Friday, April 19, 2019

Our new toy

Most of our customers will know that we have been using a Chinese CNC router for our puzzle production. The machine is very reliable, does accurate work, and is a mandatory tool in our workshop. Many of our products could not have been made without the CNC router in a realistic working time frame.

Despite that, we had an inconvenience because the machine had a relatively smaller work area of 400 mm x 300 mm. In many cases, while we were producing a particular part, we didn't have enough area to cut the other parts in the remaining space of the working table.

Here we go, let's buy another larger machine!
We made up our mind last October and the new larger machine was delivered to our house at the end of last year. Although Juno had made sure that the machine was intact and it could be operated from one of his laptops on the day of delivery, there were many things that had to be done before the machine was used for puzzle production.

A CNC router requires a dedicated computer and it has to be set close to the CNC machine itself. The problem is the place sometimes becomes full of sawdust especially when Juno does rip saw cuts using a table saw. So, he decided to hide the dedicated computer in the cabinet of the CNC router, and then hooked up a computer monitor and a keyboard that comes with a pointing device. When these are not in use, the keyboard is folded down and is wrapped up with the special cover that I made.

The dust boot had to be made because Juno didn't like the size and the functions of commercially sold dust boots. Plumbing work for the duct collection was also necessary.

As you can see on the upper image, we have been producing cars although all the car manufacturing industries in Australia were closed down in 2017. The car is going to be one of our next puzzle products. Juno also has an idea of Grooved 6 Board Burr #3 and the puzzle is already in the production process. We sometimes have been using two of the CNC machines at the same time, worrying about the next electricity bill. Even with these efficient machines, the production takes time, so please wait patiently until we introduce the availability of the puzzles by our Pluredro newsletter.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Grooved 6 Board Burr #2

This is our latest product Grooved 6 Board Burr #2 made of our original plywood of Bubinga and European Beech. The puzzle has very smooth surface and good texture thanks to the character of Bubinga timber.

Although the puzzle is quite difficult, Juno says that #2 is ten or 100 times easier than Grooved 6 Board Burr #1.  #1 has 4246 assemblies and #2 has only three. 4246 divided by three is 1415.33 but calculation for difficulty of puzzles may not work like this.

Juno already had vague ideas for different kinds of grooved board burrs when he designed #1. We now have #1 and #2, and Juno will try to design another variant of grooved board burrs when he has spare time.

We initially planned to start selling a sequential discovery puzzle at the same time with Grooved 6 Board Burr #2. Although we have spent quite a long time producing the sequential discovery puzzle, it is still a long way from being finished. It may take another couple of months to be completed, or even more. Please be patient until they are ready to be sold. We will notify you by the newsletter when the time comes.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Cat's day and auction results

Yesterday was cat's day in Japan because the sound of 2/22 makes us think of our fluffy friends' voice: meow, meow, meow. The day was chosen in 1987 to give thanks to the life we can live together with cats, and to deeply appreciate the day with cats. So, it was the best day to donate to the cats' (animal) shelter.

Yep, it was a good excuse going to see cats. We had our 9th puzzle auction recently and as we have always done, we donated half the amount of the puzzle auction sales to the cat shelter. Here are the auction results and its total sales became $391.51 in Australian dollars. Wow, thank you for attending the auction.

The total sales amount this time was a little awkward to divide by 2. Therefore, we have decided to donate A$200.00 to AWLQ. Here is the invoice of the donation.

According to the animal shelter, they are currently running at a loss of $150,000 per month just in rehousing expenses. We will hold more puzzle auctions in the future, though our contribution is still small.

As I have written in a previous blog, we are working on the next sequential discovery puzzle now. I'm not sure if we will make a test version, but if we make a test version, we may put on the 10th auction someday.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Three new burr puzzles

We have started selling following three new puzzles, Stretchy 12, Staggered 12 and Juno's L7 Notchable.

Juno wanted to use one of our special plywood that can be used for 3 x 1 profile pieces. So, he designed Staggered 12 first and soon realized that he didn't have to use the plywood for the 3 x 1 profile pieces because their shape was not so complicated. If the pieces had enough thickness and they were made by hard and durable timber, the pieces won't break.

