Here’s the first of my of blog posts on the puzzles which I had the pleasure of exchanging with 95 other participants at the recent IPP37 Puzzle Exchange in Paris, France. This one looks like a plastic burr puzzle, or is it not?
The Non-Void Cube is from Andreas Rover- yes, the ONE who created and free-shared with the world Burr Tools; the indispensable and holy grail of puzzle design tools (no pun intended) for designers everywhere. Without Burr Tools, I am pretty certain that 99.5% of the designs on www.puzzlewillbeplayed.com would not be in existence today, we would not have the huge number wooden and other interlocking puzzles we have now and Eric Fuller would probably still be a professional soldier in the US Army.
At first glance, the Non-Void Cube, with its plastic appearance, looks very much like an ordinary Rubik’s Cube without any of the coloured stickers. In fact its a 3D printed interlocking burr designed and created by Andreas. The Cube is very nicely printed and the tolerances between the pieces sufficiently tight. Notwithstanding, the pieces move and slide smoothly and I experienced no jamming whatsoever. Size-wise, the Cube is 6cm all round, the size of a normal Rubik’s Cube.
And what is unique about the Non-Void Cube is that it has got no voids (holes) within the cube, yet it has a Level 4.3.3 solution, something that is impossible to achieve with a typical burr design. Andreas managed to create this puzzle by attaching the cubes of the 4 pieces not by joining the faces of the cubes, but via their corners (see photo above). In this manner the pieces can slide in the various directions even without the voids or voxels necessary.
While it takes only 4 moves to remove the first piece (and with some effort not too difficult to figure out) and 3 moves each to remove the next two, the design is not without some trickiness. If you scramble all the pieces after disassembly, and unless you have a very good memory, you may just forget the orientation of the pieces (like I did) and find yourself in a bit of a bind trying to reassemble the thing. Again with some persistence and time, it is do-able. And Burr Tools would not help you here if you can’t solve it, Haha!. Is Andreas hiding some features of the software which he is only keeping to himself?