Creating Puzzle Cubes


Kids Crafts with Maker Dad


Lesson Info

Creating Puzzle Cubes

I'm really excited about this project it is making a puzzle cube out of twenty seven smaller cubes and the puzzle has an interesting history so let me let me tell you a little bit about it. In the mid thirties there was a danish scientist and puzzle maker named piot hein p I e t h e I n was his name and he was once attending a lecture by the great physicist heisenberg and while he was saying there he's kind of daydreaming you heard the heisenberg mentioned something about too image to material objects passing through each other and for some reason something clicked in his head and this idea for what he ended up calling the soma cube just kind of spraying into his brain and it ended up being a really cool puzzle it is a cube it's made of twenty seven smaller cubes but those smaller keeps air attached in a certain way that that we will show you how to do in this in this project and you can arrange them into ah large cube shaped as a puzzle three d puzzle where you put together these piec...

es you can make other cool shapes with them and so I was first introduced so anyway a few time he ended up making a little rosewood versions of the what he called the soma cuban there was a big hit and the thirties people loved it and there were discussions about it and people coming up with creative ways to put them together to make interesting shapes and things like that and then it just kind of fell off the radar for a while until the early seventies when parker brothers came along and reintroduced the soma cube as a plastic puzzle piece that he used red plastic pieces and that's when I first found out about it, I was really young and I think my parents got one for me and I just fell in love with it and it was so interesting to me putting together these things and they actually parker brothers introduce it's a soma newsletter I mean, this was a huge thing this is bigger than the pet rock people really wanted to get these so much so they actually had a cilman newsletter it only lasted a couple of issues, but I was a subscriber to the newsletter and and so the summer cuba's kind of fallen by the wayside little but it's not as popular as it once was, but I really wanted jane and and serena to see what this thing was that I loved so much as the kids so it's really easy to make I'll show you the materials that we have here these are these are wooden craft cubes here and there today you khun by these craft stores you can get them online, they're perfectly cut cube shapes and they're not very expensive and you need twenty seven of them a lot of times they'll sell them in bags of fifty or bags of one hundred and so what? Not not very much money. So this is like the basic building block for these and so you need to glue them together in a certain configuration. So we have some wood glue here when this wood glue is going, tio help us stick them together. I'll show you had to do that. We also need a little bit of paint. We have several tubes of paint at the paint is not necessary, it isn't, but I think it's fun to have different colors of paint just so that you can have the pieces and in each of the seven pieces in a different color, if possible, so we'll work on that and really, that is about yet glue, paint and wood so it's a simple project, we're going to go ahead and get started and start putting them together, and so that we can then paint them and make some things out of them. So, like I said, there are seven shapes and that's cool, there are seven shapes and each shape is different there's one that looks like that with three cubes, there is another one that looks like, uh, a larger l and while I'm doing this, you can see that these aren't cut like completely uniformly so you might want to play around with and also get the wood green in the right direction to as you're as you're lining these ups and it will give you a it'll give you a better fit um okay so here's here's two shapes whips there's another one that uh it's kind of a more of a three dimensional shape that looks like that and uh let's see there is another one that looks like this way have that one oh yeah you're right days one but you remember this jane looks like that yes and then there are two more in these two are like they look the same but they aren't the same and that it is like a big that one's got a little not in and I'm going to see if we can like if you find one with a big blemish on it or something go ahead and not that bad but they want us I don't know I just one feels like it you don't like it this is gonna be a problem later on down the road you're mad at it you need the other one is there's one like this great and then another one we might have to go ahead and give me that one that I didn't like that do we way have this one this one ok well let's see if we should we just like start over and lee make them let's go like this and go in order to get this one this one and then let's do this one is consist of four pieces that's not quite right it's more like that, right? Okay, okay and then we have the kind of zigzag one okay and then we have the this cool looking one here okay? We have a tea okay when you know we do need one more here we're one short do you think we can grab a couple more and, uh and so how are you guys doing? Do you need to have this on the report for the soap cuba earlier? Maybe that was it. Oh, stamp was a stamp take an hour or so cute way probably took them yeah, ok, keep going if you have extras wear so okay we used them in the other segment so well while we're waiting let's go ahead and we can just start gluing together the ones that we seven different shapes we should have seven different shapes there all different two of them are very similar but