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Sculpteo’s Best Practices for Designing a 3D Printable Twisty Puzzle/Rubik’s Cube

by • April 16, 2016 • No Comments

rub3-1024x640Since 1974, the Rubik’s Cube has become the most widely sold toy in the world. A sizeable part of its fascination is due to how challenging it is to solve the puzzle, and we have seen most records set and shattered by folks attempting to rapidly solve the puzzle (including inventing a robot that can do this in under a second). Take this may already challenging puzzle and add another layer of challenge: why not create and 3D print your own puzzle? Yes, the pastime of createing, printing, and and so obsessively solving and resolving twisty puzzles/Rubik’s Cubes has become talked of adequate — combining older puzzle forms with newer 3D technologies — that it’s high time we reviewed the most practices for this activity, is not it?

Whilst there is the version to use software that can do it all for you, most folks like the challenge of createing their own puzzles of scratch. A new Sculpteo blog post reviews these most puzzle-building practices and explains precisely what is so enticing of this particular kind of challenge. Supposedly, it’s all of building the puzzle twist, a problem that a previous man had when he tried to 3D print the world’s sizeablest Rubik’s Cube. To avoid a much like fate, according to Sculpteo, you will need to understand a bit of how micro-mechanical systems work:

“Even if you have a quite great thought of the various parts the puzzle can contain, the number of mechanical pieces can be quite high and cause misalignment, high frictions, and instability in the puzzle. The prototype may be too tight and not easy to turn or too squishy and explode as soon as you try to solve it (the right term is to pop). Beyond puzzles, we will try to have a appear here into micro-mechanical systems and how to create them.”


To illustrate these points, Sculpteo showcases the inner workings of the Rubik’s Cube. First it is cut with a special profile to encertain its various types of parts — 6 centers, 12 edges, and 8 corners — remain together. Mechanically, the puzzle should be slightly adjusted for the reason a few surfaces form an angle at a lower place 90°, and this causes jamming between all of the parts. To avoid this, the sketch has to be alterd to contain angles over 90°. Now you can manufacture certain that the Cube is printable, with the right hollowing rules and wall thickness.

After changing angles on the Cube sketch and checking it for printability, the following step is to set the mechanical clearance, that can in addition be tricky for the reason a “tiny alter in clearances can totally alter your mechanism behavior.” Compact clearance needs surfaces that slide together, whereas sizeable clearance has parts that hover and do not need contact. Here, Sculpteo explains additional of the significance of a third clearance version that reduces jamming of parts:

rub2“With this clearance, you will get a smooth turning puzzle without any polishing needd. If you are planning to use the mechanism quite frequently, if you create a cube for speed solving that you will use for all your competition, for instance, a various clearance should be utilized to assume the wear of plastic. Compact clearance can be deleted (0mm/in) and sizeable one reduced to 0,4mm / 0,016in. Clearance for jamming parts won’t be alterd. If the puzzle appears complex to twist at the beginning, it’ll be smoother and smoother.”

So, the upshot here is that clearance is quite significant for smooth-functioning puzzles.

Finally, the edges of your create’s parts in addition need to be filleted for smooth functioning. Sculpteo recommends that “a 2-3mm / 0,08-0,12in fillet is a great value.” For appearance’s sake, you can in addition add “a 1mm / 0,04in fillet on the visible faces.”

Since you’ve reviewed the inner mechanics and most practices for createing a Rubik’s Cube puzzle of your own, now you just have a few additional steps to go. You need to 3D print it, and, of course, solve the darn thing!