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Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Scrabble is definitely my pastime addiction of choice, but it's not the only game I frequent. I'm a big chess fan, crossword lover, and hooked on puzzles—any kind of puzzles. Logic puzzles, sudoko, and... the Rubik's Cube.

After seeing Cory's how-to articles on parabolic curves with straight lines and concentric circles with straight lines and circles, my immediate thought was incorporating it into a mock Rubik's Cube. Not a functional Cube that twists, but one that mimicked the size and colors.

Using Cory's articles and some more inspiration from Watermelon Lemon's designs (1, 2), I drew some parabolic curves and concentric circles on each of the six faces of the cube. I used clear plastic sheets, each matching the white (in this case, clear), green, blue, orange, yellow and red colors of the Rubik's Cube. The designs were simple, but still took me awhile...

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Then I taped them together using super thin pieces of tape that I cut out with an X-Acto knife. Here's the final result (in a few different angles)...

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

And here it is in a side-by-side comparison to my trusty (and filthy) Rubik's Cube. Maybe it's time I get some new stickers?

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Mathematical Curve Stitching Takes on the Rubik's Cube

Maybe one day I'll use those simple designs to make my own Rubik's Cube stickers, nine identical ones for each side of the cube.

14 Comments

Cool idea, and gorgeous execution. I love the translucentcy and how delicate it looks. Really nice photos too!

Thanks. I thought the transparent nature would make it cool to see images merged together when looking at it at different angles. It looks better in person. I thought of doing more elaborate designs, but it's hard working with a Sharpie on plastic, and the more lines there were, the more they would merge into a black blob because of the thickness of the marker. So I went with simple.

You could probably use transparency pages and many computer printers will print on those. Although I actually tend to like hand drawn pieces better. You could scan your drawings and then print. This would allow you to use a finer instrument to draw the original.

Haven't seen that site before. Thanks. Some of the images are really great, and you can print them out yourself! A lot better than Cubesmith, which charges.

This is sooo cool! I Bet you could make a cool shadow with this.... It looks so perfect! I thought it was glass at first!

Thanks... I guess it does kinda look like glass at first. Nice. I thought it would end up more rounded since the plastic was so flexible, but once I taped the edges all together... I was surprised at how square it actually came out.

Wow, I love your designs and the colors, and as Cory said, the translucentcy is really nice.
I got into the Rubik's Cube when I was in high school and was obsessed with learning the different algorithms and trying to solve it in the fastest time. It's still always fun to mess with every now and then. :)
I'm thinking it would also be really cool to try experimenting with different types of lighting and photographing the cube.

Yeah, the Rubik's Cube is great. I was also obsessed at one point, but it's pretty cool to mess with when you haven't touched it in a while. And maybe I will try experimenting with lights and take some more pics; would be fun.

Great design and execution - there is something otherworldly about the transparency/translucency.

Can I ask where you got the coloured plastic sheet?

I just had some index tab dividers for a three-ring binder laying around that I never used (like these or these). They were a set of five; luckily the colors matched up perfectly. The clear one was just from a cheap report cover (like this). You can find them at any office supply store, probably most big time retail chains like Target or Walmart, too.

Very cool. I did something similar to show how different colors interact together. http://bmcguigan.com/Design/color-interaction-2/
To get away from taping the sheets together you could place them inside a baseball storage case like I did in the link. It allows for a more robust and sturdy object to handle.

beautiful project. you should write about it/post it to the Math Craft corkboard. I'll promote it to the front page of the site.

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