From the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron to Something Much Stranger

This is the great rhombicosidodecahedron, one of the thirteen Archimedean solids.

Here’s its dual, the disdyakis triacontahedron.

I use a program called Stella 4d to make these .gifs and manipulate polyhedra, and one of Stella‘s functions is “try to make faces regular.” I performed this function on the disdyakis triacontahedron, which has ten triangles meeting at some vertices — so 600 degrees’ worth of triangle-angles tried to squeeze in around those points when the faces were made to be regular. This forces the polyhedron to become non-convex — to the point of looking wrinkled.

“That’s weird looking,” I thought. “I wonder what its dual looks like?” With Stella, I could find out with one mouse-click, and I was most surprised by the result.

In this polyhedron, there are thirty orange rectangles, twelve light blue 10/4-gons, and twenty violet 6/2-gons. None of them are regular. Here are what the faces look like in isolation, starting with an orange rectangle, then a light blue 10/4-gon, and lastly a violet 6/2-gon.

If you’d like to try Stella for yourself, there is a free trial download available at

An Interesting Faceting of the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

I made this using the faceting function within Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator. You can try this program for free at

One of Many Faceted Versions of the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

The great rhombicosidodecahedron is also known as the truncated icosidodecahedron. I created this faceting of it using Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator, which you can try for free at

The Sun, Earth, and Moon Adorning the Faces of a Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

Trunc Icosidodeca

This polyhedral image was created using Stella 4d, a program you can try for yourself, for free, at

A Great Rhombicosidodecahedron Inspired By David Bowie, As Ziggy Stardust

Ziggy's Trunc Icosidodeca

I made this with Stella 4d, which you can try for yourself at this website.

The Great Rhombicosidodecahedron, Built from Rhombic Triacontahedra, and Its Dual

The great rhombicosidodecahedron is also known as the truncated icosidodecahedron (and, confusingly, several other names). Regardless of what it’s called, these pictures demonstrate that this Archimedean solid can be constructed using rhombic triacontahedra as building-blocks.

First, here’s one in the same color I used for the decagonal ring of rhombic triacontahedra in the last post:

GRID of Rhombic Triaconta

The next one is identical, except I used “rainbow color mode” for it.

GRID of Rhombic Triaconta RB

Also, just in case you’re curious, here’s the dual of this polyhedron-made-of-polyhedra — this time, colored by face-type.

dual of GRID of Rhombic Triaconta

These virtual models were all built using Stella 4d, software you may buy, or try for free, right here.

The Final Stellation of the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron, Together with Its Dual

In the last post, several selections from the stellation-series of the great rhombicosidodecahedron (which some people call the truncated icosidodecahedron) were shown. It’s a long stellation-series — hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or even millions, of stellations long (I didn’t take the time to count them) — but it isn’t infinitely long. Eventually, if repeatedly stellating this polyhedron, one comes to what is called the “final stellation,” which looks like this:

final valid stellation of the great rhombicosidodeca

Stellation-series “wrap around,” so if this is stellated one more time, the result is the (unstellated) great rhombicosidodecahedron. In other words, the series starts over.

The dual of the great rhombicosidodecahedron is called the disdyakis triacontahedron. The reciprocal function of stellation is faceting, so the dual of the figure above is a faceted disdyakis triacontahedron. Here is this dual:

Faceted Disdyakistriaconta

To complicate matters further, there is more than one set of rules for stellation. For an explanation of this, I refer you to this Wikipedia page. In this post, and the one before, I am using what are known as the “fully supported” rules.

Both these images were made using Stella 4d, software you can buy, or try for free, right here. When stellating polyhedra using this program, it can be set to use different rules for stellation. I usually leave it set for the fully supported stellation criteria, but other polyhedron enthusiasts have other preferences.

Selections from the Stellation-Series of the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

The great rhombicosidodecahedron, also known as the truncated icosidodecahedron, has a long and complex stellation series. Here are some highlights from that series, chosen using aesthetic, rather than mathematical, criteria.

All these virtual models were made using Stella 4d, which you can try and/or buy here.

Nth stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaNt1h stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN21h stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hg1uyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1hghjjhfuyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodeca N25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfjhgujhfjhyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodeca N25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfjhgujhjhfjhyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1uyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN251h stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN251uyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfjhgujhjjhhfjhyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfjhgujhyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfujhyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1hgjhjjhfuyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1jfuyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodecaN25hhgdg1jjhfuyh stellation of the great rhombicosidodeca

Another Faceting of the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

Faceted Trunc Icosidodeca

This could also be called one of many possible faceted truncated icosidodecahedra. I made it using Stella 4d, which you can try and/or buy here. Faceting is the reciprocal operation of stellation, and involves connecting the vertices of a polyhedron into faces which are unlike those of the original polyhedron. At least some, and sometimes all, of the faceted faces intersect each other, inside the polyhedron’s convex hull, as is the case here.

