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!