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 2015-10-02
Today a small parcel with many puzzles was waiting for me to pick up: Diamond Entanglement, Key Shaped Puzzle Lock, Secret Box No 4, Mini Secret Puzzle Box, Bird in the Nest, Euro-Falle 3, and Euro-Falle 4. Some are IPP puzzles from IPP35, and then there are some nice others.
Added on 2015-09-22
Maybe you remember the DITWIBIN by Namick Salakhov? A nice puzzle in the n-ary puzzle group and therefore also in the compendium. That puzzle has a clever mechanism and is fun to play with, and is a simpler relative of what arrived today: The MixTer-MaxTer. It was an entry in this years IPP Design Competition, and I think it is a brilliant design! You "just" have to guide the little red sliders from the outer disk with two slots and collect them in the other outer disc with many slots. My discovery of that puzzle went through three main stages:
  1. Try to move the discs (which are moving simultaneously!) and get some of the sliders moved to other discs. Feeling confused.
  2. After a while, my hands seem to do some moves automatically and I am beginning to see a pattern. Could this be a n-ary puzzle with base 7 (like 7 discs)?
  3. Now I have understood where each of the sliders can go, and each can only go to three discs! The puzzle is a ternary puzzle in disguise, including a hidden locking mechanism interacting with the little red sliders. Very clever design!
The name seems to be a technical term referring to the ternary nature of the puzzle, but then it is also a Scottish word describing my initial experiences with the puzzle very well — please have a look into a dictionary if in doubt! Excellent puzzle, thank you, Namick!
Added on 2015-09-14
I am not good at tray packing puzzles and rarely collect them, but today I got myself one. Very difficult and multiple challenges by Wiliam Waite. However, it is also a puzzle box! The latest of the famous Stickman Puzzleboxes by Robert Yarger. You may have guessed already — it is an Edelweiss Puzzlebox, and it's a real beauty, isn't it?
Added on 2015-09-12
Earlier this year I had some conversations on variants of the Double Slideways Burr, also with the Designer Ray Stanton. His IPP35 Exchange puzzle is base on the simpler Slideways. It is the Slideways Cube, which arrived today. When looking at it you may not spot any similarity with the other puzzles mentioned, but it is there, internally. Just that getting an idea how to disassemble this one is much harder than for the others, also due to the nice fit concealing any cuts or gaps that there might be. Thank you for the nice puzzle, Ray!
Added on 2015-09-11
Recently Johan Heyns asked who would be interested in one of his designs, built by himself. Of course I ordered one and today I received a beautiful puzzle: Canuck. It is the second version and the main difference is that little checkerboard pattern on the sides, a very nice looking feature, I think! The puzzle did not come alone. If you have a close look onto the picture, you will see the stand the puzzle is resting on, which came neatly packed in pieces and was an assembly puzzle by itself! Thank you Johan, for building this nice puzzle for me!
Added on 2015-09-09
After Wil's recent newsletter I could not resist any more and got myself a new Ying Yang 69. It is nice heavy metal quality, as usual. I played with the prototype at IPP over a year ago already, and the puzzle looked very interesting back then already.
Added on 2015-09-06
Today my puzzle friend Dirk visited me and we had a little post-IPP puzzle party. Beside many nice puzzles he brought his IPP Exchange puzzle with him, A-Mazing Blocks, a fascinating extension of sliding pieces puzzle with a maze, multi-challenge, of course! The second new puzzle is the Racktangle, from the IPP Design Competition, and has been pubished in Goh Pit Khiam's article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", which can be found in my compendium. The puzzle has a new entry in this compenium and n-ary puzzle group page. After the Power Tower it is the second puzzle offering some additional parts allowing to set up an n-ary sequence by choosing mixed-base plates (of base 2 and 3) and with variable stage count up to 4. Many different challenges in one puzzle. As you can see in the picture, it is nicely made by Tom, and the second of this kind in two days!
Added on 2015-09-05
Today I received a special puzzle, which was designed for me by Christoph Lohe. In the correct German spelling, my name is spelled: Götz. Now take a look at the pictures of the puzzle to the left, you will recognize the scheme! The GÖTZ puzzle is built around my name, and luckily there are only 4 letters in it. Thanks to Chris and also to Claus who supported me with 3D-printing this nice puzzle! And beside bearing my name, it is also a nice and nontrivial interlocking puzzle!
