PlainCross 3D Puzzle


This is the same puzzle as demonstrated in the American Woodworker video. I figured that I would like to complete the capsule ball set by trying to get this one as well, in the hopes that it would be as clean and elegant as shown in the video. I’d also gotten paid for the month and was feeling a bit flush. There seemed to be 10 puzzles remaining in the dispenser, which would work out to 2,000 yen ($18) if I had to clean it out, and thus proving if PlainCross was even in the machine or not. At this stage, it wasn’t about the money, but about verifying the math. On the plus side, I’ve been showing these puzzles to my students, some of whom are old enough to have children of their own, and they seem to be intrigued by them. So, I gave away the extras as Christmas presents.

I just started throwing money in the machine. When a capsule came out, I’d pop it open, drop it on the floor, and try again. In short, I got 4 CrossNeos (which is good, because that’s the one everyone likes), 1 Galaxy, 1 Diamond and 1 GetaCross. I got PlainCross on my eighth try, and at that point I really couldn’t tell how many capsules were still in the dispenser (maybe 3 or 4).

PlainCross is disappointing in that it wasn’t machined very well. The locking bar of the pin piece is too thin, so the puzzle sags when you prop it on its corners, giving away the secret to disassembling it. Beginners may still have trouble putting it together again, but it’s sort of self-explanatory if you’ve worked with 3D puzzles very much at all. There are three pieces, about 5 cm long. Two are identical, and the third is the pin piece. Take one of the identical pieces, and put it on the table with the big notch pointing up, and the half-notch facing to the right.

Take the pin piece and put it into the notch of the first piece to form a cross, and rotated to have the crossbar at the upper left. Slide the pin piece to the right to leave a long half-notch gap as shown in the photo.

Pick up the remaining piece and hold it upright, at 90-degree angles to the other two, with the large notch facing to the right. Slide it into place. Then rotate the pin piece to lock the puzzle.

Anyway, I now have the complete 6-puzzle set, with 7 duplicates I gave away to my students. Hopefully this will tide me over for a few years, until I get a larger apartment.

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