Pillars (Cubons III and Solitaire XVI)

This (for now) last past on Alan Schoen’s Cubons is dedicated to what Alan calls pillars.

Above you see a page from one of several notebooks of Alan, introducing the pillars. A cubon solution has a pillar structure if all four horizontal faces are cut by unbroken lines. The pictures should make clear what this means. There are 456 ways to partition the 24 cubons into 3 groups of 8 so that one can assemble 3 pillar cubes.

If we restrict our attention to those that in addition have top and bottom face each cut into unbroken lines, there is only one such pair, consisting of all 16 symmetric cubons. They are shown above, in front and back view, and below as nets.

The remaining 8 chiral pillars can also be assembled into pillar cubes, in 8 different ways (not counting symmetries):

Last week I asked about polarity, which divides the set of 24 cubons into polar pairs, which use a complementary subdivision of the cube edges. It turns out that there is no solution to the problem to divide the 24 cubons into three sets of 8 so that each set can be assembled into a cube and consist of four pairs of polar cubons.

On the other hand, the eight achiral cubons obviously form four polar pairs (and can be assembled into a single cube). The remaining 16 symmetrical cubons can then be divided in four different ways into two sets of eight that are polar to each other, and that can both be assembled (in several different ways) into cube. Above are 3D solutions (one pair each column), and the nets are below.