Ecorider

Showing posts with label take apart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label take apart. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2013

Computer chip

I have a number of different versions of this puzzle. Some made of wood, some made of aluminum, this one made of brass.

I purchased this puzzle from Mr. Puzzle around a week or so ago and I have to say, I'm impressed! I received an email from Mrs. Puzzle telling me the puzzle order was on the way and that she and Mr. Puzzle would see me next August. I love the personal touch. I really shows great people who run a great business.

This one was purchased simply because it caught my eye. Like I said, I have it already and know how it solves so there is no challenge there. But oh my is it pretty!



The puzzle itself is tiny. The baseplate that all the pieces go into is no larger than a US quarter. The rods are around two inches long. A cute little thing!

Another nice feature of this one is that little hook you see on one of the rods. This is there to keep the rods in place. For this puzzle, unlike the wooden versions I have, it's a necessity. Because of the smoothness of the rods they very easily fall out.

Solving wise it's not too much of a challenge. Once I pulled out all of the pieces I gave them a good scramble befor starting reassembly. Even this didn't add to the challenge. See all that really needs to be done is a bit of counting.


All in all though it's a nice little puzzle. I see this morning that Mr. Puzzle is out of stock but wooden versions can be purchased through creative crafthouse.

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!








Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maria

Before I start this blog I want to thank the owner of ARTELUDES and Kevin for helping me get her shipped to Hong Kong.  


Ok, I know that's a bit creepy...so instead I'll say you invest in another Berrocal.  
Much like Michelle, Maria has been unloved.  The previous owner cared so little for her that he lost the locking piece.  Her left leg.  Poor Maria is an amputee.  What a disastrous thing to have happen!  (If anyone out there reading this would like to make me an impression of your locking mechanism, I'd be forever grateful, or if you know of how I can request a replacement piece...)  He also loved it so much he tossed the book that comes with her.  Now I ask you, does a person like that deserve such a thing?

When I pulled her out of the box, the first thing I noticed was that the chrome was pitted in spots.  She is well and truly scratched up and dirty!  She definitely needs a bit of TLC.   

Maria consists of 23 pieces and has a chrome covering.  Her number is 1992/10000.  Not too bad a year really.  I was well and truly in love with my husband by then.  So I think I'll keep her around for a tad bit longer, just as I did him.  

I've been sitting here trying to work out what the first piece is to remove and I finally got it. Her buttocks!  They are so caked with dirt though that I'll need to use a rubber spatula type thing to get it apart.  Looks like a job for a testing day.  No way!  I'm crazy, but not that much so.  Instead, I'll spend the evening disassembling and cleaning her as I did with Michelle. 


Once I got that bit out, I noticed that her 'testicles' are rusted.  Now this is rather peculiar as I didn't think chrome could rust.  But then I'm not well versed on this sort of thing so it is highly possible.    After I removed that first piece, she's an easy one to disassemble.  To be honest, it wasn't disassembly as much as it was falling apart.  There is a back covering that needs to be taken off, and then that's it.  She just fell into 20 some pieces.  

As with Michelle, I brought her into the bathroom and used one of the many soft toothbrushes I collect for just this purpose to get the grit out.   She cleaned up rather nicely, and I was rather pleased with my purchase.  

Reassembly was a bit of a pain, not difficulty, but I needed a bit more dexterity than I had this evening.  But now she's clean and dry and looking lovely on the shelf with Maria and Zoraida.  It's a nice trio I have there. Now to find the last 3!

I leave you with one last shot of my Berrocal pieces to date.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Big Knot puzzle

I was off testing again this past weekend, and when I do that my first stop is a toy store on a street I know that sometimes has puzzles. Saturday was no exception. I found this little wooden gem that Jose later told me was made by Oskar. A more prolific puzzle designer I have never seen. That man has his hand in EVERYTHING!

On testing days I never expect to solve anything, but when I do it's a real hoot. I usually bring along 3-5 puzzles in the hopes of just working out what they do and maybe to decide whether to play with them again later or banish them to live with the dust bunnies.

The big knot (thanks for the name and origin Jose) was one I couldn't pass up when I saw it. First it was expensive. A whopping US$3.62. And second, I don't have it in my collection. What more incentive to purchase than that do I need?

It came unbowed and simply wrapped in some really dusty plastic film. I unwrapped it and found a bit of wriggle room in it and proceeded to pull at pieces under the table while I was supposed to be paying attention to other things. Nothing happened.i figured this would be one of those banished puzzles I would never get around to solving (I hope I still have half a brain when I retire-I've a lot of toys to regress with)

When the break came along, I pulled it back out and discovered the 'key' big mistake! Once that was pulled out there was no going back. It just fell apart in two bits. Slid apart would be a better description. As with other puzzles from Oskar, this one is brilliant. Deceptively difficult looking to begin with, but then super easy to take apart...and you guessed it, a royal pain to put together again.

Yep, this one is sitting on my desk with one loose piece. I really must get back to it and I will, just as soon as I finish the lit review I'm working on. It really does bother me to have this kind of puzzle unsolved. It's just too easy to loose the bits.

If you can find one I would recommend purchasing it. It's good puzzling value.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bits and Pieces-The company.

