Two Face 3 – Alfons Eyckmans

This week, I have another fantastic burr puzzle created by Eric Fuller and designed by Alfons Eyckmans. This one is called Two Face 3 and is one special puzzle – I’m still reeling from having just completed it.

To begin with, this puzzle is a beautiful work of art. Its visual appearance is stunning – the construction is superb and the choice of woods really elevates the whole design. It’s a 6 piece burr, but unique in that there are two outer cages that can move independently of each other. The inner cage has a few strategically placed cubes and cutouts that combine to make this not only a difficult puzzle, but also a very clever one. The construction of the cages is incredibly sturdy and they fit together very tightly making for a very solid feeling puzzle.

Beautiful construction and and high difficulty make this puzzle shine

The overall design is very clever. The use of two cages is not just for looks either, it factors into the solution. 

This was another intimidating puzzle for me. It sat on the shelf for a couple of weeks before I started to tinker with it, and then it was another week until I really decided to put some effort into it. Whether it’s intimidation or a desire to relish the puzzle as long as possible, I find that sometimes, I’m just content to let it sit. Maybe I don’t want the experience to be over, so I procrastinate a bit, I let the puzzle breath like a fine wine, until that perfect moment arrives and then I sit down with a job to do.

And so, I finally sat down with this one last week and began to seriously work on it. I began exploring different moves and discovered some typical burr-type moves, but didn’t make any real progress. I kept going in circles, with no real progress made.

Going in circles moving pieces around

I spent a number of sessions doing this. Moving pieces, feeling like progress was made only to find myself back at the beginning. Early sessions like this are enjoyable to me – I don’t really want to solve it quickly, I just want to enjoy the experience for a while and Two Face 3 really delivered the goods. But, that said, after a certain number of sessions, i start to feel like I need to make some more progress – so, I increase my focus and start trying abnormal moves.

This yielded some success for me as I discovered an interesting placement for one of the pieces. Surely I was on to something here! But, even with this new discovery, I couldn’t make any progress. I was able to revert back to the beginning position and then repeat the move, but it still didn’t yield any solution. 

After a few more sessions, I discovered a similar move at another location and then knew I was making progress. But, to my dismay, the solution still wasn’t there. Man, this puzzle really takes some work! I spent another day working various moves but couldn’t make progress. I had to be on the right track didn’t I?

Well, one morning, I took the half-solved puzzle to work with me and sat there fiddling with the pieces when suddenly, one fell out! Holy crap! I didn’t expect that, but apparently I had done the right thing and was rewarded. I spent the next 15 minutes carefully removing the remaining pieces and then bathed in glory as I examined all the pieces and marveled at the craftsmanship.

Then, fear set in. I went from joyful elation to fear. I was so happy to have solved the puzzle that I forgot to pay attention to the orientation and position of the 2 cages and the burr pieces. I didn’t really think about the fact that the 2 cages could be put together in 8 different ways… and if they weren’t put together correctly, then there’s no way the burr pieces would fit… How on earth was I going to get this thing back together…?

All the pieces have been removed! Halfway there!

Well, the good news was I had taken various photos while tinkering with the puzzle. So, I went back and took a look at those photos and was able to deduce the orientation and placement of the 2 cages – phew – crisis averted. Although, that would have made one heck of a challenge – to start with this puzzle completely disassembled and go from there. Maybe one day..

Anyway, even though I had the orientation of the cages documented, I still didn’t know how to reassemble this thing. I did keep track of the order in which I removed the burr pieces, and that would prove helpful, but it wouldn’t move the puzzle for me.

In the end it took me at least another 3 hours to put it back together. It’s a tricky puzzle and requires a very specific sequence to solve it. Interestingly, I employed a rotation to put it back together – I’m not convinced that it was entirely necessary, but at a certain point, rotating the burr piece allowed another piece to move where I wanted it and then I rotated the original piece back. Again, not sure if it was necessary, but I remember playing with a rotation when disassembling too, so perhaps it is required.

This may be the most difficult burr puzzle I’ve ever solved and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not eager to solve it again anytime soon, but I do think I will revisit it one day and see if I can get a better handle on how it works. Highly recommended if you enjoy this type of puzzle – and there are even some left at cubicdissection.com

Six Rings #2 – Andrew Crowell

Today, I’m looking at a puzzle designed by Andrew Crowell and built by Brian Manold at Woodwonders. This is my first purchase from Brian, but it definitely won’t be my last. In fact, I’m having a hard time not pulling the trigger on the Perfect 11 and Evolution II puzzles still available on his site. Where does one draw the line when it comes to purchasing puzzles?

