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How to Preserve Metal Puzzles and Protect Them From Damage



These precautions and anything else mentioned in this article, however, are no guarantee that the puzzle will not get damaged and some, if done incorrectly, may cause further damage or even injury so you do these at your own risk (see disclaimer).


If you have a favourite metal puzzle or have built up a nice collection of them then you will want to keep them in pristine condition as you will want them to maintain their functionality and appearance and you may even want to sell or pass them on at a later date so it is worth knowing what you can do to uphold their condition. Metals can be damaged or corroded in a number of ways such as being exposed to liquids and chemicals, gases, heat and excessive and repetitive force with the type of metal determining how vulnerable they are to each of these threats. Metal puzzles from my experience, however, are most likely to be damaged by playing with them incorrectly and just normal wear and tear from repeated use over many years but can sometimes be months or even weeks. Metal brain teasers do have advantages in terms of the resistance to certain types of damage over other puzzles that are made from different materials (plastic, wood, cardboard, etc) but are also more vulnerability to certain types of damage. This material is commonly used in puzzles because of its look and how it feels as well as how strong, long-lasting and durable it can be. It comes in many different types of which quite a few are used for puzzles with each type of metal having its own unique selling point that would make them ideal for a puzzle material. If you have a large puzzle collection then it is likely you will have a metal brain teaser or it could be you are thinking of getting one then the information below could come in handy with some of the information applying to puzzles in general.


The kind of metal puzzle or in other words its physical structure will have a massive bearing on how vulnerable it is to damage when you are manipulating and operating it or to an accidental occurrence like dropping it or standing on it. A metal brain teaser that is smaller in size may not necessarily mean that it will be more likely to be damaged but rather how delicate the piece or pieces of it are which means the type of metal it consists of and how thick and weighty the piece or pieces of it are. Pieces or parts of a puzzle can be bendable which may have nothing to do with solving it and would be distorting it in a way that may lead to it not working or it snapping. How the pieces of it connect is an important factor in how likely it is to be damaged as these points can often be the most vulnerable part of the puzzle that if damaged will mean it doesn't function properly if at all. These connecting points are usually parts of the puzzle that are put under the most stress when trying to solve it and have found these to be the parts that get most often damaged especially if they are delicate looking. The challenge may demand one piece of it fits through another and this can be a manoeuvre that puts the puzzle under stress and possible vulnerability to breaking if one of the pieces is delicate and the fact that you could be performing this manoeuvre repetitively. A puzzle can look very solid and robust in its completed form but when separated the smaller pieces that it consists of are quite delicate and breakable so consequently, need to be taken more care of. It is not always possible to see the whole of the puzzle particularly the inner workings or mechanisms of it of which there could be many delicate pieces or vulnerable parts to it but the instruction manual may help with this matter.


General wear and tear to your puzzle may well be unpreventable if you play with it a lot even if it is made from metal but there are ways or techniques to employ and things to avoid to make it last longer. Applying too much force is something you should really avoid even if the challenge looks like it could take a lot of force as most puzzles don't require it and if you are applying excessive force you are likely doing it wrong anyway. A challenge could be to try and solve the puzzle by applying the least amount of pressure possible with the hope that this will help to stop it from breaking down and ensure it lasts a long time. Bending the metal of the puzzle repeatedly or bending it too far could result in the metal breaking depending on the type and thickness so it is something else you should definitely try to avoid altogether. How vulnerable a puzzle is to wear and tear will generally depend on the size, the material, how it is operated, the force required to solve it, do the pieces or parts of it come into contact with each other, how often it is used and the shape of the puzzle and its pieces so the more delicate the puzzle is the more careful you will have to be with it. An accident such as dropping your puzzle is another way it could be damaged so you should try to perform it over or on something like a table so that if you do drop it due to the short drop there will likely be little or no damage as dropping it on the floor from a standing position depending on the floor surface could break and damage it beyond repair. Leaving the puzzle lying on the floor is something that could easily be done but if stood on could be destroyed or even injure someone so putting it away when finished with is a good idea. Letting other people use your puzzle may be another way it could get damaged and this isn't just specific to metal puzzles as the person you lend it to may not know how to use it properly or have experience of playing them and therefore could use it in a way that could break it so it would be best to show them before they start playing with it how to use it correctly.


When I have first bought a metal puzzle I check to see if it is damaged before I will play with it and this goes for any other type of puzzle even though it is a rare occurrence it can still happen and then will check to see if I can get it replaced. Every time you come back to a puzzle you should examine it for any signs of damage or possible breaks as it may be possible to fix before serious damage is done or negotiate the issue and still be able to play with it without damaging it further. When playing with a metal brain teaser for the first time I will proceed carefully and be slow with my actions and consider every move before performing the move to ensure I am not going to put the puzzle under too much stress and damage it. Once I know the moves to solve it that are not going to harm the puzzle then I will work on doing manoeuvres as fast as possible if that is one of the intended aims of the challenge. Checking the instructions is always worth doing especially the first time you play with a puzzle as there could be specific advice on how to operate it correctly and how to look after it.


