Archive for April, 2009

Cutting puzzles by machine

April 14th, 2009
Waterjet for cutting jigsaw puzzles

Waterjet for cutting jigsaw puzzles

In order to automate the process, I thought that a machine that could move in two axes – up,down,right,left – would work. Manually, a puzzle cutter is continually turning part of an uncut puzzle into a scroll saw blade. The blade has a thickness and a width and can cut in only one direction. For my machine to work the “blade” had to cut in all directions. I knew of two – a wire saw and a laser. A wire saw, using a slurry of diamond dust, cut precisely but very slowly. A laser was more promising. I tried one, a machine that was normally used to cut patterns for boots and shoes. But the laser burned the wood, leaving charred edges.

Finally, I heard of a waterjet and choose to work with Flow Industries, who built the water jet. The water under very high pressure is forced through a diamond nozzle .007 inches in diameter. The water has enough velocity to cut through the puzzle easily. The width of cut is just about right. Not too loose and not too tight. My first table was built by Tony Coco of Coco Engineering. He built the two-axis table which moves the puzzle under the jet. It was up and running by the end of 1986.

Water Jet Technology , ,

Two new puzzles

April 10th, 2009

If you, dear reader, will bear with me, I will depart from the historical sequence of these blogs to write about two new puzzles that you can find on our website under Fine Arts.

  1. The House of the Seven Gables is in the New England Artists section. It is a reproduction of a charming watercolor by Racket Shreve. Racket makes it look so easy but in reality watercolor is a very ticklish medium. A smaller version of this puzzle and a puzzle of an old sign are available at the Seven Gables Gift Shop or 978-744-0991, extension 111.

  2. Bicentennial Balloons by Ralph Cahoon is a different take on our Revolutionary War and is not at all to be taken seriously.  It is in the exotic section. 
Bicentennial Balloons

Bicentennial Balloons

The House of the Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables

Exotic Art Jigsaw Puzzles, Fine Art Jigsaw Puzzles, New England Artist Puzzles , , ,

My inspiration

April 6th, 2009
Christina's World

Christina's World

In the 70s we put a lot of cardboard puzzles together. Then a high-flying cousin began sending us one by one by registered mail his collection of wooden puzzles. Some were Par puzzles, designed with the funky sensibility that Par was known for. The most difficult was a reproduction of Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. Almost all grass. I thought I would start my own collection until I realized I couldn’t afford to. The expense is not hard to understand. Cutting a puzzle by hand takes skill and time. There must be a way to automate the process.

Fine Art Jigsaw Puzzles , ,