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Looking for a Nice 1 mm Cube

  1. Apr 1, 2017 #1


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    I am looking for a nice looking 1 mm cube to use in a video I want to make.
    I am looking for suggestions about possible sources. I don't really want to mess around with making one right now and I would prefer (at least now) practical effects to using a 3D animation program.

    So far I have only found 1 mm cubes in beads (like for making necklaces etc.).
    Many beads have rounded edges and most have holes in them (not optimal) which I would rather avoid, but they can be made to show up well with lighting (many are shiny and/or refractive which is visually good).

    A cubic mm to a cubic m is a 1: 1,000,000,000 relationship, which is what I want to demonstrate visually.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2017 #2


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    I know that's not the kind of answer you are looking for, but I would cut one myself. A sharp knife and a 1 mm plywood, or paperboard, or piece of styrofoam and you are ready in under a minute.
  4. Apr 1, 2017 #3


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    Tiny cube v1.png

    How many do you want ?
  5. Apr 1, 2017 #4


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    I was thinking of the wood approach, but I want to be able to light it up well (on a dght workark background) since it would be small compared to a meter.
    White Styrofoam might work well though.
  6. Apr 1, 2017 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Better get a lot - they will be easy to lose.

    It might be easier to find latex spheres with volume of 1 mm.
  7. Apr 1, 2017 #6


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    1 mm square abs plastic strip is available from hobby stores and online . eg
  8. Apr 2, 2017 #7
    I think your probably going to have to make them
  9. Apr 2, 2017 #8


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    Just one, but having extras would probably be a good idea (anticipating losses).

    Maybe, but it nice to get a bunch of other ideas to consider.

    I'll probably check out a bead store (there are several around here) and a hobby store on Monday to follow up on some of the ideas.

    Or might just use a 3D animation program.
  10. Apr 2, 2017 #9
    Well good luck then
    I hope you find something nice
  11. Apr 2, 2017 #10


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  12. Apr 3, 2017 #11
    A 3D printer should be able to create that, do you know anyone who has one?
  13. Apr 3, 2017 #12


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    Interesting idea.

    I have a 3D printer. Its a fused filament type printer, which is like a CAD driven heat glue gun.
    I could send a file for printing to any of several companies though, which makes finer resolved printing and would make more of a variety of materials available including more choices of clear materials and metals. This might be worth doing if I can't find what I'm looking for.

    I want something shiny or clear for lighting purposes, for doing the photography. The materials I've used have just been opaque plastics (ABS and PLA).
  14. Apr 3, 2017 #13
    you can get square fiber optic cable in a 1mm size some fast easy work with a razer you can have all you want I have used it so I know it's available
    Snip snip snip
  15. Apr 6, 2017 #14


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    I've been looking around for materials and have found that although beads exist that are called 1 mm., they are in fact larger. Some are as large as 1.5 mm! I think their larger sizes are probably more accurately sized.

    I will probably end up cutting a square rod into cubes eventually. Maybe sanding the ends.

    I got some 1 mm square rod (styrene) from a hobby shop that was supposed to be 1 mm square. It is better 1.17 x 1.25 mm.
    I think I'll go back and see what smaller sizes they have.

    I am now considering how it might be illuminated (I am concerned about such a small thing showing up well (a mm cube in a meter cube)):
    • reflected normal incident light.
    • use fluorescent plastic and illuminate with UV, making it an emitter.
    • connect a clear cube to a fiber optic fiber and illuminate from with in (also making it an emitter).
      I guess this could be but with UV and Fluorescence also.
    If a fiber optic fiber is painted black, will it still act as a fiber optic fiber or will it lose its internal reflectance?
    If so I would want to put a black tube around it.
  16. Apr 7, 2017 #15


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    You really need to have some additional texture in a sheet of assembled cubes to make individual cubes visible .

    For bigger blocks I'd say chamfer the edges of the blocks so as to get mini grooves at all the joins .

    Maybe for these tiny blocks you could scribe grooves down all the joint lines .

    Derivative thought - could you use sheets or blocks of material instead of individual cubes and just scribe the cubes on the faces ?
  17. Apr 7, 2017 #16
    Yes you can paint it black and it will still work fine. We painted the full length of exposed fiber and the LEDs themselves to control color purity for a photo printer head
  18. Apr 19, 2017 #17


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  19. Apr 23, 2017 #18


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    I've ordered some of the 1 mm magnets.
    Have not gotten them yet.

    Meanwhile, I also got some 1 mm square strips of styrene (plastic model plastic) from a local hobby shop.
    Of the 10 pieces, only two were reasonably square (within 5% of 1.00 x 1.00).
    It get the length right and have the cuts somewhat at right angles, I made a little microtome:
    I used the micrometer on the microtome stage (which I salvaged) to push (via bent wire) a piece of plastic forward.
    The plastic square rod is taped to the plastic with double sided tape.
    A razor blade is held between the two metal blocks

    Everything is held in place by two sided tape and heat glue.

    This is one of the resulting cubes.
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