A Short History of a Digital Object : The 3D Printed Gyro the Cube by Virtox

Following is a reposting of an interesting post by Virtox aka Stijn on the history of a digital object, Gyro the Cube… Fascinating to see the evolutions of a very cool design. 

A little over three years and leading a life of its own.

After the first trials in early 2009, with the final model published in March of that year, it spiked some interest among peers, which was pretty cool! Posting it on YouTube and showing it on a few fairs and trade shows, resulted in a wide variety of unexpected (and sometimes hilarious) responses:

My new favorite desktoy
That’s fake, that’s a time-lapse video!
Is that a real perpetual motion machine?

It took a while to break out of the 3d printing niche, but it slowly kept gaining in interest and to this day I see it pop up all over. But, I would never have guessed that it would be as inspiring and popular as it has been the last few years! Which (can’t help it) just makes me really proud of my little Gyro the Cube, they grow up so fast don’t they? 

It appears on blogs and blurbs by people who are happy to have bought or gotten it as present, which is very rewarding!

   “While smaller than I thought, it works exactly like it does in the video. Its going on my desk at work. The coolest thing about it is that it’s made on a 3d printer.”
Nerdy but Good at It

   “The Gyro Cube from Shapeways, one of our many amazing wedding gifts.”
365.25 on Tumbler

   “It is not only the objects themselves that fascinate,
   but also the fact that many of them really couldn’t have been manufactured any other way.”

The Age of 3D / Let’s Play!

The little guy even made it onto several television shows (argh, where are those links), with the help of the wonderful people at Shapeways. And it got a spot on their T-shirt! (bottom right)

It got a high ranking spot on Reddit’s Shutup and take my money twice and was sold in the 2011 Wired popup store on Times Square in New York!

I had been dreading the inevitable though…
Derivatives showing up on sites as Thingiverse but in the end it’s just a great honor 

First up was Scott Bruins, who posted an inspired by/variation on Grabcad as Nested Spheres. Followed by this one by Jason Knox, leading to something I have yet to fully figure out, a G-force simulator by Stefan Varga.
I had a good laugh when someone suggested to add some axles to those models to make it spin smoother.
(For the uninformed, the original has exactly this)
You just got to love digital re-evolution 

And about three years after the initial release it also appeared on Thingiverse, first by ARTCad, an interesting variation with the axles moved to the ribs, which led to one of the coolest, a parametric version by whosawhatsis!

Which resulted in lots of home printed versions, in PLA and ABS(?). And the occasional failed print.

All in all, I would never have expected all this! Kudos and a big shout-out to all fans and contributors!

You rock!



About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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