Puzzle 299 - Sonic Cruiser

By Custom Puzzle Craft

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Puzzle #299 - Sonic Cruiser
I snuck in a microscopic picture of Dr. Who's TARDIS in the lower right picture (not visible here)

Puzzle #299 - Sonic Cruiser - reverse side with figurals removed

This webpage was created on September 3, 2014, at the request of the customer of this puzzle. It was fun digging through my deep archives and seeing what I was doing 12 years ago! There is a reference to me having a migraine headache. They were frequent in the early going of Custom Puzzle Craft, but happily they stopped a few years later.

This puzzle was one of the very few orders I received where the customer created PowerPoint presentations of the design and figurals!

From customer notes:

These are the figurals ACTUAL files..plus…30-31 figurals in all..plus anything you think is apt. I have labled them in RED thru this document
4 F
5 P
6-9 4 Strip cut jurassic Pieces that fit
12 Boeing Logo
13 Another Logo
14 707
15 717
16-17 727
18 737
19-20 747
21 757
22 767
23 777
24 DC-10
25 DC-9
26 & 27-30 or 31 SSC (Sonic Cruise) FRONT & "overhead" (latter view as a mini puzzle with 4 or 5 pieces) [2014 Edit: was beyond my skills at the time]
32-33 give the KLINGONS a chance

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

June 19, 2002

11:33 pm - The Dali puzzle follow up is now "definite", but not formally part of the backlog until I have some more specs. The puzzle will feature four high resolution simulated photos of Boeing's "space plane" as well as a stylized global map with projected travel times between major cities. Will be pretty cool. The customer has clearance from Boeing to use the pictures and I received them today. The puzzle won't be as massive as the Dali, but should be a pretty good sized puzzle with maybe 15 figurals (awaiting specs for these) and presumably the fourth incarnation of the Star-Trek Enterprise will be one of them. The customer will be visiting in August to pick it up.

July 25, 2002

10:20 am - I'm back! I will be offering a quote for the "Boeing" puzzle soon and expect to add that puzzle to the backlog in a few days.

July 29, 2002

10:01 pm - Tomorrow I'll ship Yin-Yang, Happy Flower Owl, and Pearls, and will start cutting Tuscany Landscape, my Michael Seewald puzzle for the NYC show. This puzzle will be cut in a fairly dense Swirl Curl with just one figural in the shape of Italy. After Tuscany Landscape is done I have to "drop everything" and get the "Boeing Puzzle" digital image ready for photo-printing and the order formally opened, as the customer plans to pick it up on August 15th.

August 1, 2002

10:34 pm - Worked late last night and about six hours today working on the Boeing image. Preliminary work done and approved; I expect to get final sign off on it tomorrow, formally putting the puzzle in the backlog.

August 2, 2002

11:30 pm - No contact from customer regarding the revised image for the Boeing puzzle. Are you out there? I will drop off the image tomorrow for printing, as is, and will pick up the other three prints. Puzzle won't get done in time, otherwise. Service bureau open on Saturdays.

August 3, 2002

4:15 pm - I dropped off the "Boeing Space Plane" puzzle for printing (should be ready next Wednesday), and picked up three completed prints. Cosmic Cat looks fantastic as well as two other prints (the U.S. Flag for the Sept 11 remake, and a custom collage). After I design the figurals for the Boeing puzzle (will start tomorrow), I'll cut Cosmic Cat (will be on the order of 10 1/8" by 13 1/4", just a touch smaller than the previous two printed by the artist, and I'm planning somewhere between 300-350 Swirl Curl pieces) and then the collage puzzle.

August 5, 2002

9:10 pm - Finished the initial design work for the Boeing puzzle. Will have 33 figurals. Four of them will be scattered "grid cut" piece figurals that should be able to fit together. Also there will be a Space Plane figural consisting of five pieces that ought to go together even though the pieces are to be scattered in the puzzle. Cutting these two features nicely will be particularly difficult.

