Extremely Puzzling - Goetz Schwandtner's Puzzles

On this page some extremely puzzling objects are displayed: My private puzzle collection consisting of a wide range of three-dimensional puzzles, from industrial produced Rubik's Cube like puzzles to my custom builds, from production range Pihilos wood puzzles to rare and special puzzles from various excellent craftsmen, and not to forget the Japanese Himitsu Bakos, including some equisite works of the Karakuri Creation Group. Please note that you won't find any jigsaw puzzles on these pages, may they be two or three dimensional.


Added on 2015-01-21
Originally, I had ordered this puzzle before the recent price increase at Shapeways, but somehow it did not work out and I only received the Helix Burr v2, which I still need to solve. After a second try, I have received the most complicated version of the helical burr series, the 27 move HELLical Burr. By coincidence, this is puzzle number 1666 in my collection, which somehow fits very well. I had my first encounter with this difficult puzzle at the IPP banquet, when Ali handed it to me for solving and I did not manage during that evening.
Update on 2015-01-11
I found a limited edition token in one of my puzzles! This puzzle took me 2 months including some weeks of experimenting with a computer program and some non-standard techniques. Interesting! If you have not yet guessed which puzzle I am talking about, please have a look at the post exactly 2 months back. It is an epic puzzle and Allard commented on it: "It goes on and on and on", and who was I to contradict! It is a fantastic puzzle and I not only like all the mechanisms in it, but also love the the little stories hidden in it. Thanks for the great puzzle, Brian! Sorry I cannot be more specific here, not to spoil the fun for other solvers.
Update on 2015-01-07
Just found out that the Karakuri Christmas Presents are on-line on their page now, with the names. Now these puzzles have the correct names on this page: Confetto Box 2, New Parcel Cube, Ring Box 3, and Lock.
Added on 2015-01-05
Today I could pickup my Karakuri Christmas Presents, some four very nice boxes, who took a long and expensive detour via Customs offices. When I first saw the pictures, I guessed the respective craftsmen/designers, and my knowledge about the special cardboard boxes confirmed my guess. It's 2015 already, so I will put up the entries with the correct craftsmen and will not ask the usual question about them, just lacking the proper names for: X-mas present 1, X-mas present 2, X-mas present 3, and X-mas present 4.
Added on 2015-01-01
The new year had a great start and the first puzzle update is the first puzzles added this year, arriving in package from puzzle friend Wil Strijbos. There are three nice boxed burrs made from bamboo designed and manufactured by a Chinese guy whose name I do not know: Checker-board interlock box, Interlock the red square box (A), and Interlock the red square box (B). Nice little interlocking challenges and well crafted! Additionally I received some very tangled nails: Nails Duo 2. Thank you for this challenge, Wil!
Added on 2014-12-31
Last puzzle of the year arrived today directly from Yavuz Demirhan: the beautiful Trichromat. Happy new year to all you readers of my web page!
Added on 2014-12-29
At a puzzle meeting today I received a new Pandora Trick Box, which I had pre-arranged. This is a heavy and probably also difficult multiple step trick box.
Update on 2014-12-26
On the last Christmas day, time to finally unwrap the Dozer and remove it from its packaging (read: 12 piece burr). Read my interesting experiences here: Burr Zoo.
Added on 2014-12-22
Christmas is approaching fast and today I received three packages via three different ways (Customs and two different carriers). The first one is a Karakuri Christmas present from 2010, and a box I was looking for since I played with it in the 2011 IPP31 Design Competition, where it won a honorable mention. The box has a theme fitting the season: House with Trees has four little x-mas trees on it. The second puzzle is Stephan Baumegger's latest try to put additional pieces into burrs. This time a bigger 12 piece burr with a little Bulldozer in it: Dozer. Not an animal piece, but something for the Burr Zoo, to be completed when I have disassembled it, and from what I can say now it is very nice an high quality. The third one was also a nice entry in IPP Design Competition puzzle, from 2009: Qboid. In the picture, I picked up an idea from Gabriel Fernandez' blog — usually you are supposed to build a 2x2x3 cuboid. The puzzle has many different challenges (over 1000) to build, so I might start with some easy ones first. A nice early christmas present from my puzzle friend Michel. Thank you!
Update on 2014-12-15
On my web site I have the honour to host the latest extended version of Goh Pit Khiam's excellent article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", see compendium reference [12]. The update today includes some major extensions and new puzzles mainly, from page 28 onwards, featuring: The Power Box, Racktangle, an illustrated overview of some mixed base Power Tower examples, including a simplification of this concept.
Added on 2014-12-05
Today already a package from Eric Fuller arrived with some of the latest wooden interlocking puzzles. Very exact cuts and high quality as usual. They are: Amatores, Rough Night, Rupture, and Crystalburr
Update on 2014-12-01
My latest update on the Burr Zoo page is not really about animals, but about my experiences with a burr based on a famous race, the Gumball 3K. A surprisingly difficult and rich experience!
