Showing posts with label aluminum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aluminum. Show all posts

Friday, November 9, 2012

Arch burr, candy, and cold fusion

Ok, these are little beasts! Enough said. Post over.

No not me. I could never be that short in any thing I say or write.

The candy twist one I bought from George Miller a year or so ago and put it in a box. It was. From an IPP lot so that's understandable. Cold fusion was Oskar's exchange puzzle last year and the Arch Burr came from B&P this week. It was metal and I've taken a liking to those lately. I thought as long as it just came in I'd dig out the others and compare them all at once so today it's a three-in-one post.

I started off by taking the usual photos of a completed puzzle so I could look back at what the final state needs to be. Logical right? Then as each piece came out I photographed that as well. Again, logical. And that's where it ends.

After the third piece came out of the Arch Burr it just fell apart. There was no photographing the last disassembly procedures. But hey, I'm half clever so I know I can put it back together.

Well, I thought so anyway. After an hour into my Cougar Town marathon I still didn't have it. When Mr. Man came home I resorted to pulling out the instructions. How unhelpful we're they. An hour later I was ready to throw them across the room. It didn't help by being bitten by the puzzle either. This one has lots of sharp edges in it and I swear I caught every one of them. It is yet again a prime example of a great puzzle made rather shoddily. When will I ever learn? Odds are never.

The Arch Burr is made of aluminum and looks pretty cool in black and silver. Sadly though the craftsmanship is lacking a bit on this one as well. The outside is nice and smooth but the internal parts-especially those around the cut out bits are rough cut to say the least. There was no rounding off of those parts and yes, I really did get cut by them. Mr. Man offered to sand them down for me but I passed. I really don't think I'll go playing with it again.

On to the candy twist! This one is made by shape ways and I'd hazard to guess its Oskar's design as well. I'd twisted burr bits to wiggle around. It's been nicely died with six different colors. I did the photo shots with this one as well. Luckily by the time I unraveled this one I had experience with the Arch Burr. With the exception of the twist they are pretty close to the same. Ok maybe not but they were close enough that it didn't take two hours to reassemble. A nice little puzzle if it weren't for the 'scratchiness' that is inherent in shape ways puzzles. It would be a fantastic puzzle.

The Cold Fusion should be renamed a Cold Day. It's a real pain. Disassembly and reassembly. I played with this one through an entire episode to take it apart. And another FOUR to put it back together. If you want a challenge, this is the one out of the three to buy. And you are in luck. It's available from

All in all it was an entertaining evening for me...stupid television and puzzles! Oh and I had a glass of Cloudy Bay so I was truly in seventh heaven.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Iso Crate

Today's puzzle is one designed by Robert Rose. It was sold to me by at IPP32 in my mass buying spree to rid myself of the left over Canadian dollars I had from my conference in Ottawa the month before.

This puzzle is made of anodized aluminum and consists of eight pieces. Each piece has three magnets embedded in it. The object if it is to take the pieces apart and return it to the original cubic shape.

This puzzle came in the PuzzleMaster packaging,but I have a feeling it was manufactured originally for Bits and pieces. The puzzle itself is quite fun but the construction leaves a lot to be desired.

This puzzle comes packaged with a clear cube inside the crate to help it keep its shape during shipping. When I pulled the puzzle out of the box, it just sort of fell apart on me. Maybe it was put together wrong or maybe it was a couple of weak magnets, I'm not sure. Either way there was no cheating with this puzzle. I had to sort it out to solve it.  I would have to guess it took me around 20 minutes of faffing about with this and other things.

Unlike some magnetic puzzles, this one doesn't have that 'strong push/pull' to it. That would have made the puzzle real fun. Nothing like flying pieces!  It does snap together rather nicely when you get the magnets lined up, but the repelling force could be stronger.  Another drawback of this puzzle is just cosmetic, but the magnets aren't seated properly in some places so they are jutted out in places.  There isn't the tight fit I wish it had.  Maybe one day if it sits on my shelf long enough and bothers me long enough, I'll dig the magnets out and reglue them.  The finish when it came in was scratched in places, and you can see the glue overspill in others.  A nice puzzle that could have used a bit of quality control.

One corner has a groove taken out of it that can be used to stand the puzzle on its edge.  Surprisingly, it does balance that way.  Overall, it's a fun little puzzle.  I'm not thrilled by it, but I'm not disappointed either.  You can find it at Puzzle Master for around CAD23.  Not a bad price for a bit of fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Too many puzzles, too little time....

I hate that I have a job and have to work for a living. I jest. I love what I do, it just doesn't leave me with much time to play with my toys. I wish I had more. Time that is....well no, toys. Oh heck. Both!

