Instructables

Rubik's cube chest of drawers

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30 years on from its invention, Rubik's cube is still instantly recognizable. People like picking it up, turning it a few times, maybe doing a side or two (or five, as a braggart in my class once memorably claimed). Solving the cube remains a reasonably rare feat - you're either smart enough to have figured it out yourself, or geeky enough to have followed a how-to, and most people are neither (then, of course, there is the astonishing Feliks Zemdegs...).

Rubik's cube is not just the quintessential hand-held puzzle, though: it's also an iconic piece of design, so I co-opted it when making a new chest of drawers for my son's room. This cubic piece of furniture has only one of the three required axes of rotation, so is unsolvable in the conventional sense, but can be arranged in any configuration you like by non-sporting means. The drawers do pose a brain-bending challenge: the first thing you have to solve is detecting that they're there, and all three have hidden locks in different locations.

 
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Step 1: Design

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of bits of furniture around that are based on the Rubik's cube; coffee tables are particularly popular, and for 980€ (!!), you can even buy a Rubik's cube locker. I wanted to do something different, and use lazy Susan bearings to achieve at least one axis of rotation - they're cheap, really strong, and add a wacky dimension to a chest of drawers.

The design is simply three boxes, each containing a single drawer. Their construction is basic - they're made of 1/4" and 1/2" plywood (which you should get precut at the lumber yard into two 2'x8' sheets), and assembled using a brad nailer and wood glue. This method of construction is super fast and precise, and results in really strong objects. The main challenge in this build is cutting the pieces with high precision - if you can't cut plywood to within 1 mm, you should probably practice on something simpler until you can. Having said that, I'm no pro and I've never made a chest of drawers before, so this project is NOT fancy woodworking by any means! If you weren't fussed about the drawers, it would be dead easy - it's just three boxes and a couple of lazy Susans, and you'd have a cool coffee table with no additionally functionality aside from rotatability. Deluxe Scrabble, anyone?

I was going to simply glue the "stickers" on to decorate the outside - or even just paint them on - but the future owner insisted he had to be able to scramble and "solve" the cube, so I enabled this with the help of rare-earth magnets for holding power and short dowels for positioning. I'm glad I did - it's more fun now, and the colors can be selected to match your mood or decor, including impossible combos of color (insofar as the real cube goes).

The puzzle is a little under 60 mm across, and this chest of drawers is exactly 600 mm across, so it is in approximately 10:1 scale. 1000 regular Rubik's cubes would therefore fit inside.