Added on 2014-11-28
A package from Nowstore in Hong Kong with the latest two from the DaYan Gem series: DaYan Gem VI is a 3x3x3 with some fancy extra moves and which does not look like a Rubik's cube at all. DaYan Gem VIII is a face turning and tip turning truncated tetrahedron.
Added on 2014-11-22
Today Bernhard kindly invited to a small and very nice puzzle party and beside the lot of fun at the meeting and with the other puzzlers there, I was also able to acquire some special prototypes and new puzzles. The prototypes are cubes and a cuboid with rotations from Jos Bergmans: United, Pirouette, Garmbaad, and one with six identical pieces by Yavuz Demirhan: Six Spades. The latest two puzzles by William Hu and Logan Kleinwaks have also been available already: Chain and Six Iberian Lynxes. The Chain offers nice rotations, while the Six Iberian Lynxes is composed of six identical pieces and has level 9. Two extra pieces are supplied and if you replace two of the standard pieces with these, you will get another puzzle with level 19.
Added on 2014-11-20
Today a massive cube arrived from Stephan: Cube 81 by C.K.Leung. As the name suggests, it requires 81 moves to remove the first piece. The whole puzzle is built around a big column, and before disassembling it completely, only the nut wood pieces move. Very nice fit and high quality. Nice to play with, also the size is just the right choice for playing.
Update on 2014-11-19
Success: I have now disassembled Gobi. It took some time, so I also wrote a long report of this expedition into the Gobi, see my Burr Zoo page.
Added on 2014-11-11
Look! I received a friend for my koala to play with! Today the long awaited Katie Koala and her joey Verne limited edition puzzle arrived. It is the 20th anniversary limited edition by Brian Young and a really beautiful and heavy wooden Koala. A lot of stuff must be inside considering the weight. Will take some time before I will be able to solve it, I guess — lots of puzzling fun! The other koala is sitting on another special puzzle which arrived today: a 3D printed reproduction of the Stickman Box number 5, sometimes called "Borg Box". Another Brian made this possible: Brian Pletcher modelled, prepared, and assembled it. Two truely interesting puzzles!
Added on 2014-11-05
Do you know the "Gumball 3000"? It is a famous (or infamous?) race on public streets, running through several continents, but in some places considered an illegal street race. This is the theme for the latest burr Stephan Baumegger designed and built: Gumball 3K. With its wood grains it is a real beauty and looks a bit like a ball (the trophy for this race?). Although it is not really an 18 pieces burr, I put it into this 18 pieces burr group, as the two extra pieces are well hidden. These pieces are cars and not animals, but close enough for the theme, so I put it into the Burr Zoo to be described when I have disassembled it and revealed the two cars inside. And after all, some fast cars do have animal names, so I should put this puzzle into the Burr Zoo! At the end, with the level, it does not seem an overly difficult burr, but the car pieces makes it a bit more difficult and it is definitely looking beautiful! You can find more pictures on Stephan's facebook page Puzzleisure.
Added on 2014-10-27
Yesterday I went to the Dutch Cube Day and met many old and new puzzle friends there, from different continents even! A very nice event!
From Jack I arrived a special version of his and Pit Khiam's Power Tower participating in this year's IPP Design Competition: Power Tower (mixed base, variable stage). This version comes with a lot of extra pieces and a stopper that allows to select between 3 and 6 stages, and also allows to select an arbitrary combination of binary, ternary, and quaternary pieces. This will intermingle sequences of different arity and may be quite confusing to solve. Not only the craftsmanship is amazing in this puzzle, but also the sheer number of pieces that come with it. The standard configuration is three binary pieces and plays nicely and easily.
The Barcode Burr (printed) is a 3D printed reproduction of the famous wooden version by Lee. Steve engineered and created these printed version in a limited quantity and is a great opportunity to study this fascinating mechanism. In a partial sale of a whole collection, I managed to get some classic puzzles: Computer Puzzler No 2, Computer Puzzler No 5, Double Loop, Trapeze variant, and Unknown Disentanglement 2. All seven puzzles mentioned so far are part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page.
From Michel I received a (customized!) Puzzle Wristband and an Expand A Ball. He was cooperating with Robrecht who created the Ladybird and Larva. The first one was part of the IPP Design Competition, the latter one is a simpler version including the same maze. That makes the names of father (Ladybird) and son (Larva) seem most appropriate, and they are both nicely designed and crafted puzzles.
Straight from Hungary Oliver brought a nice Smart Egg - Skull Egg, which is the most difficult of the whole recently released series.
Beside the Power Tower already mentioned, Jack also made a nice theme puzzle, the DCD-burr. Please look at the picture to see why it is a DCD theme puzzle. He was not the only high level burr designer and craftsman present, but also Alfons, from whom I received some nice beauties: Gobi is one of the latest Burr Zoo members. Jadimex is a nice easy puzzle of three boards and three sticks. Maltese looks a bit like a cross of 18 piece burr and a Maltese cross (sic!). Then Jalpa is one from the 18 pieces burr group.
