Sunday 14 May 2023

A Burr With a Difference...

Or, Am I Screwed?

Screw Burr by Oskar van Deventer
Last week I showed off some wonderful new TICs designed by Laszlo Kmolnar which I had bought from Neal. He had given me a very reasonable price and seemed not to have made a profit from the sale. This shows how wonderful and helpful our fellow puzzlers can be. In fact, he added in to the parcel a couple of 3D printed puzzles that I think he printed himself but with the sheer volume of plastic involved would still have cost him a bit to make. I couldn't resist playing with this after I had finished with the TICs.

Screw burr is a "simple" 6 piece burr with the added challenge that the pieces cannot slide on each other - they have to be unscrewed from each other. It has been printed with very bright primary and secondary colours and, despite looking like a child's toy, is really quite attractive. I found the key piece (there sort of has to be one if rotation will be required) and undid it from the burr carefully because I was not certain whether it would fall to bits after the key was extracted. I was rather surprised and pleased to see that it maintained perfect stability with the first piece removed and after that, it required further screwing about. In fact, I ended up unscrewing 2 more pieces before stability was lost and it dissolved into a heap.

Fascinating to see the thread within the cutouts
I put the pieces down for a photo and effectively scrambled them. Having left it for a while, I attempted reassembly. Now, you might assume that I would find this easy considering that I have quite a LOT of 6 piece burrs as well as 6 burrsets but alas, I am truly awful at assembly puzzles (even if they are only 6 pieces). The additional challenge of having to organise the thread was confusing me and I really struggled.

It took me about 3 days to finally find the correct positioning and then assemble it. This was not helped by dexterity difficulty keeping the pieces in place whilst I screwed each subsequent one into position. Then I inadvertently managed to cross thread one critical piece. This did not prevent it from being inserted, it just subtly dislodged one of the others and prevented the insertion of the key piece. I could not work out what was happening until I looked at it from a particular angle and was able to redo it correctly.

All in all, a very nice gift from a friend, and a very fun variation on a simple puzzle. If only I could convince the "boss" to let me buy a printer. I know that quite a lot of puzzlers are having a wonderful time with them. But the threat of a Whack! Ouch! followed by a divorce prevents me.

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