3D Printing Shrinks Rubik’s Cubes to Guinness Record Proportions

Russian puzzle designer Evgeniy Grigoriev is doing his best to reinvent the wheel, or in this case, the cube. July 26, 2015 is the 35th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube international launch. When first created by Hungarian Erno Rubik in 1974, it took the inventor a month to learn to solve the puzzle. Now, cube-solving competitions are filled with people from across the globe, finding solutions in just seconds. In the age of 3D printing, the Rubik’s Cube is being reengineered, scrambled, and modified by cutting-edge designers aiming to test the skills of enthusiasts world wide.

world's smallest rubik's cube 3D printed

Evgeniy Grigoriev, aka grigorusha on Shapeways, has co-designed the top four selling puzzle cubes on designyourcube.com and has his own prolific YouTube channel showcasing many of his intricate designs. Only his simpler puzzles have been selected for mass production; all others are made-to-order through Evgeniy’s Shapeways shop. He currently holds the record for smallest Rubik’s cube ever made in The Guinness Book of World Records at 10mm. Though you may still purchase the record-holding “Ten Cube” it has been surpassed by even more compact designs.

The smallest of grigorusha’s cubes are printed in Frosted (Ultra) Detail Plastic using 3D Systems’ MultiJet Modeling 3D printing process to sustain the detail of the piece. Though somewhat brittle, the design is smaller and better moving than any competing hand-made cube. The smallest hand-crafted cube, the “Nano” by Tony Fisher, comes in at a whopping 1.5cm. Evgeniy’s “The One Cube” is a mere 5.7mm. That’s 1/1000th the volume of the original Rubik’s puzzle, and it is fully functioning.

If you decide to order, you have two options. You can have Evgeniy do the work for you – including assembly, dying the plastic black, and placing stickers on the cube – making it possible for you to partake in a puzzle which has tested spatial recognition and problem solving since 1980. Or, for the adventurous, you can do it all yourself, but your printer may not have the resolution necessary to achieve such a small and detailed print. Given the new experiments in design emerging from Evgeniy and his peers, we can expect the Rubik’s cube to feed the brains of many generations to come.