Frabjous

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(Click to Enlarge)

Today, my review is for something quite different. The beautiful sculpture you see in the picture is actually an assembly puzzle as well.

Designed by George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) and produced by Artifacture Studios, the Frabjous puzzle is made from 30 laser-cut S-shaped pieces in frosted acrylic. What makes the puzzle so interesting and fascinating is that all of the pieces are identical. After assembly, the sculpture represents a great rhombic triacontahedron (thirty rhombic faces). Notice the star-like shapes when looking down at one of the vortices.

(Click to Enlarge) - Single Piece

The design of the pieces looks very simple, but when joined together, they form a strong bong that will make the overall structure very stable. Each piece has on both ends a pin and tail, sort of like the dovetail joints you see in woodworking, and it's this clever mechanism that allows the pieces to create this beautiful swirling pattern. The two openings found on each piece will also create a nice hollow effect throughout the puzzle, and provides a slightly different view as you rotate the puzzle in a flat surface.

Looking at all the pieces before attempting the assembly task, could be a little intimidating, as it can be quite difficult to grasp how to connect all those pieces in order to complete that complex structure. The important thing, however, is to think one step at a time and you'll have it finished in no time. It took me approximately half an hour to complete the assembly process.

Always keep in mind that the pieces have all the same orientation. In other words, they all connect when viewed from an S-shape, not a backwards S. The hardest part for me was to connect the first ten pieces. Because I was basically relying on the picture to see the actual finished result, it was very hard to see how the first pieces would fit in the whole structure. When you start to see the pieces form something you can finally recognize, that's when the fun part begins.

(Click to Enlarge) - Close-Up

Although the later stages can be a little trickier, especially when you're left with very little space to maneuver the pieces into place, by then, you'll know how it works and the process becomes very intuitive, because most of the final shape is already assembled. During assembly, I only had to reconnect two or three pieces that were overlapping, so my advice is: don't make the connections in the pieces so tight until you have the assembly finished. After finishing it, you can then do the final adjustments in the joints.

My copy of the Frabjous puzzle came from Artifacture's Etsy store, the actual producers of the puzzle. Also available in their store is another beautiful version of the puzzle, a special edition made of dichroic acrylic, that changes colors when viewed from different light angles.

(Click to Enlarge)

Closing Comments:

Not used to this type of puzzles, I wasn't sure what to expect from such an object, other than the fantastic appearance. After having finished it, I can honestly say that it's not as difficult as you may think and it'll certainly give you a very satisfying experience. When assembly is completed, you're left with a gorgeous sculpture that will make a random desk look extraordinary.

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