SOMA Crystal
SOMA News 4 Oct 1999

soma cube pieces

Having asked, Where can I buy a SOMA puzzle? it often falls back to the cost of accuiring a set of soma pieces. There are however several ways to make your own set.
SOMA by LEGO Make SOMA pieces by using Legos.
News:1999.09.16 Build your own SOMA pieces from dices.

A third method would be, to make your own pieces by folding paper.
This is called ORIGAMI, and the japanese art of paper folding is extremely old.

However my own entry into this theme was inspired by the ORIGAMI homepage of Krystyna & Wojtek Burczyk. Having seen their SOMA pieces, I started wondering - HOW - but then one day, when I was visiting my mother, our talk fell on the topics of SOMA and on ORIGAMI, she then told me that she knew how to fold a CUBE, I soon learned the process, and here is a description of how to fold a cube AND how to combine cube sides into SOMA pieces.

As usual, the ORIGAMI SOMA pieces can be arranged into several different configurations.

soma figure
The Burczyk figure.

soma cube in box It is also possible (of course) to arrange all the ORIGAMI pieces into a cube and put it in a box.

The figures above were built by The Burczyk family, who presents a beautifull Polish homepage, centering around Origami, at.

HOW is it done

To fold your own SOMA pieces, you should follow this procedure.

First you buy or cut 122 pieces of ORIGAMI papers each measuring 8 x 8 cm. (3 x 3 inch)

I will NOT tell you that it is easy - because - It is NOT EASY. BUT if you make all the sidestrips carefully and of exactly equal size, then it can be done.
After assembling the pieces, a small drop of glue into each snippet will fix it and make the pieces more robust.

First we make a sidestrip:

First fold up along A, and fold back flat.
Then fold up along B and C.

Now fold up along D and E and reopen the whole piece

Then fold F and G up.
Fold H up.
Fold the triangle I up and the strip J up.
Fold the triangle K up under the strip L.
Finally bend the triangular snips M and N down, along the diagonal traces P

Repeat this process to make the 6 Sidestrips needed for a cube.

Now combine the pieces by pushing the strips into the right openings.

Sidestrips are ALWAYS connected as the end into a side, like this.

SOMA Pieces.

To combine three boxes into piece no 1, you don't really make 3 cubes. You make 14 Sidestrips and use them to create the outer shell of the piece. Note that there are NO inner (hidden) walls in any of the pieces.

Using 14 Sidestrips, piece #1 looks like this.

NOTE: that I have pictured each strip here using a different color, just so that it is easier to see the coupling. In reality you will probably just use paper of one color. Using two colors is an unneeded luxury, because the folding will hide one of the sides completely.

NOTE also: That there are NO unconnected edges when you have finished the combinations.

Now fold the remaining 108 Sidestrips for the rest of the pieces. 18 Sidestrips for each of the 6 remaining SOMA pieces, and then you have a SOMA set.

- submitted by Thorleif Bundgård.
After inspiration by Krystyna & Wojtek Burczyk.

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