they are like mirror images of each other and it's going to be these this one so that's what you have them all? So I think I'll spare cubes over here unless I have one got more going up that I'm not counting like my three dimensions air lacking to say scooping up oh great thank you we just need one other one like that. Ok, so and then do you guys think you got your okay? Okay, so these two look similar, but they're like mirror images of each other. Okay, so now, now that we have them lined up just again, like, make sure that they feel like they're they're fitting together well, these thieves craft cubes are cut cut pretty pretty well, I've had some that aren't so hot and they don't fit that well, but these look like a great fit now weaken glue them way have wood glue here you don't need a lot of glue. In fact, unless you use the faster is going to set and you're not having a lot of quicker, you can have you, however you pronounce it so my cube so much so that I recommend just using a little bit and if you're at home and you have wood clamps, you can go ahead and clamp them and let them set that way. Uh, we're just going to wing it in the studio here just in the interest of getting these things put together and being able to use them. So I chain let's we can, we can both start gluing these at the same time, so why don't we take a little bit of this year's, this piece of sandpaper here and and squeeze out some glue and, uh let you will he is a brush here we'll have to rinse ease off a little bit later but let's go ahead and assemble our cubes you guys just take a little bit and get a thin coat on on the surface of the cuban I find that to really thin light coats on each surface that you're going to stick together works works really well and get them super just get really thin just make sure that you get it across the entire surface but don't have a thick thin I just waited a couple of seconds blow on it, let them get tacky and then then and only then stick close together and then not just give it a good pinch make sure that they're square maybe have it down on the table like this and just press them together for a while after we're done making these I would love to see what other people can make with them with these cubes on with the oh, you have a different shape besides yeah, definitely okay, so just move on down the line and get these things together. J k I would be interested in seeing if other people remember thie parker brothers soma cubes from the seventies and if they had them yeah, well, look that online it's interesting the toys that you remember from your childhood that really such great fun yeah and there's actually quite easy to make yeah that's the thing it's uh I know that you can buy this soma cubes on on ebay and I was contemplating doing that but then I thought be nice have a wooden set kind of envoys and way too high it is what's much more terrible a swell yeah let's see did I yes and drink drop it it is not a break okay is this good that looks really good chance I see that that end is not really except flush exit three it's stuck on there so ok we can deal with it okay so we're just giving this a nice thin coat s o so jeanne what I would do is when you attach the's hold it down against the table and then it will be more aligned at a watch when I when I do this I'll do it that way and that way and then you have both and square like that that that that will be fine could you put mark sure how are you guys doing how's how's it going can't good I'm hoping I'm duplicating what you've done up there the three dimensional cubes I'm not quite sure that maybe you have your own privacy here that it may be impossible you're an optimist I remember one cool thing about the booklet that came with theory journal selma cuba's they showed different shapes you could make they also should you ones that were impossible to make certain shapes by putting these together and then they had some debt we're not known whether or not you could do them no one had proven yet that they were impossible or possible where some of them possible somewhere probably a well yeah and you know we have some examples in here that ones that are possible yes and we'll show can you remember how to do that one you know, we'll we'll see if we can leave quick we'll see if we can re created by looking at the photo when you're inventing all right record yourself yeah, we'll just take a boat out was that that old joke when you're making music I always press record, huh? Good idea I'm finding that this, uh glue is sticking together pretty quickly that house I feel for you guys yeah, good if I like wanna stick that they did not put any clue on this cube and I just put on the rest. So is that okay? Thanks. So okay moving along. We've got over here now it's although this one remember the shape because these air the tricky ones discloses very fast it's not likely that is that you can have your rough for this toy with any younger children is going to be okay? Yeah, I think so. It's wood glue generally the glue part is the glue joints a strong is the wood I wonder if anybody could like make a type of animal additives that I think so yeah I think we don't care at all there have been some media that turtles other kinds of things like that and there are what's what's strange is the first time you have this puzzle it will probably take you a long time and then what did you learn how to make this square and once you've done it before it gets easier and easier an easier even if you don't remember how to do the first maybe for you it's so it's always hard for me but interesting thing is there are thousands of ways to make a square all right I have trouble just making figuring out one way to do it but given enough time you'll eventually get it it's it's much easier