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 playing with my old Rubik’s cube, one that I never bothered to actually solve since I was 13. Slowly, over time, it became a pleasant obsession of mine, a relaxing portion of the day I indulged in between class calls and at the end of lecture.
It inspired me to create my own version of a modernized Rubik’s cube that could serve equally as a decorative ornament and more challenging puzzle.
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.
I decided on an entirely metal cube because its texture differed the most from plastic and would be highlighted the 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 “softer” than most other metals, making it easier to manufacture and fabricate. I then thought about spray painting the metal or anodizing it, but both techniques felt it would detract from the experience of the cube, so I went with something else.
I decided to instead, engrave the metal faces of the cube and initially considered engraving different designs on each cublet, but finally settled on a engraving each face of the cube with an eight word phrase from authors/musicians/people, whose books/talks/music I read/listened to during my time in school thus far.
These were those decided 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.Confucius
Through a combination of online resources (https://homes.luddy.indiana.edu/stsher/files/Rubiks_Cube.pdf, http://lulabs.net/machining/ss-cube/) 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.