To celebrate the classic toy’s 40th birthday Techlife has posted a great how to guide for downloading and 3D printing a rubik’s cube from Thingiverse, even walking you through fixing corrupted files, and optimising the model for 3D printing.
With worldwide sales of over 350 million pieces, the Rubik’s Cube is widely considered the best selling puzzle game of all time and is certainly the most recognizable. While the Cube’s heyday was the 1980’s, it’s still a widely popular toy, and has organised competitions and events all over the world. There are official world records monitored and awarded by an international governing body called the World Cube Association. And famously someone even managed to turn it into an extremely creepy cartoon:
Naturally nostalgia is a big part of the ongoing popularity of the puzzle game, and with the nature of 3D printing there are of course going to be 3D printable Rubik’s Cubes. Thingiverse alone has over 80 of them, each of varying design and quality. So Techlife decided to use one of those models to walk its readers through repairing any manifold errors and optimising the model to print.
Techlife selected this model, as it had the easiest design to work with, and the file is not manifold, offering them the perfect opportunity to show readers how to correct that type of error. Because Thingiverse is all free, user-generated content, some models often will not print correctly without some tweaking and this Rubik’s Cube file is a good example.
First Techlife suggests that you download Repetier-Host, a host-controlling program for your 3D printer, this is going to tell you if there are any problems with your model. In this case the cube is not manifold, meaning that there is one or more flaws in the STL file that will prevent it from printing correctly. Manifold errors used to be a pain to repair, but thankfully it’s getting easier than ever to correct them. Techlife suggests that you use Microsoft’s cloud-based Model Repair Service from NetFab because you do not need to download or install anything. Just upload your file, wait a few minutes while the problem is corrected, and then simply download and replace the old file with the fixed one.
They even walk you through splitting the model up so each individual square will print separately, which may take more time, but will result in a better model. Not only will the extruder be cleaner because it doesn’t need to start and stop on each peice on the print bed, but if a square does print incorrectly you’re only wasting a very small amount of filament.
The walk through is really quite in-depth, and covers everything from selecting an orientation that will result in the best print, and holding your hand as you try to print extremely small and complex objects.
This is not a quick guide that leaves you on your own to figure out how to make any repairs, they walk you through the entire process and teach you several great tricks that any active 3D printer should be using. So if you’re new to 3D printing, or an old pro looking to beef up your skills, this 3D printed Rubik’s Cube project is really worth taking a look at.