A Double Review by Burgo and Konrad
Some time ago we, Burgo and Konrad, spoke about a project where each of us would buy, assemble and sticker a Shapeways puzzle and we would exchange it afterwards.
Burgo wanted an "Unbandaged Helicopter Skewb
" by Tom van der Zanden (TomZ) and I wanted a "Face Turning Rhombic Dodecahedron
" by David Pitcher. So, Burgo built the FTRD for me and I built the Helicopter Skewb for Burgo.
In the following we will make a review for both puzzles.
Let's start with the Face Turning Rhombic Dodecahedron
It was introduced first as "Rua" by Matt Shepit in 2008.
You can find it in the TP Museum here
David Pitcher wrote about his FTRD here
David Pitcher wrote:
This puzzle (which I had always referred to as "Rhombido") was originally designed and prototyped in 2003, but it was not published until last year. Since the creator of the Rua published first, I was trying to respect that fact by using what I think of as the generic "FTRD" (face turning rhombic dodecahedron) rather than giving it an entirely new name. Perhaps I was over-thinking things.
You can buy the puzzle in David's Shapeways shop, following the link
Burgo: What struck me first was the really interesting core in the Rhombic Dodecahedron shape, I guess I’m just used to seeing either spider or ball cores. There are also a couple of non-visible parts on Dave’s FTRD that become visible on the Toru and Eitan’s FTRD.2. Stickering and Lubrication
Burgo: Because I was building about 8 other puzzles at the time I opted to buy the stickers.
For Lubrication on SW puzzles I’ve been using the quite thick `30,000cst silicone RC diff fluid` IMO it works really well (I think it was about $5-10 for 60ml). I spray first until everything is thoroughly soaked with Food Grade silicone lube (that cost about $15), and after that’s all thoroughly absorbed I assemble with the diff fluid.3. Look
Konrad: The Rhombic Dodecahedron is an interesting shape and besides a 3x3x3 shape modification this is my second puzzle in this shape. I really like the puzzle and how it is cut.
The colours of the stickers are nice, too, but...
Olivér tried to stay as close as possible to the original stickers made by David.
The puzzle looks really nice, but the two dark blues and dark greens are very close to each other.
While the stickers look very nice, you need good lighting to distinguish these colours.
I habe bought another set from Olivér with his standard octahedron colours.
I'm hesitating, though, to use the other colours, because the current look is nice.
Burgo: With the stickers that Oliver Supplied the 2 dark greens were fairly close, the dark blues were OK for me because one was warm and one was cool, but unfortunately Konrad struggled with them. Konrad’s pictures make them appear more distinct than they are.
I wish Dave would sell sticker sets for his puzzles, his colour choices are always exceptional and his puzzles are always presented so beautifully.4. Turning
Konrad: Burgo told me that he used a dremel to sand it a bit and afterwards his special silicone.
The result is great!!
Burgo: I dye first then sand, it gives me a good gauge for if I’m sanding too much off in any places, it also helps me see when it’s smooth. I use 511E Coarse (180) sometimes, and mostly medium (280). I dye for a second time. And then 423E cloth polishing wheel- without polish, just on the external surfaces after the puzzle is assembled, and prior to stickering.5. Jumbling
Burgo: Jumbling is, as usual, visually impressive (to me anyway), but Dave’s FTRD is not one of the more difficult to unjumble and jumbling presents no further effects on the solve.6. Solving it
Konrad: Burgo had solved it and recommended that I should scramble it, before I looked for any move sequences.
I followed his advice and this made the solution not trivial for me.
There is no computer simulation (at least none known to me). The puzzle allows 180° turns only and we have to solve 3 piece types only. Still, it requires some work to find the strategy and the necessary sequences. For somebody with an outstanding visual memory like Burgo solving the FTRD is certainly easy enough, but for me it was a challenge, starting with a completely scrambled puzzle.
I shall give the same advice as Burgo: Scramble it first and solve it from there. That is quite a good challenge.
When we exchanged our methods, we found that we had both used the same notation:
We found partially the same sequences, in some cases Burgo had non commutators shorter than my commutators.
Burgo: A nice fun solve with an interesting `type of parity` situation. The first time I solved it I used a single sequence for the final pieces, but after solving it I developed a few more sequences on the solved puzzle and this made setups easier on subsequent solves. I found solving with a few end-game sequences quite a bit easier.Unbandaged Helicopter Skewb
by Tom van der Zanden
Konrad: I had got a Helicopter Skewb assembled and stickered by TomZ back in October 2010.
Tom posted about it here
in August 2010.
Tom made an Unbandaged version for Katja last summer and posted about it here
Burgo: I’ve wanted Tom’s Unbandaged Helicopter Skewb for a long time now, initially I think Brandon recommended it to me for it’s jumbling. And it was at the top of my SW list at the time, and Konrad quickly snapped it up as his puzzle of choice in our exchange. I am really glad to own it and it is a great puzzle and a monster.1. Assembly
Konrad: Shapeways had lost two pieces before shipping. I checked it at arrival and they produced the missing pieces with Tom's help. (Funny thing: I one email they wrote they would do search my two pieces in the factory. I imagined a team strolling through the premises and looking hard for those tiny beasts.
