How to Make Shapes Out of Buckyballs

By Michelle Watson
Buckyballs, small spherical magnets, a variety, shapes
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Buckyballs is a magnetic toy created by Zoomdoggle. The toy consists of 216 small magnetic spheres, which can be molded and shaped into an unlimited number of patterns. Each Buckyball magnet is polarized, containing one end that attracts and another end that repels. Make classic shapes, such as spheres and pyramids from Buckyballs. Most Buckyball shapes contain an inner structure of smaller shapes that combine to form the larger figure. Surprisingly, both the sphere and pyramid are made from small triangles.

Sphere

Form a single strand of balls.

Break off nine balls, and attach the two ends to form a ring.

Transform the ring into a triangle. Pinch three of the balls in the circle together with your thumb and forefinger, forming a point. The circle now looks like a teardrop. Holding the point in place, push the rounded end of the teardrop inward, forming two new points. This completes the triangle.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you have 20 triangles. This will not require the entire strand of balls.

Select five triangles. Snap a pointed end of each triangle together. Use the pointed ends that attract (not repel) one another. The sides will naturally snap together, and the resulting shape will look like a hexagon with one side missing.

Close the gap in the hexagon by joining the sides of the two triangles that are unconnected. This forms a three-dimensional figure that looks like a raised pentagon.

Select five more triangles. Snap a flat side of each triangle to a flat side on the perimeter of the pentagon shape you made in Steps 4 and 5. Use the flat sides that attract rather than repel. The resulting shape should look like a five-pointed flower.

Repeat Steps 5 through 6 to form a second flower-like shape.

Intertwine the "petals" on both flowers to make a sphere. Do this by snapping a petal from one flower between two petals of another flower, continuing around until all the petals are interlocked.

Pyramid

Form a single strand of balls.

Break off nine balls, and attach the two ends to form a ring.

Transform the ring into a triangle. Pinch three of the balls in the circle together with your thumb and forefinger, forming a point. The circle now looks like a teardrop. Holding the point in place, push the rounded end of the teardrop inward, forming two new points. This completes the triangle.

Repeat Steps 2 through 3 until you have 16 triangles total. This will not require the entire strand of balls.

Select four triangles, and snap them together to form a larger triangle. Do this by snapping three of the triangles together side-by-side in this pattern: pointed side up, pointed side down, pointed side up. This forms a base for the larger triangle. Snap the remaining triangle, pointed side up, above the middle triangle of the base.

Repeat Step 5 three more times for a total of four large triangles.

Snap the four triangles together to form one large triangle. Do this by snapping three triangles together side-by-side in the following pattern: pointed side up, pointed side down, pointed side up. Snap the remaining triangle, pointed side up, above the middle triangle of the base.

Bring the three points of the triangle together, by bringing them upward and inward, forming a three-dimensional figure. By snapping the points together, the sides will naturally snap together. When all the points and sides snaps together successfully, the result is a four-sided pyramid.

About the Author

Michelle Watson has been an editor and freelance writer since 2010. She has edited hospital magazines around the United States and written on a variety of health-care topics. Watson is also a licensed high school English teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a teaching credential.