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Which core is better-a spider core or ball core?
Poll ended at Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:28 pm
The spider core provides better stability. 5%  5%  [ 3 ]
The ball core provides better stability. 16%  16%  [ 9 ]
Both provide equal stability. 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
The spider core gives better quality turning. 7%  7%  [ 4 ]
The ball core gives better quality turning. 7%  7%  [ 4 ]
Both provide equal turning quality. 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
The spider core is easiest for assembly. 4%  4%  [ 2 ]
The ball core is easiest for assembly. 16%  16%  [ 9 ]
They are both just as easy for assembly. 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
The spider core is better overall. 5%  5%  [ 3 ]
The ball core is better overall. 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
Both cores are equally as good. 5%  5%  [ 3 ]
It depends on the puzzle itself. 14%  14%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 57
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 Post subject: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:28 pm 
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I've always wanted to know if a spider-style core or a ball-style core is better for twisty puzzles, so I've set up a poll to get everyone's opinions.
The poll is broken up into 4 categories: stability, turning quality, ease of assembly, and overall effectiveness. Choose one option from each category (that way I can get accurate information). The first three options are category 1, the second three options are category 2 etc. Also I would like to get your personal opinions on them as well. I'm not trying to design a puzzle and debating whether to use the former or latter - I am just interested in hearing your opinions.
This actually reminds me-is there an easy way to design a spider core in Solidworks? I only have experience with ball cores, and any information would be helpful. :)

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Last edited by benpuzzles on Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:43 pm 
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It really depends. For cuboids I find that a 6-armed spider works really well. With dodecahedral puzzles I usually use a ball core since this makes assembling much easier (and it seems to save a lot of material.
I would tentatively say that spider core puzzles generally turn every so slightly better but I have never done a direct comparison.

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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:05 pm 
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If you consider the Mosaic Cube, it was shipped with a spider core, but was very squishy, and this caused problems in turning. When this was replaced with a ball core, the puzzle was much better. So, like Tomz, I think it all depends. I really don't think that there is any outright correct answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:21 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
It really depends. For cuboids I find that a 6-armed spider works really well. With dodecahedral puzzles I usually use a ball core since this makes assembling much easier (and it seems to save a lot of material.
I would tentatively say that spider core puzzles generally turn every so slightly better but I have never done a direct comparison.

Having lots of cubes with both mechanisms and disassembled and assembled them all..

I completely agree with Tom here :)

The better turning depends partially also on how many centers/sides there are. Some cubes (like the tuttminx) have wayyyy too many centers to easily be given the spider core like the mega(and up)minx does have. I'd think the casting of such a core would be.. cumbersome. I think :)


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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:36 pm 
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Gus wrote:
If you consider the Mosaic Cube, it was shipped with a spider core, but was very squishy, and this caused problems in turning. When this was replaced with a ball core, the puzzle was much better. So, like Tomz, I think it all depends. I really don't think that there is any outright correct answer.

Wasn't that problem because the spider legs were too short? I remember reading adding some washers solved the problem.
I like ball cores more, but I don't know why. I just like the way they help assemble puzzles.


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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:08 pm 
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For all of the 3d printed puzzles I've designed, ball cores have turned out to be greatly beneficial. They prevent parts from "sinking" into the center of the puzzle, making it easier to assemble and less squishy once completed. That being said, I don't have experience with cuboids, so I'll leave it to other designers to give their opinions.

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 Post subject: Re: Spider Core vs. Ball Core-Which is Better?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:01 pm 
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In general, I prefer to use flat (planar) slices through the entire puzzle (interior mechanism included) whenever possible. This means that most of my puzzles end up having a "spider" core, or something similar. Of course, some puzzles with multiple shells may require a more complex mechanism, and possibly a partial or full sphere core to accommodate the multiple levels.

I prefer to design puzzles with flat slices since it gives the puzzles better stability, and a less "squishy" feel. It also minimizes friction since the lowest possible surface area is involved in the turning action. I came to these conclusions after an experimental redesign of my Fracture-10 puzzle. I made a version with a ball core, which allowed me to create space to attach the retaining arms onto the core by screwing them on from the inside. After testing this puzzle though, I was disappointed with the results, and concluded that the original snap together design (which uses flat cuts throughout) is superior. The version with the ball core was harder to turn due to increased friction, and since the parts on the moving slice wanted to first move relative to each other before they would begin to move as a unit (this leads to a "squishy" feel). The spider core version with flat slices has no such issues.
Gus wrote:
If you consider the Mosaic Cube, it was shipped with a spider core, but was very squishy, and this caused problems in turning. When this was replaced with a ball core, the puzzle was much better.
I think the issue with the Mosaic Cube was not a matter of ball core vs spider core, but of a design that left too much open space on the interior of the puzzle, and allowed parts to be pushed into that space. I don't know if the type of design I prefer could have been used in this case, but if so it might have helped the issue more than the ball core. Even with the ball core fix (which I implemented on my copy), the puzzle is still somewhat squishy, though not nearly to the degree it was before the ball core.

Many of the puzzles I have designed, including just about all in the "Fracture cut" series, use this type of design with flat, planar slices. Some geometries allow the use of screws, while others are better off as snap-together puzzles. Both varieties work very well.

As to cost savings, I haven't seen that one style core is inherently more or less expensive than the other. In my Fracture-10 experiment, the model with the ball core ended costing about $5 less. However, I recently looked back at the original Fracture-10 files, and saw the opportunity for savings there too. After a few changes which will not be detectable once the puzzle is assembled, I retained the original spider core design and was able to reduce the price by almost $10. So that's even less expensive than the ball core design. Here's a link to the new Fracture-10 model for those who are interested.

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Last bumped by benpuzzles on Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:01 pm.


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