Building a Prototype

Well all the work is completed in Burr Tools. I now have a fully working puzzle, and a proven assembly and disassembly. That’s all very well, but the virtual world really doesn’t let you know how a puzzle feels to work with, or to manipulate. So for that I needed to create a prototype.

There are a number of tools out there designed for the job. Livecube is one such tool, and given that all the blocks are perfectly square, it makes the job of creating a burr puzzle very easy. The drawback to Livecube is that it’s not easily available, and if you want to be able to seriously test your design, or be able to hand it to someone that doesn’t know the mechanism, then you need to glue the pieces together. In my mind that makes things a little more expensive that I’d like for a prototype, that I don’t know if I’m going to like.

As it happens, I have a huge Lego collection. So I decided to use that. As anyone who is familiar with Lego will tell you, Lego bricks are not perfect cubes. It you take a 2×2 brick, and put it side on to another 2×2 you’ll see that it’s not as high as it is wide. Fortunately it’s easily fixed as you can think of the brick as being 5 units wide by 3 units high. Each flat plate is 1 unit high, so one brick plus two plates gives you a cube.

With that in mind I started building the pieces using the model I created in Burr Tools as my reference.

About an hour later, I had all the pieces made, and it was time to sit down and solve the puzzle…

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