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 Post subject: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanism?Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:16 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
In all my years of making puzzles I have never worked out a satisfactory way to put an existing complex non mathematical shape (A model head, toy car, Pineapple etc) around a puzzle core such as a 5x5x5 for example. To rephrase that, I have never found a way to make a 5x5x5 version of an existing non mathematical shape. I am not saying I couldn't do it but I see no logical approach.
I am talking moulds and casting here by the way, not scanning and Shapeways. I want to go from a shape I like to a set of moulds which will produce parts which can then be stuck onto a 5x5x5 or whatever. I guess I have to say that the original item cannot be cut though it could be moulded and copied to another material. Like I say I could do it but not easily.
I can imagine moulding it and the putting the 5x5x5 inside the mould and then pouring in clear resin. When set you could then attempt to cut down to the 5x5x5 in the correct places and go on from there. Obviously the 5x5x5 inside the resin would be destroyed and it would be very tricky but you could probably get there in the end.
I haven't got any specific shape or mechanism in mind BTW.
Any ideas?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:35 pm

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:00 am
Location: Germany, Siegerland
Can't you sculpt a required shape around a 5x5x5 cube with Apoxy Sculpt or something of the kind and after you've finished - slice it with a thin string according to the cube's cutting layers? When it hardens, you'll have a working puzzle that can be disassembled and copied.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:42 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
Timur wrote:
Can't you sculpt a required shape around a 5x5x5 cube with Apoxy Sculpt or something of the kind and after you've finished - slice it with a thin string according to the cube's cutting layers? When it hardens, you'll have a working puzzle that can be disassembled and copied.

Yes, there are several ways to do it if I am making the shape but I mean from an existing object. There are certain things I couldn't possibly sculpt accurately enough.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:55 pm

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:00 am
Location: Germany, Siegerland
Then you can hermetically seal the surface of the cube (with some sticky tape or PE foil for wrapping food) and sink in in the mould that is filled with resin mixture. After it hardens, you take a saw and cut it until the cube can turn

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:50 pm

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA
I think you have the right general idea: Make a mold of the object, then perhaps fit that mold with a solid cube to displace the equivalent of the destined 5x5x5. I don't think you need to waste a real cube since you have the measurements a block of plastic or box should do. You might have to do this in halves.

But even if you have a perfect mold around the 5x5x5 block, cutting the molded object into slices without losing too much material would be a challenge. I suppose if you know the width of your saw you can compensate by building up again with a thin plate of plastic. I did this for my Square-2 where my saw (plus a bit of sanding) was about 1mm and the plastic about 0.5mm so it just sort of worked out. This was the first custom work I ever did and I'm lucky they were roughly equivalent (it wasn't deep planning, just luck).

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:53 am

Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 2:56 pm
Location: New York
Didn't Daquing Bao make some kind of 3x3 mod like this? I think it was like a corn husk or something...

-Doug

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:36 am

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
DLitwin wrote:
I think you have the right general idea: Make a mold of the object, then perhaps fit that mold with a solid cube to displace the equivalent of the destined 5x5x5. I don't think you need to waste a real cube since you have the measurements a block of plastic or box should do. You might have to do this in halves.

But even if you have a perfect mold around the 5x5x5 block, cutting the molded object into slices without losing too much material would be a challenge. I suppose if you know the width of your saw you can compensate by building up again with a thin plate of plastic. I did this for my Square-2 where my saw (plus a bit of sanding) was about 1mm and the plastic about 0.5mm so it just sort of worked out. This was the first custom work I ever did and I'm lucky they were roughly equivalent (it wasn't deep planning, just luck).

Dave

To be honest I don't care about wasting a few cubes in the process. Like I say in my first post this is a way it could be done but a pretty horrible one. You would really need a decent clear resin or you don't know where to cut. Also tidying it up won't be easy if you are (I am) talking about a complex shape perhaps with a textured finish. There has to be a simpler way we are missing.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:49 am

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm
Why not just make a cast copy of the 3D model/object, slice it up into (n+2) x (n+2) x (n+2) sections for a n x n x n cube, throw away the n x n x n internal sections (making a cubic cavity with the same overall size as original cube), then glue the remaining outer sections onto the surface of the original cube. If you like you could then take the puzzle appart and make moulds of each part with the outer sections added.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:04 am

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
KelvinS wrote:
Why not just make a cast copy of the 3D model/object, slice it up into (n+2) x (n+2) x (n+2) sections for a n x n x n cube, throw away the n x n x n internal sections (making a cubic cavity with the same overall size as original cube), then glue the remaining outer sections onto the surface of the original cube. If you like you could then take the puzzle appart and make moulds of each part with the outer sections added. :D

That is another way but again it gets messy. Cuts have to be perfect, edges are in now two parts and corners in three (for cube mechs) with blade width sections missing between them.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:29 am

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm
Actually it's worse: edges are now in 4 parts (including the edge piece from the puzzle), while corners are in 8 parts.

However, you can get very accurate cuts with the appropriate tools and a vice construction to ensure correct slice width. And as I said, you can always recast the parts once you've glued the right ones together. I think this way will actually be easier and more accurate in the end.

The only real downside is that middle slices will be very thin (and corners very big), but you can compensate for this by bandaging the middle layers of a higher order cube.

But of course (and I know you would never consider this) scanning and CAD would be a hell of a lot easier!

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:34 am

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
KelvinS wrote:
But of course (and I know you would never consider this) scanning and CAD would be a hell of a lot easier! :wink:

That's correct, I can always pay someone else to make any of my puzzles.
Believe or not I did look into scanning something about a year ago. The cost was huge and there were loads of complications.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:14 pm

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm
Then why not synthesise your own plastic out of oil, and forge your own screws from iron ore, rather than paying somebody else to make these for you? And by the way, you should get the oil and iron ore out of the ground yourself.

OK, I know, maybe that would taking it a step too far.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:34 pm

Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:34 pm
Location: Scotland, UK
Make 2 cast copies around the cube shape, then use alternating layers from each. So for 5x5x5, use layers 2 and 4 to cut through initially for one copy, then use the new freedom to get the pieces for layers 1, 3 and 5 cut to the right size without worrying about the width of the saw of being unsure where to cut. And vice versa for the other layers. Just my take on this, obviously it wastes more material, but it does simplify things.

Matt

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:00 am

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
bobthegiraffemonkey wrote:
Make 2 cast copies around the cube shape, then use alternating layers from each. So for 5x5x5, use layers 2 and 4 to cut through initially for one copy, then use the new freedom to get the pieces for layers 1, 3 and 5 cut to the right size without worrying about the width of the saw of being unsure where to cut. And vice versa for the other layers. Just my take on this, obviously it wastes more material, but it does simplify things.

Matt

I like this and you maybe onto something. I hadn't thought of using more than one copy and feel this is the right direction. You would have to embed the cubes in identical positions of course.
My goal is to have a tried and tested technique that any of us can refer to when this question comes up again one day as it most certainly will.

Kelvin, I know your answers are jokey so I will just say that I prefer painting to photography.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:41 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Jarrow, England
A good analogy Tony. Perhaps the title of your post should have included the words "without using a computer, 3D CAD, 3D printing" etc.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:16 pm

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm
Tony, I'm pleased you took my joke (tease) well.

In fact I also prefer painting to photography, so I know exactly what you mean. And no, I don't make my own paints either.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you fit a complex non maths shape around a mechanPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:57 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
Gus wrote:
A good analogy Tony. Perhaps the title of your post should have included the words "without using a computer, 3D CAD, 3D printing" etc. :)

I already cut it down to get it accepted. I didn't have a clue how to word it in a clear and concise way.

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