The Letterbox is a nice design by Christoph (one of the guys I once helped with Burr-Tools). So now I also own "my first Lohe", and Chris also this of this design as his best.
The Rammelkast is a trick box by Theo and you hear something going on inside when tilting it. Fascinating and also nice woodwork.
From Bernhard I received as recent re-release Wunder-Puzzle, and then some new complicated interlocking cubes/cuboidsby William Hu: Coo-inter-pack seems to incorporate coordinate motion with interlocking and packing. I am curious to see how this works! Writhing Snake Cube has some snake pieces performing strange rotational moves. Zmije is one of Vinco's puzzles where you do not know how to open it and where the pieces end.
As a present, each participant of DCD received a 6^3 Board Burr, which is a variation of his IPP Exchange puzzle Cubic Board Burr — as Peter demonstrated in his interesting talk.
Added on 2014-10-20
From Shapeways I received a Helix Burr v2, which is a higher level variant of the Helical Burr. My order also included the HELLical Burr (27 moves for the first piece) before the pricing scheme went up, but unfortunately there were problems during printing and I only received this one. At IPP I already failed to solve the HELLical Burr, so maybe I will solve this 16 move variant some near time in the future.
Added on 2014-10-18
Back from the Spiel games fair in Essen I brought some interesting puzzles with me, some of them brand new. My first visit was to Jean-Claude Constantin, and he had some new puzzles compendium and n-ary puzzle group page for me (even after so many new ones he made for IPP): Based on the N522 he demonstrated the generalization aspect of this class very well: He created different sizes of the puzzle from a 2+2-slider N5, via the 3+3-slider N52, and so on until the 10+10 slider N522222222. Of course I was not able to buy all of them, but have some nice representatives. The N5 is good for beginners, while the N52 is a good challenge for an average puzzler, and the N522222222 may not be solved anytime at all. But all of them share the same principle and design. A new design is the Bi-Nary, which combines the this mechanism (of the N5x) with the one of the Six Bottles. It is a combination of two ternary mechanisms, hence the name, and can be quite confusing to solve.
The other puzzles by Constantin are a bit more normal again: Schmuckkiste, Einstein-Box, Spinnennetz, and Picture Ball Maze.
The Romanian Puzzle Box Small looks like a reproduction of a typical Sorrento Trick Box, but the key is hidden in a different place. The rest of the puzzles I bought at Rombol, including some new interlocking puzzles: Assembly Cube, Rondo Turco, Open Crochet Cube, Poco Loco, Framework, and Fan Puzzle.
Added on 2014-10-15
Twisty Octahedra are still a rare species, and yet today I have received a new puzzle from the group of twisty octahedra: Crazy Octahedron Plus - Mercury
Added on 2014-09-19
A package from Puzzlemaster today, starting with some of their own brand: Brass Treasure Chest is a very small puzzle box by Rocky Chiaro, Great Collision one of the group of similar puzzles by Doug Engel, and The Yak Puzzle and Brontosaurus are fierce disentanglement puzzles by Dick Hess. Writer's Block is "an Oskar" using real pens as parts. The Brain is the new version of the puzzle in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Cast Galaxy is a fascinating puzzle by Bram Cohen and the latest Hanayama puzzle. At the IPP33 Design Competition it was awarded an "honorable mention". Hourglass is one of those Yamamoto puzzles with high level and rotations, and it also looks nice!
Added on 2014-09-17
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... These puzzles remind me of something I have seen in cinema before. You may have recognized that the new Typhyter standing next to the Droid is not just another 18 pieces burr, but also a beautiful piece of art. This puzzle arrived today in a package from Stephan Baumegger with two other gorgeous novelties: Troika has only three pieces, but looking at the level you see it is pretty hard. From "pretty hard" to "pretty heart": Caught Heart is a beautiful interlocking puzzle touching the borders of the puzzle box category: the heart piece is the only piece that can be removed, and for the others several tilting moves are required. I am sure it will be officially published on the Puzzleisure page soon, and sorry for the bad pun!
Added on 2014-09-12
First update after IPP is a puzzle from the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Wicked Wire Fish
Added on 2014-08-13
Usually once every year since 1978 the biggest puzzle related event takes place: the IPP (International Puzzle Party). I have just come back from this amazing event where I met many old and new puzzle friends and brought back some nice puzzles. You can see my "haul" in the picture on the left. About 100 puzzles are from the Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange, where you bring about 100 copies of a new puzzle and exchange with 100 other puzzlers. Please see the special page for these puzzles. My puzzle in the Exchange was the Cross + Crown 2013, which is based on a design patented in 1913, 100 years ago. It is an n-ary puzzle. To my big surprise, I received a bigger version of it from my Exchange assistant Kevin Sadler: Cross + Crown 7 This is also n-ary and has an amazing 4802 moves to solve! Thank you! IPP34 Exchange

