Friday, 24 May 2013

Elephant


Name
Elephant

Designer
Jakub Dvorak & Jaroslav Svejkovsky; Pelikan, from the Czech Republic.


Manufacturer
Pelikan. Apart from many of their own designs including the Egg, reviewed in this blog, they also manufacture numerous wooden puzzles from various other well known puzzle designers.

Type & Classification
Interlocking

Dimensions
13.4 cm (Length) x 11 cm (Width) x 10 cm (Height).


Materials & Construction
The puzzle comprises of two different types of hard woods for colour contrast; the lighter which is Ash and darker Acacia Overall quality, construction, fit and finish is very good. Everything is precisely cut and all the pieces fit nicely and snugly.


Overview
The Elephant consist of 11 pieces of various shapes and sizes which interlock to form the shape of an elephant. There is some order tho' to disassembling the pieces and the reverse is required to put everything back together again. The contrasting colours of the pieces however aid in the solving.

Creating a puzzle shaped like an elephant appears to be rather popular as there are several other burr/interlocking Elephant puzzles around; the Kumiki Elephant and Little Game Hunter by Robert Yarger, Burrlephant by Jerry McFarland and Umeko by Yoh Kakuda.

Difficulty Level
Fun and easy but the way some of the pieces are shaped makes it a wee bit slightly tricky. Almost like a burr but definitely no Burr Tools required here.

Summary
Physically a fairly large and heavy puzzle which also makes for a decent display piece.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Four Cross Twelve


Name
Four Cross Twelve

Designer
Guy Brette


Manufacturer
Eric Fuller. Puzzle was from www.cubicdissection.com for US$69. Currently sold out.

Type & Classification
Interlocking Burr

Dimensions
7.5 cm (Height) x 5.7 cm (Width) x 5.7 cm (Depth).

Materials & Construction
Maple and Purpleheart for the twelve pieces. Quality of construction, fit and finish is excellent. In fact the tolerances on my copy were so tight that after a few days left untouched in the room, a couple of the pieces were of a much tighter fit than what I would have liked. But a day in my camera dry box and everything was back to normal.

Overview
This puzzle allowed me to properly learn Burr Tools for the first time. For this I wish to thank puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam for his help in teaching me how to use the software. I spent the good part of an afternoon at Goh's home not only looking at the over two hundred or so puzzles in his collection (many which are burrs and packing puzzles; and a number of which are his own designs) but also managed to sit down with him to having hands-on practice on how to define and form the pieces and use the programme solver.

One of Goh Pit Khiam's several puzzle cabinets.
This one above has door seals and an internal
heating rod to reduce humidity to prevent puzzle lock-ups
Left on my own, I would never have been able to figure out how to assemble the pieces together (yes, Eric shipped them unassembled). I used the photo of the Four Cross Twelve on his website to try to figure out things. But since I am so bad at this type of burr puzzles, as usual I got nowhere and patience is not exactly my forte.

Difficulty Level
Extremely! According to Eric, he says its "also quite difficult with a whopping level 9.9.9 solution. I'd call it the crown jewel of this update in terms of difficulty and appearance."  It takes nine moves to remove the first piece! Burrtools indicates there are 96 solutions to the Four Cross Twelve.

Summary
Hmm...having now learnt BurrTools, I am considering looking for the more interesting and rare interlocking burrs to acquire. Until recently (with my rather excessive horde of Pelikan made puzzles), I have hardly collected many burrs, packing or similar sort puzzles. But I think all that is set to change. While I am very unlikely to be able to solve any decent burr on my own, I am more than happy with the thrill I get taking apart and putting together one following the animated movements of this wonderful computer programme.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

4 Street Elbows


Name
4 Street Elbows

Designer
Saul Bobroff


Manufacturer
Saul Bobroff. Puzzle available commercially from Eureka Puzzles for US$85.

Type & Classification
Impossible Object

Dimensions
6.2 cm (Length) x 6.2 cm (Width) x 2.2 cm (Height).

Materials & Construction
All four pieces of plumbing street elbows made of iron. Quality of construction is very good and the puzzle is coated with a sealant to prevent rusting. Wooden display stand included.

IPP
The 4 Street Elbows was Saul Bobroff's Exchange Puzzle during IPP28 held in Prague, Czech Republic in August 2008.

References
See http://www.puzzle-place.com/wiki/Impossible_Street_Elbows

Overview
The 4 Street Elbows is in reality an "impossible object". I had come by this "puzzle" through a puzzle exchange with Saul; my Ball In Cylinder No.1 for his Street Elbows. Consisting of four standard looking plumbing elbows, they are joined (and held together) by the screw threads of each elbow. Meaning to say that the pieces have not been joined by welding, glueing, force-fitting etc. When it first arrived, I was wondering how to solve it and whether in fact it was meant to be solved.

Like all impossible objects, it looks unsolvable. I did a check with Saul and he informed me that the puzzle is "solved already". I took it to mean that its really not meant to be solved in any way. Personally I am not sure if I want to try to dis-assemble it...it looks like some heavy duty tool might be needed for this task but I won't take the risk. I might just break something in the process.

Difficulty Level
Saul also mentioned that there is only one person who has removed and the elbows and put everything back into the solved state. Now I wonder who that person might be?

Summary
Not a puzzle for solving by any means, but something to be admired for its uniqueness and physical incredibility. Definitely worth collecting though.

Also by Saul Bobroff - "Too-Tite"...Impossible Object. Tennis ball in a bottle.
A gift from Saul, thank you very much.



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