be greatly eased by stronger axle magnets - the 6 pairs that connect the central piece to the 6 center face pieces.

You can check out a crappy 4.9MB MOV I made of me fooling around with it. Maybe it'll help you get a sense of things.

http://www.garyfixler.com/magnetocube.mov

I think the 6 wood grains would be really neat, especially if they all look quite different. You have a wide range to choose from. Everything from cork to mahogany. Good luck, and definitely post it up here if you do it!
It looks a little hard to use, maybe it'd be better for observing than actual solving ;) Do you think adding stronger magnets to the cubes attached to the center make it a little bit easier for solving?
gfixler (author)  dapinoyba8 years ago
Yep. That's my guess, mentioned in step 3 here, and in the last paragraph here:
http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/127662849/in/set-72057594105668430/
Jack8 years ago
Great work, really innovative. I was wondering how much this cost you in materials, not including any tools.
gfixler (author)  Jack8 years ago
Good suggestions. I should get a materials bill up here and in the Flickr gallery. Here's some solid info for you:

magnets (www.kjmagnetics.com - D32 cylinder magnets)
100 pack - $16.75
25 pack - $4.55
total: $21.30
shipping: $5.00 (USPS Standard)
grand total: $26.30

cubes (http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=136&)
3 sets of 10 3/4" cast acrylic cubes: $5.50 * 3 = $16.50
UPS Ground: $4.63
grand total: $22.82

Duco Cement: $1.99 + tax from store

Without the glue or tools, and with cheapest shipping, that's $49.12

You can find cheaper blocks other places, or if you have the tools, make them yourself from whatever. I've considered casting the blocks from resin, especially for some of my other cubes ideas that could benefit from this.
Temo Vryce8 years ago
This is too cool. I could never solve the rubics cube without taking the damn thing apart but this is just too cool. Nice work all around.
gfixler (author)  Temo Vryce8 years ago
I never solved one on my own either. If you'd like to just learn 'a good and fast method' that's written up nicely, I'd recommend the one I settled on, by Lars Petrus:

http://www.lar5.com/cube/index.html
radiorental8 years ago
out of curiousity and not having used maya, what software would enable me to create 3d irregular jigsaw pieces? Visualise an object made up of smaller shapes similar in size to the acrylic cubes held togther with magnets. Not that I have access to a 3d printer to make these pieces, just throwing the idea out there. Nice photos on flickr
gfixler (author)  radiorental8 years ago
I would say check out Blender, which is a very feature-rich, free, open-source 3D package available here: http://www.blender.org/

There are lots of resources there and through Google for learning how to make things in this program, as well as a collaborative community. My friend was able to make a little snowman scene after following one of the included tutorials, and that was his first day ever of using any kind of 3D application. Good luck!

I'm DYING for a 3D printer. I got to see the Z Corporation's powder-based full-color inkjet, and Dimension's ABS plastic-cord based 3D printers both at Siggraph last year. Two pages of pics here:

http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/tags/3dprinter/

The Dimension in particular is *perfect* for this kind of thing. It prints hard ABS plastic models, that feel and are as sturdy as plastic mice and keyboards. So incredibly amazing. The price dropped since the show from $25k to $18k, and I can't tell you how often I've daydreamed of leasing plans, selling my car, or my body, to afford it :)

And thanks!
gfixler (author)  gfixler8 years ago
I should add that if I *really* had my way, what I wanted to do was inlay thin pieces of colored acrylics into the faces of the cube, the size and shape of the labels, but for that, I'd need some kind of milling machine, or a somewhat complicated Dremel jig (not that I wouldn't like to build that, too, but I wanted to get this done in some kind of timely fashion :), or really steady hands. Someday I'll have a nice shop. For now, I wait...
radiorental8 years ago
OK, this project is giving me loads of ideas. how about integrating LEDs and contacts, plus one master cube with battery, to make a puzzle that only lights up in a certain configuration I'm sure more to follow... never knew these cube existed
gfixler (author)  radiorental8 years ago
Awesome! I'm glad to inspire. I've been getting loads of cubes ideas lately, too. I like yours of how it would only light up once solved. That would definitely give it a "tada!" feeling. My very first cube idea that came to me when I got into cubing a few months ago was to make one with LEDs, but I had to get all complex. I've researched several design ideas, but it seems almost nothing willl let me get it down to the actual size of an official cube. My thought was that the faces would be white plexiglass with RGB LEDs underneath, with a microcontroller to allow them too be any color. I'd want them to remain lit during play. Originally, I figured I couldn't spin the cube, so it would have to be more about pressures and such, but to spin the cube, the colors of the LEDs would change, to simulate spinning. Since then I've tried to work out methods to keep contacts going the whole time, and what a rats nest that's created in all of my concepts. Some ideas that have come from this idea include having the cube play "disco lights" (especially as a prize for solving it!), being able to store favorite or well-known scrambles (like say whatever the record speedcuber started with, or the lowest-number-of-moves record holder started with, so you can try them out, too), being able to store your position and return to it, which yields the awesome power of "undo" levels, adding a counter (this was actually one of Rubik's original ideas - he had some electromechanical thoughts for his cube!), having the faces 'animate' around instead of just turning - all the pieces of a side could move around in 3 steps, like stock tickers, or even fade across, ethereally, and lots more! So many ideas from such a simple device, and that's just for the LED cube I want to build. I have about 15 or 20 other ideas from the cube. I think I'm going to be building cube crap for quite awhile now. I made this one first, though I thought of it later, because I could see easily how to do this one. The LED cube is a giant pain, and there's still much to figure out.
That's a really awesome idea! I'm sure it would be hard, though
radiorental8 years ago
also, what caused the internal fracturing? it looks cool but I may want to avoid it
gfixler (author)  radiorental8 years ago
The short answer is the Duco Cement. I speak a bit more about it here in step 7, and in the Flickr galleries here:

http://flickr.com/photos/garyfixler/127642582/in/set-72057594105668430
wperry18 years ago
This thing is amazing. Cool project!
gfixler (author)  wperry18 years ago
thanks!
radiorental8 years ago
effing neat! work of art.
gfixler (author)  radiorental8 years ago
Thank you! I'm working on a simple Rubik's mosaic art piece at the moment. Soon, my whole apartment will be Rubik's art crap :)
"throwing ... cannon ball" Certainly a fun way of venting frustration of solving the puzzle cube. :D And in the end you can reassemble it as though nothing happened ;)