Some History


The Cubes

Some History

Back in the early 80's I was big time into the Rubik's cube. Not only was I really fast at solving it, but I was also into making custom cubes by pealing off the boring stickers that come with the cube and making interesting new ones to stick on in their place. You can't quite see it in the picture, but this rainbow cube (I was big time into rainbows at the time too) has a background made from paper that says KRIS WUNDERLICH all over it... another project I was into at the time from a graphic arts class in high school. Anyway, the stickers were made by putting clear contact paper on top and double sided tape on the back, and cutting them into sticker sized shapes by hand with a pair of scissors. It was a huge amount of work, but made for some awesome custom cubes... and 17 years later the stickers are still stuck solid onto the cube... thanks 3M for the excellent double sided tape. I was working for Ideal Toys at the time... demonstrating Rubik's cubes in shopping malls on weekends for $20 an hour... not a bad gig for a 16 year old kid... and when they started talking about making a 4x4 cube I got really excited about it.

Due to my inside connections with Ideal Toys, I found out about the upcoming Rubik's Revenge long enough before it actually came out that I just couldn't wait and I made my own 4x4 out of a 3x3 cube and a bunch of Velcro. It didn't really work very well... to turn the cube down the center you had to peel off each of the velcro enabled stickers and move them around to the next spot on the cube. But with the use of this very strange and difficult to use cube and a computer program I wrote that displayed a graphic of the cube and let you manipulate it, I did manage to figure out the new challenges that the 4x4 presents and was quickly able to solve it when finally I got my hands on one. By the way... the program was written on our Northstar Advantage - remember this was 1981 - and no, I no longer have a copy. I wish I did. Actually, I think I've still got the floppy around someplace... anybody got anything that can read an 8 1/2" CPM floppy disk? It was written in Basic, and didn't do anything towards solving the thing... it just gave me the ability to move the cube around and view the changes. Years later I took a class in group theory... thinking I might write a program that actually solved the thing... but I never got around to it. Sorry Dad, number theory and complex mathematics just isn't my thing.

Some 10 years later, in the summer of '93, Andy and I took a vacation to England to visit my parents and play around in ruined castles for a couple of weeks... and while we were in London we got the chance to visit David Singmaster and his fabulous cube and puzzle box collection. I had not made a custom cube in years... but I wanted to bring him something to add to his collection... so I made him a cube with the front of a dollar bill wrapped around three sides, and the back of a dollar bill wrapped around the other three sides. It was awesome... by far the coolest cube I had ever made. I wanted one for myself, but I just couldn't bring myself to do the work. Making cube stickers this way might have worked fine for a 16 year old kid, but it was just way more work than I was willing to endure at the ripe old age of 27. Anyway... we had recently had a local printer make die cut cardboard Icehouse pieces for us, and we kept the die when they were finished... so I had some idea how a steel rule die works... and I decided that I would get a die made for cutting cube stickers so I wouldn't have to cut all these stickers out by hand with a pair of scissors.

Time passed...

Some History - Technology - The Cubes

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