Showing posts with label put-together. Show all posts
Showing posts with label put-together. Show all posts

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Toys, testing, and trial and error.

Toy: a material object for children or others to play with (often an imitation of some familiar object); a plaything; also, something contrived for amusement rather than for practical use.
-the Oxford English Dictionary
Well, today's puzzles certainly fit that bill. Imitations of other items, and something designed for amusement.
I've got two from Vesa, one from Puzzle Master and one from Derek Bosch.

Shapeways had their annual sales recently and once again I took advantage of them. I really don't like the feel of these things, but over the years they have gotten less gritty so I thought what the heck and put in an order. Now I frequent a number of forums, and thought what the heck, I'll get them in white, buy some dye and color them myself....famous last words....

I'm not at the level of Cantonese where I can just go out into a shop and ask for dye. After many trials with this, I gave up and went for a different tactic. I tried food coloring! That I have plenty of. The results were mixes to say the least! My yellow was orange, my green was yellow, my blue was pink(!) and my red was, well, red. So maybe food coloring isn't the best of puzzle dyes. But someone had to try it!

So on to the puzzles. First, I got two from Vesa: a breakfast egg and an onion. I've looked at these two for years now but always just passed them by. Well this time around I hit the purchase button and I'm glad I did. The egg is four pieces and the object is of course to put them together. It's a nifty little thing, but it is easy to spot the solution for it just by looking. To solve it I had to assemble it without the yolk (or orange?) just to loosen up the pieces a bit. A one minute puzzle but fun none the less. The onion is made of six pieces and a tad bit harder to solve but not very much harder. This one was a two minute puzzle I'd guess. These two I didn't purchase for the puzzling factor, but rather for their appearance. Vesa has designed an orange as well which Hanayama has mass produced under the name of Globe Ball. It's hard to come by now, but if you can find one its a great little puzzle as well.

On to the torpedoes. Now this one I have many different versions of. After quite a long discussion about this the other day, I decided to buy yet another version. I'm sure I got it from Bits and Pieces during their last sale. 25% off AND free shipping! I'm in. I'll have to check the packaging again, but I'm pretty sure it's a Puzzle Master product. At any rate, it's listed as an 8/10 and that about sums it up. It's not as easy as the hedgehog and not as difficult as trying to get one of those birds out.

My last puzzle today is Derek's tubular burr. What a hoot that one is. I've sat here grinding away at it for the past three hours off and on and have managed to get. Nowhere yet. I see what it needs to do, I just can't get it to do it without looking. It's not a "by feel" puzzle. Well, at least it hasn't been for me. It's only a three piece puzzle and the object as always is simple, put the pieces in and take them back out again. What could be easier? (A lot of things, believe me!) This one would be a fantastic puzzle for the magpie in me! I'd love to see it made of silver and gold. Shiny smooth metal bits would make it even better fun!

This one is a bit odd. When I colored it, it got a bit 'squishy' I'm not sure if it is meant to be that way, but I can tell the area between the walls of the barrel bit are hollow. It still plays, but I'm afraid ill deform it if I squeeze too hard.

So back to my start. Toy: a material object for children or others to play with (often an imitation of some familiar object); a plaything; also, something contrived for amusement rather than for practical use. I think that definition holds. And today, we've had all three. Although I'd argue that helping me maintain my sanity through 5 hours of low level speakers is a very very practical use for a toy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

E24 puzzle

When is a puzzle not a puzzle? When it's a building toy. But then is it still a puzzle?

In this case I would say a definite yes!

I picked up the E24 at IPP32 in D.C. Last August along with a few others made by Douglas A. Engel (which I may get around to posting about later). This one intrigued me. I figured it was just another twisted burr but the pretty colors hooked me so I bought it anyway.

This one has six pieces with some interesting twists to it. As you can see those are some sharp angles and they don't fit together as 'regular' as you might think.

This puzzle has a lot of sharp corners that you need to work your way around. It's also quite nifty in that there is a "rounded" edge in one piece on every section. This helps to both lock in the puzzle and to help determine which piece needs to be removed first. There is a nice little snap when the puzzle locks in. When I disassembled it for the first time, it took me by surprise. I pulled and pulled at various sections of the puzzle, but nothing was working. And then suddenly, I got the right piece and bam! Two pieces. From there further disassembly is very easy.

Reading the box and the website, I see that further sets are available to purchase separately my hey can be added to the puzzle to make a variety of different shapes. I'm sure there is some mathematical genius behind this, but for me, it's nice to see what sorts of shapes I can make.

The puzzle is available from Puzzle Atomic

Thursday, October 4, 2012

O'Beirne's cube

Today's puzzle was exchanged by Peter Hajek. It is really a bunch of puzzles in one. When he explained it during the exchange, I've got to admit that I really wasn't sure what he was on about. (not that that means much, at the end of an exchange day I don't even really know my name. It's truly an overwhelming experience that I'll never get tired of.) I did gather that it was a packing puzzle and a fitting puzzle and that's about as much as I managed to take in.

It is first off a puzzle of how to build a box. Now that may seem easy to some but remember this is Rox we are talking about. There are twelve bits that form two boxes. Ok putting together two boxes I can do. Then I noticed that the boxes fit one inside the other! Ha! There's more to this than meets the eye. And I have to say I'm glad. I was worried about how I was going to manage to fit the blocks inside the frame if there was a big hole under the frame. (yes, that thought did cross my mind).

