Thanks for the kind words! I've tried to answer a few of the questions below:
I'm curious if you've looked at the other cases (stretching or shrinking the vertex axes) to see if they allow the small edge to have a connection to the core? And therefore also allow shape changing 60 degree vertex turns.
I was also tempted to suggest pillowing the puzzle or maybe making the cuts deeper but in looking closer I don't think either can be done without making new pieces which would need to be added to the puzzle. I really like the idea behind this puzzle.... I just don't like having a piece which is only held on by magnets.
I did look at every alternative geometry I could think of, including stretching, pillowing, and shifting slice planes, but none allowed the edge pieces to remain in contact with the core. Just as problematic, none of the changes retained the aesthetic of the concept. So I finally decided to give the magnetic option a try, and I am quite pleased with the results. The magnets give the puzzle a great feel, and the slices snap into place perfectly. They give the puzzle a bit of an addictive quality just to fiddle with it, and I was actually thinking that they might be a nice addition to other puzzles to help ensure proper slice alignment! (Don't worry, I won't actually do that.)
Tony Fisher wrote:
If you want to disguise the magnets you can sink them 1mm or so further in and fill the top with resin.
I really don't mind seeing the magnets while making a turn, but the magnet pockets could be designed to be back-loaded, making them completely undetectable except by something the magnet is attracted to. The only concern then would be if too much magnetic power would be lost. Given that it is actually hard to remove the edge pieces now, I think the strength of the magnetic bond is good and I'd be very hesitant to weaken it by adding a separator between the magnets.
Is this challenging to solve because of the unique scrambling possibilities?
I have to admit, I haven't tried a full scramble yet. But it does have many fewer pieces than Twisted-8, so I'm fairly certain it will be a much easier solve.