I was attracted to the description of this puzzle – “I learned that Andrew had written his own program to design his puzzles. He was able to come up with some very creative rotations in this way.” Creative rotations sound fun and a custom program to design puzzles? Color me intrigued!

Anyway, the puzzle arrived quickly along with a couple of other ones I had ordered, and Brian even threw in a free gift puzzle since I was a first time customer. Awesome! (I’m still working on the gift puzzle..) And my first impression of these puzzles – They smell great! No, seriously, these puzzles have a unique smell and I can’t get enough. There must be a light stain or oil on the wood, and as weird as it may sound, I was delighted to rip open the shrink wrap and awaken my olfactory senses. In my mind, I was transported to the workshop and could feel the fine craftsmanship oozing from the mix of woods.

Ok, ok, enough of how the puzzles smell. How do they solve? Well, this is one interesting puzzle. It really has some fun moves and the shapes are so unusual that it presents a nice challenge.

I spent the first 5 minutes just trying to get something to move. The puzzle felt solid and tight and no matter how I tried to pull, push and twist, I couldn’t get anything to budge. This made me happy, clearly there was something going on that I hadn’t figured out yet. The puzzle required me to focus, to concentrate, this wasn’t going to be an easy stroll through the park.

Where to begin? Push and Pull as I might, the cube didn’t budge.

After a few more minutes of play, I found the opening move and shortly after that I discovered the first rotation. Wow, this is a really fun move that I had to repeat over and over because it was just so well executed.

Finally, I was ready to move on and solve this thing. But alas, I was stuck. Surely I had the opening moves correct, but I wasn’t sure about the 5th move. There was a small “trapped” piece on the inside of the cube and I spent a good amount of time manipulating that piece. It could rotate a few different ways and there were several pockets it could be moved into. However, none of these options seemed to release any pieces.

It only takes a few moves to turn this symmetrical cube into a lopsided monstrosity.

I re-assembled the puzzle and started again. I wasn’t in a hurry to solve it because the opening moves were fun to execute, but eventually, I had to move on, so I tried something different and finally discovered how to unlock the first piece. The trapped piece came out next and I was left with only 3 pieces.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the way these 3 larger pieces interlock is really quite beautiful. It isn’t particularly difficult to get them apart – In fact the pieces are so unique that there aren’t that many options for them to move, but it is very satisfying and even a little surprising how they interact.

What happened to the cube!

The first time I re-assembled the puzzle I was a little intimidated. I didn’t spend much time memorizing positions or anything, I just figured I could get it back together – and I was right, it’s not too difficult, a little perseverance will do the trick. But, it sure was fun.

This is a very enjoyable puzzle that had enough surprises to keep me interested and was difficult enough to keep me engaged. There is one rotation in particular that is very enjoyable and made me feel like Indiana Jones pulling the lever on some ancient treasure. I think the tolerances, build quality and design all work together to really make this puzzle shine. I look forward to purchasing many more puzzles from Andrew and Brian both.

The Puzzle is disassembled. Take a look at those funky pieces!

Pack 3 – Osanori Yamamoto

This week, I tackle the Pack 3 designed by Osanori Yamamoto and crafted by Eric over at Cubic Dissection. This one had me tearing out my hair, screaming into the night and storming around the house. My family was concerned for my well being and I attribute last night’s nightmares to this diabolical puzzle.

I’m clearly not very good at packing puzzles – in fact a majority of my unsolved puzzles on the shelf are of the packing variety. I’m not sure why they don’t click with my brain, but they are always a struggle – and Pack 3 was one of the worst (or best?) that I’ve worked on.

This particular puzzle is so deceptively simple and that may be what lead to my frustration. It consists of a beautifully crafted box with a unique opening along with 3 simple looking pieces. All you have to do is stick those pieces into the box. It should be simple, but it is not. The description says “The level 8.2.2 solution is satisfying without being too frustrating.” Well, I’d agree with the satisfying part, but for me, this was extremely frustrating, I dubbed it “the box from hell” along with other more colorful, non-family appropriate names.

This puzzle arrived along with 6 others the other day and I naively started work on it thinking – “I’ll start with the easiest of the bunch!” So, I casually began tinkering with the pieces, trying to insert them into the box. I spent 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there trying haphazardly to cram them all in. But, it didn’t work – furthermore, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that it required 8 moves with the first piece. How could that be? 8 moves seemed like way to many for the options I was faced with.

