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 Post subject: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:56 am 
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Hello,

In November 2009, I made my first mod, the Polyaxis Cube 2x2x2. This was a shape modification of a mini 2x2x2 made with plastic sheet and Apoxie Sculpt. Every face looks the same (if you count mirror images), so the puzzle is somewhat symmetrical and there is only two types of pieces (if you count mirror pieces as one) and four types of stickers (if you count mirror stickers as one).

I took some pictures and I've been thinking about creating a "making of" thread for a while. Recently I was in contact with a fellow Twisty Puzzles member who is planning to start his first mod, so this gave me a reason to finally create this thread. I hope others will find this information useful.

For more pictures and a video, you can also see the original thread: http://goo.gl/6YPKd

My plan of making other mods is now on hold, but I'll get back to this one day.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Skarabajo


---


On this post: pictures 1 to 7 (of 21)

This mod was based on a cardboard puzzle I created in 1999. But I wanted to have as precise angles as possible, so I started by recreating the shapes in 3ds Max. The green cube in the center represents the mini 2x2x2 factory-made cube. The semi-transparent shapes will be the extensions.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_001.jpg
Polyaxis_cube_001.jpg [ 114.59 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

After modifying the shapes in Illustrator (to remove 1mm of unneeded overlap), I printed these on paper, I transfer the information from the paper to the plastic sheet by piercing tiny holes with the spike of a drafting compass.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_002.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_002.JPG [ 466.28 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

The tiny holes were a guide to cut as precise as possible, but it was never perfect (about 0.3mm of margin of error). Before cutting, I used double-sided tape to solidly keep the plastic sheet in place on a thick piece of glass.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_003.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_003.JPG [ 465.27 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

I did this for all external and internal faces, 48 pieces in total. The little squares in this picture are left-overs.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_004.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_004.JPG [ 458.63 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

In this picture, you can see the put-together two-solution puzzle that I created out of cardboard/magnets in 1999. Later I found out that Oskar had already created that put-together puzzle in the 80s. I am happy to have independently conceive something that Oskar imagined too.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_005.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_005.JPG [ 539.38 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

The green object is a corner level (used for frames), it can also be seen on the previous picture. So, these are three pieces to be assemble together with Apoxie Sculpt. I used 1mm rods to make sure the pieces do not overlap (this made the creation of the pieces easier).
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_006.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_006.JPG [ 599.03 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

Another set of pieces, seen from the other side of the corner level. Those 1mm rods are not glued, they are only temporarily supporting the rest. I realized that I was using too little Apoxie Sculpt, so I added some more later for extra "triangular" support (this can be seen in picture 9).
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_007.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_007.JPG [ 623.11 KiB | Viewed 2318 times ]

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Last edited by Skarabajo on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:00 am 
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On this post: pictures 8 to 14 (of 21)

On the left, the mini 2x2x2 that I pre-modified. I disassembled it and shaved the little hooks so that the cubies can be easily removed but still stay safely in place; a delicate balance indeed. On the right you can see a scale, this was to make sure I was combining exactly the same amount of both parts of the Apoxie Sculpt putty.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_008.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_008.JPG [ 556.47 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

A close-up showing the non-overlap and the triangular support structures of four internal parts of the extensions. I left these (and the others) for 24 hours to properly dry.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_009.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_009.JPG [ 454.36 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

It was fairly hard to keep the little cubies in place while attaching them to the three faces and here's where a little more precision was lost.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_010.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_010.JPG [ 520.02 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

The mini-cube's core.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_011.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_011.JPG [ 418.1 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

After the internal parts of the extensions were dried, I tested them on the core.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_012.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_012.JPG [ 497.61 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

They were fairly well aligned.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_013.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_013.JPG [ 411.74 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

Time to close the extensions with the external parts with more Apoxie Sculpt. This was scary.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_014.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_014.JPG [ 517.48 KiB | Viewed 2312 times ]

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Last edited by Skarabajo on Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:39 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:04 am 
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On this post: pictures 15 to 21 (of 21)

So far so good. Always making sure there is no overlap, since that was how I prepared my initial prints.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_015.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_015.JPG [ 427.96 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

After drying, another test on the core.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_016.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_016.JPG [ 399.86 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

I stuffed the edges with Apoxie Sculpt only to find that there were a lot of bubbles forming, so I added more Apoxie Sculpt... A lot more. Then after 48 hours of drying (to make sure), it was time to sand.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_017.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_017.JPG [ 619.31 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

Sanding was tedious, but I did it carefully and fairly slowly.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_018.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_018.JPG [ 565.52 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

I used several grades of sand paper from very coarse to extremely fine. In this picture you can see several stages of sanding in different pieces.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_019.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_019.JPG [ 520.52 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

After a nice final polish, the pieces are back on the core and it was time to cut the stickers by hand. The best part was that there is only four different shapes of stickers, so it wasn't that bad.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_020.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_020.JPG [ 939.58 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

Final picture, a size comparison with a Rubik's Cube.
Attachment:
Polyaxis_cube_021.JPG
Polyaxis_cube_021.JPG [ 524.66 KiB | Viewed 2309 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:08 am 
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Impressive thread for a well-built puzzle.


