I just received my latest prototype back from the 3-D print service I use (i.materialise – whom I recommend highly) and I’m very happy with this latest revision (the sixth I think!)
The puzzle has two major pieces, the top and bottom, and the biggest design challenge I’ve had so far has been to keep the two pieces aligned while the puzzle solver is manipulating the puzzle. If the pieces move out of alignment, it can put the puzzle into an unsolvable state or it can keep the puzzle in a partially solved state when it oughtn’t. In a previous puzzle I used Vlier pins to hold everything in place and they worked beautifully. Unfortunately, they’re much too expensive so I’m experimenting with some other approaches. Here’re what the top looks like:
I’ve never used this material before. It’s nylon (polyamide) mixed with aluminum powder and it’s called “alumide”. I like the metallic color but overall the finish isn’t as nice as with the matte white nylon so I’ll probably go back to that. Here’s a picture of the bottom:
If you squint you can see the model number embossed on the right end: “Model #873”. If you really squint, you can make out “www.pyrigan.com” embossed on the left. The low print resolution makes it hard to read the text but this is just a prototype. The final version will likely be made from machined aluminum and engraved with the text on the back and the logo on the front.
The good news is that the puzzle mechanism works very reliably so I will press ahead with plans to manufacture a couple of dozen and see if anyone enjoys these things as much as I do.