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pdf The pdf gives directions for making a flex-a-cube (designed by Philip Noble) from a single long strip of paper. Italics = important clarification of the pdf. Figures are numbered to match those in the pdf (i.e., Figure 1 in this document is a photo of Figure 1, the diagram in the pdf). Page 1 (of pdf). Read page 1 of the pdf to find out how to prepare the paper. The total length of your strip should be at least 135 times its width. Each cube is made of a strip 16 times as long as your strip is wide and there are 8 cubes. Then you need extra to lock the ends. If you are going to be overlapping and joining strips to make a long strip instead of using one very long strip to start with, you will likely need even more total length. For your first flex-a-cube, try 3/4-in wide strips. If you are joining strips, there is no need to make the complete strip up front. It’s easier to cut and mouse-ladder smaller strips and afterwards lengthen your work as needed. However, the smaller strips should be at least 20 times as long as wide preferably about 40 times as long as wide. If you are joining paper that is already firmly creased or perforated (e.g., pin-feed computer paper), avoid putting the perforations at the edges of the rectangles; doing so puts too much stress on the paper in the finished model. Put the perforations on the faces instead. The first time you fold a flex-a-cube, number the faces of the first two cubes. You at least need to know where faces 8 and 4 on both cubes are. A hemostat is very helpful. If you don’t have a hemostat, a small (jewelry-sized) needle-nose pliers or tweezers might do instead. Page 2. The diagrams and directions in the pdf can be confusing. But pay attention to how the diagonals at 5 and 11 are oriented - the pdf’s diagrams are very good at showing the direction in which the paper takes off after the diagonal, which is very important. Fig 1 - in the photo the black numbers are on the “top” of the paper and the pink numbers are on the “flip side.” Whether the vertical strip lies on top of the horizontal strip or vice versa is not critical as long as the direction the paper travels after the diagonal fold matches the pdf diagrams.

2 Fig 1a. Square 5 is rotated to lie on top of square 1. I like to think of whatever direction the strip comes out of the cube at this point as the “front” of the cube (i.e., square 6 always comes out towards the “front” of the cube).

Fig 1b. Square 6 is folded under square 1, square 7 is in back, 8 is on top of 3 and 9 is in front. Square 10 is folded under squares 1 and 6. Square 11 is folded over 7. Then run the strip under square 2 on the right, over square 9 in front, under square 4 on the left, over 7/11 and under 2 again. When you’re folding the flex-a-cube, it’s less important to know the face numbers than when to stop. Stop after sliding the tail over 7/11 and under the next face. When a cube is complete, the following faces show: 2, 4, 8, 10, 13 and 15. You need to know that in case you are taping strips together and want the tape not to show. Avoid putting tape on faces 5 and 11; doing so makes it hard to form the cube. Page 3. If you have a long strip (at least 35 times the width), fold your first cube by positioning square 1 in the center of the strip. If you have a shorter strip, start further to the right (“B”) side - remember you need 16 squares and a tail long enough to join more paper. so plan accordingly. Fig 5. Orientation of strip prior to folding second cube.

3 Page 3 (cont) Fig 5a. Roll square 5 on top of square 1, square 6 under square 1, square 7 in back of the cube and so forth.

Page 4. Fig 7. Open the hinges (rotate the #8 faces to the outside) so that the hinges and #4 faces are on top and the strips lie on the table. Fold the 5 and 11 diagonals according to the pdf diagram. When the model is complete, if the hinges and #4 faces are on top in the first set, the hinges between sets 1-2 will be on the table, hinges between sets 2-3 will be on the outer sides and hinges between sets 3-4 will be on the table. Fig 7a. After completion of the second set, if the set 1 hinges and #4 faces are on top, the strips should be coming out from the outer sides of the second set cubes.

Hint: if you are not sure you’re doing things right, fold the cube to the point where you slide square 12 under side square 2. The strip will be coming out in its final position and the cube will be stable enough to see if the strip is in the right place. If it isn’t, you can more easily redo your folding because you slid/locked the strip under only one square rather than three.

4 Page 5. Fig 8. Close the hinges (rotate the #8 faces back towards the center). That brings the strip to the top. Make the appropriate 5 and 11 diagonals according to the pdf diagram.

Fig 8a. Since the strip is coming out from on top of the set 2 cubes, you have to build the set 3 cube under square 1.

Fig 8b. After completion of the set 3 cubes. With set 1 #8 faces rotated out and hinges and #4 faces on top, the strips come from the bottoms of the set 3 cubes.

5 Page 6 Fig 9. Observe the proper orientation of the 5 and 11 diagonals. Right side.

Fig 9. Left side.

6 Fig 9a. The set 4 cubes are built by placing square 5 under rather than on top of square 1.

Fig 9a. Do not pull the strip all the way through the last cube on side B. Leave a big loop (arrow). If you have done things correctly, with the set 3-4 hinges on the table, the strips come out the tops of the set 4 cubes and point towards the middle.

Fig 9b. Another model showing proper locations of hinges and strips.

7 Page 7 Some views of the locking steps.

Once you understand the locking steps, it’s actually easiest to lock the cube by not putting the B-side strip under the last face (#2) until after you have trimmed and locked the A-side strip. Then lay the B strip over the locked A strip, slide it under the last face (#2) on the fourth B-side cube and finish locking and trimming it.

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