3:57 pm - I've had two inquiries today regarding marriage proposal puzzles. I've accepted both of them as doable for within the next two weeks, I very much need the work, despite the fact that I'll be busy meeting the deadline for the Boeing puzzle. Awaiting confirmations. Email has been very light and calls virtually non-existent in the past couple weeks in this summertime season. Formal backlog remains unchanged at two.

Had a scary sequence of crashes on my computer today. I'd power on and after about two minute everything would lock up... repeating this three additional times in quick succession. Finally, pulled all plugs, waited five minutes, rebooted and the problem went away, but now I feel insecure. On top of this, Cox (Cable) was down for several hours on Saturday. In my massive to do list is an item to have an alternate computer with alternate connection (DSL vs Cable), I'm saving for this.

August 6, 2002

9:19 pm - I've been under the weather today.

Turned down an emergency order today which would have had to ship tomorrow.

I cut a number of boards today for both the NYC puzzles and the backlog, but didn't do much else. The backlog is up to four with the confirmation of the Space Plane puzzle and a small marriage proposal puzzle; email on the increase today. Will be doing some mounting late this evening as I got up late this morning. The Space Plane print should be ready for pickup tomorrow, I plan to start that puzzle on Thursday - I cut the board today. I do plan to do some cutting tomorrow, but not "marathon levels". My backlog is manageable at the moment. As for the NYC puzzles, I've decided I'm going to be making an 8th puzzle, another "mini Spectra" puzzle.

August 7, 2002

8:08 pm - Email continued at higher levels today. Backlog unchanged at four, but several new inquiries, could lead to future orders.

I didn't do any cutting today, as I've been a bit under the weather, but feeling somewhat better now. I printed and mounted a print for a small marriage proposal puzzle, plan to cut this tomorrow. I picked up the Sonic Cruiser puzzle print - the print looks good, and is now mounted and ready for cutting tomorrow. I expect this puzzle to take three days to cut, but am allocating four days. I also mounted the collage puzzle (order from England) and Cosmic Cat (the second of eight puzzles for NYC) - I'll cut these two puzzles in sequence after Sonic Cruiser is done. There is a possibility that I may receive another short deadline small proposal puzzle order. If I do I'll make a detour in the backlog sequence and cut that one as needed.

I've received word that I won't be able to post Space Plane pictures here, except for select puzzle pieces, there may be a change of heart at Boeing., as the pictures are on the Boeing website [2014 Edit: not any more at the link I had here, also, project was cancelled in December 2002].

August 8, 2002

8:06 pm - Started cutting the Sonic Cruiser puzzle, at last. Put in about five hours, but only made a small dent as a good part of the time was spent on figural placement and some initial cuts.

Sonic Cruiser - random piece and Boeing Logo

The pieces are being cut in a mixture of Swirl Curl and Long Round, per customer request, with freedom to "go wild". As the puzzle is 18 x 12 with 33 figurals, the figurals crowd out the "free space" so I'm pretty restricted on what I can do. This is the first time I've cut a dense cut using the "photo-print" paper. It is cutting well but does not take particularly well to a lot of handling pressure, so the going is slower than usual.

I've been suffering all week from some abdominal swelling and will be seeking medical attention tomorrow. Customer puzzles have highest priority now, the NYC puzzles are now on "the back burner", so to speak. I plan to cut one small marriage proposal puzzle tomorrow and design a second one. Customer backlog unchanged at four.

August 9, 2002

10:35 pm - Spent about eight hours cutting Sonic Cruiser today. About 40% done. Some of the airplane figurals (there are many in this puzzle), are of the "extreme" variety, meaning extremely delicate cutting to pull them off. Today I came upon a slight variation in the way I can turn pieces against the blade which is useful for doing super thin turns. This kind of cutting is not something I'd do in a "normal" puzzle, as the some of these pieces could be very easily broken and even the best paper can peel back at the tips if not handled properly. Anyway, here are two "extreme" figurals I cut today - The one on the left is about as difficult and delicate as any I've ever cut, the one on the right is more normal except for the six little extensions from the wings. I'll have some photos of some sections of the puzzle after I'm done.

