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 Post subject: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:10 pm 
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Location: Marin, CA
This terrible looking hand stickered 3x3x3 lump of playdoh-shaped ABS is 9mm on an edge. Here are some photos of the build.

At this scale, ABS is very flexible. Irritatingly rubber-like. Supports must be large, which takes away from all straight edges-- you'll see. In the end, most surfaces are touched with an exacto blade. I won't work at this scale ever again, if I can help it. It just feels impossible to make a clean looking build.

The flexibility at this scale also produces "hairy" looking chips, which can be removed by brushing over them with a fingernail.

The core is made in two parts. With the very thin ABS, even screwing in the center caps could ruin the core. After 2 ruined cores, I made special jigs for gluing and driving screws. The larger jig is meant to hold the two halves together for gluing, while the smaller is cut back to allow it to be clamped while attaching 4 of the center caps. The screws are size #000.

Thumbtacks and drywall screws are included in some photos to help with visualizing scale.

Stickers were scissor-cut, and applied with tweezers. I want to scream just thinking about it.

It did work (I broke it already), so that's something. But I'm really unhappy with the lumpy look. On the bright side, I'm on to my next project!!

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:15 pm 
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That is unreal! Absolutely incredible. I couldn't work with stuff that small. My hands aren't steady enough. Nicely done!


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Great job on it! :) Can you use your hands to turn it? ;)


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:23 pm 
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Hehehe, truly crazy! Now build a picopenultimate! I _dare_ you!

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:41 pm 
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impressive! too bad it broke


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:45 pm 
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:shock: wow just wow :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:20 pm 
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Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Does this beat Tonys Nano cube?

But anyways awesome job on that!

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:26 pm 
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Location: Bay Area, CA
Once again io throws brute diligence (and $20k equipment) at an impossible task, and shows us what determination can produce.

Excellent!

So a question: Why ABS? At this scale I would think aluminum would be a much better material to work with. Not easy, mind you, but at least you could count on some level of strength. I assume your mill is up to it, it would just take longer? Taps for #000 screws can be found.

Now I guess it is time to make a micro Neon ;)

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:27 pm 
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I love it :mrgreen:

Will you be selling these later on, becuase I would pay big money for one.


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:59 pm 
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Location: Carnegie Mellon
I wouldnt buy one, I'd be way too afraid of losing it


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:05 am 
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Location: UK
Although it broke it's still a very impressive story.

Great photography BTW!

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:04 am 
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Location: Oregon, USA
DLitwin wrote:
So a question: Why ABS? At this scale I would think aluminum would be a much better material to work with. Not easy, mind you, but at least you could count on some level of strength. I assume your mill is up to it, it would just take longer? Taps for #000 screws can be found.
Or if your mill doesn't like aluminum I'm sure it could handle M3 or Macro Molecular Metal. I've been experimenting with it and it's a really exciting meterial. (Yeah, I plan to build a puzzle with it...eventually!)

M3 metals have a lot of the properties of ordinary metals (bronze, copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, et al.) but you can carve them with ordinary wood tools. Actually, it's nicer to carve than ordinary metal, plastic, or wood because there are no shards or shavings: just a fine powder. It's not as strong as ordinary metal, but it's just as rigid and it's strong enough. The rigidity and carve-ability are better than ABS.

You ought to consider adding M3 to your raw materials even if you don't attempt another picocube!


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:10 am 
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Breathtaking.... my girlfriend was shocked. This is a seriously good job!

Awesome little puzzle! :D

Alex :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:03 am 
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Gnarly. Awesome work, I imagine your eyes could use a vacation.


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:13 am 
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But how small is (was) it actually?

Thomas

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:32 am 
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Quote:
This terrible looking hand stickered 3x3x3 lump of playdoh-shaped ABS is 9mm on an edge.


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:11 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
So a question: Why ABS? At this scale I would think aluminum would be a much better material to work with. Not easy, mind you, but at least you could count on some level of strength. I assume your mill is up to it, it would just take longer? Taps for #000 screws can be found.
Dave


You're right! My mill can do aluminum, copper, bronze and other nonferrous metals.
Darn, and I had mentally moved on. :) I'll need to come back to this again later. And those M3 metals do look interesting...

I think I'll need to find a way to machine the core in one piece, which is much, much harder than it sounds. It will be like drilling straight down a grain of rice. Anyway, I'll shove this WAY to the back of my mind for now. :)

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:00 am 
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Would it be possible to cut out molds instead of the pieces themselves? Obviously it would have to be cut out of a material that wouldn't bond with whatever material the pieces would eventually be made of, but it seems to me that if it were possible (I have no idea if it would be) you'd eliminate the problem of the supports killing your straight edges.

Of course they'd have to be ridged molds, and I'm not sure if anyone here has any experience with those.


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:20 am 
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Interesting idea -- Cutting rigid molds would probably need to be done in metal, and then I'd have to face drafting and ejection considerations.

Probably the best way to do this would be to have workholding jigs that hold the parts so that the supports could be machined off smoothly.

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 1:30 pm
Location: bay area, california
Jason, you are the Alan Boardman of twisty puzzles...

well done!!!


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:56 pm 
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io wrote:
I think I'll need to find a way to machine the core in one piece, which is much, much harder than it sounds. It will be like drilling straight down a grain of rice. Anyway, I'll shove this WAY to the back of my mind for now. :)

Sounds like a job for a guy with an expensive mill and an inability to ignore a challenge. Where to find someone like that...

I'm guessing you could mill a jig (just a round hole down, with some arm stabilizer grooves) to hold the spindle steady, perhaps with another layer above with just a hole to further hold it down (it could be clamped on top). You could drill the hole right after milling the bottom portion of the jig so your origin would remain the same

So will the new aluminum pico-cube have arched centers? ;)

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:44 pm 
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You beat me. Nice one!

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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:12 pm 
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That must have been a maddening exercise in patience. I don't know how you could have done it without one of those small-scale surgery robots. Great job!


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:00 am 
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Location: Cornwall, United Kingdom
Wow! That's incredibly tiny.

Don't sneeze!


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 Post subject: Re: picocube
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:39 pm 
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Wow, that is a truly amazing feat. Too bad it broke. Very impressive!! :D

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