At the end of the last post, I'd finished making all the individual parts that would make up the puzzle, and was ready to start putting things together. The number of individual parts has reduced from the original 54 to just 18, but things are no less daunting at this stage.
The biggest problem remaining was how on earth I was going to glue the ends to the bridge. There are no square ends on this thing that you can put a clamp on, so it makes holding the pieces together a real challenge. Building a gluing jig was probably the right way to go, but even that made for some interesting clamping!
I decided not to try to make a jig that would glue both ends at the same time. I wanted something simple that would support the pieces as I glued them, and in the end, the jig was much simpler than I thought it needed to be. Some of the original scrap pieces I had left served fairly well, and also meant that I could glue both sides at the same time. I'm not an expert woodworker, I don't have a lot of 'spare' or scrap wood lying about (remember I'm only starting out doing this, so no reserve of wood to pick from) so this did the job.
Sticking with the very simple jig above, I could glue one end at a time and create the pieces. Granted if I were doing this in bulk, or attempting to create something I could sell, I'd be thinking about a more efficient scheme. For now, this works, and is all I needed.
One down, 5 to go!
After several hours over the weekend (since I do all this in my spare time, which I don't have a lot of just now!) I had 6 pieces glued up and ready for a test fit. Yes, the time had come to see how much of a mess I'd made of my first ever serious attempt at making a puzzle!
With some hesitancy, I took the plunge and tried to fit the pieces together into the final puzzle ... It's a tight fit, but things were taking shape! I spent a little time with the sandpaper and sanded the pieces down just a hair. Using my digital calipers, the bridge was 1.333", and the edges were around 1.49". So there really wasn't a lot in it, but enough that some work was required. A little bit of sanding on each of the pieces, and I had them down to around 1.32".
And here the story ends unfortunately. When I tried to put all six pieces together, tiny inaccuracies in the fit of the pieces, and minute misalignment between the ends meant that the whole puzzle is just enough off that it's not going to go together and slide the way it is supposed to. Despite the end result, I don't consider this a failure. You may remember back in the first post, I said that this was a learning experience for me. And I've learned a lot through the process. I'm sure I'll come back to this puzzle in the future, and expect version two to be better!
Cube Vinco is a beautifully made puzzle from Vaclav Obsivac. This modest wooden puzzle unlike many other of Vinco's puzzles is not a coordinate motion, but rather a take apart puzzle, and is made just as well as any of the other items he sells. I got this one from Puzzle Master, for around $15, or you can get it from Vinco directly.
This is one of the smaller puzzles from Vinco at only 1 3/4" cubed. The woods used are fairly plain, however the workmanship is excellent. Each of the four pieces fits together very tightly, so that although the seams are easily visible, determining how to take this puzzle apart is not obvious.
One of the nice features of the way this puzzle is created is that most people when they pick it up will hold it such that as they pull on the sides to try to free the pieces, they will actually be holding onto both sides of the same piece, and in fact holding it even more firmly together, making separation impossible. Even when you know how the pieces go together, it takes a few tries to be able to find the correct finger hold to be able to start moving the pieces apart.
The puzzle is made up of four pieces, which are a set of two mirrored pairs. The only way to put the puzzle together is to create these pairs, then in turn join them together to create the finished cube.
Without seeing the pieces being taken apart, this could be a difficult puzzle to put together, even with only four pieces. In fact when taking it apart, due to the very snug fit of the pieces, more often than not, the pieces fly apart in your hands (and across the room) so you're not going to see how the pieces were assembled.
Puzzle Master rates this as a Level 8/10 puzzle - Demanding, however I have to think this is a little high. While it's nicely made, quoting Stewart Coffin, "It is more of an amusement than a puzzle" ( taken from "The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections"). That said, I still think this is a great puzzle to own, and at such a low price how can you resist adding it to your collection!