Storing metal brain teasers away from potential dangers is a smart idea when not playing with them and first and foremost it should be a dry place that is preferably well concealed to protect them from any possible liquid spillages and this place should be easy to find in the home and could be a drawer or a cupboard. If put on show they should be placed somewhere where they cannot be knocked over easily so if they are on a shelf make sure there is more than enough room for them on it and is not a place you could brush by and knock them off. Keeping them in their original packaging when storing them away may also be a good way of keeping them safe and giving them extra protection or if not their original packaging then a plastic sealable container would suffice. Bubblewrap is another good way of keeping puzzles safe particularly delicate ones especially if transporting them as they could move about quite a bit whilst in transit. However, this can be time-consuming to do and therefore it will depend on how important the puzzle is to you and how often you use it as to whether or not you want to go through the hassle of bubble wrapping it properly but it is how a lot of items are sent and kept safe by post nowadays. Hiding metal brain teasers away from anyone who might possibly break them such as kids by putting them out of their reach or out of sight is another protection measure to consider depending on your circumstances. If putting them together in a drawer or whilst in transit make sure the metal brain teasers are separate from each other and can't bash into one another and therefore damage each other or wrap them so they are protected. A security measure such as a safe could be worth using if the puzzle is particularly of value or has a significant meaning and they are usually built to take considerable force.


Puzzles are mostly made from metals that are going to be resistant to corrosion by water so when they do get wet it shouldn't be an issue if it has only been exposed to water for a little while but I would still suggest keeping your metal puzzles away from water or any other liquid that they might come in contact with such as spilt soda to avoid any possible damage at all. If one does become wet then drying it out thoroughly as soon as possible and when first noticed by drying the surface of it, any crevices and the insides of the puzzle by taking it apart if necessary and able to because if water or any other substance is left in there it is this that could lead to problems. Leaving a metal brain teaser outdoors where it could come in contact with rain and be exposed to an outdoor climate should also be avoided and should be brought back indoors when finished playing with and dried off immediately. Sweaty hands could be a way in which a metal brain teaser gets wet so would be a good idea to have a towel with you when playing with it if this is something that happens to you as sweaty hands will also make gripping the puzzle difficult as well which may lead to it slipping out of your hands and potentially damaging it. A towel and tissues should suffice for drying a metal puzzle but how long this will take and how tricky it will be will depend on the number of parts and the shape and size of those puzzle parts and how accessible they are to dry them completely.


You may want to clean a metal brain teaser to keep it looking pristine but it can also help to keep it functioning properly by removing dirt or any kind of sticky substance. If dirt, a sticky substance or anything else for that matter gets inside a puzzle it could jam up and it may even break if too much force is applied whilst trying to unjam it. You have to be careful to use the right equipment and cleaning product for the type of metal the puzzle is made of or you could damage or do even more damage to it. Cleaning it too often could also cause damage to the puzzle and should only be done when is necessary and required so it would be best to consult the instructions of the product and follow the recommendations. Cleaning it will likely be required if you don't store it away or if you are playing with it regularly. Some metal brain teasers will be easier to clean than others due to the number of parts they have and the physical structure of those parts which may take a few hours to do if you have to take it all apart and get in every nook and cranny. To avoid having to clean a puzzle often it would be best to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place by using it with clean hands, playing with it on a clean surface with just the puzzle on that surface and storing it away properly ideally in a clean container or drawer.


Repairing damaged metal brain teasers will obviously depend on the type and extent of the damage done so if something has snapped it may be possible to meld the pieces back together again but that should only be done by someone with good welding skills and expertise as this is potentially dangerous. If the puzzle has been bent out of shape then it could be possible to just simply bend it back into its correct position with the type of metal, how thick and big the piece is and if it is easy to grab a hold of due to its location determining how difficult this will be. If there are any dents on the puzzle they could be potentially hammered out although be careful as this can lead to further damage and you should only do this if you have expertise with a hammer otherwise find somebody who does. It could be that the puzzle parts or pieces just need putting back together again after coming apart when they are not supposed to and the risk here is forcing them back together and breaking them so should be put back together with caution and as little force as possible when force is required to repair it.


In conclusion, if you take the necessary precautions that are mentioned above of which most are fairly easy to carry out with many of them being common sense and you are reasonably careful when using your metal brain teaser then it should last a long time in terms of its functionality and also maintain its appearance well.

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