Thing of the week

Custom Rubik’s Cube in Braille

custom Rubik’s Cube

A bit of compassion, some adhesive tape and a 3D printer turned a decidedly “sighted” puzzle game into custom Rubik’s Cube for the blind.

Braille Rubik's Cube (source: Instructables)
3D printing helped to develop this custom Rubik’s Cube for blind people (source: Instructables)

Maker liquidhandwash explains:

I have a friend who lost his sight a few years ago. Recently, we were talking and, for whatever reason, the subject of Rubik’s Cube came up. My friend had no idea what I was talking about. He had never seen (when he did have his sight) or heard of the famous puzzle game and certainly couldn’t enjoy the frustration involved in solving it now that he couldn’t see. I decided then and there to make a braille Rubik’s Cube for him so he could learn to love (and hate) the cube like everyone else.

In response to this conversation, liquidhandwash sat down and designed plans for a series of 3D-printed tiles that could be applied to the surface of the Rubik’s Cube to make the experience tactile rather than visual.

How to Design a Custom Rubik’s Cube

Braille Rubik's Cube (source: Instructables)
For your custom Rubik’s Cube, you need a regular Rubik’s Cube and 3D printed Braille tiles (image: Instructables)

Now, instead of the yellow squares being yellow, they are all ones (1 raised dot). The blue squares are all twos (2 raised dots).  The red squares are all threes (3 raised dots). The green squares are all fours (4 raised dots). The orange squares are all fives (5 raised dots). And the white squares are all sixes (6 raised dots).  Perfect for those who rely on feel rather than touch.

Liquidhandwash then graciously posted the plans for the tiles over on Instructables.com for all to enjoy. There are six plans in all (one for each raised dot) so be sure to download them all or your new Rubik’s Cube won’t make much sense.

Because there are 54 squares total on the 3×3 Rubik’s cube, you’ll have to print each square nine times (nine 1s, nine 2s, nine 3s, etc.) and some assembly is required but it’s really not that difficult. All you’ll need is a bit of automotive tape (or other two-sided tape) and a hobby knife.


It’s Easy to Assemble

Braille Rubik's Cube (source: Instructables)
The custom Rubik’s Cube in Braille looks great and plays nicely (source: Instructables)

Liquidhandwash suggests sticking the tiles to one side of the tape in a long line (with a just a bit of space in between for the knife), cutting the top edge of the tape (along the length of the tile line), and then cutting between each tile. Liquidhandwash also suggests removing the stickers (optional) and cleaning the surface of the Rubik’s Cube with alcohol before applying all the stickers.

When liquidhandwash applied his Braille tiles, he did it so that opposite sides add up to seven: the ones are directly opposite the sixes, the twos are directly opposite the fives, and the threes are directly opposite the fours.

Though this concept is intended for those without sight, it certainly could add a bit of challenge for those with sight who solved the puzzle long ago.

Zip on over to Instructables.com and download the plans today.