Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
Circa December 2018, member of self-proclaimed “place that lets you explore, document, and share your creations” website Instructables Mike Gardi 3D printed replica versions of two of his favourite educational games from the 1960s, both of which would now be impractically difficult to find. His efforts were discussed in a post of the “hacking” website Hackaday
Gardi recreated “The Amazing Dr. Nim”, which was invented by John Thomas Godfrey in the mid-1960s and manufactured by E.S.R. Inc. of Montclair, New Jersey. (The initials “E.S.R.” didn’t stand for anything.) An injection-moulded, plastic mechanical Digi-Comp II digital computer was used for the game board, which chooses how it plays via “the action of the marbles falling through the levers of the machine.”
The game is programmed via five levers and a series of memory switches that are affected by the pattern of marbles the player releases. Three levers set the starting position of the board, another lever acts as “the equalizer”, and another lever shows whose turn it is. If “the equalizer” is set and the player does not make any mistakes, they win.
Gardi modelled the replica game with Fusion 360 and Tinkercad, using 10mm steel ball bearings instead of marbles, as the game needed to be scaled down to fit on a desktop-sized 3D printer. All the parts were 3D printed out of PLA at a resolution of 0.2mm. Everything outside of the base was printed at 100% infill, which was printed at 20% infill.
Gardi also made a 3D printed version of the “Think-a-Dot” puzzle game, which was invented by Joseph A. Weisbecker and also sold by E.S.R. Inc. in the mid-to-late 1960s. By dropping a marble into one of the game’s three holes, a player can create different patterns of coloured dots. The winner is the person who can form a specific pattern in the game’s manual with the fewest marbles.
While most of the parts were 3D printed in PLA, Gardi used PETG to print the eight “flip-flops”. He also had scans of the manuals professionally printed and bound like they would have been in the 1960s.
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Disclaimer: The author of the featured image of “Sam Loyd – The 14-15 Puzzle in Puzzleland” died in 1911, ergo the featured image is in the public domain in the United Kingdom of Great Britain And Ireland. It is nonetheless attributed to “Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles (1914) by Sam Loyd”.