Showing posts with label shapeways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shapeways. 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!

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.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A screw! A screw! My collection for a screw!

I'm often baffled by puzzles. Solving all too many is often beyond me. But I have never ever had problems building them~or should I say putting them together~twisty I mean. Until this past week.

For want of a screw the tool was lost.

I made the most horrible mistake. I ordered from Shapeways. Oh fool am I.

For want of a tool the puzzle was lost.

Two puzzles caught my eye over the past six months or so and I decided to go for it. I mean it's only a screw, a man tool, and a bit of patience. I can do that right?

For want of a puzzle the brain was lost.

For shame on you and your thoughts Rox. Nothing is as easy as that. I did the obvious. I went through all the drawers and jars and boxes and tins in the house looking for the screw I needed. But it was all to no avail. Not a screw to be found. What to do?

For want of a brain the thought was lost.

All is not lost. Go to a hardware store. There are plenty around. It should be easy to find the screws you need. You silly girl!

For want of a thought the girl was lost.

With a goal in mind and determination I set off for a district renowned for man tools and things. I entered shop upon shop in search of my screw. But not a man around was willing to give me one. I begged. I pleaded. I offered to pay double the going rate. Nothing. Not a taker in town. What is wrong with me I ask you? Am I that horrid that no man will give me what I want. Nay, by this time it's no longer a desire, its a burning need. One that will soon be beyond control. I simply must have a screw!

For want of a girl the collection was lost.

In my desperation I momentarily thought of begging Mr. Man for a screw, but then sanity returned and I saw the folly in that thought. A fellow blogger offered to send me one all the way from the UK but even in my moment of desperation I saw the foolishness of that. No, I needed to think of something else. And what's the best way to think? Why by puzzling of course. And that's just what I did. I read my three favorite forums (no inspiration but a good laugh or two). I picked up 'lean two' yet again (didn't solve it~didn't solve my screwy problem). I picked up a Jing's pyraminx. And as i twisted and turned and took out my frustrations on that poor piece of plastic, inspiration struck! My sanity could be saved. My money would not be wasted! I had found the solution! Go rape a cube. (or would that be plunder? Technically I'm not screwing it, I'm unscrewing it. ;) ).

And all for the want of a M3 screw.

I've learned a lesson this week. What you seek is often right in front of you. And....all of life can be reduced to a nursery rhyme (with a bit of adapting).

*now if someone can tell me where to find dye~and I don't mean the stuff in my bathroom cupboard.

**and then teach me how to put this damned thing together because for the life of me I can't work it out. It would be a real shame to leave this one in pieces now that I have gotten my screw.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


You see that pile of rings down below. They all come from the slightly puzzled minds of Bram Cohen and Oskar van Deventer. Seven they have made so far and I'm sure that's not the end of them.

I got my first one in 2009 and haven't looked back. In 2010 I bought a few more and then this year I went to Oskar with rings on fingers hoping he would be able to tell me which one I was missing. Sure enough-he said the dark blue and the pink! Nice way of remembering which is which. Color coding. I love it. I'm a big time color coder myself!

The rings in order of the photograph but not the order of design are:
Top row: Take five, Cross Rings, Six to Three, Weave Six
Middle row: Weave Five, Holistic Ring
Bottom row: Sixth Sense

The green ring I bought for bug in 2009. Green was her favorite color then so I thought it might get her interested in puzzles. I should have known better. She was only interested in taking it apart to see if mom could put it together again. I'll tell you, it was a real pain to do. All of these so far have been a real pain. They aren't your usual for or six band rings that's for sure. If you want a bit of a challenge, then you won't go wrong with these rings.

The red one I got last year and it is relatively easy (compared to the green and the yellow.) This one is a bit loose so I had no choice but to solve it. When I snipped the connector band it just fell into a mucked up state.

