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About SNOT ("Studs Not On Top")

(design: November 2005)

(Due to limited webspace (50Mb), images have been reduced in size. You can still find the original images in my BrickShelf account.)


1. The idea

I attended LEGO-World 2005 (only on Saturday) with my Cube, Sphere and Level 42-mosaic. Both puzzles were demonstrated probably 50 times that day with parts of the cube breaking off. This was because of the SNOT-technique that was used:
The total surface of this part equals 80 studs (4x20), where both surfaces are attached to each other by only 12 studs (15%). To attach two plates to each other and preserve a solid structure, 25% or more is recommended. At the time I also didn't have enough large tan plates, so more bricks were used - weakening the structure even more.

On the other hand, TLC no longer produces the 1x2 hinge plates with two or three fingers (partnumbers 4276 and 4275), so if I ever want to make more puzzles like this, these parts would be very difficult to find. That's why I decided to redesign a few of my puzzles, where I tried to use as few rare parts as possible.

2. The trick...

Main challenge: no visible studs on top or bottom of elements (smooth surfaces on all sides). I acheived this by building two solid structures in/round each other both facing outwards. This technique requires lots and lots of tiles, but when I visited LegoLand Günzburg in July 2005 I noticed that tiles were available in many different sizes and colours. I went back in November to buy (among other things) more than 1 kg of tiles (unfortunately at the end of the season they only had red ones left; that's why the Japanese Crystal turned out to be red instead of the originally planned white).

3. The cubic puzzle

The finished puzzle

Nothing has changed; the finished puzzle still looks exactly the same. All the pieces still have the same shapes and sizes.

Below: But if you take a closer look at the pieces, you can clearly see what has changed: tiles facing towards each other are holding both solid structures together.

Required pieces
Detail

Remarks:

4. Japanese Crystal with 33 pieces

The finished puzzle

  • Left: the finished puzzle.
  • Right: the 33 pieces required to build the Japanese Crystal.
Required pieces
Bending, but not breaking...

  • Left: to proove that even the largest pieces are very strong...
  • Right: the same construction method: two solid structures built in/round each other.

Detail

Remarks:


5. Japanese Crystal with 19 pieces

With a minor adjustment on the largest pieces (no other elements are required !), it is possible to make another (smaller) Japanese Crystal with 19 pieces.

The finished puzzle

  • Left: the finished puzzle.
  • Right: the 19 pieces required to build the Japanese Crystal.
Required pieces

6. Japanese Crystal with 9 pieces

With another minor adjustment on the largest pieces (no other elements are required !), it is possible to make yet another (smaller) Japanese Crystal with only 9 pieces.

The finished puzzle

  • Left: the finished puzzle.
  • Right: the 9 pieces required to build the Japanese Crystal.
Required pieces


The rendered images are created with MLCad, converted with L3P and rendered with POV-Ray.