Wow!  What a company.  I have a real love/hate relationship with them. Over the years I've had good and bad service and I really don't know which way to go.  And yet, like a battered wife, I keep going back for more.  We already know I'm a glutton for punishment because I'm a puzzler, and anyone who is a puzzler is a glutton for punishment.  We keep going back to the same old things time and again.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.  And that folks is my relationship with Bits and Pieces.

I first encountered this company way back in the mid 90's.  They had a booth at the HK toys fair and I went.  At that time, companies were still allowed to give out free samples and many did give out little bits and bobs in the hopes of drawing in customers.  Bits and Pieces was no exception to this and I have a couple of these puzzles within arms reach.  At that time, the quality was pretty good.  Although, the puzzles were small so I guess that may have had something to do with it.  Now, I'm not so sure.  The puzzles are getting larger, and it seems to be hit and miss with them.  Don't get me wrong, some are fantastic designs.  Others are just bad quality.  Wil's puzzles these are not.  But that's no reason to NOT get them.

Looking at the photo below, all are from Bits and Pieces.  Yes, I have many more that aren't shown here.  These are just the ones that were within reach, or from the batch that came in today.  The wooden 5 piece (The hole in one) in the right hand side is nicely done.  I've no complaints.  Hercules, just below it, is also a nice puzzle.  The Kamei gift box is not too shabby although you can see the lines where it opens.  The One way packing puzzle on the bottom center is ok.  It's a bit loose for the pieces that pack in, but with my humidity I almost like that.  Others will not.  The Kamei heart box on the bottom.  Boy that one is not so good.  It looks pretty, but the opening and design of it is just cheap.  You can see every glue line there is.  To open it, you just need to wiggle it a bit.

On to the metal puzzles.  The top left is called Sputnik and it's ok.  It's more of a guessing game than a puzzle, and other than the rather sharp edges, I've nothing to say about this one.  The next two: EZ Unlink and EZ Galaxy are very different. The EZ Unlink is nice.  it doesn't fall apart in your hands and has a nice heft to it.  I'd get this one. The EZ Galaxy I would pass on.  Go for the Puzzlemaster verion called Great Collision.  Moving down there is a 4 leafed clover and ying and yang.  Both hold together fairly well.  Not too problematic.  The torpedo is a different version of a classic and a bit on the light side.  I worry that this one isn't very sturdy.  The Knot Simple puzzle is dead easy.  In fact as a take-apart puzzle, it isn't a puzzle. It's a joke.  When I unboxed it it fell apart in my hands.  This one is a pass.  Secrets of the heart (that's a Sacajawea dollar on it for those of you who were wondering.) Is ok.  No complaints.  It works as it should and has a bit of weight to it.  The key with the ring.  What a joke!  It is so flimsy and sharp that I've never bothered with it.  It has a carry case, and I took a few photos then tossed it in the box. I don't think it will surface anytime soon.  All Hail the King (Marcel, you don't think highly of yourself do you?) I have two of.  One is boxed, the other is open.  Both are B&P versions.  Go figure.  And finally, Fit to a T.  The puzzle that started my long running affair with B&P.  A nice little puzzle that is just a tiny bit loose in the box. But hey, I'm not complaining, it was free!



And now for the reason I started this post.  Last July I ordered a bunch of puzzles from B&P.  They sent them to the wrong address even though I changed the one on record.  Nothing came in and around September I called to find out what was going on.  I mean they were only sending it to Florida.  When I found out I was more than a little bit upset. Mostly because they no longer had stock of the puzzles I wanted.  The company issued me a credit certificate in November and washed their hands of me.  around 4 months isn't too slow.  Or is it?

It turns out you can only use these if you call in the order. OK, I'm in HK.  The company is in the US.  Toll Free numbers are charged at international rates.  Long and repetitive story short, over the past year I've ordered twice from B&P both over th phone and neither time did the operator let me use that certificate even though I tried.  Well tonight I finally got an operator who was new and I got to use my refund certificate!  Finally. Only 11 months after it was issued!  Nice deal that is.  They have you don't they?  No money back and over a year to get your refund!  WOW!  Ok, so I got a bunch more puzzles that I hope will arrive before Christmas.  Oh, and for my trouble of spending 1/2 hour on the phone, they knocked $5 off the shipping.  Big whoop! 

See, hit and miss.  Love/hate.  B&P and Rox.  I suffer through and will continue to buy from them as the years go by I'm sure.  But I do so willingly and know exactly what I've gotten myself into.  Go check them out, but remember I warned you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tea Time

Today's puzzle sadly is again, not mine.  I had the opportunity to play with this one at IPP31 in Berlin and again last Sunday when I had a late lunch with Otis. 

It is a twist on a classic string disentanglement.  I won't give away the solution for it, but realized when looking at it again it's not as difficult as I thought I remembered it being.  Or maybe I was just overwhelmed with puzzle play at IPP that I never realized at the time.  Doesn't matter. It's a lovely looking puzzle simply because of the materials used.  That wooden cup is mighty thin and I'm sure it would never be used to drink tea from.  

The object of the puzzle is to remove the sugar cube as well as the spoon that are looped through the handle of the cup.  This puzzle can be purchased through contacting the designer, Victor Lam, via email. Information for him can be found on the 2011 Puzzle Design Competition page.   Even though I know the solution, I've just ordered one because it's kind of pretty!


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.