All you have to do is stick those 3 pieces into that box!

Within about an hour, I had a solution – only my solution was 2.1.3 and it left a visible gap. The solution didn’t feel right or satisfying and clearly didn’t match up with the description so I fired an email off to cubic dissection to see if I had done it correctly. The reply came back shortly after “You are close but that is not the correct solution.” Ugh, well on one hand I was happy to continue working on it, but on the other, I had hoped that it was correct. Back to the drawing board.

For two days, I worked on this thing. I was obsessed, I was driven, I was thinking about it in my sleep. I focused all my energy, I used all my logic and I failed over and over again. I decided to get systematic and try every possible combination of inserting the pieces, whether they were logical or not, I had to cross off all the non-working ideas and focus on what was left, but again, I failed. I cried, I cursed, I put it back on the shelf, but I couldn’t just walk away. I had to solve it.

One of the many ways to incorrectly pack the puzzle together.

And then, after setting it down and picking it up over and over, I finally saw the light. I was so in tune with the geometry of the pieces and the box that I literally solved it in my head while staring at it. Finally, I smiled and pronounced “I’ve got it!” And sure enough, just like that, I put the pieces in and solve this wicked and cruel little puzzle. The feeling was tremendous and the 2 days worth of built up tension was finally released. Ahhhhh. 

What a wonderful little puzzle! Yes, I wanted to burn it with fire and smash it with a hammer but now that I have solved it, I feel nothing but pure joy. It’s truly astonishing how many possible variations there are to work through. It is, without doubt, the most frustrating and rewarding 3 piece puzzle I’ve every worked on. I can’t wait to spring this on an unsuspecting friend. I will giggle with delight as they struggle with every possible combination they can think of. Awesome puzzle. Now… on to the next!

The completed puzzle. Beautifully constructed.

TRAP-R2 – Osanori Yamamoto

Today, I have an very interesting puzzle called TRAP-R2 designed by Osanori Yamamoto and crafted by Pelikan Puzzles. It’s only a 4 move puzzle, but those 4 moves aren’t as easy or straightforward as it may seem.

The puzzle itself is beautiful. It reminds me of a double decker coaster, but I won’t be setting my beer on it anytime soon. The two coasters are separated by 4 corner posts and in between is a circle of wood that can be spun around. Spinning the circle reveals something unseen – some sort of impediment that prevents it from moving smoothly around. The thing is, you can’t see what is happening, so you have to work out what to do by feel.

It doesn’t take long before pieces begin to move, but the first available movement isn’t necessarily the correct one. What makes this puzzle really work is the fact that the tolerances are so tight. The pieces have to be in the exact correct position in order to solve it. This can be a little frustrating because if you are just a millimeter off, it won’t budge.

Super Tight pieces make this a challenge.

The first time I solved it was a complete fluke, I was just playing with it and manipulating the pieces, when viola!, it came apart. I studied the internal pieces a bit and thought “hmm, that’s not so difficult” and managed to put it back together. Confident that I knew how to solve it, I tried to repeat the process, but this time, I couldn’t open it! How can that be? I had solved it and seen its’ secrets. But nevertheless, it took me longer than I’d like to admit to solve it again.

Challenging for me to wrap my head around, even when solved.

This time, I was more determined to figure out what was going on. I don’t know if my tiny brain was just misfiring, but it was surprisingly tricky for me to figure out. There are really only 2 internal pieces and the circle so it can’t be that hard, I thought, but sure enough, it was still a bit perplexing. The way the two internal pieces fit together is rather clever and figuring out how to free that circle took me a while.

I did some mock assemblies, where I really tried to get a grasp of the exact movements required to solve it and finally was able to understand exactly what needed to happen. But despite this knowledge, it is still challenging for me to solve it – mostly because of the tolerances and the fact that there are no significant markings available to use for orientation. 

Seems like it should be straightforward, but it’s not.

Overall, I really like this puzzle and am happy to have it in my collection – however, I would only recommend it for hard-core collectors. I think its probably a bit too expensive for the average puzzler. There are still some available at Puzzle Master, but I think, for the money, you could get something with a bit more repeatability to it. Still, if you’re like me and just can’t resist spending all your money on beautifully crafted puzzles, this one may be worth it, and if you know someone who owns this puzzle, definitely give it a shot!

Prison Burr – Stephane Chomine

Ah, the Prison Burr, another fine creation constructed by the fine folks at Cubicdissection. Did I mention that I really, really like the puzzles from Cubicdissection? Pretty much everything I have bought from them is heirloom quality, challenging and fun!

