Explore Light and Color with CMY Cubes

I recently received a set of CMY Cubes, a sensory toy that lets you play with light and color. They’re fun to display on your desk or a windowsill, and can work as quiet fidget toys (as long as you don’t drop them!) since they’re solid blocks of acrylic. The CMY Cubes come in a variety of shapes, and the faces are colored in cyan, magenta, and yellow (thus the name) to allow for color mixing as you flip and turn the blocks.

The three that I was sent are the Original Cube, the Aether, and the Mundus

The Original Cube. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Although all of them are listed as “50mm,” the Original Cube is the biggest of the bunch simply because of its shape. Either of the others would just about fit entirely inside its volume. The cube is colored so that opposite faces match—if you look perpendicular to a face, you’ll see one of the three primary colors, but then angling the cube will let you mix red, blue, and green.

The cube is nice and hefty, and the edges are crisp, almost sharp. I was also sent the cube stand, which holds the cube at an angle.

The Aether. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Aether is an octahedron (a d8 for you tabletop folks). It also has matching colors on opposite faces, but also adds colorless faces for the fourth pair. The acute angles create some really fascinating shapes as you look through it, and you get more internal reflections than with the cube. It is 50mm along the edge, so because of its shape that’s about 40mm tall when it’s sitting flat on the desk, making feel like the smallest of the three. The edges don’t feel quite as sharp as the cube.

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The Mundus. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The last one I got was the Mundus, a dodecahedron (d12). Of the 12 faces, six of them have colors (2 each of cyan, magenta, and yellow) and the rest are colorless—though it took me a lot of turning and spinning to figure that out, because of the way the colors refract. It’s pretty fascinating to look through it and see the entire thing as cyan while knowing that only two of the faces are actually colored cyan. The Mundus also has a lot of very cool shapes as you look through it. It’s also 50mm tall, but since it is closer to a sphere, it’s smaller and lighter than the cube. The edges on this one aren’t as sharp (in part because of the obtuse angles), so it can be more comfortable to hold.

The CMY Cubes were a fun way to demonstrate subtractive color mixing to my kids, and even though I understand the science behind it, there’s still a part of my brain that has trouble thinking in terms of CMYK rather than in additive terms where the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. I mentioned that they can be quiet fidget devices, since they don’t have any moving parts that make noise, but I should caution that if you let your kids play with them, you may want to make sure they’re over a soft surface like the carpet in case they drop them, because then they will be loud, and you risk either damaging  the CMY Cubes or dinging your table. (I’ve kept mine on my gaming table, which has a soft playmat on it.)

My primary complaint is that the clear surfaces are hard to keep clean, especially if you have grubby little hands all over them. Fingerprints and dust stick to them, and I suppose mine will never be quite as pristine as they were when they first arrived. (It’s hard to know how to hold them while cleaning them since there’s no surface to hold onto that doesn’t need to be cleaned.)

Another view of the CMY Cubes against a dark background. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The CMY Cubes are made in Australia and can be ordered directly from the website. Currently the Original Cube is $19.95, and the Aether and the Mundus are $29.95 each. The site also various other shapes, in case you want an entire set of polyhedrals, and there are also single-color cubes in C, M, Y, K, and colorless.

For more information, visit the CMY Cubes website!

Disclosure: I received this set for review purposes.

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This post was last modified on September 28, 2022 10:59 pm

Jonathan H. Liu

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit. I can be reached at jonathan at geekdad dot com.

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