I made a wooden Rubik's Cube as a project for my Introduction to Engineering and Design class. I originally got the idea from another Instructable project by jhansel. However, my Rubik's Cube had a few minor differences that made my Rubik's Cube a little bit different.
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Step 1: Research the Materials Needed for the Project and Obtain Them
There were many things that I needed in order to build a magnetic Rubik's Cube. First of all, I needed wood for the core. I got the wood from the same place as jhansel. I ordered 40 of the 5/8" cubes and 40 1/2" cubes, even though I only needed 27. I ordered the two different sizes so I could see which size I liked better. I ordered extras to allow for errors in the cubes and for me to test how I was going to make the Rubik's Cube (I used some of the cubes to test my methods). I also got my magnets from the same place as jhansel, although I decided to get weaker magnets than jhansel did. I ended up getting D52 and D32-N52 magnets, with a count of 15 and 110, respectively. I got the glue I used at Menards, and the wood veneer was given to me by my teacher to use as the different colors. The tools I used were provided by my dad.
Step 2: Label All of the Cubes
In this step, I labeled all of the cubes with a pencil so I knew what sides to drill holes on it and so I knew what color each side of each cube had to be. This proved to be very helpful, as I did not drill holes for the magnets where there was a letter.
Step 3: Drill the Holes Into the Cubes
The first step is to drill holes into the cubes. The hardest part about this step for me was making sure it was set just right, making sure it was centered and at the correct height. Once my dad got it set and showed me how to do it, however, it went very smoothly. I had to be careful to not get wood chips around the cube before I drilled the hole so it didn't mess up the alignment. To prevent the alignment being off, I had a vacuum and I sucked up all of the wood chips between drilling each cube.
Step 4: Glue All of the Magnets Into the Cubes
In this step, my dad helped me glue all of the magnets into the cubes. The hardest by far was the core piece because the magnets were the stronger magnets and they were all repelling one another. We ended up using three clamps to hold it together while it dried. The next hardest pieces were the edges because there were four magnets which were trying to get apart, and even though they were the weaker magnets, they still wanted to get away from each other. My dad and I figured out that you can put some magnets on the outside (like shown in the picture) to try and counteract the magnetic forces. The corners were comparatively easy, since there were only three magnets repelling each other, but the middle ones were by far the easiest. This is because the big magnet connecting to the core had the opposite polarity of the smaller magnets, causing it to counteract the repelling forces.
Step 5: Prepare Wood Veneer
In this step, I prepared the wood veneer. I cut it up using kitchen scissors and cut each square slightly bigger than the size of the cubes. I cut it from the six colors I wanted to use.
Step 6: Glue the Wood Veneer Onto the Cubes
In this step, I took the squares I cut out of the veneer and glued it on to the cube. I put three pieces of veneer and three cubes with magnets on a post-it note, and I made sure the veneer corresponded with the marks I had made on the cubes. Then, I put rubber cement (contact cement) on the side of the veneer and the cube. I waited for it to dry, and then I put the two pieces together. I then used a machine to round the edges of the veneer and cube, which made it so the cube didn't catch on other cubes as much. I then repeated this step for the remaining six sides.
Step 7: Assemble the Cube
This step was a little bit harder for me for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is hard to tell which piece is which since I used similar colors. It was also kind of difficult because I used colors similar to those on the outside on the inside, so I didn't know which direction the cube was supposed to face. Since I had pieces facing the wrong way and in the wrong spot, it was difficult to put together since the magnets were resisting one another.