Today, I writing about the Prison Burr. This intimidating puzzle is sort of like a standard 6 piece burr, however, there is no access to the bottom of the puzzle and all the pieces are contained in a cage – which makes it very challenging indeed. This one sat on the shelf for a number of weeks as I solved other puzzles and made excuses as to why I didn’t have the time or focus to work on it. Well, I knew that eventually, I’d have to give it a go, so a couple weeks ago I sat down with the intention of solving it.

Look at that beauty!

The thing is, this is one complex puzzle and as stated earlier, I was intimidated. I was able to remove the first piece easily enough, but the second piece involved lots of maneuvering and every time I felt that I was making progress, I chickened out and returned it to the start. My main fear was that I’d never be able to get it back together again, and by the time I started making progress, I was too deep for my brain to remember the moves. Maybe I should just “go for it” and deal with the consequences later, but that’s not how I like to do puzzles. I prefer to keep track of the movements the first time I solve it. Later on subsequent efforts, I am more inclined to let myself get lost.

Well, the day finally came, where I had enough time to really work on this thing. I was determined to move forward at all costs and get this thing solved once and for all. 

I have to say, I really, really enjoyed this puzzle. The movements are great, there are multiple dead ends and the puzzle stays challenging to the final piece.

The first piece is rather trivial to remove, but it doesn’t help much. Removing the first piece does allow for a view of the interior, which is helpful, but the second piece is far trickier to remove. I went down many paths and found a few dead ends, but eventually felt that I was getting closer to the correct moves. After many trials, I was brave enough to pull out the second piece. Here we go! No turning back now!

Removal of the 3rd piece is even trickier. Even now, I know the order of removal, but it is still awfully difficult to get that 3rd piece out. I’ve now solved this puzzle multiple times, but its always that 3rd piece that causes me grief. And to make matters worse, once the 3rd piece is removed, it is still difficult to remove the 4th. In fact, this puzzle just doesn’t get any easier. Usually, the 2nd piece is the corner stone and it all comes apart easily afterwards, but not with the Prison Burr. This thing brings it until the end. You would think that with only 3 pieces left, it would be easy, but it’s not. The final 2 pieces are definitely easier to remove, but they still take a some specific moves.

The photos don’t do it any justice. This thing is built like a tank and super difficult.

And then, there is the reassembly. It’s not easy. Not at all. Getting the first 3 pieces back in correctly is quite difficult – I can’t imagine solving this one without knowing the order of the pieces. Even armed with that knowledge, this thing is very challenging.

Well, I’ve talked about how difficult this puzzle is, but I also was to talk about how rewarding it is. I’m really very happy with this puzzle. In fact, I have solved it several times now and while I’m getting more familiar with the necessary moves, It still gives me great joy to complete it.

Part of that joy comes from the wonderful construction. At $75, this is an expensive puzzle, but if you have even the most basic knowledge of carpentry, it is easy to justify the cost. The construction of this is spectacular. Its not flashy with exotic wood choices, but the cage is a marvel of perfectly mitered pieces and where burr puzzles can be “sticky” and hard to manipulate, the movements here are smooth and precise.

Overall, I am so happy to have this in my collection. This is definitely a test-piece for the savvy puzzler. I would highly recommend it if you want a challenge!

Aquarius+ – Stephane Chomine

Ok. tonight I have the Aquarius+ designed by Stephane Chomine and crafted by Cubic Dissection. This puzzle is smaller than I envisioned, but it is far more beautiful than expected. The striped wenge grain on the two burr pieces is just georgeous and the inclusion of a smaller slider piece is fascinating. I received 3 puzzles in this shipment and I was drawn to this one first. I can’t wait to get started.

Well 5 minutes in and I very well may be screwed. I was trying to keep track of the movements and manipulations but I quickly lost track of what was happening and that cute little slider piece is now pretty loose inside this thing and I think I can prolly just shake it out, but I’m not exactly sure how it got to where it is now, so I’m contemplating whether to push forward and solve the puzzle or whether to try to backtrack a step in order to not lose track of the movements… 

At 10 minutes in, I’ve now reset the puzzle. Whew. I’m not sure how close I was to the solution, but I realized that I never really looked very hard at the starting position, so I’m glad to have gotten it back to where I can now start a little more methodical in my approach. Back at it.

At 15:56 I got the little slider piece out. There is actually a surprising amount of room in this puzzle to move the burr pieces around. I’m not exactly sure what the sequence of moves were to free the slider, but hopefully, I’ll be able to re-insert it during assembly and sort of nudge it back into place similar to how I got it out… Lets see how easy the burr pieces are to remove..