At IPP, I received a London Lines Puzz-eLLe as a gift from the organizers, and a little IPP34 Necklace Burr from Brian Young. Thank you! The IPP also features the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition. Beside some puzzles which are also in the Exchange, I managed to get some rare n-ary puzzles from the Design Competition: Complementary P-arity and Num Lock. I also bought a smaller version of the Naked Secret Box Red.

At the Puzzleparty, I bought various nice puzzles: Frame+Loop Septet is a n-ary puzzle I was missing in the set, and probably no others will be produced of this kind. From Kirill, I got a Valentine's puzzle as a swap. Tom Lensch and Frans de Vreugd sold me some old but nice of Frans' designs: Quantum Entanglement Exchange and Extreme Boxed Burr. Just a day before IPP, the new Doors and Drawers was ready, and I just had to buy this puzzle. It is a puzzle box/sequential discovery/interlocking/packing puzzle — very nice! I got a Sandfield's Banded Dovetails, which is the predecessor of the version I already have and then I found a Rhombic Maze Burr " many puzzles in one, with up to a several hundereds of moves. This one comes with a whole book of challenges! From Otis I received a Secret Box as a swap for one of my nice Acrobat puzzles. The haul is concluded with a new Indian Trick Lock.

With so many puzzles to solve, I am just starting to solve and will replace the pictures with solved versions once I have solved the corresponding puzzles. This may well take some year or more.

Update: The compendium has been updated and in total 10 new n-ary puzzles from IPP found their way in.

Other/Older updates:
Can be found on the update history page


Hints: If you need solution hints to any puzzle in my gallery, feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail address can be found on my homepage.