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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:07 am 
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We always see 3d printed puzzles here as 3d printing is a new method to try some new design. Really not often to see some MOD post recently. I think you refresh the situation! Nicely done!


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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:00 pm 
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How did you decide on the rotation angles for each axis? What is purely an aesthetic choice?

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:07 am 
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Wonderful set of step by step images, and I know what you mean about tedious sanding, but its worth the patience put in as the end result shows.
Superb hand stickering too, beautiful puzzle all round.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:08 am 
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Lovely puzzle! And good work! Taking your time really pays off!

One comment on the building process is:
Why not make some of the pieces of plastic longer instead of having these "open" edges to fill with apoxie sculpt?
I would personally do it this way. Not that the final puzzle doesnt look good, because it really does look really nice!
I am just thinking that if you can cut the sheet perfectly it's just a matter of adding the thickness of the sheet to the length of the piece.

Another comment:
For support on the inside of the pieces Apoxie Sculpt works fine but
It makes the overall weight heavy.
What you can do is to use a part of a cubie and superglue instead. (at least for 90 degree angles.)
That would be even more safe and lighter :)

And can we see a video of the final puzzle please?

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:47 am 
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Thank you for all the nice comments. I really appreciate them. :D

Gus wrote:
How did you decide on the rotation angles for each axis? What is purely an aesthetic choice?
Yes, it was purely an aesthetic choice.

Sigurd wrote:
Lovely puzzle! And good work! Taking your time really pays off!
Why not make some of the pieces of plastic longer instead of having these "open" edges to fill with apoxie sculpt?
I would personally do it this way. Not that the final puzzle doesnt look good, because it really does look really nice!
I am just thinking that if you can cut the sheet perfectly it's just a matter of adding the thickness of the sheet to the length of the piece.
For a perfectly cubic puzzle where all the plastic sheet pieces meet at a 90° angle, that would make sense. But, on the Polyaxis Cube, even though every trio of plastic sheet pieces meet at a 90° angle at the beginning (when creating the internal and external corners). This is not the case when combining those trios together (when closing the pieces), there are different sets of angles to take into consideration, so it is not just a matter of adding the thickness of the sheet to the length of the piece. To have a perfect fit would have required cutting with the X-Acto knife at a precise angle (or chamfering afterwards) and adding the thickness of the sheet measured at said angle. Plus, to make perfect matches would have required to add the thickness in some places and subtract the thickness in others. To avoid all this, I opted for the 1mm of non-overlap, which was an average measurement. Hope this is clear.

Sigurd wrote:
For support on the inside of the pieces Apoxie Sculpt works fine but It makes the overall weight heavy.
At 138 grams, it's nice and heavy... I guess I like heavy puzzles. :lol: But, honestly, it is not that heavy. Slightly lighter than a Masterball and only 23% heavier than a OddzOn Rubik's Cube from 1995.

Sigurd wrote:
And can we see a video of the final puzzle please?
Like I said on the opening post, for more pictures and a video, you can also see the original thread: http://goo.gl/6YPKd

There is a picture on that thread that shows that the puzzle is somewhat symmetrical. For clarity, I'll post it here as well.



Honestly, all this is actually making me want to work on my next mod. Maybe soon...

Skarabajo.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:04 am 
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I really like this puzzle. :D Is this a 2x2 version of the Beveling Axis Cube?
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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:15 am 
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HeX wrote:
I really like this puzzle. :D Is this a 2x2 version of the Beveling Axis Cube?
Thanks! :D

According to the forum dates, the Polyaxis Cube was unveiled 488 days before the Beveling Axis Cube. So, if anything, the Beveling Axis Cube is a 3x3x3 version of the Polyaxis Cube. :wink:

But of course, I wasn't the first to "axis" a cube. The original 60° Axis Cube (3x3x3) was conceived by Adam and built by Aleh in 2008.

Skarabajo.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:18 pm 
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Skarabajo, this is very helpful to those of us wanting to get started with modding. I appreciate your work on the descriptions and photos. After sanding, what was the "final polish" step (materials, technique)? Did you colour or paint the puzzle before stickering? Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Making of the Polyaxis Cube
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Glad I could help, Pete. :D

The final buffing/polishing was done with ordinary newspaper. I tried different ones, the best one was a free alternative newspaper (low-quality rough paper, black ink, matte finish). The technique was simply like sanding: sliding the piece on top of the newspaper repeatedly (changing pages when the paper was too old and started tearing). When buffing/polishing the edges, I had to be careful, because the newspaper could actually "sand" some of the cured Apoxie Sculpt.

I did not colour/paint the puzzle before stickering.

Skarabajo.

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