Lee Krasnow has been known as a creator of some very ingenious and indecently finely-toleranced puzzles for many years. Cheap or plentiful, they were not. Amazingly well-crafted they certainly were. It goes without saying that they were massively sought-after by puzzle collectors around the world… IMHO his Barcode Burr was his most special creation.
Recently, Lee began experimenting with a 3D printer, and found that the outputs were pretty good, so he got a few more and began selling various 3D printed puzzles on his etsy shop – while making the STL files available for free for anyone who wanted to print their own at home…lord knows how many printers he currently has rattling away in his shed (they’d have to be, wouldn’t they?!) but he is producing a prodigious number of puzzles for what must be barely more than it’s costing him to produce them.
By the time I got around to ordering a Barcode Burr (let’s call it a BCB from now on and save me lots of keystrokes!), Lee was offering a set that came with a standard BCB, and a set of replacements arms and mazes that would transform it into a number of variants – based on some work that he and Derek Bosch had done… many puzzles is always better so I ordered the set.
The standard 3D printed BCB has one very important thing going for it which almost makes it better than the original: it’s AVAILABLE! Don’t get me wrong, I love my wooden copy and you’d need to pry it from my dying claws… but you can’t get them for love nor money! The 3D printed versions are getting churned out by the dozen… and they work beautifully – seriously, Lee has done an excellent job of engineering them to go together perfectly, and then play rather nicely.
I can vouch for that because the standard copy got played with before I set about assembling the first of the alternate versions – assembling the six main parts form the base pieces, maze plates and arms was a piece of cake with everything going exactly where it needed to and things lining up perfectly. Assembling the six bits in the cube confirmed that everything interacts perfectly.
Having assembled the first alternate version, I struck a bit of a problem: if I wanted to assemble the next one, I’d need to sacrifice one of the BCBs already assembled to get the base pieces I needed… hmm.
I ruminated for a while and then dropped Lee a note asking him if he’d mind selling me some extra base pieces so that I could have them all assembled at the same time… his response suggested that I hadn’t been the only one asking that question and shortly there were some options up on the etsy shop to allow any combination of pieces to be collected…. And I now have a complete set of the variants sitting on my shelf – pieces assembled and duly put together by my fair hands, albeit referring to Lee’s solution card for some of them – the n-ary versions are simple enough to work out yourself, but some of the complex variants are aptly named [ExtremeTortureCode Burr, I'm looking at you!] and I feel no shame at having followed the assembly sequence slavishly.
If you like n-ary puzzles, you’ll get a kick out of this set – and by all means, if you’re proficient 3D-print-meister, have a go yourself… but I suspect you’ll struggle to produce them as nicely as Lee does and they’re a steal at his prices anyway.Yes I’m a fan… and yes, I’m eyeing up the set of co-ordinate motion BCBs that have recently appeared in the etsy shop… it’s probably just a matter of time!