Building a Rhombic Enneacontahedron, Using Icosahedra and Elongated Octahedra

With four icosahedra, and four octahedra, it is possible to attach them to form this figure:

Augmented Icosa

This figure is actually a rhombus, but the gap between the two central icosahedra is so small that this is hard to see. To remedy this problem, I elongated the octahedra, thereby creating this narrow rhombus:

narrow rhombus

It is also possible to use the same collection of polyhedra to make a wider rhombus, as seen below.

wide rhombus

These aren’t just any rhombi, either, but the exact rhombi found in the polyhedron below, the rhombic enneacontahedron. It has ninety rhombi as faces: sixty wide ones, and thirty narrow ones.


As a result, it is possible to use the icosahedra-and-elongated-octahedra rhombi, above, to construct a rhombic enneacontahedron made of these other two polyhedra. The next several images show it under construction (I “built” it using Stella 4d, available at this website), culminating with the complete figure.

panelnof five rhombi

panel of ten rhombi

bowl towards rec

giant rec about half complete

giant rec almost finished

giant rec complete

Lastly, I made one more image — the same completed shape, but in “rainbow color mode.”

giant rec complete rainbow

By Request: The Compound of Five Rhombic Dodecahedra, with Nets


By Request:  The Compound of Five Rhombic Dodecahedra, with Nets

I’ve been asked by a reader of this blog to post nets for this polyhedral compound. Printing nets with Stella 4d is easy, and I’m happy to post them here, in response to that request. Warning, though: there are many nets needed for this compound.

Each of these smaller images may be enlarged with a single click.

Cuboctahedra 5 net one

Here’s the first net type needed (above). You’ll need thirty copies of this net. The gray parts show, and the white parts are tabs to help put it together. Below is the second type needed, of which you need sixty copies.

Cuboctahedra 5 net two

There’s also a third type of net, and these last two types may need to be rescaled before you print them, to fit the net of the first type, also. You’ll need sixty copies of this third net (below) as well, It’s the mirror-image of the net of the second type.

Cuboctahedra 5

Finally, here’s a non-rotating image of the completed polyhedron, to help with the construction:

Cuboctahedra 5

I recommend using card stock or posterboard, and trying to get as much tape as possible on the inside of the model, making an uncolored version — and then painting it with five different colors of your choice, after the model is assembled. Happy building!

[Software credit:  I used Stella 4d:  Polyhedron Navigator to create all these images. It’s available at Downloading and trying a trial version is free, but you have to buy the fully-functioning version to print nets, or to make these rotating .gif files I post all over this blog.]