The second package arrived later the day, with my wins from a recent auction: Open-Side Coin Bank, Dovetail Burr Puzzle, and Sandfield Joint Puzzle. All of them are beautifully crafted and more on the traditional side. Some very interesting puzzles which will take their time to solve for sure!
Added on 2015-08-10
Today something very unusual happened to me: two packages from Japan with brand new puzzles! The first one contained an ATM. Unfortunately, it does not come with any money in it, so I had to pay the taxes at customs myself. Maybe the officers were also confused by the name of the puzzle: Please Pay the Fee. The invoice showed just the name of the puzzle and the total. The puzzle is beautifully made, and even has a little view screen that tells you if you have already paid your fee and you will receive your savings. A great piece of art, too!
The second package contained a whole series of old puzzle designs, re-released as a brand new series, and only available in Japan at the moment. The puzzles are looking beautiful and they are new version of a complete Marcel Gillen Chess set, in particular: King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawn.
Added on 2015-08-07
You know what India is famous for in the puzzle world? Trick locks! Today I received some nice mass produced ones: Ace of Hearts and Lockout
Added on 2015-07-23
Today a new and interesting puzzle arrived after having travelled around half the world from down under: Slida
Added on 2015-07-17
From Puzzle-Shop.de I got some nice puzzles from far east: Square in a bag, Sunglasses, and Cast Hexagon
Added on 2015-07-08
I wonder how I can get that cube out?? Thanks Pilipp, for that nice Cube in a Bottle!
Added on 2015-07-05
Because of the current strike puzzle deliveries are unusual now: taking longer, finally showing up on Sunday! From Austria Stephan sent me one of his latest creations: Fortuna. This nice 18 pieces burr has some extra 12 cage pieces, and is two puzzles in one. With and without cage pieces there is a unique solution, but of different level. A similar concept but with a solid frame was designed earlier on: Boards and Sticks with Frame. I had some trouble putting it into the 18 pieces burrs group, because in one assembly it has more pieces than 18, and it has two levels. I put it to the level 10 entry, which lists some other unusual 18 piece burrs already — only unusual ones, to be precise!

The second package is from the U.S. and it is fitting that it contains item 1776 in my collection, but then it should have arrived yesterday already! Some of the latest works by Eric Fuller, designed by two U.S. designers well known for years (or even decades): Helix the Burr, Think outside the box, and Inner Cube. After struggling with the half notches in the Visible Burr the Helix the Burr now offers third notches!

Added on 2015-07-02
A nice and well made wooden puzzle lock: Wooden Lock Puzzle. It seems to have multiple steps and is a design I have never seen before. It comes with a nail, but I am not sure what that is good for. I have yet to solve the lock and I am sure I will find out. So far I have found some unexpected features.
Added on 2015-06-17
From CU-Japan from the UK a box with two boxes inside, and inside them two boxes. Sounds familiar? The package contained the two Naked Secret Boxes I did not have before: Naked Secret Box Green, Naked Secret Box Orange. Like the blue and red one they are very nice puzzles with a very interesting look. Who would have the idea of making puzzle boxes transparent? Some of the techniques remind me of the Black Box (see below), but that box hides all internals. These "Naked" secret boxes let you see every detail allowing a thorough analysis when solving.
Added on 2015-06-16
Diniar is a well known desginer of sliding pieces puzzles. From him I received one of his newest puzzles: the nice My Tower of Hanoi. It looks like two Tower of Hanoi combined, or a bit like a Panex, but that is where the similarity ends. It is a nice and well-made sliding pieces puzzle with many challenges, of which I have solved the first one already.
Added on 2015-06-15
From the Netherlands an interesting and heavy box. Containing an interesting and heavy box. Containing an interesting and heavy box ... That one is Wil Strijbos' latest creation, the mysterious Butterfly Lock Box. My first impression is that it satisfies both meanings of the German word "schwer": heavy and difficult. A beautiful and very well crafted puzzle and long awaited. I am very curious to solve this one and wonder how long it will take!
Added on 2015-06-02
A package from Hong Kong with some nice new Twisties. Actually some of these models have been to visit to my place before, and that cleared my doubt and I ordered two: Curvy Dino I have solved within minutes and it is easy, but interesting looking. The Dreidel 3x3x3 seems to be harder to solve and demonstrates some "parity" issues. The puzzle looks fascinating, with those corners turning independently!
