|The 2x4x6 - Ultimate shape-shifting cuboid - notice the 1 next to the HP|
This beauty is currently the only one of its kind in the world just now (hence the 1 next to the signature). Hunter Palshook initially made me a couple of puzzles which I absolutely love and we have struck up a good friendship since then. He posted on the Twisty Puzzles forum that he had managed to create a new puzzle - this is the 2x4x6 cuboid pictured above - it is the smallest memeber of the category that has been named the "Ultimate shapeshifting cuboids". Hunter managed to make one from one of the TomZ's 4x4x6 cuboids. Looking at it, it is clear that an enormous amount of work and skill has gone into it's manufacture (including beautifully hand cut stickers). He decided that he would let me have it - but on one condition!
|4x4x2 version 2|
After an initial hesitation I scrambled it and with some difficulty managed to solve it.
Over the last couple of years I have bought a lot of puzzles from you and I respect your business and the way you treat your customers. I am aware that you have been in discussions with Hunter Palshook about possible mass production of the 2x4x6 cuboid which he produced by modifying your 4x4x6 cuboid. I have acquired the puzzle from Hunter and have spent the last 2 days working on it and have finally solved it! I have to say that it is an absolutely fantastic puzzle.
I am writing to express the sincere hope that you really do consider going into production. The mechanism is obviously identical to the 4x4x6 and only the outer parts have been changed. This would mean that the development process for you would be greatly decreased and you know you would be able to produce a great and very stable puzzle.
I published an analysis of the different cuboid puzzles on my blog here:
and it was referenced by Rob Stegmann, one of the greatest puzzle writers there is, on his page here:
There is one group of twisty cuboids which has never been mass produced and really should be. This is the so called "floppy cuboids" which occurs with a cuboid of the form N x (N + E) x (N + E) where E is any even number. The classic ones that have been produced by Shapeways or mods are the 4x4x2, 5x5x3, 7x7x3 or 7x7x5. I have these from both Traiphum and Hunter and they are great.
A subgroup of the floppy cuboids occurs when there are 2 different even numbers. These have been called the "Ultimate Shapeshifting cuboids" and they are amazing. They exhibit shapeshifting in every direction, bandage themselves and also show all 3 different types of parity. Amongst this group are the 3x5x7 from PuzzleMaestro and Claus' 5x7x9 - both available at enormous cost from Shapeways. This means that no-one can really afford them.
Hunter has produced the smallest of this group, the 2x4x6 and it exhibits ALL the fun elements you get in the bigger ones but is much easier to handle and hopefully should not be too tough for you to manufacture due to the fact that you already have moulds for the underlying puzzle.
I implore you, please see whether this can be made commercially available. I think the twisty puzzle community will thank you for it.
All the best,
Unfortunately for me but probably fortunately for all of you, Calvin replied to me the following day that he was restarting looking into it. So this weekend I have to send my lovely 2x4x6 cuboid back to Hunter!! Damn - I'm really not very bright!!!
Hopefully after you reading this blog post you will all feel the urge to email Calvin and clamour for him to make this cuboid available. The 5x7x9 may be mass produced in the future but the development time for this could be years so in the mean time we all need just one of this very challenging group. For the rest of this article I'm going to describe the scramble and my own solve process in very broad terms.
These puzzles start to bandage very quickly (i.e. they lock pieces together) when you scramble them - this becomes effectively just a 2x2x2 puzzle. So it is important that it is done in a certain way to get the best scramble. The first thing to do is scramble as much as possible using 180º turns in every direction.
|Only 180º turns used|
|Now 90º turns have been introduced to either the top or bottom faces|
|Aargh! Fully scrambled|
The Solution!!!Now there will be lots of different approaches to solving these and I welcome comments and communication (below or via my Contact page) to tell me how you might approach this one. I will explain what I have done to solve it although not give the fine details of algorithms used.
My first aim is to try and release the bandaged pieces by flattening the puzzle down. First of all, I do a 2x2x2 solve paying attention only to the corners. Then the next step is to flatten the centre pieces
|Just the corners have been solved|
|Centre types grouped - Redbull anyone?|
|Flattened puzzle - messed up edges|
|Centre and edges all paired up - Domino solve next|
|It's a Brick - spot the 2 separate parities here!|
So what I want everyone to do is to email Calvin (you will all have at least one of his business cards!) and tell him you would like to see this puzzle mass produced. In fact you should DEMAND it! Tell him I sent you. ;-)
To all you non-twisty puzzlers out there - why have you read this far? If you have then you must have a small wistful hankering for them. Go on try it! You know you'll like it! Start here.