(Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

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Pio2001
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(Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

Post by Pio2001 » January 3rd, 2014, 9:44 pm

Hello,
I'm going to review a new realisation by Maurice Vigouroux. It is a new copy of the "18 pièces", a level one burr with no internal void, and 18 different pieces, that Maurice designed some years ago.

Image

Oh no ! Not an 18-piece burr again !
Wait ! Wait ! There are TWO puzzles in this picture ! Look at the small black piece of dust standing on the puzzle. Look closer...

I'm taking my macro lens :

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Yes. This is an 18-piece burr in ebony, standing on the edge of a piece of my big Tiros puzzle. It is 12 x 12 x 12 mm, no more ! Here it is in my hand :

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Recently, Maurice Vigouroux and Jack Krijnen started a race to see who could make the smallest puzzle. Jack started with an incredibly small Supernova (166 moves 18-piece burr). I don't remember the exact size. I think it was about 20 x 20 x 20 mm. I tried some moves, and it worked perfectly !

Maurice then tried to make something smaller, with a 1.5 mm thick blade. But it didn't work very well. He realized that the real thickness of his blade was closer to 1.6 or 1.7 mm, which cuts too large notches, and the puzzle was too loose.
In the meantime, Jack managed to make a 6-piece burr with pieces a bit smaller than the Supernova. At this size, the puzzle becomes more and more difficult to assemble.

But Maurice had his blade rectified to exactly 1.5 mm, and started again. He chose a level 1 design, to simplify the assembly of the puzzle, and used ebony, because it is a very homogeneous wood, with no defects.
And here is the result : a 12 x 12 x 12 mm burr that works perfectly. He made a small box for it, as such a small object is so easily lost.

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I disassembled mine. I had to use a soft tool in order to push the two first pieces through the puzzle. The space is way too small for my fingers.

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I used my standard size 18 pièces as a guide in order to rebuild it, reproducing on the small one what I was doing with the normal one. It is a slightly different variant. One voxel was moved from a piece to another.
It is a bit difficult, but it is possible to reassemble the puzzle with bare fingers. The fit is very good.

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It is truly amazing... a complete piece is shorter than a single voxel on my Tiros. 12 mm vs 15 mm. Maurice even made bevels on top of the pieces. The pieces are surprisingly sharp for their size. Anyway, puzzles in ebony have always extremely sharp edges. It would not have been possible to make this miniature in woods like coconut, wacapou, or Saint-Martin rouge, with their large fibers.

Maurice took the puzzle to the chemist's and asked if they could weight it.
It is 1.4 grams !

I was not a big fan of that 18 piece design, but this puzzle is a masterpiece in my collection !

Image

Jack, if you read this, I have got a picture of a nice 18-piece burr of yours in ebony, and it seems to be about 20x20x20 mm. What model is this ? May I post the picture here ?

Larger pictures are available in the wiki : http://www.puzzle-place.com/wiki/Le_18_Pieces
Last edited by Pio2001 on January 4th, 2014, 2:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

TheJuggler
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Re: The smallest burr in the world

Post by TheJuggler » January 3rd, 2014, 9:50 pm

Crazy. I wonder what Alan Boardman would be able to do ... given his mastery of the micro puzzle ...

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Pio2001
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Re: The smallest burr in the world

Post by Pio2001 » January 4th, 2014, 12:01 am

I didn't know Alan Boardman !
I see that he already made smaller burrs indeed. John Rausch lists an Altekruse 12 that is 5/16 inches. Since the pieces of the Altekruse 12 are 8 voxels long, it means that the voxel is 1 mm, while Maurice's is 1.5 mm.

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Re: (Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

Post by t1bur0n20061 » January 4th, 2014, 7:23 am

Wow Guillaume, that is very interesting! and very beautiful! Maurice is doing some very nice work. I still wonder how this puzzle would feel in my hands, much less how difficult it would be trying to assemble it. Is this going to be possibly offered in the future on Arteludes?
--Aaron Davila

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Pio2001
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Re: (Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

Post by Pio2001 » January 4th, 2014, 12:12 pm

Hi Aaron,
The original design is very difficult to assemble. Though it has only one assembly, it is very difficult to find. It is possible to assemble some pieces in many different ways, but every time, the last ones don't fit. I managed to solve mine because it was an old one and the external sides were easy to spot, having been exposed to light.
Without this clue, I could not have found the solution.

Following the solution to assemble the miniature one is not too difficult. It requires dexterity, but not as much as following Burrtool's solution for the Phelan or the Gordian Knot, for example. The tiny ebony pieces are sharp, and hold firmly together.
But I must say that I'm currently in a very dry place. I moved in november, and the puzzles in my collection have never been so loose. So it may be that in autumn, the miniature becomes stiffer and more difficult to play with. Ebony, besides its other qualities, is very sensitive to weather.

And yes, this miniature should be available soon. Maurice made several of them.

PS : having sharp eyes is a must ! If you have trouble reading small characters, consider buying a powerful set of glasses before playing with this puzzle !

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Re: (Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

Post by jack » January 4th, 2014, 4:17 pm

Hello all,

The puzzle Guillaume is referring to is Assembler's Challenge. At the time I deliberately designed an 18 piece burr that would not only be a disassembly problem, but a assembly challenge as well. There's only one assembly, and it has a unique solution of level 7.
I thought this puzzle a good choice for miniaturising. Small pieces add considerably to the challenge of assembling the burr! This one is 16x16x16 mm, with 2 mm voxels. It is made of ebony, for the same reasons as Maurice mentions.
Here are some pictures:
ac-6.jpg
ac-6.jpg (16.66 KiB) Viewed 13168 times
assemblerschallenge-7s.jpg
assemblerschallenge-7s.jpg (22.73 KiB) Viewed 13168 times

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jack
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Re: (Nearly) the smallest burr in the world

Post by jack » January 26th, 2014, 8:15 pm

Here is another picture showing both burrs together:
p1040518s.jpg
p1040518s.jpg (23.06 KiB) Viewed 12260 times
The other two burrs are Marineau's Piston Puzzle, made from zebrano, and a 3D printed souvenir puzzle from DCD 2012.

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