Hi Twisty Puzzles fans,Gear Minx
was already presented by Claus Wenicker
in this thread
, including this YouTube video
. So I asked moderator Dave Litwin
whether I could start my own thread on this puzzle. The answer was that that would be OK, as long as my post would have added value to Claus'. So here I go.
First of all, I want to thank Claus for building the first prototype of Gear Minx. There is quite a risk involved, as more that 20% of my designs fail at the first prototype. Unlike the first Over The Top 17x17x17
, this first prototype seems to work.
After seeing my Gear Cube
, several people have suggested to me to build gears into a Megaminx
. Such suggestions have been done both privately and publicly
. While just saying "hey, build a geared Megaminx" may be easy, there is a fundamental question to the design: how many edges should have a gears
It is important to understand that not all edges can have gears. If more than 12 of the 30 edges have gears, then some parts of the puzzle can never move. This would make those parts non functional. Even with fewer edge gears, there will be situations that some turns are blocked. This is similar to a bandaged cube, like the Bicube
. Total prevention of blocking would require zero or at maximum one gear. However that would not be much more fun, compared to a classic Megaminx. I chose to have the golden mean of six gears, as that number can be symmetrically spread over the edges of a dodecahedron.
Six proved to be a good number of gears. Often, there are free-running faces, and often there are moves blocked because of the gears, but there are always a lot of moves possible from any state of the puzzle. I believe that this puzzle is extremely difficult to solve, perhaps as difficult as Latch Cube
, because of the blocking moves.
The prototype turns a bit stiff, much stiffer that a commercial Gear Cube or Megaminx. Because of friction, it is not possible to turn one face, that drives a small gear, that drives another face. So it is needed to turn geared faces simultaneously, as demonstrated in the YouTube Videos by Claus and me. If you turn just one face, then the gears start skipping. The flexibility of the nylon makes it easy to cheat and skip teeth. Whereas simultaneous turning of opposite faces is the natural way of moving a Gear Cube
, Gear Cube Extreme
and Even Less Gears
(that has even fewer gears than Gear Cube Extreme), it takes conscious effort to do turn a Gear Minx correctly.
The mechanical design of the puzzle was quite a challenge. When the teeth of the gears are too long or too deep, parts start falling off or interfere with each other. As you can see from the close-up photo, teeth of one small gear mesh with those of other small gears.
Watch the YouTube video
Buy the puzzle at my Shapeways Shop
Read more at the Shapeways Forum
Check out the photos below.
Gear Minx - prototype - view 1.jpg [ 48.33 KiB | Viewed 2409 times ]
Gear Minx - prototype - view 2.jpg [ 49.83 KiB | Viewed 2409 times ]
Gear Minx - prototype - view 3.jpg [ 48.14 KiB | Viewed 2409 times ]
Gear Minx - prototype - view 4.jpg [ 44.16 KiB | Viewed 2409 times ]