arcWoodPuzzles shop on Etsy to see what’s new. Andrew is a prolific puzzle designer and there’s always something new. Amongst the fine selection of puzzles, I discovered several intriguing burr lock puzzles and decided to give them a try. The first of the two that I selected was Side Lock.
The first thing that surprised me when the puzzles arrived was how big they were. They were twice as big as I was expecting, providing a nice heft for 3D printed puzzles. The puzzle consists of the frame and 6 other pieces: 4 short burr pieces, the longer burr side piece, and the shackle. As expected from puzzles 3D printed by Andrew, the fit and movement of pieces is excellent. The puzzle is also quite attractive, made using a marble-like filament for the frame and shiny blue, green, and purple filament for the pieces.
Since Side Lock arrived assembled and my preference is to attack these types of puzzles as assembly challenges, I quickly disassembled it and planned to leave the pieces untouched for a couple days while any vestiges of piece movement memory quickly decayed. Quite honestly, at this point in my life, anything over 5 minutes is overkill. A couple of months later, I found the pieces and attempted the reassembly.
I really like these lock shaped burrs and at 19 moves to remove the first piece, it’s a nice little challenge. The one thing that I would like to see changed with the puzzle is to have the name debossed on the outside instead of on the shackle hidden in the frame. I like to be able to reference the name without having to disassemble the puzzle. However, I realize that this is my personal opinion and that there are people that don’t care to have the outside of their puzzles defaced with any type of lettering.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Yes, we could have wrapped up this blog entry right there but I felt compelled to add some other details. Goodbye is a puzzle designed by Tomas Vanyo and made by NothingYetDesigns (NYD). It’s made from laser cut acrylic with a bolt in each corner to keep it all together and includes a little wooden piece made from Cocobolo. What really caught my attention was the matte black finish on the face with the white lettering. It has such a clean look to it. I also liked the clear mazes but they were a real challenge to photograph. The little wooden piece was made for NYD by Nedeljko Woodworks. It’s always nice to see these types of collaborations within the puzzle community.
Zig, zag, zig, zig, zag, zig, zag, zag … and 181 moves later, you can remove the trapped wooden piece. It’s not very difficult and you are never in any danger of getting lost. There is also an Aha moment to be enjoyed – no it’s not the fact that you can unscrew the fasteners to take it completely apart and reorganize it.
If you want to continue exploring other possibilities with Goodbye, the maze plates can also be placed within the frame in other orientations. The 181 move orientation that the puzzle arrives with is the maximum number of moves of all the plate combinations.
I did rotate the faceplate of my copy of Goodbye and it does display nicely in that orientation. Of course, puzzle orientation is a funny thing. When you start working on a puzzle, you eventually establish what you consider is the orientation for the puzzle. Someone else may have a completely different orientation from you and you might find it odd watching someone else solve it. Since Goodbye comes with the name, designer, and maker on it, it provides a strong sense of which direction is up and which is down. Having already established an orientation of the puzzle before switching the faceplate around, I continue to solve the puzzle in the same manor – now with the words upside-down.
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
About the same time that I gave my wife her 6T birthday puzzle, I acquired a copy of T-Box, which, pointed out by my wife, also has six T-shaped pieces in a box. T-Box was designed by Jenga master, Haym Hirsh and made by Mom – no, wait, I had it upside-down - made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders. This is the latest of Haym’s designs inspired by Jenga pieces. For some, Jenga is a multi-player stacking game with wooden pieces, for others it is a source of raw materials for puzzle making. Hopefully, we won’t see a massive run on Jenga blocks resulting in the worldwide shortages that we saw with tongue depressors (Chico Strikes Again – TD345).
Brian Menold turned the T-Box design into a stunning showpiece. The pieces were upgraded to Birdseye Maple and the box was made from Bloodwood with a Maple Top. What really makes this box stunning is the detailed laser engraving on the sides of the box. Brian is fortunate to have a gifted graphics artist in the family and the design created for the T-Box really makes it something special.