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 Post subject: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandages
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Location: near Utrecht, Netherlands
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This is my Switch Box puzzle. It's a 3x3x3, but some edges and corners are bandaged together with a red part, that can slide along the edge. However, the switch can only slide in to a corner with an appropriate gap and only one switch can slide in to a given corner at a time.
This means endless variations are possible: a corner can have 1, 2, 3 or no cutouts at all. You can vary the position and count of edges with(-out) a switch. Of course it is also possible to make a variation where multiple switches can occupy a corner at once.

VIDEO

The particular variation I made uses at least one of every part, but otherwise it's a bit of a mistake: it has quite little freedom. As a puzzle it's very good (hard!) but as a demonstration puzzle it's hard to find moves you can do.

I've build a slight little click in to the sliding action so the switches do not move on their own. This has worked out very well. The sliding pieces have slight tapers at their ends so they can move in easily without requiring perfect alignment. Over all I put a lot of thought in to the design and it really shows. I'm very happy with how this turned out.
In my copy of this puzzle I have colored the sliders with permanent marker and spray lacquered them. This worked quite well though I'm sure that red, polished strong and flexible is a good (and less labour intensive) option.

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VIDEO


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Since I would like to give you the option to choose your own variation, I have not yet put up this item in my Shapeways shop. I considered making it as a co-creator so you could specify your preferences during the order process but due to technical reasons this would make the puzzle more expensive.
Instead, you can contact me specifying your own preferences and I will prepare a model that you can purchase from Shapeways. Over time I will add the more popular choices to my shop.

The base price is around $130/€125. Depending on which variation you choose this can vary by about $10 up or down. Edges with sliding connectors take up more material, regular corners are quite cheap while the corner with only 1 slot is the most expensive. The variations shouldn't be too great and the $10 figure is based on extreme cases.
To order, simply send me the following info:
- How many edges should have a slider (at most 7)
- How you want the corners to be distributed (how many with 3 gaps, how many with 2, with 1 and with 0 (no) gaps)
- Whether you want the sliders in a separate model (so you can have them dyed separately). It will add a little (about $5-$7) to the cost if you have them separated.
Of course you should make sure you have enough open corners for every slider to go in.

Of course assembled versions of this puzzle are available as usual.

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Last edited by TomZ on Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:40 pm 
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Very clever design! Perhaps you could simply sell extra sliding bandages separately, that way the solver can add his/her own variation to the puzzle. Again, excellent job!


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Of course I will honor such a request: if somebody wants to get more parts than those required for the base puzzle so they can swap them out that is an option but keep in mind (dis-)assembly it not easy and it is tricky to deal with the stickers if you want to assemble it in a different configuration.

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Buy my mass produced puzzles at Mefferts:
- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:49 pm
Whoops haha you are absolutely correct! I simply was not thinking about disassembly, I could imagine that would be difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 12:09 pm
Location: Missouri
Very clever and very well presented. I'm curious how many (non-trivial) versions are possible via this method. May I ask why there is a limit on only allowing 8 sliders? There is probably a very good reason but its not jumping out at me.

If the number of variations is something that could be reasonably counted any idea how much a kit would be that could be used to make all possible variations? The sticker issue could potentially be addressed by using tiles that weren't permanently attached to the faces. They could either pop into a recess or even be held on by magnets.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:54 pm
Location: Bay Area, California
wwwmwww wrote:
If the number of variations is something that could be reasonably counted [...]?
Won't a careful application of Burnside's lemma give us this answer?

If that's too much work, computer code to brute force it would be pretty trivial too.

EDIT: maybe not too trivial. There are a lot of combos so time and memory could be an issue. It might take more thinking to count this.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:20 pm 
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wwwmwww wrote:
May I ask why there is a limit on only allowing 8 sliders? There is probably a very good reason but its not jumping out at me.
There are only 8 corners on a cube so you can only have 8 sliders. Though then you couldn't move any so 7 is a better figure.

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Buy my mass produced puzzles at Mefferts:
- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:28 pm 
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Very cool, could you use this same method to bandage the center pieces to the edges as well?

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:38 pm 
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Critter Cuber wrote:
Very cool, could you use this same method to bandage the center pieces to the edges as well?
Yes, that would be a very clever variation on this. You could have a piece sliding through a center that could either slot in to one edge or the other.

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Tom's Shapeways Puzzle Shop - your order from my shop includes free stickers!
Tom's Puzzle Website


Buy my mass produced puzzles at Mefferts:
- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:10 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
There are only 8 corners on a cube so you can only have 8 sliders. Though then you couldn't move any so 7 is a better figure.
D'oh! I should have seen that. I guess I was thinking about this quote from the first post:
TomZ wrote:
Of course it is also possible to make a variation where multiple switches can occupy a corner at once.
But the key here is this ISN'T that variation. If it were I think you could allow up to 12 sliders.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:25 am 
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Extremely cool!


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Marin, CA
Hey Tom-

Looks like the work you put into the details really show!
Congrats. It looks very nice. Also, great name! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:51 am 
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TomZ wrote:
... It will add a little (about $5-$7) to the cost if you have them separated. ...

Great work Tom :)
What if you order a whole bunch of these sliders all at once for your costumers?
(for the ones that directly buy from you)

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:13 am 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Really nice puzzle Tom! Looks like such a fun puzzle to play around with and solve!
Great job!

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I believe it would work best with black plastic.

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:12 am 
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simple, but cool.

i like the name. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:34 am 
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wwwmwww wrote:
If the number of variations is something that could be reasonably counted any idea how much a kit would be that could be used to make all possible variations?
I tried to analyze this puzzle in the past and the program wrote 1GB of data onto my HDD in no time.
Way to many variants. Sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:11 am 
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I have just made two variants of the Switch Box available on Shapeways. Don't forget to take advantage of their black Friday promotion by entering coupon code tdzmu on checkout to get 20% off.

You can either purchase the original variant or a new variant which has all corners open (I think this one will be more fun, the original was a bit too difficult for my taste).

You can also purchase the switches separately so you can have them dyed in a different color. Especially if you order the puzzle in BSF then ordering the switches together would make the switches black as well. By default you get both together (this is the cheaper option) but there is a link in the model description that will add the two separate models to your cart.

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Tom's Shapeways Puzzle Shop - your order from my shop includes free stickers!
Tom's Puzzle Website


Buy my mass produced puzzles at Mefferts:
- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:37 pm 
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(No, actually I didn't solve it. Just thought this pic was appropriate. I played with it at IPP; it's HARD. Wei-Hwa actually tried to solve it, and didn't manage to.)


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 Post subject: Re: Tom's Switch Box Puzzle - 3x3x3 Cube with sliding bandag
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:50 pm
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Could you extend the blocks to form an edge that then could be stickered too?

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I believe it would work best with black plastic.

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