Today I had a great day. It was one of those days off when I did nothing but lay around in bed doing more of nothing. That lasted for all of about 10 minutes. I simply can't stand to lay around and do nothing. So I got up, cruised around Rob's page for a bit. Checked out the blog updates-thank you Oli, Neil, and Allard. Slapped a few fingers over on TP, teased David Litwin for a bit, read for a while on renegade...and then grabbed a few puzzles and made some videos.

Boredom struck again around 2 so I found a book to read and attempted (but did not manage) to take a nap. So I went to pick up the bug...a nice run down the hill and a half hour wait for her bus.

And all the while I was thinking about having too many puzzles I want to play with and not enough time to play with them. So here we go. I'm going to give you a photo or two of what I mean.

Oh that is a nasty photo isn't it? What about this one? A bit better?
Yes, I know there are copies in there that aren't Hanayama, yes I know there are duplicates, yes I know I am missing one or two....

First, Hanayama. And nails. And wire. So which to choose.

Easy. Alcatraz! It's a dog puzzle. Have you ever played with this one? And what does she mean by a dog puzzle? Well here's an insane story for you-but true.

When I still lived in Texas (good lord that's almost 20 years ago now) I had a beautiful husky. Now this dog was a typical husky in that he hated to be left alone. Leave him outside? I don't think so. The neighbors wouldn't stop calling. I couldn't leave him at home because when I did I would come back to torn up furniture. Same goes for the truck (yes, I had the prerequisite jacked up truck when I lived there) I left him inside the truck one day when I went to grab a coffee and came back to having no back seat. So in the end, the beautiful but insane dog had to be given to a lovely family who had a farm and a lot of land for him to attack.

Oh my, the puzzle. Right. So it's an easy one. But in the beginning I couldn't solve the silly thing. It sat on my table for ages then one day THE DOG came loping in the house, knocked it off the table and solved the puzzle-since that time, any puzzle that has one of those head slapping (is this called face palming?) solutions is a dog puzzle. (I have quite a few)

And there it is, all solved by myself without the help of a dog...

I had the opportunity to visit the Hanayama factories a couple of years back and it was a thrill a minute for me. George Miller was with us, but sadly Oskar got sick in Tokyo and couldn't make the trip. (Can you all hear me saying next year...) Well that didn't stop us, and you can see photos of the trip here. When we were there, I picked up a copy of cast quartet. Literally. I picked it up out of a box of bits that was about to go in the tumbler. Now Kyoo was very nice and let me keep all 5 pieces of the puzzle. 5 you say? yep. And don't ask me why. He never did tell me why I needed 5, and since it has since been released, I'm pretty sure he was taking the piss. Nice guy though. Anyway, a while after we got back to HK, I went over to the office to pick up a few more that I didn't have, and he gave me another unfinished version of the cast loop puzzle. This one is 2 toned, but not polished up yet. Yet another nifty puzzle.
The quartet has two different solutions, and the loop has one that I know of. And why you ask are these puzzles being presented together? Why they are all 3 of them dog puzzles. I hear Homer Simpson shout DOH! every time I take them out. The quartet I took home that same summer and my brother managed to solve it within about 2 minutes, then my dad did it as well! Ok, DOG puzzle. I mean they never play with puzzles. The cast loop? I had it at a filming thing I did and the camera man, again, a non-puzzler solved it within seconds, as did a 9 year old kid. Puzzle master calls the quartet a 10 and the loop a 7 in their difficulty scale. I'm not so sure about that.

Which brings me to the next puzzle. Cast marble. I like this one. It is so tiny you just can't help but think it is going to be a doddle. Now this one is great because it naturally has a turn to it when you first lift it up. And yep, that's what everyone tries to do with it. Turn that bit. Gotcha! NOT! I love it. And yes, I was taken in by that little twist too. But when you see the solution...when it finally dawns on's amazing. Really. It's a great puzzle and I'll say no more.

As for the wire puzzles? Well, there are just so many of them that I really don't know what I have anymore. I have soda cans (puzzle cans that is) filled to the brim with them. The batch seen here are all in a box with my Hanayamas. When I send puzzles home to the nephews, or on to a few young lads I've been chatting with for a couple of years now, there are always copies of these in there. Wire puzzles here I'm afraid are a dime a dozen...ok, not a dime, but around US$3 for 4 of those big ones. Cheap enough for me to pass around to the kids. They like them and hey, they have even started to ask for a few puzzles. My job is done!

So what did I do the rest of the day? Why ordered more puzzles. What else would I do?