Hinged Cubes

Copyright James A. Storer 2009; U.S. patent 8,393,623 March 2013.
(Kingwood with brass hinges, 2.25 inches square assembled)

Fold the eight cubes into a larger 2x2x2 cube; there are 7 hinges:



Hinge 1 joins cube 2 to cube 1, on the front faces.
Hinge 2 joins cube 3 to cube 2, on the back face of 3 and the right face of 2.
Hinge 3 joins cube 4 to cube 3, on the top faces.
Hinge 4 joins cube 5 to cube 4, on the front faces.
Hinge 5 joins cube 6 to cube 5, on the left face of 6 and the right face of 5.
Hinge 6 joins cube 7 to cube 6, on the back face of 7 and the front face of 6.
Hinge 7 joins cube 8 to cube 6, on the top faces.

A fun but not too hard puzzle; when left on a coffee table, people often spend 30 minutes or so to solve it (about right for a coffee table audience). Not only is there something very satisfying about the solid feel of real hinges, but they also tend to suggest a straightforward folding one cube at a time, which inevitably leads to a position like the one shown on the right above.