Thursday, 26 May 2016

Spinning top

Yes, sorry, this is not about puzzles, but well I know many puzzle collectors love spinning tops, so this is for you Reader :-)

Sometimes there are interesting projects on kickstarter (like the Orb puzzle I reviewed some time ago -do not hesitate to buy one if you like it!) and I saw a nice project about some spinning tops. It had a lot of success, no wonder why.

What's interesting with these spinning tops is that (depite their very good quality and nice design) they are available is several metals. So if you're a serious collector, then you will be delightful! What you can do when you have several is to test which kind of spinning tops spin faster and longer regarding the material used, and which ones are easier to spin.

My assumption (because I have only one and thus I cannot verify) is: heavier tops are more stable and should spin longer. If any of you have tried, please correct me if I am wrong!

I really like the smoothness of the top: they are pleasant to handle and play with. They are not too big and can easily fit in your pocket to carry with you. The guys provide you with even a small bag to protect the top when you take it with you.

If you are wondering: yes, the tops is spinning on the box! It was not a piece of cake doing so and taking the picture because I did not manage to make the top spin time was counted to make a picture :-)

You can buy the spinning tops HERE.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Time to fold, again!

Some new models folded with sheets of colorful papers. No glue, no scotch tape, nothing else than paper is used!

Of course, if any interest in purchasing any model, drop me a message :)



Imprisoned geometrical shapes

Image below: the strange shape on the top of the picture is actually like a windmil. Put both hands on opposite vertices and blow on the solid and it will rotate!

At the bottom, some thingy things made out of subway tickets. The cube is composed of 3 tickets!

Below: the folding on the left is very sturdy, the one on the right is pretty big.

An interesting construction

Note that I needed to rotate some pictures (like below) to be able to put 2 pictures side by side. Of course, the cube on the right does not hold like that and holds like a normal cube, so you cannot tip it up like below.

Below, on the left: a nice flower-like model. I put it on a window to be able to see the layers of the model, which makes it even more beautiful. On the right, a very sturdy geometrical shape.

Next week-end it's you mother's Day. They all like roses....I folded a rose shape (on a previous post), just saying... ;-)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Matchless puzzle

This nice little puzzle was designed by Ken Steven, crafted by Buttonius and exchanged during IPP in 2015 by Peter Hajek.

It's composed of acrylic and 2 matches that need to be freed. The green match is painful for your eyes on the red background, is it done on purpose? :)

The design is nice and the acrylic does not look cheap (whereas it's not known to be an expensive material, though) and the screws reinforce the feeling that you have a real puzzle in front of you, in case you doubted about that!

Your first feeling is it's a dexterity puzzles, but actually it's not!
And I immediately knew what not to do (using dexterity) because that's not the way the puzzle in intended to be solved, and I knew already the principle of this puzzle.

So you have 3 ways to solve the puzzle:
  1. Dexterity: good luck!
  2. The official method: it works, but can be a bit dangerous. Not advised for children
  3. My method: same "spirit" as the official method, but less dangerous and of course it also works

In any case you can start using dexterity and when you're bored with that, then you can start thinking a more clever way to solve it.

I feel it's a good exchange puzzle, but best is not to make too many people trying it...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Time to fold

Many puzzle collectors have another hobby (than collecting puzzles): some collect other things, some like buying spinning tops, some also like crafting puzzles (and not only collecting them!).

About me: it's more origami, you know the Japanese art of folding paper, usually without using glue, scotch tape. So only sheets of paper that hold each other thanks to locking mechanisms.

Regarding origami you can find many kind of origami: animals foldings, tessellations...I am more into geometrical origami, and more precisely modular geometrical origami. The word "modular" means that you fold many times the same module that you assemble after to each other. A bit boring to fold the same module dozens and dozens of times (especially if this module requires a lot of steps to finish!).