He has chosen Burmese Teak for Staggered 12 and started designing another puzzle that was good to be made by the plywood. Stretchy 12 became the candidate but Juno hesitated to use the design once because the puzzle must be way too difficult to solve even to very talented solvers. What changed his mind was the fun of the moves and transformation of the puzzle. Checking the solution on Burr Tools, he thought that it was going to be an attractive and gorgeous looking puzzle if three kinds of timber were used.

After he had finished making Staggered 12, there were several meters of Bubinga stocks. Juno made up his mind to use up those remaining timber and designed a rather simpler puzzle. It became Juno's L7 Notchable, a six piece burr that requires seven moves to remove the first piece apart from the assembled shape. As you can see in the image below, there are pins and holes on the pieces. This is how Juno cheated to make the puzzle a bit more complex compared to a normal notchable six piece burr.

We have been working on a sequential discovery puzzle now. It seems that we have to do lots of work to complete the puzzle. We can't say at this moment when the next puzzle will be released. We will release a newsletter when the puzzle becomes available.

Hope you enjoy our latest burr puzzle products.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Four puzzles to auction

This is our ninth puzzle auction and this time, we put two kinds, four test version puzzles up for auction on eBay.

Juno always prepares test timber stocks or extra pieces when he produces puzzle products. These test pieces are used for prototypes, settings for jigs and the CNC router, adjustments for numbers of parts and so on. In some cases, we lose these pieces during production, and in other cases, the pieces survive until the end of production and they can be used and called as a prototype or a test version. We are going to produce a product version of these two kinds of 12 piece burr puzzles very soon. Before we do so, we decided to put the test version up for auction and donate half of the sales amount to an animal shelter.

Stretchy 12
Sapwood of Bubinga is used for the 3 x 1 profile pieces unlike our original plywood for the product version. There are lots of grub holes on the surface of the timber, but we believe some people like such a character of the timber.

Staggered 12
Instead of Burmese Teak for the product version, cheaper Camphor Laurel timber is used for the 3 x 1 profile pieces.

There are two each of two kinds of puzzles on auction. To find out about more details of the puzzles, please check on the auction pages. We are looking forward to you joining our auction!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Doable 12

Doable 12 is our fourth orthogonal 12-piece burr puzzle product and it seems to be the easiest one among them. Although it's still a very difficult puzzle, Juno says that it's doable to solve without computer aids.

So, what are the feature of the puzzle? As you see the perimeter of the puzzle pieces, it has diagonal and curved lines. Juno has modified the shape of the pieces and restricted the puzzle to have not only a unique solution but also a unique assembly. You can trace which piece goes where in the assembled shape of the puzzle observing the shape of the pieces. Then the remaining challenge is to find out how and in which order the pieces have to be assembled. The burr puzzle requires 14 moves to remove the first piece from the assembled shape. It's tough but doable. (I mean to some serious puzzle solvers.)

Our originally made plywood laminated American Black Walnut and European Beech is used for the puzzle to increase the durability of the puzzle. The pieces have a very nice texture and a smooth surface. The shape is cut by one of our CNC routers and all the sharp corners are rounded using a router table.

It is very time consuming to produce those plywoods, but Juno has already produced a different profile of plywood and he has been working on the next project. Two more kinds of 12-piece burr will be released in the near future and I hope that you enjoy these puzzles.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

The 8th Auction Results

I will announce the results of the 8th eBay puzzle auction that was ended two days ago. This time, we had put up two puzzles; 2nd grade of Chubby Crocodile and a new puzzle that is going to be sold soon, Doable 12.
The sales results are as follows:

Doable 12: AUD $86.00
Chubby Crocodile: AUD $104.30

For donating half of the sold sales we went to an animal shelter, "Animal Welfare League Queensland," yesterday. One of the staff remembered us and told that "you are puzzle guys!"

Juno, who is a serious cat lover, took lots of cat pictures as shown below.

I was a bit curious about guinea pigs. They are cute, aren't they? There are some guinea pigs in the shelter, but I prevented myself from looking at them because I would come to want them. You know, we have two cats at home, and they might attack guinea pigs, so I cannot keep them.

