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Metal and polycarbonate puzzle by Joe Pieczynski

Posted: August 11th, 2016, 11:42 pm
by Pio2001
Today I want to talk to you about a project that started 4 years ago.

I had the idea to have a burr puzzle made in transparent acrylic, with some pieces in metal. The design Rings and Things 2 sticks 5, by Franck Worrell, seemed perfect for this : ... html#rt2s5

Joe Pieczynski had posted a few messages about his realizations in metal in Puzzle World forum. So I got in touch with him and asked him if he would be interested in making this puzzle with the boards in acrylic and the pieces in brass.

There was a big difficulty : none of the pieces was notchable. The boards are not even millable (unless you can mill square holes), and one of the pieces have an internal angle.

Joe got the thickest Makrolon boards that could be afforded for this project (12mm), and the boards were soon made in his factory. He took some videos of the making, where we can see that he is working with very advanced tools :

The pieces in brass were another story. Today, I still don't know how he managed to make the one with the internal angle !
But here is the result :





The burr is level and is very enjoyable to solve. It is possible to start from the disassembled pieces and find the right solution in a satisfyingly logical way.

The finish is superb. The external sides of the brass pieces are brushed, while the internal parts have a pearlized finish. The fit is just right, with just a fraction of millimeter of room between them, to avoid the puzzle being too tight.

The whole puzzle feels very heavy for its size. Most woods have a volumic mass inferior to the one of water (1 kg / 1 liter), but brass is between 8 and 9 times the density of water.

I couldn't thank Joe enough for making this. I don't think that anyone else could have made something similar.

Cutting puzzle boards in acrylic (or polycarbonate, like here) is now common. Eric Fuller makes puzzles including 5 mm boards. Brian Young makes 10mm boards with his laser cutter, and Jean-Baptiste Jacquin have also 10mm boards made in a more traditional way.
But burr puzzles in metal are very rare. Maurice Vigouroux has made a few little ones in brass.
Lee Valley Tools have a round burr puzzle made of steel.
And it is a specialty of Joe Pieczynski to make burr puzzles in aluminium and brass. But in all cases, the pieces are notchable.
This one is the only exception that I know of.

Re: Metal and polycarbonate puzzle by Joe Pieczynski

Posted: October 20th, 2016, 11:32 pm
by flawr
This looks amazing, I love that style. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Metal and polycarbonate puzzle by Joe Pieczynski

Posted: October 21st, 2016, 2:20 pm
by Paradox
That is a phenomenal looking puzzle I have to say! :shock: