More Cubes

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Project by madts posted 06-25-2013 06:29 PM 2059 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Once again a game/puzzle from the past. This one is at least 100 years old. 27 cubes glued together to form 7 different shapes, to make a 3×3 cube amongst other things. 6 pieces are made from 4 cubes and are the only 6 shapes that can be made to fit inside the 3×3 cube. The last one is a simple ell made from 3 cubes.
First pic shows the pieces, second shows the assembled 3×3 cube. The rest of the pics show other things to build.
A nice way to use scraps, and give the grandkids a fit.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

13 comments so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4079 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 06-25-2013 07:12 PM

Looks like Tetris in 3-D. I have enough scraps to make a few … hundreds … of these. I also have a 17-month old granddaughter. Looks like fun for both of us.

Thanks for posting.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View socrbent's profile


1048 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 06-25-2013 09:27 PM

Well done. As a retired geometry teacher your project brings back memories of having my students make this puzzle from sugar cubes and white glue years ago.

-- socrbent Ohio

View CFrye's profile


11376 posts in 3128 days

#3 posted 06-25-2013 10:47 PM

Hahaha! This is great! I tried, and failed to make this kind of a puzzle with solid pieces and it was a (way) less than a tight fit. So I cut up a bunch of individual cubes to glue together but decided that was ‘cheating’. Now, I can say “Madts showed me! He did it FIRST!” Where’s my glue! Thanks for sharing!

-- God bless, Candy

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14192 posts in 5271 days

#4 posted 06-26-2013 02:14 AM

fun stuff !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 3199 days

#5 posted 06-26-2013 03:02 PM

You boys need to get your facts straight. This puzzle is NOT 100 years old. In fact, it was invented or discovered by you young Dutch mathematician in 1933.

His name is Piet Hein. In college he was bored in a class on quantum physics, so he doodled on scratch paper, asking himself how many different “irregular” shapes can be made from four small cubes (four in a row is NOT irregular. The answer is six. And six times four is 24.

Realizing that a 3 X 3 X 3 cube is 27 small cubes, he also deduced that only one IRREGULAR shape is possible with three. VOILA, he had the potential to form a 3 X 3 X 3 perfect cube from these small pieces. (In American concrete work a cubic yard of concrete is 27 cubic feet). Mr. Hein was able to mentally process the fact that his “pieces” would fit into a 3 X 3 X 3 box.

It became known universally as the SOMA CUBE. Although Mr. Hein never authorized it, many of these puzzles were manufactured in colored plastic and manufactured and sold in the good old USA. More commonly we woodworkers make them out of wood. Please make the box to go with it.

I first made them in 1962 for my junior high students.

View madts's profile


1959 posts in 3628 days

#6 posted 06-26-2013 03:31 PM

You boys need to get your facts straight. Piet Hein was Danish not Dutch. And 1933 was nearly 100 years years ago – 20 years. Being Danish I should know about the connection between Piet Hein and the cube. I have enjoyed a lot of his other stuff. Poems, puzzles etc.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 06-26-2013 04:27 PM

Good stuff madts! I instantly knew this was like the SOMA cube I got from my grandparents in the 1970’s. I still have it – blue plastic. I have thought before about duplicating it from wood.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View mja979's profile


260 posts in 3321 days

#8 posted 06-26-2013 09:33 PM

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3464 days

#9 posted 06-28-2013 02:14 PM

Great puzzle! It will create more educational fun especially for older kids. It looks better than the plastic ones. Well done!

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 3199 days

#10 posted 06-28-2013 02:50 PM

Okay, madts…..Piet Hein is Danish also. But one of his grandfathers was Piet Pieterszoon Hein, the great DUTCH naval hero of the 17th century. My name is Koerner, a very common name in Germany. Although I’m a born American I consider myself to be German by the same analogy as calling Piet Dutch.

Back to puzzles. The Soma Cube may look and be easy to construct, but there’s a lot of gluing and sanding as those relatively small pieces when glued try to slide like a pig on ice. Here are two similar puzzles much easier to construct—one with NO gluing. Both fit in a 3 X 3 X 3 box.

In both cases, make SIX 1 X 2 X 2 pieces. Easily done by cutting a 2 X 2 into one-unit slices. Those six are 24 little cubes. You need 3 more little cubes, so cut them off of a 1 X 1. NO GLUE.

Puzzle 1—Assemble the above NINE pieces into the box.

Puzzle 2—Take the three 1 X 1 X 1’s and glue them onto the biggest side of three 2 X 2’s

Have fun.

View madts's profile


1959 posts in 3628 days

#11 posted 06-28-2013 04:12 PM

Thanks NGK. I will try your two puzzles

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View oldnovice's profile


7757 posts in 4656 days

#12 posted 07-06-2013 08:52 PM

Piet Hein was a mathematician/designer/writer that was ahead of his time and some of his designs/works are now just really being appreciated!

That’s my 2ยข worth on Piet Hein!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5001 days

#13 posted 07-30-2013 04:18 PM

Thanks for posting this..

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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