1072: Fergus Currie’s Compound of 3 Cubes (Escher’s Solid)

I sat in on a fold-along on Fakebook a few Sunday evenings ago where Fergus Currie demonstrted the folding of modules for this beauty – I got a little lost but on re-watch managed to nut out what was what:

Fergus Currie's Compound of 3 cubes (Escher's solid)

This is a compound of 3 cubes – each rotated on top of each other – when you see it you see it. It is comprised of 48 modules – 2 different shapes, 3 different colours (8 of each).

The folding is exacting, the angles and constructions accomplished and sophisticated, the tolerances for error are small. I think I was a victim of paper thickness when I folded mine – I used bond A3 photocopy paper because I had some lovely strong colours. The result of this choice was that layers get thick, some of the axes are not as crisp as I would like them to be, but it is finished, having taken a seeming age to fold and assemble.

Fergus Currie's Compound of 3 cubes (Escher's solid) construction

Right or wrong, I assembled the cube skeletons first – their lock is a dual diagonal slide – delicious when it works, agonising when it does not – I got out my long-nosed needle tweezers to gain purchase from inside the model – my hands are too big and clumsy for such tight spaces.

I then formed the 3-unit connectors that fill in the gaps. Either I folded them incorrectly or something but I could not find a way for the tabs to fit flush in the pockets- they were a few mm proud. After trying everything, I settled on a simple tab reduction (shhh, I used scissors to remove a chevron slither off the stickey-outey part) for a perfect fit. The actual facets were the correct size to fill the holes, and when they sit flush the illusion of the 3 cubes works nicely.

Fergus Currie's Compound of 3 cubes (Escher's solid) kludge

This was a bit of a mind-fuck working out the initial layout morphology – I did develop a method, after buggering it up a couple of times there is definite structure and in the end it was completely obvious, but when you have a mound of disconnected units and are starting it is a little bewildering to work out what to do first.

Fergus Currie's Compound of 3 cubes (Escher's solid) scale

I love the geometry of compound solids – and admire the skill of designing them. I have folded most, and will continue to seek these geometrics as the end object is very pleasing. I am not sure I could fold this smaller, without using much thinner paper – thinner paper would also make assembling it much harder, so it is an interesting connundrum – fun fold tho. Many thanks to Fergus for sharing his design on Fakebook – it is in his book: Compound Polyhedra – you should buy it.

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