There are cubes that are 2x2, 4x4, 5x5 etc, so if you need more (or less) drawers, there is an obvious design solution...
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I'm having one of my "AGGGGH! I wish I didn't live in a n rv!!!" moments right now. Way cool. Super, super cool.
Win Guy2 years ago
And... YOU MADE THIS?!?!? *Slams "Subscribe" button as hard as possible*
Amazing!
Win Guy
makendo (author)  Win Guy2 years ago
Thanks, Win Guy.
sconner12 years ago
Make sure the nails are far enough from the edges so the router bit doesn't hit them
makendo (author)  sconner12 years ago
Good point, but they're driven well below the surface, taking care of that potential problem.
jdougherty22 years ago
The 9 magnets on top MAY be needed depending on how fast your kid decides to spin it. Having 9 colored tiles flying all over the place may be fun, but only until someone gets hurt. :)
Then it qualifys as a sport.
Seriously though, If you're buying that many magnets what's 9 more?
especially if you get the benefit of being able to put any colored tiles on any position.
You could save 6, well 5 in this case, by permanently affixing the center positions as a real Rubik's center squares don't actually move in relation to each other they only "spin".
makendo (author)  sconner12 years ago
I suspect if it was being spun that fast, all the side ones would be long gone. Fixing the center positions restricts the possible configurations a lot.
Note also that the tiles have the washers rather than the magnets, and there may be an advantage in NOT putting the magnets on the top (beyond saving a little time & money) - it probably means you could safely leave cards on top without worrying about them being magnetically wiped.
sconner12 years ago
Groovy build.
jeff-o2 years ago
Oooh, I do love the Diablo blade I have in my miter saw. I second your recommendation!
makendo (author)  jeff-o2 years ago
Yes - my crappy bench saw cost $75, and the Diablo blade in it cost $70! But it made it twice as good...
I agree Diablo blades are excellent.
ssmith652 years ago
this is awesome wish i could buy one!!
makendo (author)  ssmith652 years ago
Thanks. Looking at the prices of commercial cube-based furniture (see step 1), which are both a lot simpler than this, I suspect it would be *really* expensive, unfortunately.
rgarcia132 years ago
How much do you spend making it, it looks nice...
makendo (author)  rgarcia132 years ago
Thanks. See step 2: about $200.
brilliant job
jbussé2 years ago
THIS IS AWESOME!!
thumbs - up
Treknology2 years ago
I like the attention to detail. The movable color panels are a definite plus.
mir0k2 years ago
Wow! Any suggestion on router? I'm into getting one. Thanks.
makendo (author)  mir0k2 years ago
I have a little (1.25 HP?) Makita one, and it's served me well. For all my power tools, I buy a really cheap one first to work out if I really will use it or not, and if I do, I'll know exactly what I want in a replacement. So far, I've worn out a hand planer, a router, a jigsaw, a miter saw, a circular saw, four drills and a sander, and I'm really hoping my bench saw will fail soon... :)
mir0k makendo2 years ago
Thanks for your help, that's the right answer only user can give it:)
allesflex2 years ago
.... Wow!... damn... Gonna make me one of these!!!
[smiley-mode] bow [/smiley-mode]
lwatts12 years ago
This is inspiring, do you mind if I make and sell them? It gives me some other ideas as well.
When you start making them let me know. I would like to purchase one. Thanks.
makendo (author)  lwatts12 years ago
Thanks...but as encouraging as it is that someone wants to make it, the license it is published under is CC BY-NC-SA, so I won't be giving any commercial ventures my blessing.
Thank you very much for this project Makendo. It is an excellent concept that is easily made. Ihave already started to make one for my grand daughter.

makendo (author)  Waste Of Space2 years ago
Thanks, great to hear you're taking it on - I'm sure she'll like it, cube fan or not. Post a photo if you get a chance.
hasha20002 years ago

Love the idea...

BTW, you made failblog.org... In the WIN! section...

http://wins.failblog.org/2011/10/13/epic-win-photos-chest-of-drawers-win/
makendo (author)  hasha20002 years ago
Thanks - must admit that making failblog was definitely not an aim, but epic wins are always good!
Great Instructable! very thorough!. I'll have to add it to the long list of to do's...... when I get around to it!

Cheers
makendo (author)  jeanpierreau2 years ago
Cheers - post a photo when you do!
MorELen2 years ago
You need to market this and become rich.
makendo (author)  MorELen2 years ago
Thanks MorElen, I appreciate the compliment. But honestly, I'd rather give the plans away so creative people can make it for $200 than sell it so a few wealthy people could buy it for $2000. Besides, I get really bored when I have to make more than one of anything!
Manny B MorELen2 years ago
Why?

I entertain myself with various wood projects and writing projects and have been told several times, "you need to do XYZ and make some money on it!"
I don't have the imputes and am curious as to why this seems to come up some much for people that simply want to create.
Creating amazing pieces like this is one thing. Creating dollars and lbs is another.
ekardell2 years ago
Yours is — by far — the nicest I've ever seen. Great job!
Hey this just gave me an idea!
Why not do a Companion Cube, off of this design?
(I remember seeing a (normal sized) Rubik's Cube, Companion Cube.
makendo (author)  BrefelanDesigns2 years ago
I made one, then carried it away and incinerated it.
clee25 makendo2 years ago
+1 for this reply.
llegat2 years ago
This is GENIUS!!!!!! As soon as I have my new place I'll try to make one!!!!! Congrats and thank you very much for sharing!!!!!!!!!
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