Since the beginning of last spring I’ve found myself spending a lot of my newfound free time messing around with the different puzzles and games collecting dust in some forgotten corner of my house. I especially enjoyed solving my old Rubik’s cube, one that I never bothered to actually solve since I was 13.

Needless to say, it became a pleasant obsession of mine, a relaxing portion of time I indulged in between class calls and at the end of the digital day.

It inspired me to create my own version of a modernized Rubik’s cube that could serve equally as a decorative ornament and more so as a challenging puzzle.

Let’s Begin

To turn a plastic toy into a double-functioning modern ornament, I determined that I needed to choose a set materials that would be most likely found in any contemporary office or home setting: wood and metal.

Ultimately, after considering the advantages and disadvantages of both, I decided on an entirely metal cube because its texture differed the most from plastic and would be highlighted greatest against most traditionally wooden furniture.

Initially, I considered using different metals to simulate the traditional cube colors, but that also would have been relatively costly and time consuming. As a result, I decided to go with aluminum because it is the most cost effective material, and is a “softer” metal that most of the machines I have access to are able to work with. I then thought about spray painting the metal or anodizing it, but both techniques required equipment that would have placed me way beyond comfort.

Ultimately, I decided to instead engrave the metal and considered engraving different designs on each cublet, then face, but finally settled on a more personal idea.

I decided instead, to engrave each face of the cube with an eight word phrase from personal mentors whose books/talks I read/listened to during my time in school. Each cublet would house a word from the phrase, and the center face cublet would harbor the initials of the speaker. Additionally, each phrase would be written in different fonts so as to easily identify the complete phrase and its speaker.

Here are those complete phrases and some of their paraphrased versions:

Go all the way, otherwise, don’t even start.

Charles Bukowski

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless. Like water.

Bruce Lee

Don’t gain the world and lose your soul…

Bob Marley

What stands in the way, becomes the way.

Marcus Aurelius

Have the courage…to engage in unconventional living.

Alex Supertramp

Your life is what your thoughts make it.


The Construction

Cube Components

Through a combination of online resources (, and my own measurements, I was able to design each component within SolidWorks and then prototype it from PLA material on an Ultimaker 3D printer.

After printing on the Ultimaker, I noticed that my dimensions were off when I attempted to assemble the components together. So I sanded material off in locations I estimated were causing the misalignment but in doing so, I removed a lot more material than needed. I also noticed that my corner cublet was too large and needed to be completely redesigned. I would need to return to my research before accurately fashioning the pieces from aluminum.

Still ongoing… ⌛️🛠

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