Beads are not only useful for constructing complicated 3D structures of fullerenes, they can also be used to illustrate the surface structures and packing of liquid crystals.
I used these tricks for the general chemistry I taught last year.
1. Simply put in some beads to create a monolayer of beads.
2. By inspection, one can see there are several single crystal domains separated by grain boundary. Vacancies can occur sometimes, :-)
3. Multilayer structure can also be created easily by adding more beads. Shuffle the box slightly to make them more compact.
4. Beads with long aspect ratio can be used to model liquid crystalline structures! ;-)