Added on 2015-06-01
First package of the month contained my wins from the recent Haubrich auction: The mysterious The Black Box — mysterious not only from the black look. Is it a box, or is it a burr? Is it both? The nice Wun-Wa-Sure, as it occurred in the IPP21 design competition.
Added on 2015-05-23
Another puzzle surprise from Switzerland, a new variant of Double Slideways Burr: The Double Slideways Burr+D is a variant of the Double Slideways Burr TSP, with some triangular prisms added to the three identical pairs of pieces. That is also what the "+D" stands for, it's for the German "Dreiecksprisma". It is fascinating how many variants can come out of a puzzle during optimization. I find this version the hardest to assemble, probably because it does not have much space left and has obstructions added. It works in the usual three-axis coordinate motion move. Thanks for sharing this with me!
Added on 2015-05-21
Another puzzle surprise from Switzerland, a new variant of Double Slideways Burr / Double Slideways Burr TSP-: The Double Slideways Burr TSP-+2W is like the TSP variant, and adds 2 new cubies — can you spot them? This removes the remaining internal holes and now the two halves can only be assembled in two directions, not in three like for the TSP-. The new pieces do not have any angled cuts, but now these pieces are non-notchable. An interesting idea to follow-up would be to include the two extra cubies as separate pieces. Thank you, Peider!
Added on 2015-05-17
From Alfons I received some very beautiful and special interlocking/burr puzzles. In the category of 18 pieces burrs: Alien (which looks like a traditional 18 pieces burr at first sight, but is a much more interesting 26 piece burr at a closer look), and a difficult and true category member: Armilla. The puzzle Skunk looks like an interesting 18 pieces burr with some clamp pieces between, adding up to 21 pieces, and also with level 21. A new and visually fascinating concept are the interlocking puzzles with stacked frames, which look like they can telescope out of the puzzle during the solution. It will be very interesting how to see how Pulsar and Pulsar 2 will work during the solution. The Kameleon caged was interesting to me at first sight, because it is based on a very similar puzzle, without cage, and a difficult one: Kameleon. The base of the fascinating Dirty Dozen Caged is the Dirty Dozen (the first puzzle Alfons built for me). So what does this new version consist of? Let's analyze the name: dozen = 12 core pieces, dirty = 4 extra hidden pieces, caged = a cage. This cage is not a fixed frame, but another 12 cage pieces. All this adds up to 28 pieces, 12 of which are identical, yet 26 moves for the first piece!
Added on 2015-05-03
This weekend Michel and Maarten were visiting me and brought me some nice puzzles for my collection: Keychain Burr 9 pieces (came disassembled for an extra challenge), 3D Labyrinth, and 3x3x3 — thank you! This morning we got up early and went to Wil's place to where he had invited us for his yearly puzzle party. A great event, where I met many old and new friends, and of course many, many puzzles to play with, even very rare and interesting ones, and even some I bought: Tritalon, Escape from Alcatraz, Wooden Puzzle Lock 1, and Wooden Puzzle Lock 2. A great weekend!
Added on 2015-04-28
The latest update by Eric Fuller contained a gorgeous Chicken Puzzle, a interesting looking Bundle of Sticks, and a new release of the famous Visible Burr. I ordered that burr disassembled, and that is the reason there are more pieces in that bag in the picture. I will replace the picture after I had a chance to assemble the puzzle (as usual).
Added on 2015-04-26
Today a new puzzle arrived (and that arrival today is a puzzle on its own!). The Cascadia
Added on 2015-04-25
Today I went to GCD to meet many puzzle friends and also see some new puzzles. The nice giveaway puzzle New T Puzzle was no surprise for me, as I was involved in that project. From two puzzle friends I received some of their own work: Mini Bottle and Fibula Puzzle — thank you! His new design Closed Box I got from my puzzle friend Christoph. Not new but interesting are the 1 2 3 and the Double Sliding. The Buffalo Nickel Puzzle is the second of Oskar's 2-dimensional burrs I own, and it is in the beautiful original version. Goal is to free some coin, and this is also the goal of the new Hole Vacancy Coin and Hard-Boiled Coin. Fresh from Hungary arrived the Mandorla (which also exists in different colour schemes). The PUZZLE is a high level interlocking puzzle, which picks up the recent way of using letters in such board burr puzzles. That is almost all I know about it. GCD was a great day once again and I had a lot of fun!
