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 Post subject: Rubik’s Cube – Nichols’ Cube – Miracle Eight
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:37 pm 
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First, a little bit of history on puzzles that is perhaps not known to all of you.
In 1970 Larry Nichols filed a patent (which he was granted in 1972) for a 2*2*2 cube based on a magnetic mechanism.
He proposed bars of magnets. So, unfortunately, in turning the pieces they would repel each other.
The solution was to half the cube, rotate 4 pieces and put the cube together.
Clearly, this does not at all compare to a Rubik’s Cube (which was invented later), but since he indicated in his patent alternatives based on mechanical arrangements such as ‘tongue in groove’ parts, it was claimed that Rubik’s Cube (via the company Ideal in the USA) had infringed Nichols’ patent. After a struggle in court, in 1984, the court in the USA ruled that Nichols’ patent was valid and was infringed by the sale of Rubik’s Cubes by Ideal.
This is all rather remarkable since it is obvious to all of us that a magnetic mechanism with partially repelling magnets and the need to separate the parts to allow rotation does not compare with ‘real (Rubik’s) cubes’ based on mechanical mechanisms.
More information on this part of history can be found in the ‘Cubic Circulars’ by David Singmaster and in the book “Puzzles old and new” by Jerry Slocum.

I am digging up this story since some 20-25 years ago in Japan another much better magnetic 2*2*2 cube, called ‘Miracle Eight’ was invented.
I believe only very few samples were made. A sample is shown in the mentioned book by Jerry Slocum on page 139 and I expect that a couple of our Japanese friends may have a sample. The Miracle Eight is based on a metal ball shaped core with 8 surrounding pieces that each contain 2 very small magnets. In contrast to Nichols’ Cube, the pieces can be rotated around the centre core without halving the cube or separating the pieces. Although the movement is somewhat limited and although it is still possible to cheat and although speedcubing is no issue, it works in a very nice way. In fact it is a rather unique puzzle.
A picture of the puzzle is at the twisty database (see; http://twistypuzzles.com/cgi-bin/puzzle.cgi?pid=967).

I was very lucky to acquire a second sample from a Japanese friend (not part of this forum).
Anyone interested in a trade (I am not selling the puzzle + please take into account the absolute rarity of the puzzle), please send me a pm or e-mail.
I would also be interested to know who else has a sample. So, in case you also have a sample, please let me know.

Geert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:19 pm
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia and Maryland, USA
Geert, I have a Japanese 2x2x2 ball in plastic tube container marked 1981 that has exactly the same mechanism as in the puzzle database. It's a picture ball.

I am very interested in the cube you've got. Is there something you're looking for in particular? Please let me know.

Added:
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As the Japanese magnetic 2x2x2 ball with precisely the same mechanism as pictured at the above link in the puzzle database is in factory-made plastic tube container with lplastic ettering showing the year made, it must be that these puzzles were mass-produced even if in small quantities. So it could be more than just a few samples. Still it is a very rare puzzle. I never saw another beyond the one I have.

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Aleksey


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:38 pm 
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I don't really understand the "magnetic mechanism". To me it seems like a puzzle literally held together by magnets and therefore would always fall apart...

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve-Drdc8HMg
OLD NAME : Kid_with_teh_mohawk
pb 22.19
pb avg
27.61 = 26.74, 26.69, 26.98, 23.16, 26.14, 24.63, 23.71, (22.19), 30.41, (35.42), 34.97, 32.69


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Location: Yaroslavl, Russia and Maryland, USA
Clayne, take a look at the photos at the above link to the puzzle database. In the center is metallic ball that is relatively large. Each of the four puzzle pieces has two small magnets that attach the piece to to core metal ball. The puzzle does not fall apart at all. In fact it's quite playable, you would be surprised (as I was) how easy it handles. It only fell apart when I dropped it. Then again, reconnection of the pieces is easy. One distinctive difference of puzzle with this mechanism is that it's heavy.

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Aleksey


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Wow, that's really cool. Hopefully I'll get to play with one someday...

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PLL 15/21
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve-Drdc8HMg
OLD NAME : Kid_with_teh_mohawk
pb 22.19
pb avg
27.61 = 26.74, 26.69, 26.98, 23.16, 26.14, 24.63, 23.71, (22.19), 30.41, (35.42), 34.97, 32.69


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:10 pm 
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Location: Greece, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore.
This is an amazing puzzle. Not only as a puzzle idea, but mostly because of its collectable value. I wish I could trade another puzzle for it, but unofrtunately I don't have any duplicates that could match its rarity.

Thanks for sharing this with us! :)





Pantazis

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:19 pm
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia and Maryland, USA
I had an opportunity to take pictures of my Japanese 2x2x2 Magnetic ball. Here they are. I hope Geert will be able to post pictures of his Magic Eight puzzle as well.


Attachments:
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_01.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_01.jpg [ 237.53 KiB | Viewed 1656 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_02.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_02.jpg [ 238.65 KiB | Viewed 1625 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_03.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_03.jpg [ 253.62 KiB | Viewed 1618 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_04.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_04.jpg [ 236.49 KiB | Viewed 1620 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_05.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_05.jpg [ 262.87 KiB | Viewed 1615 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_06.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_06.jpg [ 254.78 KiB | Viewed 1611 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_07.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_07.jpg [ 303 KiB | Viewed 1609 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_08.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_08.jpg [ 305.92 KiB | Viewed 1599 times ]
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_09.jpg
Japanese_Magnetic_2x2x2_Ball_09.jpg [ 274.32 KiB | Viewed 1607 times ]

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Aleksey
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:19 pm
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia and Maryland, USA
And here are pictures of the puzzle ball in the container that I took a very long time ago.


Attachments:
Puzzle_Ball_01.jpg
Puzzle_Ball_01.jpg [ 82.11 KiB | Viewed 1607 times ]
Puzzle_Ball_02.jpg
Puzzle_Ball_02.jpg [ 74.6 KiB | Viewed 1595 times ]
Puzzle_Ball_03.jpg
Puzzle_Ball_03.jpg [ 75.94 KiB | Viewed 1618 times ]
Puzzle_Ball_05.jpg
Puzzle_Ball_05.jpg [ 71.35 KiB | Viewed 1585 times ]
Puzzle_Ball_06.jpg
Puzzle_Ball_06.jpg [ 72.04 KiB | Viewed 1595 times ]

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Aleksey
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2001 12:45 pm
There are already some pictures of the Miracle Eight in the twisty database, but I will make some additional pictures coming weekend.

The mechanism of having two small magnets for each of the 8 pieces looks very similar for both puzzles. So, I am curious whether the dimensions of the central core are identical.
The central core of the Miracle Eight measures 25.5 mm in diameter.
The assembled cube has a unit lenght of 45.0 mm

Geert


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