Turns out removing the burr pieces is trivial once the slider is out. And so there it is, solved and laid bare for me to examine. The scary part is… Its not exactly clear how this puzzle should be reassembled – that is – even though I studied the starting position a bit, I’m not entirely sure which orientation the pieces need to be.. which makes the prospects of re-assembly… scary.

All pieces removed. 

Well, I was able to put the puzzle back together after a bit of work – at least I think I got it back to the starting position – unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any photos online of what this puzzle looks like in the completed state, so if there are multiple possible configurations, I may not have it done correctly.

Which leads to my next thought – Does this puzzle really require a 17.9.3 solution? I do not believe that it took 17 moves to take out the first piece. It was more like 6-7 moves and then a bit of jostling to free the slider. Maybe I am completely off with my solution and analysis, but I didn’t find it nearly as difficult as the rating would suggest.

My other criticism lies in the manipulation of the small slider. It is not easy to manipulate and in the end, I used a toothpick to reach into the cage and help position the slider. Perhaps there is a solution that involves moving the burr pieces around to shift the position of the slider?

Overall, this really is a beautiful puzzle – and I like the idea of using a smaller scale piece in the puzzle – in fact, I’d like to see more puzzles use different sized pieces. But I do think this puzzle falls a little short when compared to the other offerings at cubic dissection. The build quality is not quite as good (burr pieces have grooves and saw marks). And having to manipulate and rotate the slider within the cage didn’t feel like solving a puzzle, it felt more like chance.

If anyone else has worked on this puzzle, please let me know of your experience. I’d like to know if I missed something or not.


Bramble Box – Noah Prettyman

Today, I have another stunning puzzle from Cubicdissection.com. This one is called Bramble Box and it was designed by Noah Prettyman and boy is it beautiful.

This puzzle is comprised of a Black Limba box and 4 pieces of different wood types that are stuck inside. The object is to free the pieces and then re-assemble the puzzle. I very much enjoyed playing with this and working it out. The 4 pieces have interesting knobs and protrusions and the box itself has a restricted opening on the top and bottom. Right off the bat, all the pieces are moveable, so there is no need to unlock anything, however, since all pieces are moveable from the start, there are also many possible opening moves. 

Manipulating one of the pieces

I took my time with this puzzle solving it over the period of a few days. I didn’t find it too difficult, but I did find it very enjoyable. Removing the second piece actually took longer than expected, and I discovered a potential short cut if rotations are allowed which makes things easier.

The pieces have been removed! Fun movements and solution.

Reassembly is a bit tricky. It’s not super obvious how the pieces go back together and I was stuck for a while figuring out how to manipulate two pieces in particular around each other. I had to solve the puzzle several more times before I really understood the movements.

Overall, a great puzzle that is all about unlocking that first piece. The build quality is spectacular and I’m very pleased to have this one in my collection.

Stumbling Blocks – Pit Khaim Goh

Today we have another amazing puzzle from Cubic Dissection. This one is Stumbling Blocks designed by Pit Khaim Goh. It is part of the Artisan Collection, so it is kept in stock and for $39, this piece should be in everyones puzzle collection.

To start with, the puzzle is gorgeous. The box is made from Ash and the blocks are made from Walnut and Sepele which gives a really nice contrast and checker pattern. The puzzle is shipped unassembled, so it is up to me to get the four blocks into the box.

There are a few peculiar details that stick out right away. The first is that the inside of the box has tiny little wooden triangle blocks glued into two of the corners. These blocks fit perfectly with two of the blocks that have notches cut out.

Notice the triangular pieces glued into the box and the corresponding block

The other thing that I noticed is the way the blocks are glued together and the interesting shapes that are sandwiched between the two squares of wood. It seems peculiar to choose the particular shape for the sandwiched pieces. 

The peculiar stair-step shape in between the square slabs

So, with those details noted, I began to play with the puzzle. It seemed obvious that the two particular blocks had to fit into their specific corners – however, this “fact” didn’t seem to help with the solution. It was fairly simple to get any 3 pieces into the box, but there was never any room left to insert the 4th. 

Over and over again, I tried the same thing and failed. I could see no way that the 4 blocks could be inserted sequentially. There had to be another way – not to mention the website mentions an “ah ha!” moment when solving this puzzle. So, I kept at it, searching for the solution.

