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 Post subject: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:42 am 
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Hi Twisty Puzzles fans,

Polo Gears is a puzzle invented by Alex Polonsky. After seeing his prototype, I asked whether I could build my own prototype. This puzzle is turned by turning knobs at opposite sides. Because of Alex' special gearing mechanism, the other knobs turn in opposite directions.

I must admit that I was quite baffled when Alex first showed me sketches of his invention. I could not believe that his mechanism could work. Alex showed me his big and somewhat crude prototype at the New York Toy Fair of February 2011. Alex' strange and innovative gearing motion turned out to run perfectly smoothly and quite mesmerizing to watch and feel.

Watch the YouTube video.
Buy the puzzle at my Shapeways Shop.
Read more at the Shapeways Forum.
Check out the photos below.

Enjoy!

Oskar
Attachment:
Polo Gears - prototype - view 1.jpg
Polo Gears - prototype - view 1.jpg [ 45.73 KiB | Viewed 4177 times ]

Attachment:
Polo Gears - prototype - view 2.jpg
Polo Gears - prototype - view 2.jpg [ 45.99 KiB | Viewed 4177 times ]

Attachment:
Polo Gears - prototype - view 3.jpg
Polo Gears - prototype - view 3.jpg [ 43.33 KiB | Viewed 4177 times ]

Attachment:
Polo Gears Alex original.jpg
Polo Gears Alex original.jpg [ 52.6 KiB | Viewed 4177 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:23 am 
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Very interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:16 am 
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That is very cool. Great work Oskar!

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:28 am 
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Nice!!! I saw one of the posts at YouTube asked if this could be combined with the Mixup Cube. That is a great idea if possible but my first though was could this be combined with the Gear Cube? The inner 3x3x3 moves just like a Gear Cube and I think what makes this puzzle so visually interesting is the amount of movement in each turn. I think if you could get the edges rotating too it would look even more amazing.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:37 am 
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Cool, I saw this on shapeways and was wondering how this worked. I'm going to assume that this gear design is somewhat similar to the 'barbell' design on the barbell cube right?

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:58 am 
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MonkeyZ wrote:
I'm going to assume that this gear design is somewhat similar to ...
Incorrect. These are very non-conventional gears that engage and disengage. Please watch the YouTube video where I demonstrate Alex' brilliant mechanism.

Oskar

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:31 am 
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Remind me of the gear cube~


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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:21 am 
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Ok... engineering question. I saw the video yesterday and something has been bothering me ever since and it just now hit me on the second viewing.

You grab knobs on opposite faces and twist each in opposite directions. When you do this the inner 3x3x3's faces that relate to these knobs turn with them and all the other knobs rotate as well. The thing is those other knobs have opposite pairs rotating in opposite directions as well. So how does the puzzle know which two knobs are being held. Only 2 of the 3x3x3's faces turn. Looking at Alex Polonsky's prototype it appears 3 people could each grab two opposite knobs and each rotate them in opposite directions simultaneously. Something more must be going on here as you certainly can't turn all 3 faces of a 3x3x3 simultaneously. What is it? I'd love to know...

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:54 am 
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wwwmwww wrote:
Ok... engineering question. ... Something more must be going on here as you certainly can't turn all 3 faces of a 3x3x3 simultaneously. What is it?
Carl,

You are the first person to notice that there is something funny about the gearing. Indeed, four adjacent knobs turn in the same direction, which is something that you would not expect for normal gears. This is the brilliant invention of Alex Polonsky. Each corner has pins going inward. And each knob has a a shell with notches that engage with these pins. The mechanism is hard to explain with words. The best way is to check out my demonstration of Alex' prototype on the YouTube video several times. I have been playing with it a lot until I understood exactly what is going on.

Anyway, there are some more screen shots below.

