Keyboard/Sudoku Rubik's Cube...dead Computer Contest




Tired of the normal Rubik's cube challenge?   Have the keyboards from a dead computer?  Well, here is the thing for you!  The Keyboard/Sudoku Rubik's cube!

i got the idea when i popped off a key from my key board and looked at its shape, and it fit perfectly on my Rubik's cube

*thanks to the editors for the feature*
*thanks to all of you that have voted!!!*

Step 1: Materials

For this instructable you will need the following:

a Rubik's cube (maybe the one that your stickers are falling off of  =D
a tube of epoxy, or other strong plastic on plastic glue (I used clear drying)
guitar pick or razor blade
two (2) keyboards, one black and one white
small fan
fingernail polish remover/goo-gone or similar product (to remove residue from stickers)
thin wood or cardboard
flat head screw driver
needle-nose pliers
rubber/latex gloves
tooth picks
face mask (cause the epoxy smells)
six (6) plastic bags
spare thin cardboard, or something else to mix the epoxy on
dremel power tool (recommended but not necessarily needed)
roll of paper towels
lots of time

Step 2: Preparing the Cube and Keys

remove your old worn out stickers, a guitar pick can be used or a razor blade (dont cut yourself!)
remove any residue from the cube with finger nail polish remover

you will want to pop-out all three sets of number keys from both key boards i.e. the Fkeys, the Numpad keys and the 'regular' number keys (above the top row of letters)

the backs of the keys could have plastic that protrudes beyond the base of the key.  If this is the case, you will have to remove it.  When i did mine, the white keys just had to 'prongs' that were thin.  I just pulled them off with the needle-nose pliers.  The black keys had a circular protrusion.  Here i tried to pull them off with the pliers, with little success.  I could do it, but it took a ton of effort.  I borrowed a dremel tool, from my grand-dad, and they got sliced down to size.  

*As a note, my father took the old computers to a recycling center, especially for technology, so i dont have pictures of the original keys i used, but i did get my hand on a new key board.  These keys had a small protrusion that was quite easy to take off.  Not all keyboards are created equally, you will have to use a method that is most effective for your situation.  For these keys, a razor blade worked well.

for the sake of organization, i kept all 9 pieces of each 'set of keys' in individual plastic baggies

Step 3: Gluing the Keys to the Cube

epoxy can be dangerous if you inhale too much of the fumes or get it on your skin, please use caution when gluing!

First take one of the plastic baggies with your set of keys, and lay the keys out in a square pattern.  I started with the number 1 key in the bottom left hand corner.  basically, it will look like the keys on a calculator, or the Numpad on your key board.

Now we need to disassemble the individual pieces of the top layer of the cube. I find that if you turn the top layer of the cube 45 degrees then try to remove an edge piece you will have the easiest time.  I then put the cubies into a square like the keys and set them side by side for easy access.

see the pictures for visual on how to remove the cubies

At this time I turned on my little fan and put on my 'fume mask' and gloves.
As a note, I only worked with one face of the cube in any one gluing session.  I found, even with the fan and the mask, the fumes were too much for me.

Mix the epoxy and then apply it to the cubies, but you only need to put epoxy on the perimeter.
I found that a tooth-pick works best for applying the epoxy.  Then carefully place the keys onto the cubies, making sure that if any edge of the keys was not hanging over the edge of the cube.  It is vital to the rotation of the edges, when you go to play with the cube, that nothing blocks the sliding motion of the sides.

Step 4: Letting the Epoxy Dry

After I had the keys on the cubies, i put them in a clamp to dry.  I placed a thin piece of wood between the cubies and the clamp so I could put 4 under one clamp and so the pieces wouldn't get damaged.  I used a wooden saw-horse, but i'm sure the work bench you have would work just fine.  Clamping is not critical, as the center piece wont come off and it would be a hassle to try to clamp it, but i felt i needed to add pressure to the pieces so they wouldn't slip.

After the epoxy dried, i repeated steps 3 and 4 until all six sides were completed.

Step 5: Important Details/Finished Cube

After its dry, all you need to do is lube it up and you'll be ready to go!!

Some Notes
I kept the 3 white sides so they converged at one corner, and same with the black (at the number 3)

The cube is actually more like a picture cube than a real sudoku cube, it just looks like you will need extra algorithms to solve the cube:
     M' U' M U (5 times)...turns top middle clockwise 1, and front middle counter clockwise 1
     M U M' U' (5 times)...turns top middle counter clockwise 1, and back middle clockwise 1
note-M' is away from you
Hang on, this one is LONG
     R U R' U R U U R' U R U R' U R U U R' U R U' L' U R' U' L U U R U' L' U R' U' L...turns top middle 2 times
thanks to abunai59 from Youtube with the video "How to Solve a Picture Rubik's Cube!!

*EDIT: here is a way shorter algorithm for rotation of the top middle twice
     U R L U2 R' L' U R L U2 R' L'

thanks go to Gonazar for the short one!

i use them, so they work
final notes
the cube even stands on its own
i had keys that were long, from an ergonomic keyboard, so i used the dremel tool to cut them (see picture 4)

thanks for reading, good luck, post your picks, and leave your comments and questions if you need anything!

Finalist in the
Dead Computer Contest



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    43 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 3

    Do you only remove on row of cubes, or is it vital to remove them all ?

    Now coming up with that was a great thought. Simple and really cool. I could have stared at my keyboard and a rubix cube for eternity and never considered gluing them together.


    I want to do this, I experienced a hard drive error earlier this week and I think my laptop is dying. I want to have a funeral for my laptop.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    On Feb 23, in the free Swiss-French paper called 20 Minutes, they mentioned the Instructables website, illustrated by your cube!

    6 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    awsome i can't wait till spring clean up so i can snatch someones old key board


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I added some paint on each side , so I can play by the colour ,or by the numbers (of course , the number and the colours side isn't the same) . Thanks for your Instructable ! It's Very cool !!!!


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    nice!  i assume u used the letter keys, what was the 27th key u used, just wondering


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    At first, I used a german keyboard. So some keys may be different from your keyboard.

    I used the F-keys, numpad and number keys, A-I, the nine keys in the upper right of the keyboard (page up, down, pos 1, roll etc). On the last side I put the four directions, -, /, *, ';' and _ .

    Solving the cube might be very tricky, so it's just decoration at the moment :D

    thanks for your instructions! I modified it a bit, but it worked perfectly!


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    Why do I try to describe it so hard... pictures tell more than words.

    Sry for bad quality -> iPhone


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I like the way you think, I'll give it the old college try.

    Picture 037.jpg