After a bit of pondering I decided that I really wanted to make some kind of puzzle myself. I went through a few possibilities of how I was going to do this, but I was fairly limited by the fact that I am completely inept in crafts such as woodwork and metalwork, and besides that I didn't have the tools anyway.
I also considered using Lego like Neil describes on his blog, but as all of my Lego is happily tucked away in my Mum's loft (where it has been for a while) I decided to go for dice.
Dice are brilliant building blocks for projects like this as they are manufactured to consistently be the same size and shape. I managed to assemble these two standard 3x3x3 Soma Cubes using only the dice, some super glue and a solid ruler. I made the black one first, and normally all standard Soma Cubes have 240 distinct solutions, but as all of the numbers on each side match I imagine this number is greatly reduced. It could even have only one solution, but I'd need someone with better Burrtools skills to find that out for me.
The first one went pretty well so I went on to make another, except I designed it with coloured die so that a pattern could be formed on the surface. I love the look of this one, and as well as the pattern all of the sides of the cube are numbered just as a normal die would be.
Now I said that dice are consistently manufactured to the exact same size and shape, but this isn't always entirely true. I attempted to build a burr puzzle which would have been made of over 120 cube units, and each burr piece would've had to be 6 units long. The sides of each die look very flat, but there are slight irregularities. The irregularities are so slight that they really make no difference on my 3x3x3 cubes, but on pieces that are 6 units long the irregularities add up and cause some real alignment issues.
Oh well, my first DIY puzzle attempt went quite well I think, now I shall have to find some better manufactured die to build something a bit more exciting. Watch this space!
I gave a set of my dice cubes to Allard at our last get together, and he has done a little write up for them on his blog. Check it out!