James Stanley

Tagged: all | software | 3dprinting | electronics | cpu | science | bitcoin | cnc | puzzle | metalwork | smsprivacy | chess | futurology | keyboard | wigwag | cryptography | cybercrime | lawnmower | magic | banglejs | clocks | ipfs | pikon | protohackers | rc2014 | steganography | tor | ricochet

A self-aligning Boggle board
Wed 25 October 2023
Earlier this year Charlie challenged me to make a Boggle board that always leaves the letters upright, and this week I have succeeded. Read more

Prime Combination: Solution
Sat 11 February 2023
One solution to the Prime Combination puzzle is 00001 -> 00002 -> 00003 -> 00013 -> 09013 -> 99013 -> 99023 -> 99923 -> 99823 -> 99833 -> 09833 -> 09733 -> 00733 -> 10733 -> 10723. Read more

Prime Combination
Sun 5 February 2023
You come across a 5-digit combination padlock. The combination is 10723. The padlock is currently showing 00001. If the combination is ever set to a number that is not prime, it resets to 00001 immediately, so every intermediate state from 00001 to 10723 also must be prime. How do you input the combination? Read more

Alternative revolutions
Mon 3 October 2022
You can use the profile of an object that has rotational symmetry, but revolve it around a different axis, to produce a different object that has the same profile. It feels like there's a puzzle idea in there somewhere, but I can't work out the best way to turn it into an actual puzzle, so if you have any ideas please let me know. Read more

Using the weird rotary axis
Thu 24 March 2022
I've been playing with my weird rotary axis for a couple of weeks now. It's a rotary axis mounted on the gantry, with the rotation of the chuck geared off a toothed rack on the table. I've had a few questions about the practicalities of using it, so this is some of what I've learnt. Read more

Packing puzzle: Six Fit
Thu 17 March 2022
I've designed a new 2d packing puzzle. It's called "Six Fit" and you have to fit 6 pentominoes into a rectangular tray. Read more

Party Puzzling: themed puzzle sets for special occasions
Thu 24 February 2022
Emma and I are now selling themed puzzle sets for use as entertaining party favours for events like weddings, and stag and hen parties. The idea is that you'd buy enough to give one to every attendee, and people who want to can try to solve it, and regardless they can take it home afterwards. There's also a competitive element: each puzzle has a QR code inside which the successful player can scan to add their name, and solve time, to the event's private online leaderboard. Read more

Bubble packing puzzle
Tue 23 November 2021
I designed a new puzzle this morning, it's a relatively simple packing puzzle where you have to fit 21 circle-ish pieces into a case. Read more

All the gears, no ideas: an escape room puzzle
Fri 18 December 2020
I designed a puzzle for an escape room. The company ended up not wanting to pay for it, but I thought the puzzle was interesting enough to be worth making for myself anyway. Read more

First steps into CNC machining
Mon 5 October 2020
I have bought a "6040" CNC router, and have been getting to grips with how to use it. This journey started with converting the machine to Grbl because I'm not interested in running proprietary software. Once Grbl was all working correctly, I clamped a small piece of plywood to the bed, fitted a 2mm end mill and made my first cuts, manually "jogging" the tool position using the buttons in the UGS interface. Read more

Secrets of the Hanayama Cast Marble
Wed 8 July 2020
Cast Marble is a mechanical puzzle sold by Hanayama. It was invented by Bram Cohen (who you may recognise as the inventor of BitTorrent) and Oskar van Deventer, who has an interesting YouTube channel where he regularly posts new puzzle designs. Read more

Puzzle Drawers
Sun 17 March 2019
For the last ~3 weeks I've been working on a chest of drawers. This is no ordinary chest of drawers, they are puzzle drawers. The idea is that the puzzler is presented with one of the drawers already open, and the goal is to manipulate the chest into a configuration where all of the drawers are closed. With a typical chest of drawers, this would be easy: just close the drawer that is open. In the puzzle drawers, there are 3d-printed internal mechanisms linking the drawers together. Read more

A 4x4 chess puzzle
Tue 28 August 2018
Playing Isopath a lot recently led to a broader interest in board games, which led to me playing a lot of go, and particularly chess (you can add me on lichess, but I'm not very good). I had a look at some single-player variants of chess and played "Hippodrome" a few times but found it very easy, however it gave me an idea for another possibility. Read more

I designed a trick chess piece with hidden compartments
Sun 4 February 2018
It's quite easy to model a traditional chess piece (apart from a knight) using CAD software. You basically just have to draw a sketch of the outline and revolve it around its centre. I modelled, and 3d printed, a Queen that includes some hidden compartments for storing small bits of paper, e.g. containing passwords or Bitcoin keys. Read more

Magnetic cubes puzzle: In practice
Mon 22 January 2018
I've put together a physical version of the magnetic cubes puzzle and have spent a good few hours playing with it. (You don't need to have read that post in order for this one to make sense, but it might help, and it's certainly worth having a look at the table that labels the different cube configurations). I haven't yet managed to solve it without consulting a computer. Read more

Magnetic cubes puzzle: In theory
Sat 20 January 2018
I had an idea for a puzzle. Imagine 27 small cubes. Put a magnet on each face of each cube, with variation as to whether North or South is facing outwards. Now try to assemble the cubes into a 3x3x3 "cube of cubes". Read more

Solving the Matchsticks Game
Wed 20 September 2017
I was on holiday in Iceland last week, and while we were away, Charlie introduced me to the "Matchsticks" game. We played a few rounds and it got me thinking about how to solve it. I couldn't find any information about the game online so I'm sharing what I've learnt... Read more

I made a puzzle game
Sun 1 November 2015
This evening I had an idea for a small puzzle game and implemented it. Read more