The making of this 3x4x4 was almost by accident. Call it a happy turn of chance. I had started making another 4x4x5 when the inspiration came to me. Using a modified Fisher method approach I have used in the past, I realized that it would be possible to fit the mechanism inside of a 3x4x4 structure. Thus the 3x4x4 was born.
Here is an expanded list of puzzles from the 3x3x4 page:
1x1x3 Katsuhiko Okamoto
1x2x3 unknown builder, Scott Bedard
2x2x1 Morph Ball, various
2x2x3 Tony Fisher
3x3x2 Domino(3 variants), Tony Fisher
3x3x4 Katsuhiko Okamoto, Tony Fisher, Jin H Kim
3x3x5 Glen A. Heller, Katsuhiko Okamoto
3x4x4 Katsuhiko Okamoto, Jin H Kim
4x4x5 Tony Fisher, Aleh Hladzilin
4x4x6 Tony Fisher
4x5x5 Aleh Hladzilin
5x5x6 (None known)
5x5x7 (None known)
Since I never set out to document the process of creation, nor did I concern myself about the tutorial potentials as I built this puzzle, all I can offer at this Time is pictures of the puzzle, as many as I can dig up from the building process and afterwards.
The fully functional 3x4x4 puzzle is made from two standard Rubik's Cubes and one Eastsheen 4x4x4 puzzle. A standard Rubik's Cube is 57mm in width while an Eastsheen 4x4x4 is 60mm wide. Due to this constraint the Eastsheen puzzle had to undergo significant alteration to fit within the space of approximately 53 mm in every dimension.
That is why the 3x4x4 puzzle is what I call a modified Fisher method puzzle. There is no specific standard or definition for what this is, but I define a modified Fisher as having an internal core mechanism that has had its pieces considerably reshaped but also the core itself reduced in size or highly modified above and beyond the needs of the archtypical Fisher mods, the 2x3x3 Slim Tower and the 2x3x3 Domino.
Much like the 3x3x4 puzzle or any such higher order construction, I do not consider this a casual builder's mod. The Eastsheen 4x4x4 mechanism has tight tolerances and when it's not assembled the puzzle is prone to easily falling apart or locking up. Just assembling the puzzle repeatedly during the build process was a very challenging affair, one that I don't relish doing again. Also once assembled, the puzzle is virtually impossible to take apart again. Once all of the outside pieces have been glued to the inside pieces, there is almost no way to access the screws that are critical for puzzle assembly. This is not a "snap together" puzzle like Rubik's Cube because it's not held together with spring tension.
Due to the great difficulty of building this puzzle as well as the length of Time needed to build it, this puzzle will never be available for custom order. Any and all sales of this puzzle will be via ebay and announced at www.twistypuzzles.com until further notice.
As always I strongly encourage people to build their own. While this puzzle is not easy to build (not at all) it is not beyond the skills of the average person as long as they take their Time and proceed patiently.
As you can see, the interior of the puzzle requires an Eastsheen 4x4x4 that has been significantly cut down. The "Modified Fisher" method requires the builder not only to find a way to fabricate the outside facing parts, but also completely rework the internal mechanism as well. In the case of the 3x4x4, the level of challenge just skyrocketed. This is an undertaking for the very brave indeed!
However the puzzle itself has to have some capacity for disassembly and reassembly. There are small inner parts that need to be modified which can "fall off the track" so to speak, and when they do the puzzle will eventually degrade and fall apart. How I made it possible to disassemble the puzzle is shown below.
The 3x4x4 you see in these pictures was sold on eBay early this year (2008) to a very discerning collector and I do greatly appreciate his patronage.