Fun & Games Science

While it doesn’t have anything to do with actual buckyballs, this set of 216 rare earth magnetic balls looks like a lot of fun. I just wish they didn’t cost $31 (with shipping).

BuckyBalls [via Laughing Squid]

30 thoughts on “Nifty magnetic construction toy

  1. My wife purchased the Neocube for me for slightly cheaper:

    http://theneocube.com/#2

    It’s a whole lot of fun, but it takes practice and a steady hand to keep the magnets aligned like that. It took me a while to simply make the cube they show.

    My Aunt saw it, and also bought a set. It’s really fun, and pretty addicting.

  2. Is there something unique to the polarity of these magnets, which makes them behave like that?

    Deal Extreme has a 100 pack of 5mm neo magnets for under $13, which I guess would put it on par with the cost of the neocube.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.23646

    Some other website I ran across long ago was selling 1″ spherical neo’s, but they were several dollars each – could build some huge “bucky balls” with those!

    1. I have both the dealextreme and neocube ones, and can tell you the neocube ones are much stronger. The dealextreme ones are very weak. Fun none the less.

  3. Merits of the toy aside, I find it 100% offensive that they would choose an existing word– change the meaning– and then trademark it.

    Would it be fair to call this choice a cruel way to prey on the general public not knowing the meaning of the word?

  4. > Yeah, I agree completely. Poor form all around.

    The meme catches fire! Invented around 2000, but too unsafe and expensive for the conventional toys trade. Placed in public domain in 2004, lifted from Youtube video in 2006, spreading widely as Neocube, Cybercube, QQmag, IQmag, Buckyballs, Amazing Magnet Balls.

    I hope all these sellers are including a warning: UNSAFE FOR CHILDREN! LETHAL SWALLOWING HAZARD! (But that would be bad for sales, no.)

  5. I ordered 3 sets of the buckyballs, and all three were riddled with inconsistent beads. Some big, some small, some weak, many oblong (non-spherical). I spent days trying to get a 6x6x6 cube to go together, but with the mismatched sizes, it was not possible.

    I ordered a NeoCube, the beads were very consistent. I got 6x6x6, 3x3x3, and 2x2x2 cubes to go together on the first try. For the triangle and hex based patterns, consistency is not as critical, but for anything with rows of parallel beads, it makes a huge difference.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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