Yes it's difficult!
First you need to understand the folding steps (and the diagrams that are not always clear enough...). Then you need to be super precise, because if you repeat the imprecision many times then the final object may be a bit less solid. But in any way, we are not machines, and thus the imprecision is not avoidable, the goal is to try to minimize it as much as possible.
Another difficulty comes from the choice of paper: a too thin paper is not suitable because the locking mechanism may not work properly, but a too thick paper will be impossible to fold if you need to make a lot of folds....
The last difficulty is to assemble the modules: you need to assemble them in a specific way, and to try (by using paper clips of other "devices" for example) to maintain the already assembled modules while assembling others...Not so easy...Plus the last piece is usually very hard to assemble because of the forces created by the already assembled pieces.

I put below some of my origami. Hope you will appreciated the shapes and the colors used.
I may sell some, drop me an email is you're interested!

The price will depend, of course, on the difficulty of the origami, on the time spent on it, on the choice of paper ("premium papers" are expensive!). But in any case the price will definitely be undercharged simply regarding the time spent (multiplying a chosen rate per hour by the hours spent on a model would definitely result in a very expensive price! origami does not take 1 minute to fold sorry to disappoint you ;-) ).

Some geometrical structures
Who can name them? ;-)
The one on the right is a bit loose (but still cannot fall apart) because more modules are used to make a hole.

With only one sheet of paper

With subway tickets (nothing is used to make the tickets hold!!)
Around 300-350 are used for each.

Transforming things

Other geometrical shapes and miscellaneous

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Cast amour

A puzzle that was designed by Akio Yamamoto and made by Hanayam some time ago, but it's still in stock and is still very fun to play with. Only composed of 3 pieces: an heart shape and 2 pieces which represent the masculine and feminine signs, this puzzle is ranked as 5/6, which means that it's not a piece of cake!

About the design: I like it a lot, it's very original and the quality of it is very good. You cannot be disappointed with that!

The first time I solved it my pocket. Yes it solved by itself :-) but solving it is not so difficult. Reassembling it is much more a challenge. You will have to make many rotations using the holes and constraints in a smart way. No force is needed of course (you may be tempted sometimes) but you have to be very precise.

Have you tried to change reassemble the puzzle so that the masculine and feminine signs have a different position? If I remember well, I managed to do so. In a way (unless I am wrong) then you will have 2 challenges to reassemble it.

Not sure this is the perfect gift for February 14th, best is to keep it for yourself in your collection :-)

Thursday, 5 May 2016


I like packing puzzles, especially when they have something more than a regular packing puzzle with the same boring shapes and same boring moves!

Well if you feel the same as me, then you should have a try at puzzles designed by Laszlo Molnar and made by Brian Menold.

What's special with Laszlo's puzzles? The shapes of pieces are not common, the solving process includes rotations and you have constraints (the shape of the cage).

The puzzle is composed of 6 pieces and the cage as you can see above. Without the cage we would not have a puzzles of course!

There are 3 ways to make a cube with the given pieces. It does not mean that it will be an easy task, though!
Indeed, with a cube you have 6 sides, and moreover you mave many ways to decide the order you put the pieces to make the cube...and you have to see which pieces can rotate as well. So be ready for puzzling hours!!

As mentioned, this puzzle includes rotation(s) so burr tool won't help you solving it, but burr tool can actually give you the 3 different ways to make a cube, useful but not enough.

After many hours of playing with it, and I must admit with a bit of luck, I managed to solve it, and the sequence of moves are definitely elegant. This puzzle can only be created by a devilish mind, but it's not the most difficult from Laszlo. On a scale of 10 (1 being "common that's childly easy", 10 being "Oh my God, I will solve it in 50 years"), the designer ranks it as 4/10. In my mind I would better say 7/10!

Laszlo's puzzles are, as far as I know, only made by Brian Menold, and from what I also saw these designs have a lot of success (proof is that Brian made other batches of them!).

If you want to enjoy these puzzles be quick and ready when Brian releases new batches of puzzles. They are sold out fast. Easy to understand why ;-)