yeah everybody keeps her so hard I mean I have one at home took me like a month and finally one day it got one side done I know but that one side really kind of means nothing because well it's still something you have nothing I don't want to find out how to do the rubik's cube I tried to look up how to do it online before like how there's the special equations but I could never understand it because they're always so confusing like now put side be on cue bullet d and I'm like what does that mean had a maker faire I saw a guy who is the lego mindstorms kit to make a rubik's cube solving robot it was pretty amazing it had it is the color detector that could be very useful for me yeah and then and then the articulating servos and parts and stuff in it it's all grew picks cuban under a minute you would mix it up and handed to the robot and it would examine it like turn the sides over and they just goto workers amazing makes me sad that there's robot smarter than me well, it was just actually it's just that programmers in intelligence that has been it kind of embedded in the robot same thing how are we almost done? Yes, we are well that's why you always forget to shape but I felt grew on all of them and then put them back a little separated and then it oh, I do it better. Ok. How are you guys doing over there? Pretty pretty good everything's clos er we have our tolerance is perfectly aligned excellent. I want our tenth of an inch tolerance because bad of colors on day seven pieces okay, well ok, so at this point but I think we should dio is let's try making a cube out of these because once we propane on them the pain takes longer to dry and like it really sticky the last step will be painting and we won't do anymore puzzle cube making after that so go ahead and try to make a queue. I'm already trying jane's already at work but you can see here you arrange them into different shapes and just a hint. If the cube is a three by three by three grid so you have to have anything that's like a side that has more than three, then means you made a mistake somewhere. Uh, ok, so close. Close a cz you can see it's not that it's, not an easy puzzle. That's a lot of funny thiss t so unique that means the cube you could start over some other way. You've got you've got your ideas. Okay, no it's got to be completely solid. So the as you can see it's not the easiest thing in the world I have is the hardest thing I have a photo if we want tio let's let's, go ahead and okay, let's see that configuration so there's the l there is the well I don't know what colors are so itar there is the tea. Well, we'll have to figure it out from here. This one is could be that one could be a lot of different ones I'm figuring it out you think you have it may be this is also uh if you're if you're never able to do it it might mean that you collude with pieces together in a wrong way chair very nights something you just come up with things that's how jean came up with her her juice box I needed something that couch in futures cool you should take a picture of that so that you I'm still trying thank you that's pretty good and once you master the cuban you can move on to the other ones we have like a castle a dog a bed what weight but um wait there's only oh never mind I messed up and try it now you do I'm gonna I'm gonna use this's this's here thiss this could really be almost a failure and that one is probably did you clear the pieces right now I'm going with free form they should make like uh whatever it's called cube gallery of all these different shapes a museum yes whatever que nos fire that's for this has to be a three by no I can do it I just think you haven't figured out now so this is a maybe this is harder than in the room excuse it's so hard then how come I can't do it kids got something else going on there that it's like a snake it was it was it's a duck it has different just you know duck displays yeah but not quite acute I know we will eventually get it. It seems I did it. All right. Chains got one from good job that looks really good. Ok, so these s o the interesting thing is, if it's unpainted than it's, really harder to see the pieces like no one else would know. Oh, this thing was done, and so here, let's, see them just looks like you stack like twenty seven keeps on on top of each other. So the first time I put it together, it took me an hour to make a cube after I pulled apart the original cube. So the booklet that came with the self some acute said there are two hundred and forty simple ways in one million one hundred five thousand nine hundred twenty mathematically different ways that the seven pieces could be put together to form a cube that's a lot and jane, you figured out, once you have over a million other methods to go, maybe you can write those down in a notebook as you move along. Yeah, finally, one day I'll be like I did it.

Class Description

Make your weekends more awesome with activities you and your kids can get their hands on. Join Make Magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder — and his daughter Jane — for a class on cool, simple projects you can do with your kids.

In Kids Crafts with Maker Dad, you’ll get the blueprints you need to complete projects with the whole family. You’ll learn how to whip up a mixture that makes enormous bubbles, and how to get started with polymer clay — a medium you can use to create custom toys, shapes, and figurines. You’ll engage in a little trial and error learning by creating your own simple board and dice games. You’ll also learn the more advanced magic of constructing a Drawbot – a simple robot that can make abstract art all by itself.

This course will have even your most reluctant kid excited to get their hands dirty and experimenting, making, and creating, together.