Oskar
Attachment:
Polo Gears - view 3.jpg
Polo Gears - view 3.jpg [ 73.67 KiB | Viewed 3743 times ]

Attachment:
Polo Gears - view 4.jpg
Polo Gears - view 4.jpg [ 50.9 KiB | Viewed 3743 times ]

Attachment:
Polo Gears - view 5.jpg
Polo Gears - view 5.jpg [ 44.43 KiB | Viewed 3743 times ]

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Last edited by Oskar on Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:12 am 
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This is amazing! Just when I think i've seen everything. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:20 am 
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Ok... I think I get it. When you turn the knobs they grab the corners and turn them. Its then the corners that cause the other faces to rotate. If you had 2 people trying to turn two different pairs of faces at the same time the corners would lock and not know which way to go.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:56 pm 
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I've been working on the poles-through-multiple-layers idea for a while, but totally didn't see this one! I was thinking like the brain-chek with only a single pole, but clearly multiple ones works better. Maybe I can riff on this one a bit...


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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:42 pm 
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Amazing puzzle and mechanism. Before watching the video, I had my doubts as to how well it would turn, but I was quickly proven wrong. I may have to forego buying a normal gear cube and go straight to this! Excellent job to all involved.

Chris

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:24 am 
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Amazing puzzle!
Solving it is easy and interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:33 am 
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Is it possible to make another version when turning the white or yellow face does not affect the middle layer?


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Clip3.png
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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:12 pm 
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One of this most innovative and interesting puzzles I've seen in a while. :D I really like it.

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:14 pm 
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I really love how it moves. Well done to both of you!

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Oskar, please, stop breaking the universe!!! :shock:

I still cannot quite grasp what the function of this puzzle is that prevents the corners from rotating in a different manner than intended.

It is like you placed the gears in the centers rather than the edge. I saw the mechanism pictures, but I still don't get what it is that decides whether the corners rotate perpendicular or paralell to the grabbed faces. It seems that the force of friction alone decides automatically where the plane of rotation lies. If that is the case, then would lubing the puzzle (or specific parts of it) cause it to malfunction?

Oskar, at any point when you manipluated the puzzle, have the corners rotated the wrong direction? It seems entirely plausible that this could happen easily. What about wwwmwww's postulation of four hands (or even six) rotating the puzzle?
wwwmwww wrote:
Ok... I think I get it. When you turn the knobs they grab the corners and turn them. Its then the corners that cause the other faces to rotate. If you had 2 people trying to turn two different pairs of faces at the same time the corners would lock and not know which way to go.
What if I try to rotate adjacent faces instead of opposites? It just seems so highly likely (due to uneven wear, lubrication, etc) that this puzzle could at some point develop a mind of it's own or misbehave.

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:51 am 
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It turns out I probably won't be riffing on this one, because the concept I was working on was the exact same thing! I was thinking of the bars not being attached to each other and the mechanism working holistically, and there only being four of them, which wouldn't have worked very well. The Polo Cube adds the missing bars, and puts a Rubik's Cube mechanism in there to make everything move properly. Clearly I've been beat here.


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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:43 am 
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Amazing puzzle, Oscar & Alex - congratulations!

@Startust & wwwmwww - I am guessing the reason the puzzle "knows" which knobs are being turned is due to tolerences between the gears, which means that the gears engage in sequence as force is transmitted through the puzzle, starting with the gears/knobs to which the original force is applied. Thus the turning force is transmitted through the mechanism in sequence as follows:

Opposite knobs -> associated gears -> poles -> associated coners/faces -> orthogonal gears -> orthogonal knobs

This means the other knobs turn only because the correct faces have already started turning.

Is that correct Oskar?

If so it would be interesting to understand just how much sensitivity there is in the tolerence: would the puzzle still work if there was less tolerence so that all the gears were forced to engage simultaneously? I guess not.

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:00 am 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
I am guessing the reason the puzzle "knows" which knobs are being turned is due to tolerances between the gears ... This means the other knobs turn only because the correct faces have already started turning.

Is that correct Oskar?

... would the puzzle still work if there was less tolerance so that all the gears were forced to engage simultaneously? ...
Hi Kelvin,

Those are good questions. I honestly do not know why this mechanism works. When Alex first showed me his design, I predicted that it would not work. Alex' first prototype proved me wrong. Maybe Alex knows why and how the mechanism works?

Oskar

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 Post subject: Re: Polo Gears by ALEX and OSKAR
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:39 am 
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The way this puzzle works is that turning a face turns the four corners next to it directly, which in turn rotate the four adjacent faces, which rotate the four opposite corners, which directly move the opposite face.


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