Now here comes the cool part. The REAL puzzle. How does one go about making the bits fit into the frame? There are 6 bits that need to fit into 6 frames. Each bit and each frame is a different size and orientation. So here we have 6 puzzles. But wait! There is more than that! It seems that we get two more puzzles tacked on top of the 7 (or 8 depending on how you count) that we already have. There are two different ways to pack the 6 bits into the box that has been provided. So now we have 9-10 puzzles in one. Value for money or what?

It's fun too. I've managed to sort out how to make the boxes-and let me tell you, that was an all teeth moment. I've also sussed out two of the six frame puzzles. I've got four more to go and for me, this isn't one of those puzzles that I will do once and remember. I'm sure there is some mathematical equation I could do to work out the solution but I much prefer the puzzle talking to me so trial and error it is.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sick day puzzling

I've been having one of those holidays. You know the kind-four days off and all of them sick.  This horrid bug was brought home by my bug and by Sunday evening I was ready to kill her.  I had a weekend full of puzzling planned and instead, all I got to do was put together some crystal puzzles.  My poor body and brain would take no more than that.

Some of them are from Hanayama:

Some of them are from Beverly:
but most of them are from China:

 All of them are dead simple to put together.  They each have between 36-42 pieces so it's not even a big jig-saw puzzle we're talking about. Bug lives these things, and as they come out, I get them for her. The Hanayama are fantastic because the pieces are numbered and she just needs to follow them.  The Beverly are great because the paper that comes with the puzzle tells you how to put it together.  The China made ones?  They are a pain in the bum!  That upside-down octopus is so badly made its legs don't lay flat so the base is opened.  Nice thought though.

My only complaint?  I'm missing a couple of dwarfs!  Now I ask you, what is Snow White going to do with only 5 dwarfs???


Friday, September 21, 2012


Well this is very frustrating for me.  I had completely typed up this post then set it to auto publish and then poof!  Off into space it went.  Oh well, it doesn't matter.  I want to talk about this little puzzle and you want to read about it so I'll just start again...
This puzzle was made by Andreas Rover and exchanged at IPP32.  The name of it is Triade.  Now I know that has to be a play on words, but just exactly how it plays I'm not sure.  The tri bit is obvious.  There are three pieces many of which are triangular.  The ade?  I'm not so sure about.  A drink?  As in Kol-ade?  Wrong spelling I know. 

The puzzle as I said is made up of three parts with lots of triangular bits in it.  there are some long bits and a whole bunch of short bits of this shape.  All of which can be stumpers in the puzzling process.  The pieces aren't identical though, and as far as I can tell they aren't mirrored.  This was a bit of a think to take apart, but to be honest that part of the puzzle was really a walk in the park.  When it fell apart in my hands, I knew I was in trouble.  Why?  Because now I have to put it back together again!  Ouch!  

And ouch it was.   This was a real pain of a puzzle.  I have to say I'm glad Andreas put it in a nice strong bag because I had to put it away again to go to a meeting as always and didn't have a chance to pick it up again for a few hours.  Sadly by that time I couldn't remember which way was up.  Now I told you it was a stumper.  

This has been on my desk for 3 days in a state of disassembly and I've made it my new thinking puzzle.  I'm sure it isn't that difficult if I set my mind to it, but I need something to fiddle with when I'm engaged in work and this is pretty good for that. I seem to have two bits in the right position (at least they look like the photo on the left) and I'm just playing with the other trying to get it into place.  Wish me luck all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Game Hunter

Well folks, I bit the bullet and bought a Stickman! Or I should say I was given permission to buy one.  At IPP32 I had the great joy of meeting Mr. Stickman himself.  He's not only a great builder, but a great lad as well.  Any one who met him will attest to his ability to make a person laugh, put down a drink and build one heck of a puzzle!

We started talking I guess the night before IPP and I liked him as a person.  Not just a builder.  But then I guess I like all the Renegades.  They are a fun bunch of boys.  Any way, I saw this one over on the renegade forum and read Brian's blog and  Allard's blog about it and kind of fell in lust.  I have been silly because I didn't know how to get in touch with Stickman and didn't think to leave a message or ask over on the forum (Yes, you can call me daft-I've done so many times)  Well I feel like there was some kind of divine intervention going on over at IPP this August because there he was, in the flesh, and there was not only one elephant, but two in the competition area.  (A puzzle and a spare) So one night over a beer and a cigar we started talking about my wanting to purchase one.  And that lovely man said yes!  So home with me

came my latest edition to my collection.  Now this was a bit of a hoot  really.  See Mr. Stickman told me that each elephant had a name and the name of mine was??? To be given at a later date.  :)  He didn't send the little book along so he didn't know.  Well a lot of back and forth and about 2 weeks later, I finally found out my elephant's name is Jumbo.  (Apparently he's well hung.  They must be tucked up inside, because it sure doesn't look like it from the photo above now does it?)  

In the mean time Robert sent me this nice little note over on Renegade and also tucked it into the envelope with the puzzle book when he mailed it.  (What fantastic service!)  It seems that Jumbo is a secret agent for the CIA...Shh....don't tell anyone.  We don't want him to get in any kind of trouble.

So how does the puzzle solve?  Well I'd be telling a fib if I could answer that.  When I got home from IPP I managed to make a video of each of my puzzles from the exchange, then I had to put together a presentation and run off again so I didn't really have a chance to play.   I've managed a few moves while showing him to reporters over the past few days, but other than that, he's just sitting on my shelf looking pretty.  He'll be in an exhibition starting the end of the month, so I won't get much of a chance to even look at him.  I'm going to attempt to do something with Jumbo in the next day or two...I really want to know where he stores his bits)  If I manage to get past those first few moves I'll let you all know, but in the mean time, don't hold your breath!  You all know me.  Quick to buy, slow to solve.