2 figurals
Sonic Cruiser - Two figurals - reverse
About actual size

Tomorrow I'll cut the two small marriage proposal puzzles and then resume work on Sonic Cruiser.

Note: This log is mostly about my Custom Puzzle Craft activities, yet from time to time little bits of my personal life seep in. As to health issues, I'll still mention the occasional migraine as they usually affect my ability to work on puzzles, but as to other health issues, I've decided I won't mention them unless they seriously affect my ability to make puzzles. To resolve yesterday's entry, today I procrastinated and didn't see a doctor although I do still plan to see one soon.

August 10, 2002

9:20 pm - I don't know if I posted the following picture before. A year or two ago I cut some creative pieces for an artist at Mixed Media, Antonia Barros. She later painting a work, inspired by one of my pieces. The painting is acrylic on wood, and is currently installed on the grounds of Mixed Media, visible from the street.

Painting by Antonia Barros
[2014 Edit - over the subsequent years, the work remained exposed to the elements and disintegrated]

Cutting marathon continues, putting in another eight or nine hours of cutting today. Sonic Cruiser is now about 70% done, the cutting is going well and the paper is holding up better than in my initial impressions. I've cut several more "extreme" figurals and a few neat Creative pieces. The puzzle is mostly Long Round with some Swirl Curl mixed in, with a very dense cut. My first attempt at a multi-piece figural, with the pieces scattered around the puzzle failed, this task was beyond my skills, and remains something I've never done. I don't have the methods done for keeping stacked pieces aligned properly. Fortunately I "cancelled" the figural before I got to the outline so there is no "trace" of the problem in the puzzle. Tomorrow I'll be attempting a similar challenge involving four "Jurassic" pieces, I'll do my best to pull the cutting trick off. In the Dali puzzle, I pulled this off with three "Jurassic" pieces.

This evening I cut puzzle #298, currently untitled, a 27 piece Swirl Curl puzzle, scalloped edges, about 9 x 6 1/2".

Puzzle #298, untitled [2014 Edit - later named to Nature's Beauty]; source image provided by customer

August 11, 2002

9:48 pm - Put in about 10 hours today on #299, Sonic Cruiser. I wanted to make sure that the four "Jurassic" pieces, when cut in separate locations in the puzzle, would fit together to form a two by two section of pieces. Despite more than two hours of revised planning, the result was only a partial success. Each piece fits into at least one other piece, but not all pieces fit into two other pieces :-(. I'm about 95% finished with the cutting and will finish the puzzle tomorrow morning. I will then ship #298, Nature's Beauty, via FedEx. After #298 is shipped, I'm going to spend the rest of the day cleaning, inspecting, counting the pieces of #299 (will take photos before disassembling), plus I'll disassemble #297, Tuscany Landscape, clean / count, etc. and then reassemble it.

Sonic Cruiser, has some "play" areas of cutting. In one section I mixed up a lot of "cul-de-sac" bulbs within Long Round - has an interesting look - will have a photo soon. I also cut a small "maze style" section - rectilinear cuts. While the puzzle is not "perfect", it is going to be a very impressive puzzle, one of my better works, worthy of display.

Puzzle #299, Sonic Cruiser, a "very precisely" cut figural and an exuberant cut-on-the-fly whirly-gear
I think this whirly-gear is the "deepest" one I've cut. Note: colors bleached out via flash

I'm feeling much better today. I believe my problem stemmed from eating a lot of Pistachio nuts in a single sitting, something I rarely do. Yesterday a friend told me he felt that the nuts were bad, but I thought they were good!

August 12, 2002

9:19 pm - Puzzle #299, Sonic Cruiser, is complete. Cutting took longer than expected today, the puzzle is impressive. I'll take "formal" pictures tomorrow although I did take some today. Slept quite a bit late this afternoon and this evening, did not start any of the cleaning / inspection processes I said I was going to do today.

