In the context of architecture and urban design applications, it is common to create massing models to demonstrate how structures will look in context so that they can be discussed. These are commonly produced physically, which have a fixed shape, or digitally which, although variable, require skill to manipulate and visualize. In order to facilitate discussion during interaction and reduce the barrier to entry in creation and manipulation of massing models, low-cost tangible construction cubes which exhibit nonpolar magnetic behavior were developed. When brought together our 3d printed cubes adhere and maintain contact when moved. The cubes exhibit nonpolar behavior mating in any face to face orientation and do not rely on indexing features. This allows users to easily and rapidly create massing models which can take a wide variety of forms, be quickly and repeatedly reconfigured, and be moved as a single unit.
Manufacture and Assembly
Cubes in Use
The current design utilizing the ball and socket method of magnet containment allows for the magnets to rotate and the cubes to attach on any face without repelling. It also keeps the magnets internal which results in a flat clean face. The thin wall thickness use of inexpensive purchased parts and manufacture using desktop 3D printing allows for the cost per cube to be kept low and for large numbers to be produced, albeit slowly. As work progresses on this project we will explore various sized cubes and begin implementing them into planning exercises.