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Intuited Design – One Metagrobologist`s Experience

By on Dec 8, 2014 in ~Blog Posts~ | 2 comments

How does one design and build a piece of “one of a kind” functional art rife with wood locking mechanical wonders and secret compartments?  How does an artist come up with these crazy ideas anyway?  Is there really a process for extracting tangible ideas from nothing?  And, more importantly, can you do it?   I would like to introduce you to something I now term as Intuited Design, which simply means that I will “paint myself into a corner and have to use my creative intuition to solve my way out.  I have learned to trust/know my ability to solve engineering problems which allows me to keep moving forward.  I guess it’s not as easy as it all sounds at first glance.   Prepare for your mind to be expanded into what might be a new way of thinking and problem solving.  It might sound farfetched at first, but trust me; this really works and I have my current and future body of work to present as my only proof. I invite you to be skeptical as some of these terms may be new to you and I invite you to research a bit more and come to your own conclusions.  Above all, remember that your experience is always the best teacher.   Let’s break it down into smaller chunks.   The beginning for me at least, has always been a little different and I perhaps enjoyed a different life experience than most.  And as I reflect back I see now that it wasn’t so much the specific things that I was doing as it was the way I was beginning to view the world and our existence.  Perhaps there was a far greater benefit to not watching television as a kid and instead playing in the woods and meadows than I could have ever guessed at the time.  Looking back now, I can see that it is at this point in my life I worked on my Spatial Thinking, building all those forts, river rafts, bows and arrows, swinging from ropes in the barn and generally living a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn adventure actually formed strong neuron connections in my brain, something tv just can’t give you.   Life...

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Don’t Let It Out! – A Metagrobologist’s Experience

By on Oct 27, 2014 in ~Blog Posts~ | 0 comments

Don’t Let it Out! In the pursuit of an ever challenging puzzle experience I thought to myself one day, “If I were 12 again what would I build”? It didn’t take long before I thought it was a good idea to add explosives to the mix. Now, before ya get too freaked out, we are only talking about a micro gram of gunpowder here. The delivery agent is by the use of a single small red caps we (mostly guys I am presuming here) all played with when were kids. Damn, I remember hitting them with rocks, sticks, and hammers etc, but here was a chance to add them to a puzzle box I was almost giddy, but not quite, more like a rugged woodsman kinda giddy I would say. For the most part, all of the materials were gleaned from my offcut bins and the little red gun caps can still be found in Dollar Stores across the planet. Naturally, it takes a bit of tweaking to get things to work just right as for the draw/strength of the rubber band and the size of the materials being used all add weight and can either add to or diminish the desired results. For example, one thing I did is I drilled out my dowel that I was using as a firing pin and epoxyied a flat headded nail into the dowel ensuring that the firing pin will last a lifetime of uses. The many holes drilled in this Vintage styled box are to allow the sound to escape but are designed to look like air holes for something living inside, any decorative pattern could be used. The gag is to ask your unsuspecting friend if they want to try the puzzle box, they say ok, and then you take it out of the room to put in a cricket for them (but actually to load the red cap and add a micro recording of a cricket, they have recordable birthday card type devices out now) and then take it back into the room. Tell them to open the puzzle box but without letting the cricket out. And of course the very last move in the sequence to unlock...

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What is a Guerrilla Style Puzzle Box?

By on Apr 23, 2014 in ~Blog Posts~ | 2 comments

Alternate Definition: “Referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorization”, …yup that sounds about right. Guerrilla Style Puzzle Boxes is a new concept to come onto the scene within the specialized niche of puzzle box building. What we are talking about here is the retrofitting and makeover of existing boxes into intriguing mechanical puzzle boxes. Whether they are made from wood, cardboard, plastic or metal each one can be carefully transformed into working mechanical puzzle boxes using various found materials as well as fabricated wood parts. If you take a look around, you will find many previously under-used, under-appreciated boxes just looking for an opportunity to be revived into something beautiful and purposeful. As a puzzle box designer I divide boxes into three basic groups.  Cigar Boxes which simply refers to the empty cigar boxes found in your Fathers and Grandfathers closet (and who knows, maybe your Mom’s too?). The second style is lovingly referred to as Vintage Boxes which relates to all other boxes with the most interesting specimens being those that are antiques or themed in nature. Some of the older metal boxes for example come with a intact unfinished wooden liner which allows for easy glue adhesion of mechanical parts to the interior space. The third style are the Book Boxes which is a specific theme within the Vintage Box category but is worthy of its own classification as there are plenty of collectors that desire this style of puzzle box. Book boxes are usually wooden in nature and are designed to look like faux books. There are a few inherent challenges and limits to building Guerrilla style puzzle boxes as opposed to building a puzzle box from scratch. We will discuss a few of these qualities here. The most obvious restriction is that the builder can only work with that which is given. When starting from scratch the builder has an opportunity to mess with how a box functions as an extension of how a particular mechanism is designed to function, however, typically a Guerrilla type puzzle box however in most cases refers to a relatively simple opening and closing of a lid or drawer. As a Metagrobologist I acknowledge...

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Why Puzzles Are Cool

By on Apr 6, 2014 in ~Blog Posts~ | 0 comments

Puzzles have a known solution, whereas most other problems do not. While puzzles are certainly frustrating at the best of times, we are given the opportunity to learn patience with ourselves.  Puzzles offer a complete problem solving experience from defining the goal, to determining the characteristics of the given, and finally the solution. By observing ourselves and others while we solve puzzles, we can learn about roadblocks to creative problem solving. As we become aware of these roadblocks, we can practice going around them or avoiding them altogether.  The more we exercise this part of our mind the more adept we become.  Puzzling, it can be said, is practicing problem solving, …but don’t tell your kids that. ;...

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Find My Puzzle Boxes Here

By on Mar 13, 2014 in ~Blog Posts~ | 0 comments

Periodically, I build these Cigar and Vintage style puzzle boxes for the sake of writing the plans for WLP that are available on this web site and the actual puzzle boxes themselves can be randomly found on   at times for purchase.  Each puzzle box comes with a signed copy of the solution and of the plan as it is sold on this site.  http://www.puzzleparadise.net/  ...

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