Various Views of Three Different Polyhedral Compounds: Those of (1) Five Cuboctahedra, (2) Five of Its Dual, the Rhombic Dodecahedron, and (3) Ten Components — Five Each, of Both Polyhedra.

Polyhedral compounds differ in the amount of effort needed to understand their internal structure, as well as the way the compounds’ components are assembled, relative to each other. This compound, the compound of five cuboctahedra, and those related to it, offer challenges not offered by all polyhedral compounds, especially those which are well-known.


The image above (made with Stella 4d, as are others in this post — software available here) is colored in the traditional style for compounds: each of the five cuboctahedra is assigned a color of its own. There’s a problem with this, however, and it is related to the triangular faces, due to the fact that these faces appear in coplanar pairs, each from a different component of the compound.


The yellow regions above are from a triangular face of the yellow component, while the blue regions are from a blue triangular face. The equilateral triangle in the center, being part of both the yellow and blue components, must be assigned a “compromise color” — in this case, green. The necessity of such compromise-colors can make understanding the compound by examination of an image more difficult than it with with, say, the compound of five cubes (not shown, but you can see it here, if you wish). Therefore, I decided to look at this another way: coloring each face of the five-cuboctahedra compound by face type, instead of by component.


Another helpful view may be created by simply hiding all the faces, revealing internal structure which was previously obscured.


Since the dual of the cuboctahedron is the rhombic dodecahedron, the dual of the compound above is the compound of five rhombic dodecahedra, shown, first, colored by giving each component a different color.

RD 5 colored by component

A problem with this view is that most of what’s “going on” (in the way the compound is assembled) cannot be seen — it’s hidden inside the figure. An option which helped above (with the five-cuboctahedra compound), coloring by face type, is not nearly as helpful here:

RD 5 colored by face type

Why wasn’t it helpful? Simple: all sixty faces are of the same type. It can be made more attractive by putting Stella 4d into “rainbow color” mode, but I cannot claim that helps with comprehension of the compound.

RD 5 colored rainbow

With this compound, what’s really needed is a “ball-and-stick” model, with the faces hidden to reveal the compound’s inner structure.

RD 5 colored hollow

Since the two five-part compounds above are duals, they can also be combined to form a ten-part compound: that of five cuboctahedra and five rhombic dodecahedra. In the first image below, each of the ten components is assigned its own color.

Compound of 5 Cuboctahedra and dual colored by component

In this ten-part compound, the coloring-problem caused in the first image in this post, coplanar and overlapping triangles of different colors, vanishes, for those regions of overlap are hidden in the ten-part compound’s interior. This is one reason why this coloring-scheme is the one I find the most helpful, for this ten-part compound (unlike the two five-part compounds above). However, so that readers may make this choice for themselves, two other versions are shown below, starting with coloring by face type.

Compound of 5 Cuboctahedra and dual colored by face typet

Finally, the hollow version of this ten-part compound. This is only a personal opinion, but I do not find this image quite as helpful as was the case with the five-part compounds described above.

Compound of 5 Cuboctahedra and dual colored rainbow

Which of these images do you find most illuminating? As always, comments are welcome.

Four-Part Compound of the Icosahedron, the Dodecahedron, the Cuboctahedron, and the Rhombic Dodecahedron

Compound of Cubocta and Dodeca and RD and Icosa

This compound was created using Stella 4d, software you can try for yourself here.

A Platonic/Catalan Compound and Its Dual, a Platonic/Archimedean Compound

Compound of Rhombic Dodeca and Icosa

Shown above: the compound of the icosahedron and the rhombic dodecahedron. Below is its dual, the compound of the dodecahedron and the cuboctahedron.

Compound of Dodeca and Cubocta

Both these compounds were created using the “add/blend polyhedron from memory” function in Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator. To check out this program for yourself, just follow this link.

Using the Rhombic Dodecahedron and the Rhombic Enneacontahedron to Create a “Near Near-Miss” to the Johnson Solids

This is the rhombic dodecahedron, the dual of the Archimedean cuboctahedron.

Rhombic Dodeca

While the rhombic dodecahedron has 12 faces, there are many other polyhedra made entirely out of rhombi, and most of them have more than twelve faces. An example is the rhombic enneacontahedron, which has two face-types: sixty wide rhombi, and thirty narrow ones. It is one of several possible zonohedrified dodecahedra.

Zonohedrified Dodeca

As the next figure shows, the wide rhombi of the rhombic enneacontahedron have exactly the same shape as the rhombic dodecahedron’s faces, so the two polyhedra can be stuck together (augmented) at those faces. These wide rhombi have diagonals with lengths in a ratio of one to the square root of two.

Zonohedrified Dodeca with RD

The next picture shows what happens if you take one central rhombic enneacontahedron, and augment all sixty of its wide faces with rhombic dodecahedra.