Eventually, I managed to get all 4 pieces into the box – however, I did not experience any epiphany, so I was pretty sure that I had solved it incorrectly. To solve it, I sort of had to wedge the last piece in – which although it works and takes no force, is clearly not what the designer had in mind, so I pulled the pieces and began again.

This time, I had the breakthrough, or at least part of it. I inadvertently discovered a certain movement while I had 3 of the pieces in place – I knew immediately that I was on the right track – but it still took me a while to figure out how to get that 4th piece inserted. 

Once I uncovered the real solution, a big ole grin came over my face. Now I know why this puzzle came so highly recommended. It truly is a clever and elegant solution. The rush I get from completing puzzles never gets old, but this one was special, this one was definitely memorable.

The completed puzzle

Slideways Cube and Cross

Today, I have two different slideways puzzles. These are puzzles that slide together and slide apart and are immensely satisfying to fiddle with. While they are not difficult to get disassemble – they can be a little tricky to assemble as the pieces need to be held in a specific orientation while they are simultaneous moved together.

The first puzzle is the Slideways Cube created by Lee Krasnow. A video of Lee’s cube made its way onto Reddit recently and thus the cube was thrust into the spotlight. 

Thankfully, the cubes are now available in a $15 plastic version at his Etsy website here. The cube is great fun to play with – it feels sort of magical how the pieces go together and come apart. I’ve enjoyed handing the cube to my kids and seeing their reaction as it falls apart in their hands.

I think they are well worth the $15 cost

Overall, not a difficult puzzle to solve by any means, more of a novelty item to keep on the shelf and play with once in a while. I still think its a neat item that would make a nice gift.

Slideways Cube Disassembled

Next up is the Slideways cross from Cubicdissection.com 

This is a really nice piece that is extremely well made. It is a fairly simple puzzle in most respects, but it can be quite tricky if you’ve never manipulated one of these before.

One of the big reasons I love this piece is that the tolerances are so tight that  it can seem impossible to solve. Unless you apply the correct pressure in the correct orientation the pieces won’t move. I have played with this piece for hours and its amazing how little force is actually required to separate the pieces. If you are pushing at all, you are doing it wrong. The pieces have virtually zero friction when moved correctly.

Slideways Cross pieces – such precision

Cubyful 2 – Lucie Pauwels

I purchased this puzzle last week from Cubicdissection.com and let me tell you, its a beauty. The Leopardwood box is georgeous and the puzzle itself is very fun. I particularly enjoy the weight of this puzzle – it feels very heavy in the hand – likely due to the thick walls of the box.

When I first got the puzzle, I gave it a 2 minute inspection (because I couldn’t resist) to get an idea of how it moved/worked. I quickly discovered that the first piece falls right out with no required moves. After the first piece was removed, I could see other pieces below that also were able to move. Clearly, I was going to need some time and focus to work on this puzzle, so I had to plug that piece back in and wait for my window of opportunity.

Last night, that window arrived – the kids were in bed and I had a couple of hours to myself to explore this fine puzzle. I got my space ready, complete with paper and pencil to attempt to map out moves if necessary. The previous couple of days, I had been thinking about Cubyful 2 and how I was going to keep track of the moves – ultimately, I didn’t have any set plan, I just started taking it apart while trying to keep some notes.

This method was an utter failure. I quickly became lost with the movements and the pieces – my notes failed to accurately track what was happening and in the end, I abandoned them and just focused on removing the pieces. It seemed like the pieces were just falling out and I had no clue of their starting position. Down to the last 2 pieces, I had to do an interesting manipulation and then the final piece slid right out.

The locked piece is quite large and takes up 2/3 of the opening

Its a very interesting puzzle in that there is a large fixed piece that cannot be removed and so the box must be packed/unpacked around this piece. This makes for a fun solution that stumped me for a while.

Reassembly was challenging, but ultimately not too difficult once I slowed down and came up with a plan. The hardest part may be getting the first 2 pieces into the box correctly – and I suspect that there are more than one way of loading these first 2 pieces.

Two pieces in the box – how to fit the remaining pieces?

Once the first two are loaded, its a matter of getting the sequence correct and “pre-loading” a couple of the pieces so that they slide into place. The solution now seems fairly straightforward to me, but I did struggle for a while trying to figure out how the heck to pack all these little pieces into the allotted space – over and over again I would end up “one cube” short of the solution.

Finally, I studied the locked piece and thought about the internal space more closely and determined the only available solution and completed the reassembly. Outstanding fun! I really enjoyed this and will definitely purchase more of these packing-type puzzles in the future.

The puzzle is complete!