As if the Plot Clock wasn’t enough of a symbol of ennui for one day! Enacting the logic riddle that is life, is the successor to the Rubik’s Cube. The Marusenko Sphere is a 54 piece, multi-coloured puzzle that could have only been twisted and turned through the prototype process with 3D printing.
In working out the production of the sphere, with its 32 external pieces and 22 internal parts, the Marusenko company turned to EOS 3D printing technology. Using an EOS FORMIGA P 100, layers of polyamide were laser sintered to produce the complex toy without adhesive, springs, screws or shafts that may have posed a threat to young children. Marusenko claims that the use of 3D printing allowed them to explore a number of prototypes before perfecting their final product, with an EOS spokesperson saying, “The flexibility and speed of the AM machine were essential for producing the successive prototype iterations cost effectively and quickly. The process was key to ensuring the success of the final, sales-ready product, whose function is so highly dependent on its components’ geometry and fit.”
The final toy, which comes in 10 colour schemes and five different levels of difficulty, was eventually made with injection moulding. Their prototypes were not all that different from the final master mould that would be used to create a low cost injection moulded version. Even the prototype material itself closely resembled the end product, with the company’s General Manager, Victor Troyas, saying, “Additive manufacturing with EOS’ FORMIGA P 100 and PA 2200 material was the only way to create the product successfully. Without it, we would have found it impossible to build a fully working prototype at all. Our toy is designed around free movement in predetermined directions. The design initially seemed to be quite challenging, but once we had fully discovered the possibilities of rapid prototyping, we knew that we could make our vision a reality.”
I have yet to get my hands on one, but if it really can compete with the Rubik’s Cube, the Marusenko Sphere could give would-be brainiacs a great way to work their logic muscles and stoners everywhere something to do while they listen to Captain Beefheart.