Unfortunately, I didn't (and don't currently) live within easy access of any power tools, so my ability to build new puzzles was somewhat limited. I was searching the internet for fabrication labs, places where you can pay a fee to use various tools that could be used for prototyping, and discovered a place called the South End Technology Center at Tent City. This is a non-profit collaborative venture between the Tent City Corporation and MIT whose purpose is to provide free or low-cost access and training in most aspects of computer-related technology.
This might not sound particularly exciting, but in addition to classes on a number of aspects of technology such as word processing and web design, they also have two laser cutters and two CNC routers for open use! All you have to do is show up during Open Access Fab Lab time (Thursdays 5:30-8:30pm or Saturdays 1:00-4:00pm), and they have volunteers there who can get you started. Pretty cool, eh?
Well the first thing I thought was that it would be really cool to try to build one of Bruce Viney's puzzle box designs using a laser cutter, since his designs consist mostly of cutting plywood at 90-degree angles. This would make it fairly easy to create in a computer so a laser cutter could cut it out.
The lab uses a program called Inkscape, which is a vector art program, to create the files that are sent to the laser cutter. Before I went to the lab, I created an Inkscape file that would cut out all the parts for Modified Matchbox, so when I arrived I just had to pop in a piece of wood and set it to print. The whole process was quite easy, and a few minutes later I had all the parts cut out. Now I just had to glue them together!
Tomorrow I'll write about two more interesting Hanayama cast puzzles.
2 days ago