Monday, August 4, 2014

Building Puzzles for IPP34

I'm busily cranking out puzzles to exchange, trade, and sell at IPP34.  In addition to a few old-standy puzzles here's a look at what's new from me this year...

Join The Club

For the Puzzle Exchange, this consists of two identical pieces that can be joined together to make a ♣ club shape.  Testers at my office gave me plenty of feedback and guidance, and it took some real effort to implement their suggestions.  My early revisions resembled an ordinary clover leaf, but testers insisted it needed a widely flared base in order to resemble a Club suit--it took some design ingenuity, but I made it work!


Although I have built plenty of cubic dissections in the past, this one really surprised me!  It has two identical pieces that can be joined together to make a cube, but they just as easily join into a variety of abstract shapes.  It's a fancy-looking objet d'art when placed on a light stand, although it's hard to get a picture that shows how pretty it really looks.

Pink Marble & Yellow Marble

These are successors to the colored marbles from the Bag of Marbles which I had previously sold.  Pink Marble is a two-piece puzzle, the first in the series that can only be joined together at one specific point on each piece.  Yellow Marble is a three-piece puzzle that goes a step further; it's the hardest of the series, but not overly difficult for the average solver.

Credit-card-size SIM storage

This isn't really a puzzle, but it's a useful device when traveling overseas.  It exploits the SD300's laminated construction technique to build a thin storage device that's literally the size of a credit card, with storage pockets for four SIMs and an eject tool (or a paper clip).  Very handy!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Glue Smear, a super-easy quick fix

Every now and then I've noticed a shiny stripe of SolGL glue across the top layer when a model is being built.  There shouldn't ever be glue on the top surface because it can contaminate the Anti-Glue pens, which makes the model difficult to clean.  Whenever it appeared this stripe was always perfectly centered, with neatly-defined edges.  What's really strange is that it usually appeared when I'd just installed a new roll of fresh, clean material.  How did it get there?

After considerable searching I finally discovered the source of the contamination: looking into the material-supply chamber with the supply roll removed from the machine there's a bar across the bottom of the chamber to prevent the PVC from dangling out the bottom of the machine as it unrolls.

In the years I've been using the SD300 I have never cleaned there because the media door blocks the view of that area as the door opens.

When the door is fully opened, it totally blocks any view of that part of the machine.  But when the door is closed, a full roll of material could easily come into contact with that area.

With the media door mostly-closed, I could see debris had accumulated in there over the years.  And the bar was had traces of SolGL glue that had probably splashed there when I performed maintenance operations over the years.  The glue stayed wet because SolGL doesn't dry up on its own, so naturally it rubbed onto PVC in the media chamber.

No doubt a professional serviceman would have cleaned this area, but I never called in a serviceman because I'd always tried to maintain the machine for myself and it hasn't ever needed professional repairs.

I thoroughly cleaned these hard-to-reach areas using copious volume of alcohol to dilute the SolGL glue and paper towels to soak it up.  Sure enough, that stripe of glue stopped contaminating the tops of models.

A free, easy fix!