Augmented Zonohedrified Dodeca

Since this polyhedral cluster in non-convex, it can be changed by creating its convex hull, which can the thought of as pulling a rubber sheet tightly around the entire polyhedron. Here’s the convex hull of the augmented polyhedron above.

Convex hull of RD-augmented REC

The program I use to make these rotating images, Stella 4d (which you can try here), has a function called “try to make faces regular.” If applied to the convex hull above, this function leaves the triangles and pentagon regular, and makes the octagons regular as well. However, the rhombi become kites. The rectangles merely change, getting slightly longer, while rotating 90º, but they do remain rectangles.

convex hull of RD-augmented REC after TTMFRegular worked on the octagons

After creating this last polyhedron, I started stellating it. After stellating it eight times, I obtained this polyhedron:


Once more, I applied the “try to make faces regular” function.

Unnamed after TTMFR

This polyhedron has five-valent vertices where the shorter edges of the kites meet. These are also the vertices of pentagonal pyramids which use kite-diagonals as base edges. By using faceting (the inverse operation of stellation), I next removed these pyramids, exposing their regular pentagonal faces.

Faceted Poly

In this polyhedron, all faces are regular, except for the red triangles, which are isosceles. (There are also triangles — the pink ones — which are regular.) Each of these isosceles triangles has ~63.2º base angles, and a ~53.6º vertex angle, with legs just under 11% longer than the base. This is a judgement call, for “near-miss” to the Johnson solids has not been precisely defined, but I see an ~11% edge-length difference as too great for this to be classified as a “near-miss,” even though I would love to claim discovery of another near-miss to the Johnson solids (if it even turns out I am the first one to find this polyhedron, which may not be the case). It is close to being a near-miss, though, so it belongs in the even-less-precisely defined group of polyhedra which are called, quite informally, “near near-misses.”

For the sake of comparison, here is a similar polyhedron (included in Stella 4d‘s enormous, built-in library of polyhedra) which is recognized as a near-miss to the Johnson solids. (I do not know the name of the person who discovered it, or I would include it here — I only know it wasn’t me.) It’s called the “half-truncated truncated icosahedron,” and its longest ledges are just over 7% longer than its shorter edges, with the non-regularity of faces also limited to isosceles triangles. However, this irregularity appears in all of the triangles in the polyhedron below — and in the “near near-miss above,” the irregularity only appeared in some of the triangular faces.

Half-trunc Trunc Icosa

A Kite-Faced Polyhedron Based on the Cube, Octahedron, and Rhombic Dodecahedron

related to rd look at colors

Above is the entire figure, showing all three set of kites. The yellow set below, though, lie along the edges of a rhombic dodecahedron.

related to rd look at colors yellow rd shell

The next set, the blue kites, lie along the edges of an octahedron.

related to rd look at colors blue octahedron edges

Finally, the red set of kites lies along the edges of a cube — the dual to the octahedron delineated by the blue kites.

related to rd look at colors red cube

These images were made using Stella 4d, which is available here.

A Cuboctahedral Cluster of Rhombic Dodecahedra

cuboctahedron of Rhombic Dodeca

It is well-known that the cuboctahedron and the rhombic dodecahedron are dual polyhedra. However, until I stumbled upon this, I was unaware that rhombic dodecahedra could actually be arranged into a cluster with the overall shape of a cuboctahedron.

[Software credit: see for more information about Stella 4d, the program I use to make these rotating images. A free trial download is available at that website.]

A Cluster of Thirteen Rhombic Dodecahedra, and Three Other Related Polyhedra

13 Rhombic Dodeca

One of the thirteen rhombic dodecahedra in this cluster cannot be seen, for it is hidden in the middle. The other twelve are each attached to a face of the central rhombic dodecahedron.

If one then creates the convex hull of this cluster — the smallest convex polyhedron which can contain it — this is the result:

Convex hull before TTMFR

This polyhedron has fifty faces:  the six square faces of a cube, the eight triangular faces of an octahedron, the twelve rhombic faces of a rhombic dodecahedron, and twenty-four rectangles to fill the gaps between the other faces.

This fifty-faced polyhedron also has an interesting dual, with 48 faces, all of which are kites. Half of these 48 kites are of one type, and arranged into eight panels of three kites each, while the other half are arranged into six panels of four kites each:

48 kites

Returning to the fifty-faced polyhedron, two images above, here is what happens if one tries to make each face as regular as possible:


In this polyhedron, the six squares are still squares, the eight triangles are still regular, and the twelve rhombi are still rhombi, although these rhombi are wider than before. The 24 rectangles, however, have now been transformed into isosceles trapezoids.

[Software credit:  see for more information about Stella 4d, the program I use to make these rotating images. A free trial download is available at that website.]