For comparison, here is that convex hull: a (non-faceted) great rhombicosidodecahedron, also made using Stella.

Trunc Icosidodeca

For a different faceting of this polyhedron, just look here:

Five of the Thirteen Archimedean Solids Have Multiple English Names


Four Archimedean Solids with Multiple English Names

I call the polyhedron above the rhombcuboctahedron. Other names for it are the rhombicuboctahedron (note the “i”), the small rhombcuboctahedron, and the small rhombicuboctahedron. Sometimes, the word “small,” when it appears, is put in parentheses. Of these multiple names, all of which I have seen in print, the second one given above is the most common, but I prefer to leave the “i” out, simply to make the word look and sound less like “rhombicosidodecahedron,” one of the polyhedra coming later in this post.

Trunc Cubocta

My preferred name for this polyhedron is the great rhombcuboctahedron, and it is also called the great rhombicuboctahedron. The only difference there is the “i,” and my reasoning for preferring the first name is the same as with its “little brother,” above. However, as with the first polyhedron in this post, the “i”-included version is more common than the name I prefer.

Unfortunately, this second polyhedron has another name, one I intensely dislike, but probably the most popular one of all — the truncated cuboctahedron. Johannes Kepler came up with this name, centuries ago, but there’s a big problem with it: if you truncate a cuboctahedron, you don’t get square faces where the truncated parts are removed. Instead, you get rectangles, and then have to deform the result to turn the rectangles into squares. Other names for this same polyhedron include the rhombitruncated cuboctahedron (given it by Magnus Wenninger) and the omnitruncated cube or cantitruncated cube (both of these names originated with Norman Johnson). My source for the named originators of these names is the Wikipedia article for this polyhedron, and, of course, the sources cited there.


This third polyhedron (which, incidentally, is the one of the thirteen Archimedean solids I find most attractive) is most commonly called the rhombicosidodecahedron. To my knowledge, no one intentionally leaves out the “i” after “rhomb-” in this name, and, for once, the most popular name is also the one I prefer. However, it also has a “big brother,” just like the polyhedron at the top of this post. For that reason, this polyhedron is sometimes called the small rhombicosidodecahedron, or even the (small) rhombicosidodecahedron, parentheses included.

Trunc Icosidodeca

I call this polyhedron the great rhombicosidodecahedron, and many others do as well — that is its second-most-popular name, and identifies it as the “big brother” of the third polyhedron shown in this post. Less frequently, you will find it referred to as the rhombitruncated icosidodecahedron (coined by Wenninger) or the omnitruncated dodecahedron or icosahedron (names given it by Johnson). Again, Wikipedia, and the sources cited there, are my sources for these attributions.

While I don’t use Wenninger’s nor Johnson’s names for this polyhedron, their terms for it don’t bother me, either, for they represent attempts to reduce confusion, rather than increase it. As with the second polyhedron shown above, this confusion started with Kepler, who, in his finite wisdom, called this polyhedron the truncated icosidodecahedron — a name which has “stuck” through the centuries, and is still its most popular name. However, it’s a bad name, unlike the others given it by Wenninger and Johnson. Here’s why: if you truncate an icosidodecahedron (just as with the truncation of a cuboctahedron, described in the commentary about the second polyhedron pictured above), you don’t get the square faces you see here. Instead, the squares come out of the truncation as rectangles, and then edge lengths must be adjusted in order to make all the faces regular, once more. I see that as cheating, and that’s why I wish the name “truncated icosidodecahedron,” along with “truncated cuboctahedron” for the great rhombcuboctahedron, would simply go away.

Here’s the last of the Archimedean solids with more than one English name:

Trunc Cube

Most who recognize this shape, including myself, call it the truncated cube. A few people, though, are extreme purists when it comes to Greek-derived words — worse than me, and I take that pretty far sometimes — and they won’t even call an ordinary (Platonic) cube a cube, preferring “hexahedron,” instead. These same people, predictably, call this Archimedean solid the truncated hexahedron. They are, technically, correct, I must admit. However, with the cube being, easily, the polyhedron most familiar to the general public, almost none of whom know, let alone use, the word “hexahedron,” this alternate term for the truncated cube will, I am certain, never gain much popularity.

It is unfortunate that five of the thirteen Archimedean solids have multiple names, for learning to spell and pronounce just one name for each of them would be task enough. Unlike in the field of chemistry, however, geometricians have no equivalent to the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists), the folks who, among other things, select official, permanent names and symbols for newly-synthesized elements. For this reason, the multiple-name problem for certain polyhedra isn’t going away, any time soon.

(Image credit:  a program called Stella 4d, available at, was used to create all of the pictures in this post.)