Added on 2015-04-21
A surprise package from Switzerland — thank you! Peider Grischott took the existing design Double Slideways Burr and created the Double Slideways Burr Plus (incidentially also the original version of the puzzle by Ray Stanton) trying to close the space inside the puzzle. He has now continued his efforts and created the interesting Double Slideways Burr TSP, which has less internal space, yet still functions as a coordinate motion puzzle. The diagonal cuts enforce coordinate motion moves along diagonally to all grid axes. This can further be modified to the: Double Slideways Burr TSP—. The minus in the name suggests that something has happened here. The pieces have been made simpler (notchable now!) This puzzle can still be solved by coordinate motion, but you can also assemble two halves and then move them together in a straight move along one of the grid axes. The pieces look simple and are well known, yet I have not found a reference to a burr with these particular three pairs of pieces. If you know more about this burr, please drop me a message.
Added on 2015-04-21
After those (easy) twisties yesterday, I am not sure if I have enough wooden interlocking puzzles. Today two nice new ones from Yavuz arrived: Lox Box and Pox Box
Added on 2015-04-20
Some brand new twisty octahedra: Octic I and Octic III .
Added on 2015-04-16
From Switzerland I received a litte surprise puzzle, which was a puzzle experiment: Based on the Double Slideways Burr, the Double Slideways Burr Plus was designed, which has three identical pairs of pieces, but with a little less space in it than the version I already have. The manufacturing process seems to me more difficult by this little modification. It turned out that these were indeed the original pieces from the original design (also sold at Cubicdissection), which were modified for the IPP Exchange. Thanks for the nice puzzle!
Added on 2015-04-15
Stephan sent a giant from Austria he recently designed: Ruebezahl. The name is from popular fairy tales, and this matches this very beautiful puzzle very well. The big caged sticks are quite complex in shape and have 3x3x9 units — the first six piece burr of that kind I have ever seen, with or without cage. The giant came with a second puzzle for support, so new that it did not even have a name. It is a six piece burr in a cage of planks, hence the name Plankton seemed appropriate. Looks very beautiful with these woods, and by the way: have you heard about white nut wood before? Thank you, Stephan!
Added on 2015-04-11
Today I received the improved versions (second editions) of some very nice Jean Claude Constantin puzzles from him. They are both in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Uhrwerk and Bi-Nary. Both are definitely solvable and fun to solve — have solved them myself. The Bi-Nary can be quite confusing at first, but what would you expect from a puzzle combining two different n-ary mechanisms? This one is the first puzzle to implement such a fascinating idea, and it required quite some engineering to get things working right.
Added on 2015-04-08
From Puzzle-Shop.de I received a little puzzle full of nice new puzzles: Safe Box 1, Safe Box 2, Cast Keyhole, Euro-Falle, Old Man's Desire, and Drunter und Drueber. One of these puzzles is part of compendium and n-ary puzzle group page — can you guess which one?
Added on 2015-04-01
From Richard Gain I received two nice 3D printed puzzles: his IPP34 Design Competition entry Coronation Cube and Osanori Yamamoto's complex Rose puzzle.
Added on 2015-03-28
From Japan a small package with a small box in it. This cute box is another Karakuri x-mas present of 2014 I was able to obtain: Sheep
Added on 2015-03-19
The latest set of nice puzzles from Brian Menold, designed by two rotation experts, all in beautiful woods: Dizzy Cube, Pivot, Ring Fight, Gyro, The Elevator, and Khamsin
Added on 2015-03-09
A package from the Karakuri Creation Group, with some beautiful and easy Japanese puzzles: The Owl Shock, Karakuri Cake 1 (Cheese Cake), Karakuri Cake 2 (Fruit Cake), Karakuri Cake 3 (Chocolate Cake), and Karakuri Cake 4 (Fruit Cake)
Added on 2015-03-07
Seems that puzzles are arriving daily now. Today some nice wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles.eu: Optiborn, Delight, and Jump. And then google for puzzle 1700 in my collecion. Sorry for the pun and no advertising of big companies intended, the name is purely coincidental ...
