Nov.11, 2014 | By Alec

3D printed presents are wonderful presents to give to your friends and loves ones, as they can be customized and perfected for that particular person. And if that particular person is crazy about puzzles, than this recent 3D printed addition to Shapeways might just be the perfect present: the Centrifugal Puzzle Box. 'A one of a kind gift box that adds excitement and fun to gift giving and requires out of the box thinking to solve!'

Not only is it unlike most of the other puzzles he or she will have ever seen, it also contains an extra level of trickery. Finally, the box itself can be a lovely container for an additional present (providing he or she can overcome its puzzle). Gifts of no more than 50 x 50 x 19.5 mm should easily fit into it. All this makes it a perfect 3D printed gift for the right person, that also displays a very high level of 3D craftsmanship.

The Centrifugal Puzzle Box has been designed by Alex Maund, a Shapeways seller with a host of original present ideas available. Unlike those 3D printed creations, however, this one is all about the puzzle.

So how does it work? And more importantly, how does it open? At first sight, this puzzle box looks to be all about four letter selectors on the lid. These can be rotated to select one of six letters to click into place. This can lead to quite a lot of combinations; a whopping 1296 of them. But this isn't a puzzle about guessing someone's name or remembering a piece of inspiration like in the Da Vinci Code.

Instead, the rotators simply provide a hint that serve the additional purpose of distracting and frustrating the person in question. As he or she might realize after playing around with it for some time, several letters click into place more firmly that others. Specifically, one letter on each rotator clicks into place more strongly than the others. If these are selected on each rotator, they read out the word SPIN once read in clockwise order. This is a clue to how the puzzle is actually solved, though you can only hope it will be correctly interpreted.

For spinning is the key to opening this puzzle box. Simply spin it around on a flat surface, and the box's lid simply comes loose. Clever, isn't it?

So what's the secret? Four 6 mm ball bearings that need to be inserted into the four channels inside the box. The mechanism behind them is perhaps best understood when watching the instructional clip (below). In a nutshell, these ball bearings can freely move about in their channels, preventing the lid from opening. By applying the spinning force, all of these balls are pushed to the outside of the channels, and thereby no longer block the opening mechanism. Simply lift up the lid.

The box be locked just as easily; simply place the lid back on, and shake the box to allow the bearings to move freely again.

This unusual mechanism not only makes it a beautifully designed 3D printed object, but it will doubtlessly annoy whoever you give it to. While it isn't cheap (77 euros), fun is guaranteed. You can find it here on Alex's Shapeways page.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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