Puzzle #299 - Sonic Cruiser
A small neighborhood conspiracy of knobs in a Long Round field
One of several explorations in this puzzle
The Whirly Gear I posted yesterday is partially visible to the right

August 13, 2002

8:00 pm - Tables updated.

7:48 pm - Reached a new milestone with the completion of Puzzle #300, Swirl Delight, and #301, Radiant Beauty. Shipped #298, #300 and #301, customer backlog now two, with a couple likelies. Tomorrow I focus on getting Sonic Cruiser ready for pickup, didn't do any work on that today as cutting the two puzzles and shipping the three was pretty much of a full day.

Puzzle #300, Swirl Delight (message blurred here), and #301, Radiant Beauty
I designed the image to the left, and the customer provided image to the right and I did a lot of touch up work.

August 14, 2002

8:06 pm - Just now starting to go through the pieces for puzzle #299, as I needed to do a lot of non-puzzle stuff (long overdue extensive cleaning of apartment, and dealing with a new ant invasion). Puzzle #299, Sonic Cruiser, is cut at an "insane" density of 4.4 pieces per square inch, with 954 pieces (preliminary count) in a 18" by 12" size. I knew I was pushing the size smaller than "small" as the customer requested it, but I went way, way overboard as the price quote was for 650 pieces! I thought I cut somewhere in a 700-750 piece range. I think some of the "extreme figurals" led me to lose a bit of perspective. I guess I could call pieces in this tiny size as "Micro", but won't be offering it as an option.

Puzzle 299 figurals [2014 Edit - enlarged from original entry].

My Signature Piece is in the upper right of the picture, and two Treat Pieces (two instances of the aircraft "Fireflash" from Gerry Anderson's cult classic British TV science fiction series, Thunderbirds) just above The Observer (who quietly showed up). The four "Jurassic pieces" are figurals, placed in non-adjacent locations within the puzzle - each fits into at least one other Jurassic piece, but the bottom two do not fit together due to slippage of my template while cutting the bottom right piece. Included are two views of a Klingon spaceship, and the Starship Enterprise. The logo in the upper right is the Airbus logo, and next to the Signature Piece is the Boeing Logo. There are five views of the Boeing Sonic Cruiser pictured in the puzzle, and one of these is completely line cut - a small portion is visible in the August 12th entry. There is some additional color line cutting.

August 15, 2002

5:05 pm - Fran came buy this afternoon and picked up Sonic Cruiser (final piece count unchanged at 954). I enjoy seeing my customers in the rare chances that I get, and I had fun seeing Fran, showing him some of my earliest puzzles, then going to La Jolla for lunch and then down to my puzzle shop. I cut a "triple spiral" for him, not exactly in the way intended, but at his prodding I'll post a picture here (I left the piece in the shop - I'll probably try to cut a better one before posting it).

Backlog now three as one of the likelies is now a confirmed order. A picture of a couple in a yard, will be 8 x 12, with about 200 Swirl Curl pieces and saturated with 18 figurals, many of them animals, and many for me to design as a surprise.

I'm taking the rest of the day off except to answer a couple emails, zzzzzzzzzz. Tomorrow I begin work on the backlog.

11:58 pm - Slept almost four hours, so now I'll be up for a while. Piece count for #297, Tuscany Landscape is 515, a bit higher density that the other two Seewalds I cut this year for the 100 Puzzles Project.

August 16, 2002

12:40 pm - Rather than experimenting with cutting triple spirals or "tricurls", I did some playing on the computer. The Observer, who has been rather quiet over the last month, stepped in and said he wants to see the first one. I'm going to now start the figural design for the next several puzzles. 2014 Edit: Over the subsequent years I created multi-curls with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 curls going into a center point.

Tricurl concept

Sonic Cruiser
Photos from customer / Boeing renders
Date Completed
August 12, 2002
18" x 12"
Cutting Style
# Pieces
Color Line Cutting
Lower right ship
Numerous aircraft, logos and more

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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