I took a half day at work and headed down toward Brett's place a bit early because I wanted to stop by Jose Grant Jewelry to look for puzzle wedding rings. I guess I should have written that post first, but I think I'll save that entry for when I get the final ring!
The first puzzle that caught my eye was this interesting geared 2x2x2 design by Bram Cohen and Oskar van Deventer. There are four "big" corners and four "little" corners. The big corners mesh with the adjacent little corners, so if you rotate one, all eight corners will rotate! However, since the big corners have more teeth, the small corners rotate faster.
If you scramble it with these moves, it becomes a challenge to get it back together. Unlike most of these fancy cubes which folks won't let you scramble because they're too hard or time consuming to solve, this one was already mixed up when I found it, so I was able to try solving it!
I was able to get all but two corners done fairly easily, but any time I would fix those two I would end up messing up two more! Eventually, I figured it out, but I'm not sure I could reproduce the feat any quicker the second time. I think if I analyzed this puzzle more, I could probably come up with some algorithms to solve it more easily, but I was having fun just playing with it. The movement was nice and smooth for a 3D printed puzzle! You can purchase it (unassembled) on Shapeways for only $130, which is pretty reasonable.
T3 Popplock by Rainer Popp that Rob had brought for me to try solving. Rainer makes some beautiful puzzle locks that are machined out of brass. So far, I've only had the chance to solve T4 Popplock, which was incredible! Check out my review here.
I was particularly eager to try this lock because a new puzzle blogger named Oli (Oli's Mechanical Puzzle Blog) mentioned that this was his favorite out of the three he has tried so far T2, T3, and T4 (click for his reviews). I really loved T4, so it was hard to imagine that T3 could be even better!
I found this one to be challenging! The first move wasn't too bad, but then I hit a wall. I was able to fiddle with it a bit, but nothing really seemed to be productive. After a short while, I made an observation that I thought would be critical to solving the puzzle, though I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. After setting the puzzle aside and returning to it later, I revisited this observation and discovered the next and final move! It is pretty unusual and unexpected. In all, I think it took me a good 45 minutes to solve this one.
It was good, but I have to say that T4 is still my favorite! I found T4 to be more difficult, but the solution to me was more unexpected and interesting. Both are very cool though! I'm still on the fence about buying any of these, since they're quite expensive. You can purchase T3 and T5 on PuzzleMaster, but T4 is currently sold out.
Tilt, which I helped test a few months ago. It was very neat seeing how it ended up working physically, since I had worked with a software version. Full review to come soon, but the short version is that it is a great puzzle! It is for sale now on Amazon.
Amazingly, Laurie managed to plow all the way through another game Tanya brought, called Pathwords, which I had also helped test. I think this one also turned out very well! I'll be providing a review of this at some point in the future as well.
George Bell created to be printed at Shapeways. You can purchase it from his Shapeways Shop here.
I thought this one would be pretty easy, your typical coordinate motion exploding cube, but this wasn't the case! All six pieces are actually different, which makes the assembly a good deal more challenging.
I worked on it for a good 20 minutes or so before I figured out the correct assembly. When I finally did figure it out, then came the challenge of actually getting the last piece in place! It required some tricky coordinate motion to maneuver it into the correct spot.
Definitely worth checking out for a very reasonable price (about $26). I hope George makes more Coffin designs on Shapeways!