Added on 2015-03-06
About 1.5 years ago I first met Steve Miller, and he told me about his plans to revive the Barcode burr, which has been brought into existence (please see here). He then mentioned that he was working on a high quality puzzle called "fire" to be part of an elemental series. Now here it is: Fire puzzle. If you look at the puzzle and its beautiful looks you might understand why it took so long to produce. It comes in a nice set of boxes and opening them is the easy part. The puzzle does not give away clues how to open it, but there is a leaflet with clues. Only problem: They have been encrypted in a strange alphabet, one additional puzzle to solve! The box is covered with optical illusions and some more clues (or encrypted writings). Additionally, a web site has been created which is also supposed to contain hints. Quite a lot for a single puzzle, and I would expect this also hints for the time needed to solve all that! Wow!
Added on 2015-03-05
Of all those twisties I have received lately, there are still many left scrambled and waiting to be solved. I wonder if it was a good idea to scramble them, especially the ones with gears. Today I received an easier one I have solved it already a couple of times: Pyraminx Diamond. This new puzzle is also one from the group of twisty octahedra.
Added on 2015-03-01
This evening I hosted a small puzzle event at my place, now the 3rd already, why I called it "MZPP3" (after MZPP2 last year, the acronym including the city abbreviation). Thanks to all participants for making this a special day with many nice puzzles! Half an hour before the event my latest auction win arrived, and I don't know much about it, but sometimes I like puzzle mysteries: Large Puzzle Bank. From some participants I received some puzzles of their own production: Marble in Cage, Schickspiral, Tom's Hollow Cube, Turnblock 335, and Walton Cube. Now I have some fascinating new puzzle which will help me remember this day!
Added on 2015-02-27
From Alfons a box full of nice new puzzles of various interesting shapes. Believe me, in reality the woods and wood grains look very beautiful, much better than on my pictures! They are: Confucius 3, Kelvin, Helix 2, 2-3-4, and Big Mac
Added on 2015-02-26
A beautiful brand new puzzle from Austria: Cubeloc S. If you look closely, you will see that it is a six piece burr in a cage, and the cage will come apart, too. While it is not needed for the solution, notice how the different burr colors match the cage colors at the sides!
Added on 2015-02-20
Some more twisties from Nowstore arrived today: Void Master Pentultimate and Pentagram
Added on 2015-02-19
Today some brand new fancy twisty from Nowstore in Hong Kong: Gear Skewb
Added on 2015-02-17
Today I received some mass produced puzzles I received as a side order to a recent amazon order. The two puzzles are mass produced, but part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Tricky Frame and Tricky Mouse.
Added on 2015-02-11
Today I received what Stephan called a "Prototype". I call it a beautiful puzzle with excellent movements and an interesting shape: Stairway. From what I have seen on pictures, it has interesting configurations during the solution with some pieces overhanging without being able to remove. Well, that is what I am going to explore next with this puzzle!
Added on 2015-02-09
After some twisties last time, now back to some hard (or difficult?) wood. A package from Brian Menold arrived, with some fascinating new puzzles in various beautiful woods: Board Burr in Cage, Tight Noose, Hooked, Foliage, and Stack of Sticks.
Added on 2015-02-05
I felt I had some catching up to do with twsity puzzles, and today a package from Nowstore brought 5 new and a bit older puzzles: Megaminx Ball, Curvy Copter III, David Gear Cube, Pocket Cube - 2 Colour Edition, and Wheel of Time
Added on 2015-01-27
Today I picked up a late christmas present at customs, which had travelled for the last 1.5 months — maybe carrier and customs did try to figure out what it was and to solve it? It was well worth waiting for and is the latest design in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page by profilic designer Namick Salakhov, and revealed to the public here for the first time. The puzzle is the DITWIBIN, a beautiful puzzle excellently crafted and with beautiful looks — I especially like the two color acrylic frame! The name might seem to have some system behind it and it fact there is: It denotes this puzzle as one with two twisting discs with a binary gray code implemented. Can you guess which part of the name stands for what? This also hints that this is a typical representative of n-ary puzzle: While this puzzle has been created in September 2014, various higher order versions were designed already in August. This makes it a typical family of n-ary puzzles: different number of sliders, different arities of these sliders, and then additionally also different number of discs. Quite fascinating concept! Coming back to this one, it is fun to play with and the moves are nice and easy. You can see a vital part of the mechanics for the interaction between the pieces on the top demonstrating how this puzzle might work. However, there is more to it hidden from view. A clever design! Thank you, Namick!
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.