Puzzle Box

A puzzle box (also known as a magic cube box and Soma cube) is a solid dissection puzzle invented by Piet Hein in 1933. Usually, six or seven pieces made from ‘unit cubes’, must be assembled into a 3 x 3 x 3 cube. The pieces can also be used to make a variety of other 3D shapes. In this lesson, students will research different Soma cube solutions before designing their own puzzle box design which they will then 3D print.
Design and TechnologyScienceMathematicsComputing
Years | Grades
8th Grade | 12-13 years9th Grade | 13-14 years10th Grade | 14-15 years11th Grade | 15-16 years
Lesson 1: 90 minutes Print Time : 1 to 2 hours

Puzzle Box Trailer
Play 0:41


  • Know the functional requirements of a Soma cube (Puzzle box) 
  • Use TinkerCAD software to design a Soma cube optimized for 3D printing
  • Manufacture a Soma cube using a 3D printer

Tools and equipment

  • BE3D eDee printer
  • Set of example models
  • Access to a computer that can access the internet and TinkerCAD®
  • Paper pad and pencil
  • Printed lesson resources

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Use TinkerCAD, Fusion 360 or similar CAD software at an intermediate level
  • Be comfortable with the principles of PIP hinges and their design
  • Be comfortable using DeeControl software including adjusting print settings
  • Use the BE3D eDee 3D printer

Puzzle box walkthrough
Locked 4:59

3D models overview

  • Total print time 9 hours
  • Total filament 34.8 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 4.6 m
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 4.7 m
  • 6 hours
  • 25.5 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan
  • Example Soma puzzles
  • Worksheet
  • Walkthrough
  • Presentation
  • 3D models
  • 3D print instructions
  • Curriculum alignment