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 Post subject: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:18 am 
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Since Oskar thought of this as a very good idea (as evident in the hints thread), he encouraged me to search for a manufacturer to produce it. Since manufacturers often like to flood the market at once to give Chinese producers no chance, they prefer secrecy so I held off posting this. I actually went so far as to get proof of my copyright for this.
Now that somebody else publicized a likewise idea and since my search for a manufacturer doesn't seem to have paid off, here it is: The Constrained Cube.
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Constrained Cube_solved.jpg
Constrained Cube_solved.jpg [ 64.3 KiB | Viewed 5301 times ]

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Constrained Cube_scrambled.jpg
Constrained Cube_scrambled.jpg [ 72.73 KiB | Viewed 5301 times ]


The Constrained Cube is a variation on the Rubik's Cube where the rotation of faces can be limited to 90 or 180 degrees. Faces can also be allowed to rotate to their full extent of 360 degrees or be limited to 0 degrees and not rotate at all. By combining the modular pieces shown below, many different puzzles can be made, each with a varying difficulty compared to the original Rubik's Cube.
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Constrained Cube_blocking parts.jpg
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This is an example of a puzzle where one face is allowed to rotate to it's full extent, one face is blocked and one face is allowed to rotate within 90 degrees:
Attachment:
Constrained Cube_variant.jpg
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I think that the variant shown in the first two pictures is the nicest. It uses 6 180 degree parts. From the solved state, each face can rotate by -90 to +90 degrees, with the cogwheels arranged symmetrically around opposite corners.

But of course, one of the nicest things about this design is that it is so modular. With very few pieces, many puzzles can be made.
I think solving the asymmetric variants will be nearly impossible, whereas the symmetry in this variant makes it quite manageable to solve. My friend did end up in a state 90 degrees from solved though. That wasn't nice.
The mechanism is very simple and partially visible from the outside, which I think is a very nice feature of this design since it allows you to see the state of the puzzle from the outside.
The design uses standard Rubik's Cube pieces and a few custom ones (core, center axis, center cap, center) which makes it relatively cheap to produce (both by 3D printing or by actual injection molding). I might make a batch of this puzzle by printing but I still hope to find a manufacturer.

©Tom van der Zanden 2010

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Last edited by TomZ on Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:22 am 
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That looks very cool, Tom! You can guarentee you've got one cutomer! It looks very interesting. If you can't find a manufacturer, would you put it on Shapeways?

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:36 am 
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Looks interesting!

How do you change from one configuration to another, do you need to unscrew the centre pieces: that would evenually wear out the core I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:37 am 
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Sorry, but looking at the variety of different center caps, isn't the first and second one the same in how the pieces can turn?

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:41 am 
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SEBUVER wrote:
Sorry, but looking at the variety of different center caps, isn't the first and second one the same in how the pieces can turn?


I think the first one is a normal center piece and just there for comparison.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:56 am 
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This is an interesting design,and look forward to seeing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:59 am 
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Actually, the first two are very slightly different. The first one allows full rotation, the second one constrains rotation to 270 degrees. Of course that is trivial - it's just a joke towards our speedcubers.

Yes, currently it requires screwing and unscrewing. I'm not sure about wear on the core, I'm more concerned with the amount of time it takes. A solution to this would be to make the cap the modular piece and have the outside piece stationary.

I am still considering my options (including Shapeways) for production.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:08 am 
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LOL nice one Tom. You have materialised many of Andreas Nortmann's dream puzzles with a single design!!!

:D


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:20 am 
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Wow, can't believe I'm seeing this. I'm really not surprised someone else also came up with the same idea, with all the talented builders and designers on this forum. This version seems aLOT better than my theoretical design! with the actual puzzle in hand, have you ever tried solving/scrambling it? Also, how much would the centers be to print on Shapeways?

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:19 am 
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kastellorizo wrote:
You have materialised many of Andreas Nortmann's dream puzzles with a single design!!!

One good point in this thread: the secret (which I had know of before) is out of the box.
TomZ you know you have a customer here too.

Someday I will calculate the number of different possibilities to contrain a 3x3x3 like this...


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:14 am 
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TomZ wrote:
Actually, the first two are very slightly different. The first one allows full rotation, the second one constrains rotation to 270 degrees. Of course that is trivial - it's just a joke towards our speedcubers.

Yes, currently it requires screwing and unscrewing. I'm not sure about wear on the core, I'm more concerned with the amount of time it takes. A solution to this would be to make the cap the modular piece and have the outside piece stationary.
lol @ joke towards speedcubers

This puzzle certainly has lots of bandaging options and reminds me of this bandagable cube.

You're right that switching parts would be . It seems like having a full set of modular caps (30 pieces) would be a bit of a head ache too, especially if you lost a few.

Is there any way you could build tiny switches/latches into the center? Here's a quick sketch of what I'm thinking. These pieces would be very small so their structural strength would be a problem I imagine.


Attachments:
switches2.png
switches2.png [ 20.79 KiB | Viewed 4792 times ]
switches1.png
switches1.png [ 10.13 KiB | Viewed 4792 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Constrained Cube
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:40 am 
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Really fun puzzle, Tom!

GuiltyBystander, I like the idea, but you are right. It needs stronger pieces. First, if the square portions of the sliding switches is longer, then they will still be supported by the walls when they are extended. That will make them harder to break when someone tries to turn past them.

Also, since those pieces are really small, could you get them printed in Stainless Steel?

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