Thank you for the great help everybody. As you all know, a few problems have come up with this design, some of them anticipated by myself.
I knew from the start that it would be hard to extend the circle pieces. But I think that a full shapeways print, while expensive, would probably be the best option.
Another problem that has been pointed out is the tendancy for popping in this mechanism. I agree with that, as I have never actually held a WSF puzzle and thereofre have no idea just how F it is
. From the pictures this thinness of the pieces and tendency to pop seems obvious, but for some reason just by designing the puzzle naturally it felt as if these cuts ARE sharp enough. As stated before, I believe that both sides of the mechanism will, to a degree, help keep each other in place. However, when the puzzle shape-shifts this problem will definitely arise, but I feel if kept mostly non-shapeshifting this puzzle will be more stable. So a redesign is needed.Because I definitely have enough time, I will redesign the mechanism and put the hooks at 90 degrees as Tom suggested. This would add a lot of stability without any added difficulty.
One final idea that I had today that would help solve a lot of problems is to make only
the middle 3 layers proportional. The puzzle would retain ALL functionality (unlike a cubic 3x3x7 for example) and it would help:
-Keep length of pieces down to eliminate the "lever effect" that tom mentioned, and therefore reduce popping.
-Lower cost significantly
-Allow for the same degree of shapeshifting while reducing the tendency to pop while shapeshifting
-Keep bulky and unreasonable size down
I sketched it out so you can see my idea. Again, the only think I lose my doing this is the ability to call it "fully functional AND proportional" This new design is still fully functional and shapeshifting, but not proportional.
FF and P vs. just FF jpeg.JPG [ 56.33 KiB | Viewed 1040 times ]
So taking all of this into account, I have some work to do. I expect to finish the redesign and post it here in roughly a week. Thanks again for the FANTASTIC help, I really do love this hobby and it's great to have such an awesome helpful community that loves it to.
AdamP.S. Comments still welcome, any suggestions or questions would be great