Jun 26, 2016 | By Alec

Fans of puzzles are increasingly finding their way to 3D printers to produce mindboggling and hitherto impossible puzzles, of which Oskar van Deventer’s record-breaking “Over the Top” 3D printed Rubik’s Cube is perhaps the craziest we’ve ever seen. That same Dutch puzzle designer is now back with another remarkable creation: the 3D printed Magic Gears Grid, which seems to defy all engineering logic by turning clockwise and counter-clockwise simultaneously.

It’s just the latest 3D printed marvel that has come out of the mind of Oskar van Deventer. A media scientist in real life, he has also been designing puzzles since he was a child. Thirty years later, he has already 3D printed hundreds of intriguing designs – some of which are available through Shapeways and other 3D printing services. Due to 3D printing costs, they tend to be very expensive but no less impressive because of it. A few are mass-produced, but the market for these puzzles is unfortunately very small.

Oskar is also a big name in the puzzle design scene, and is only raising expectations further with his Magic Gears Grid. A triangular grid of 3D printed gears featuring a single crank, it defies one supposed certainty in the world of gears: all adjacent gears should become gridlocked when turning in opposite directions. And yet, this doesn’t affect the 19 gears on the Magic Gear Grid, which turn in other directions unhindered and with remarkable ease when the crank is turned. As you can see below, all gears with the green side up turn clockwise, and those with the red side up turn counter-clockwise. Remarkably, the gears also change direction if you crank in the opposite direction.

Right now, it’s little more than a logic-defying puzzle that gets you thinking, but this 3D printed innovation could obviously have its uses as well. We can already imagine very compact mechanical gears that take up less space than ever before. Of course, it also just shows what 3D printing can do to bring mindboggling designs alive.

But if you’d like to 3D print this fun puzzle at home, we’ve got some bad news for you. While Oskar is more than happy to support the small puzzle-designing community, the quality of just about all desktop 3D printers is far too poor for most of his puzzle designs – which rely on very smooth surfaces to work properly.

His puzzles are therefore 3D printed by professional services, and a white version of the Magic Gear Grid is now available at i.Materialise here for €275 (approximately $311 USD). A full-colored, stickered and assembled puzzle can also be ordered through Oskar’s own website.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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