Sunday, 13 April 2014

EZ Atom

EZ Atom
I'm afraid this will be a fairly quick blog post today - I've had very little time for puzzling recently due to my oldest boy cat becoming extremely ill a few days ago. His usual treatment hasn't helped and the inevitable is happening. This meant I could not attend the Midlands Puzzle Party as expected yesterday and certainly have had very little time and concentration for puzzles. Luckily he seems quietly content and he sat on my knee whilst I played with the EZ Atom and typed this post.

I am partial to all puzzles fairly indiscriminately but really luuurrve anything shiny. For that reason I own quite a lot of the lovely Hanayama puzzles but I'm always on the look out for others. I had seen this puzzle reviewed by Gabriel here and saw that it really was lovely - in fact I had seen that there were others in the EZ series so, of course, I had to try a few! This puzzle was designed by Doug Engel who has his own site called PuzzleAtomic - I've only just found this and may have to buy some of his toys soon - don't tell Mrs S!!! It was manufactured for Puzzle Master under their own puzzle label. They can be found in the "Other wire/metal" category - always worth a look for many hidden gems in there. It is shaped like an atom with a nucleus and 3 orbiting electrons in bronze, silver & gold and, like the scientists of the last century, the aim is to "split the atom" - hopefully as a level 6 (Tricky) on their scale of 5-10, it should be a tad easier - certainly easy enough to do with a cat lying on my lap and with no enormous release of energy! Gabriel thought it should be a level 7 and I think I probably agree.

It arrived in Puzzle Master's own packaging and looks great. The shiny metal is not quite as perfect as the photos show on the site but it certainly still looks very nice - it is a nice metal and a decent weight to it. Each electron orbit is 83mm across. The reviews on the page are mixed - I read them after I had solved it and agree up to a point - they are critical of the puzzle because a certain amount of force is required. However, if it was made in such a way that no force was required at all then it would just fall apart. I did not think the force required was excessive and it did not detract from my pleasure when I worked it out. No solution is supplied but you can download it from here if you need it.

When I first took it out the packaging I jingled it about to see whether there was any movement and also in the knowledge that Mrs S wouldn't hit me with a poorly cat on my lap. There was almost no movement at all. A little pushing and pulling did not help either so it was time to have a proper look at it and I soon realised that the metal pieces were all unique. I also noticed that the nucleus really hindered any movement in any direction. Idle play was definitely going to solve this so I just sat and pondered it for a while. It soon became apparent how this had to come apart and it needed to be done just so. After another minute or so I had worked out how to hold it and exactly what movement was required and pow!!!

I split the atom and am here to tell the tale
Reassembly is actually more of a challenge - I obviously knew the rough mechanism but I had not been paying full attention and then left the pieces separated for a while. I think it took me quite a bit longer to put it back together.

Should you buy one? If you are a purist who thinks there should never be any force, then it's probably not for you, but if you know that a little force is required and it doesn't upset you, then it is nice to solve by working it out in your head first and then just going straight to the solution (as I did). Plus, of course, the reassembly is a very nice extra challenge. If you have non-puzzling friends who want a little challenge then this is perfect - at $16, you cannot go wrong.

9 comments:

  1. I like the shape of the EX-Atom much. But I spend much more time then you to take it apart. A few days. As a result of playing many cast puzzles, I always think that force shouldn't be required to dis-assemble a metal puzzle. But for this one it is on the contrary so I'm blind. At last my friend solve this with a quite strong arm......

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    Replies
    1. Maybe they vary a little? Mine did not need too much force and it has loosened over time.

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  2. Recently, a couple of new Doug Engel's puzzles, Keltic cube and Tetrametric, appeared at Puzzlemaster online shop. I wish somebody reviewed them ))

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    Replies
    1. I have been looking on Doug's site and thinking about getting some of them. They look amazing! If I do then you can be sure that I'll review them.

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  3. "Element Zero, also known as "eezo", is a rare material that, when subjected to an electrical current, releases dark energy which can be manipulated into a mass effect field, raising or lowering the mass of all objects within that field."

    No wonder one atom of this stuff is so expensive!

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    Replies
    1. It's only $16 for a very large atom! Certainly doesn't break the bank!

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    2. But I will happily sell you ONE BILLION atoms of gold for a penny. ;-) At today's prices even one trillion (10^12) atoms of gold are worth less than one cent.

      I was just making a joke based on the name "EZ Atom" for this puzzle. It certainly looks like a decent puzzle!

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    3. I'd probably need an Avogadro's number of atoms!

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    4. There you go! Now you're taking real money.

      Unfortunately "Ez" is not the symbol for any element ... except perhaps "Element Zero", which is nonsense of course.

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