Sunday, February 3, 2013

My First Mod - Mini Rumbling Prism

G'day Folks!

The planets have aligned, public holidays have been declared across the known world, some say a once-in-a-millennium solar eclipse took place...

Yes, it's true, I made a twisty puzzle modification.

Not many of you know me personally, but if you did, you'd probably start preparing for the end of the world. If any of my friends were told I'd end up completing a puzzle mod, they would have laughed in my face. Some of them were told, and they did. Why? Because they know how utterly non-handymanish I really am.

But yea verily, I present the Mini Rumbling Prism.

(Any seeming imperfections on the edges are actually photoshop issues...)

 This is most definitely not a work of art, and yet I have this strange feeling inside. A feeling of profound contentment. A feeling that I actually accomplished something. I'd almost call it happiness.

Is this the pinnacle of my achievements? Hopefully not. Is this puzzle going to stop traffic? Not unless it's left on the road and causes a puncture. But it's mine. And it may be the only one in existence currently.

(I should make clear that actually it's not my 1st mod. I've also made a fused cube but I don't really count that. It was too easy.)

For those who are interested or are incredibly bored, here are the highlights and lowlights of my journey.

Let me be absolutely clear that I've never done anything like this before. I was being incredibly helpfully guided by a friend from the twisty puzzles forum, but it was still an unusual and difficult thing for me. I'm not naturally good at this stuff and so the fact that I've finished with a working puzzle is nothing short of a 2nd class miracle. I welcome any and all helpful comments on how I can improve things next time. Treat me gently!

I began with a pyramorphix.

I turned one of the faces and then made the cuts. Where I cut is where the current top and bottom faces are. I hadn't removed any stickers yet, partly to retain a little visual help for me. 

I then bought a $5 black plastic planter pot base and started cutting. I made the triangle caps of roughly the right size and shape (as close as possible, anyway) and then superglued them on.

Here's what it looked like.

From there I started filing and sanding. I went from a flat bastard file to a mill file to 400 wet and dry to 800 wet and dry.

After that I had trouble locating some good scratch remover polish. Eventually I found some very old cutting compound which had separated. I tried a little of the top liquidy layer and it worked wonderfully. I took it home, stirred it around and tried again. Disaster! It wouldn't polish. Instead, it left gritty bits everywhere.

Next day I got hold of a buffing machine. Bad, bad, bad idea. Really bad. After only a second or two, it had taken off a little chunk of one of the top caps (which had already been sanded back nicely).

So I then had to apply some milliput. After it had set (overnight) I started the annoying job of filing and sanding again. By the end, much of the milliput seemed to have been sanded away as well so I'm not sure it was worth doing. 

By this stage I'd had almost enough of this puzzle, so I polished it up as best I could. The light is a little strange on this photo, and it's actually shinier than it looks. Here's the result.

For stickers I bought some vinyl sheets from cubesmith. For colours I wanted some not quite standard colours. I liked the white and my daughter liked gold, so I used those two on top and bottom. Instead of going with the standard red, orange, blue and green, I chose pink, light blue, purple and light green. It's not the most striking combination of colours, but that's ok.

It took a lot of careful effort to get the stickers cut properly. I tried scissors and also a stanley knife with steel ruler. Eventually I had non-rounded stickers. My daughter (who's much smarter than me at this sort of thing) managed to perfectly round almost every corner. 

The last step was to sticker the puzzle. Here are a few shots of the puzzle in its solved state.

This one shows a quarter turn.

These couple show half turns.

And this one shows the puzzle fully scrambled.

One of the things I like about the puzzle is that it's possible to end up with a single corner twisted.

Can't do that on an ordinary 2x2x2!

The video below shows how it moves.

And there you go...

I hope you now have some sense of empathy for me. This took a lot of my time and effort and there were times when I felt like throwing it away. But it won't be my last. I love the creative process!

My last word is that I now have an incredibly heightened sense of awe, admiration and respect for all the wonderful puzzle builders out there.


  1. Brilliant! It's a shame I'll never be 'allowed To do this myself!


    1. Thanks Kevin. I never thought you'd give in to your wife's demands so easily. Just get her to choose: Me or the mod...

    2. I'm thinking about it! Have you got a spare room for me mate?


    3. Of course...What are you waiting for?!

  2. Great video. Great story. I relate totally to the parts of it that explain why it should never have happened. And the part about daughter helping—fantastic!

    1. Thanks Bud! Yes it was quite a trial. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment cause all I can think about now is my next one!

  3. Wow. I would never have thought of doing this myself! It's a good thing there are so many creative people in the world!