Not all of these rings have been taken apart yet but eventually they will be. As you can see, the one I'm working on now is that big yellow one. Not by choice though. When I took them out the other day to make a YouTube video I accidentally bumped it and it fell off my desk! So now I've a bit of work to do before I can wear it again. and let me tell you, this one is a royal pain! I worked it for just over three hours yesterday and managed to get two of the bands lined up. Ugh! You'll note the thread on them...I don't want any more accidents that will take me hours to fix. I'd rather take them apart on my own terms.

The white ring was Bram's exchange puzzle this year. But for anyone who is interested in purchasing it, this one like all the rest are available on Oskar's Shapeways page.

All in all I'd say if you're up for a challenge these are the way to go.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Oskar? Treasure Chests

Yeah, why not. I have been holding on to this puzzle (secret) for quite some time now. A few lucky fellows got to see it at IPP in August. Oskar for one. I know there is a story on his Shapeways page about this one. Any way, it's a nice little puzzle. A bit of a lark though as far as solving and such is concerned. It's a standard 'Rubik's cube', but with a twist.

You see those little teeth looking things in there? They are locks. The little locks have to be lined up just right, or the puzzle will not open. See this puzzle doesn't have a core, it's got a big gaping hole in the middle of it, but don't let that fool you. It's a good puzzle. A great Design by Oskar, a good product by Meffert's. You simply can't go wrong with that combination. (And don't even think of asking me for the 'simple' solution)

What? You thought you would get the one with the standard Meffert's colors on it? No such luck. For this one they have gone with bubbled up stickers. Yes, they are special. It's a material called "oxygen" But I don't think it is good to breath in. I've seen the factory workers using masks around it. (yes, you can boo) The stickiness seems to be pretty good. I have a pyraminx on my shelf using it, and it is a far cry different from those puffy-stickered-made-in-China cubes that we have all tossed in the bin. There's a goofy story at the end of my 30th anniversary pyraminx video about the stickiness.

So I know that you are all wondering what's up with that USB thing there and I'll tell you. It's a surprise! :-) Uwe has put a bit of puzzle information on that little USB that I think you all will find entertaining, if not enjoyable. And no complaints about duplication...some people just don't have all the time in the world. To quote Jerry Loo: (PS - there are other equally or more important things in my life apart from puzzling!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HO HO HO! 'Tis the season....

Well yesterday was a bust. Eierlikoer and Jagermeister at Schnurrbart and I am done for. But hey it's Christmas time and you know what that means?

Presents! Lots and lots of Presents! And darned it all if they aren't all in Florida right now. Seriously. All those puzzles I ordered are waiting very nicely to be sent out in the new year. What a bust. Which brings me to Bits and Pieces. Right now I am so mad at them I could spit! I placed an order in early October with my correct address on it and what did they do? Send it to the wrong address. So now what? Well, they resent it and left off 4 puzzles that I really wanted with a 'sorry for the inconvenience caused' line of rubbish! Now I'm stuck with a $40+ surplus in their shop. So that means I must go buy something to use up that money. Problem is, the last batch that I got from them, just before this disastrous order-was terrible. Really poor quality stuff. Broken puzzles, misaligned puzzles, just plain cheap puzzles. Oh well, live and learn.

So what is on for today? Hmmm. How about an Oskar?

This one is pretty cool. I picked it up from him at IPP30. And did you check out that nifty signature of his. I think it was pretty lazy of him to leave off the "O" though.

For me it is fantastic. It has two of my favorite puzzles combined in one. Slide and Rubik's type. So the object of this puzzle is pretty self explanatory. Muck it up, and solve it. But the mucking is the fun part. It can be simply messed up like a 2x2x2, or it can have those bits slid around which adds to the difficulty.

This one was sent off to some far away country to a puzzle manufacturer not near me, and sadly turned down. But the good news is-the gear cubes were picked up! So if you want one of these lovely toys, you'll need to go over to Oskar's shapeways shop and pick one up.

As for me? I'm off for one of those office Christmas lunches....See you when I come up for Orange Juice and aspirin in about a week. :-)