In Queensland, Australia, there are lots of people who keep guinea pigs. I guess that's because it's not allowed to keep rabbits in Queensland. Long long ago, the immigrants brought rabbits to Australia to enjoy hunting or as a food. However, the rabbit's population has increased more than people expected and it's getting to be a serious problem now. I sometimes see a rabbit jumping in a field while I'm driving.

Let's back to the subject of the auction. The donation, AUD $100.00 will be used for feeding and medical treatment in the shelter. We hope all the animals in the shelter are able to find a home where they can live with peace of mind.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The first puzzle auction of 2019

We have started an eBay auction for two puzzles, one prototype of a new puzzle and another one is a 2nd grade of Chubby Crocodile.

Pluredro eBay Auction

Juno is a serious cat lover and he needs to visit an animal shelter occasionally and say hello to cats. Therefore, we are going to donate half of the sold amount of this auction to an animal shelter which we have always done.

The prototype puzzle is a new design that we are currently making using our original plywood. It's composed of 12 pieces and is difficult. This prototype version is made of Camphor Laurel timber.

Chubby Crocodile is the puzzle we started selling from last week. This 2nd grade one has marks of mending and a small crack on the internal part.

If you would like to know the details of Chubby Crocodile, please see the online shop page as follows.

Chubby Crocodile at Pluredro Shop

We are looking forward to you joining the eBay auction!


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The first puzzle in 2019: Chubby Crocodile

The first puzzle in 2019 is a unique look that we have never made. It's a crocodile! This is the first animal shaped puzzle for us.

As you see, it's chubby. There is a small cavity inside of its body. We have put one or two "something" inside and you will find it when you solve it.

The puzzle is not very difficult like other Juno's design puzzles, yet I'm sure it puzzles you. Why do I know it will puzzle you?
That's because I, myself, was puzzled by it even though I knew the inside structures.

The Chubby Crocodile has wavy lines. The straight edges are easy to sand, but wavy lines need manual work. Juno and I worked very hard to polish the puzzle both the flat surface and the edges. It's a bit hard to see by the pictures, but its skin is smooth and shiny unlike a real crocodile.

We are going to hold an eBay auction and will sell one Chubby Crocodile which is second grade and one of Juno's prototype puzzle someday soon.

When we start the auction, we will let you know by newsletter as usual. If you are not yet registered for our newsletter, please see the following page for registration.

We hope you will have a fun time with the puzzle of one of the animals representing Australia.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Looking back at 2018

Happy New Year to all!

Looking back to the year 2018, we think it was a busy year. We have produced 15 puzzles in a year.

Here are the puzzles and the release dates we have made.
The red asterisks are sold out puzzles as of today, and you can see them in the puzzle archive.

Jan.18 Mirii CFT - Burr puzzle (Nonorthogonal)

Feb.21 Ixia Box * - Puzzle box and sequential discovery

Mar.12 T-Slot Burr - Burr puzzle

May 7 Alcyon - Burr puzzle (Nonorthogonal)

May 7 Merope - Burr puzzle (Nonorthogonal)

May 7 Quartet Box * - Puzzle box

May 27 Heart Case * - Puzzle box and sequential discovery

Jul. 22 Mirii 6x4 - Burr puzzle (Nonorthogonal)

Aug. 1 Meanders Box - Secret puzzle box

Aug. 26 3D Shhriken - Burr puzzle

Oct. 12 Spade Case - Puzzle box

Oct. 12 Grooved 6 Board Burr #1 - Burr puzzle

Oct. 12 Tangled Clip Burr - Burr puzzle

Nov. 4 Great Grate Puzzle - Burr puzzle

Nov. 18 Sequential Discovery Burred Box * - Sequential discovery, burr and puzzle box

I (Yukari) personally like "Quartet Box" because I like cogs and like the unusual movements of "Quartet Box." If you have bought one, you may know what I mean. If I choose one puzzle from another point of view, I like Mirii CFT. It looks gorgeous and big, but it's a very difficult puzzle, so I use it for an ornament.

I have no idea what kind of puzzles we are making in 2019. At least I know the next puzzle we are going to release. I cannot write about the details yet, but it would be a unique look that we have never made before.

We are going to make fun puzzles as fun as last year's or maybe more.
Please keep your hopes up!

May this year bring new happiness, bring new puzzles and a lot of Aha moments in your puzzling life.