Rubik’s Cubes look interesting and colorful, but all too often after the initial joy of twisting them around for a bit, they are discarded, unsolved and unloved. Those that wish to restore a cube to its original ordered glory can now find instructions for doing so online, but why waste a few minutes doing this manually when you can spend many months building a machine to do it for you?
That’s just what “Jocobs” did, and the Q-Bot could serve as a very nice starting point for your own machine. The device uses four stepper motors to manipulate the vertical faces of the cube. When the top and bottom need to be turned, one of the two opposing pairs of motors is pulled back with another stepper and timing belt, allowing the cube to rotate. The system implements a total of six stepper motors, controlled directly by an Arduino Mega with a custom driver shield.
Movement calculation is handled by a separate Windows-based program, which sends commands to the device over serial. This simple machine-to-machine interface enables easy testing and debugging, and was certainly needed during the eight months it took to develop this device.