Cubyrinth is a versatile, easy to make and carry 3D puzzle, where the player has the full liberty to make the puzzle more intensive and challenging. The objective is to pass one or multiples balls through the cube, with the minimum possible moves, which is quite apparent from Cubyrinth's simplistic design. As numerous combinations can be made starting with - the in and out holes, the number of balls in a game, the starting positions of the blocks Cubyrinth seeks to make the players challenge themselves by creating and solving their own labyrinths.
While designing the game following challenges were considered :-
1) The objective should be apparent, and should require minimal explanation.
2) Even with a simple design, the puzzle should provide ample permutations and combinations to keep the player engaged.
3) It should be easy to carry such that players can enjoy it anywhere in their leisure.
4) It should be easy to make and addition of complexities should be justified.
5) And of course it should be fun to play.
The current design, albeit has ample room for improvements, is the product of these guidelines. The parts can be entirely 3D printed, but it was felt that heavier steel balls be used, to provide easier movement. Further design choices have been explained in the later sections.
Step 1: The Design (Chin Rubbing in Silence)
(You can skip this section and move over to step 2, unless you want to read through the design considerations)
The goal was to simplify the fabrication process without compromising the concept. And hence the decision to segment the parts instead of 3D printing one whole cube with supports, and adding the complexity of screws. Without which it would have been tough to clear the generated supports. Also the balls to be played with can be easily stored within the box.
The entire print consists of :-
1) 2 upper and 2 middle sections fastened by screws
2) 9 movable blocks and
3) 8 caps for the lower section
The circular grooves were introduced along the sides of the holes as well as the movable blocks, for easier movement of the balls. Also circular caps were chosen to easily remove the adjacent caps.
Basically the blocks can move inside the slots and also they have holes in them through which the balls can pass. Each level has holes perpendicular to the vertical plane, through which the player can send the balls to the lower levels. Along with that the top and bottom layers have slots mutually perpendicular to the middle layer.
Few design modifications were made to the blocks for easier movement of balls which have been included in the 'name_new' .stl files. The files are attached in the next section.
Step 2: All You Need Is ....
1) 3D printer - I used my institutes's Ultimaker
2) 4 60mm M3 screws with nuts
3) A few 5mm dia steel balls - easily available in a cycle repair shop (anything below 8mm diameter works)
I printed the parts with PLA (Polylactic Acid) and the middle layers with ABS(Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filament. As there was slight expansion of parts leading to slightly smaller slot spaces, I had to sand the blocks.
Instead of sanding the blocks, you can decrease their scale by a bit (without changing the length) and the blocks will easily fit into the slots. I found the scaling to be around 94% of the original blocks to be suitable, but it may vary with the printer and filament. So by heat and trial one can find the perfect size.
I've attached the .stl files which you can use for printing the parts. The 'name_new' signify prints with slight changes in design for easier movement of the balls.
Step 3: Mr. Ford Minus the Line
The assembly is quite simple. The cube has to be put together with middle layer slots perpendicular to top and bottom layers. The blocks may show some resistance but it can be easily be eliminated with a little brushing with a sand paper.
Step 4: Voila!!!
Cubyrinth is ready. Make a labyrinth and solve it with one or more balls choosing one or several holes to take the balls out from. Here's a clip of my friend playing and solving it with middle slot open layout.
Enjoy creating and solving...
Second Prize in the