A Puzzle Cube for the Blind

Earlier this week I was browsing Thingiverse and Instructables looking for a project to do for this weeks post and just couldn’t decide on something to do. Then, while I was at work, inspiration hit!

When I was first hired where I work now, I was given some company “swag”. (Typical notebook, pen, coffee mug, etc.) I was also given a few leftover promotional items from the marketing department. One of these being a company branded 3x3x3 puzzle cube, exactly like a 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube. A few years ago, I came across an Instructables post for a braille Rubik’s cube and definitely wanted to make it, but at the time I didn’t have a 3D printer. Seeing that cube on my desk, while trying to find a project, reminded me about that Instructables post.

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Later, when I got home I found the Instructable and read through it. There were a couple of things that I wanted to do differently but the designs for the parts were well done so I downloaded them, sliced them in Cura, and started printing them on my 3D printer. I considered printing the pieces in different colors so that each side would be different, but I decided that it would be more fitting if they were all the same color. This would also make it a little more challenging to solve since you have to think about it in a different way.

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After all of the pieces were printed, I gathered everything up and started preparing the puzzle. I removed the stickers, cleaned the remaining residue off with isopropyl alcohol, and sanded it lightly. The sanding would help the pieces glue to the puzzle better. (The Instructable called for automotive adhesive to attach the pieces to the puzzle, but I decided that I would use superglue so that the pieces wouldn’t stick out as much and I also wouldn’t be worried about the pieces coming off as easily.)

Once the puzzle was ready, I started trimming the brim from the printer off of the pieces and sanding them for glueing. One thing about the design of the pieces that I did not like, was that the “bumps” were pointy. I noticed after printing them that they were fairly sharp and they kept poking my fingertips as I worked on them. Because these will be handled a lot and I didn’t want to be lightly stabbed whenever I used the puzzle, I decided to also sand the “bumps” down and flatten them a little.

All that was left to do after sanding the pieces, was to glue them to the puzzle. I opted to arrange the puzzle so that its layout matched that of a die. (This is how it was done in the Instructable, but it really wouldn’t matter how the puzzle was arranged as long as each side had all the same number on it and the numbers were not the same as what was on any other side.)

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After the glue dried, I messed it up and tried to solve it. I already know one set of algorithms to solve a normal 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube and used those to solve this puzzle. The only difference was that instead of colors I was looking at numbers. It wasn’t that much more difficult to solve, but it was definitely odd and challenged me to look at it differently.

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This was definitely a cool project and was easy to make. After I get more practice and get more comfortable solving it, I’d like to try it blindfolded and see if I can solve it based entirely on feel.

 

*If you’d like more information on this project, check out liquidhandwash’s Instructable here!

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