I had ordered it in WSF and when I dyed the pieces, I over-cooked the kettle and created a bit of a mess in the kitchen. I have now an agreement with my wife, that I'll never buy WSF again
My black was very deep and nice, though
Here it is assembled in white:
Assembly of the core and the internal edges is straight forward. The outer pieces plug in without a problem, and disassembly is easy. I lubricated just the internal parts, assembled the puzzle and broke it in. I turned it a lot, disassembled, dyed and cleansed the pieces again.
If you ever get lost in a normal solve (i.e. without jumbling) you can easily re-assemble the puzzle. Solving it with doctrinaire turns is not really hard, though.
I used M3 screws (actually I learned that I should say bolts
) plus springs and washers.
The difference between the Unbandaged and the former normal Helicopter Skewb is marginal.
Just one piece type is split into two halves.
So, all in all assembly can be called easy.2. Stickering and Lubrication
Konrad: I used Cubesmith tiles for the normal Helicopter Cube and I liked the result.
I think that tiles are very nice on Shapeways puzzles, because they hide the grainy structure of the surface completely.
OK, if you can tumble a puzzle you will have a smooth surface and stickers look nice, too. My tumbling was done by hand: turning, disassembly, lubricating and repeating this procedure. I guess I did this six times and turned it at least 10,000 times, watching three movies.
Burgo: I was very impressed with the Cubesmith tiles on the SW product and Konrad’s breaking in was incredible, he must have done a mighty amount of twisting because the internals were as smooth as my sanding usually is!3. Look
Here are all six faces of the Unbandaged HS:
Here you can see that the Unbandaged and the normal HS have identical size:
Both look nice, but I think the tiles (to your right) are better!4. Turning
Konrad: The Unbandaged HS is a very complex puzzle and the alignment of the hidden internal edges is not easy.
I think that all the breaking in and plenty of lubrication made the turning quite acceptable
In comparison, Luke's Curvy Copter Skewb is easier to handle. I guess this is due to the edges, which are external and easy to align on the CCS.
Burgo: Turning is difficult, as to be expected with such an amount of unbandaging. I’ve popped it as well.. a few pieces came out but when I reinserted them I didn’t notice some internal pieces were misaligned and then it became catastrophic pretty quickly. Because of the mixture of deep and shallow cuts, and slight catchiness, it’s pretty easy to lose your way while solving and really mess up.5. Jumbling
Konrad: To unjumble the UHS is difficult, even more difficult than the earlier ordinary HS.
I tried it once and ended up with a complete mess:
I had to disassemble the messed up bulk of plastic, including the core.
I'm in the same boat as bhearn (Bob) who wrote here
I think I know how to approach this puzzle now: I need all the exterior pieces to be transparent, so I can see the alignment of the interior pieces.
I'm convinced, Luke's CCS is much easier to unjumble
Brandon (bmenrigh) wrote once that it is not so hard to unjumble, but he seems to be the jumbling guru.
I recently traveled with TomZ's Unbandaged Helicopter Skewb and it turned out to be a great choice. Most of the solve is resolving jumbling so every solve is different from the others. I don't think the same is true of most doctrinaire puzzles.
Burgo: I will readily admit that I haven’t tried to unjumble it yet, I am a bit intimidated by it.. but more, I just haven’t got around to it yet, I suspect it will take a lot of dedication so I keep putting it off till I have a rainy day.6. Solving it
Solving the puzzle after doctrinaire scrambling is not so hard, if you are familiar with the Helicopter and the Skewb.
In this thread
you'll find the essential hints, if you need any.
Konrad: BTW, the mail services of Germany and Australia worked flawless and both puzzles arrived safely at their new home.
Burgo: I want to thank Konrad for the great pictures and his effort in putting this post together. I actually forgot to take photos of Dave’s FTRD before I sent it away, so I’m glad he was able to take all the photos. Also I had only scratched down some notes on my solving quite quickly and he was able to try my sequences for me and check them. The small project was a great success!
What Konrad has neglected to share is that I included a small surprise puzzle (that he called a `poisoned gift` because I cheekily sent it scrambled). He even suggested that he might like to disassemble it to put it back in it’s solved state, even though it has very few pieces and a solution is available! Can anyone guess what it is??
[Moderator: Please stay on topic; this is about Shapeways puzzles]
As you can guess, the above is a joke
Konrad: Burgo and I decided, that he
would post this and I can edit it as well, because I have this benefit as a moderator.
Everything I'm writing here is from member
Regarding the gift, this is what I wrote in a PM:
Thanks for it, but if you allow me the German / English wordplay it is a "vergiftet" gift (vergiftet = poisoned)
Actually, I disassembled and reassembled the mentioned puzzle. It is a mod done by Burgo himself. So, I'll value it highly as a gift from my Australian puzzle friend.
I think, even for Burgo this thing was hard to solve.
Burgo some time ago wrote:
This morning I sat down and made a solve. Let me say that `like other hidden internal bandaging` it is excruciating and I probably will never attempt it again.
You see, why I said "vergifted"?
I propose the title of honour for Burgo "Master Tamer of the Bandaged Lions"
I wanted to have a look first, how he has made this. Externally just one piece type, internally a few more.
I'll not say more, if people want to guess.