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 2014-04-12
Today I went to a nice GCD (German Cube Day) and met many nice puzzle friends there, and of course brought back some cool puzzles: As presents, I received the GCD 2014 Giveaway and the 4LCoMo (see here). I picked up some different old and new puzzles: Swiss Cow (Vache Rouge) (original naef version), Matchbox, Big Interlocking Cube (an unknown cube in a very rough build from an unknown craftsman and designer; none of the present experts was able to identify it).
Then some vintage additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: New Puzzle Rings 3 and New Puzzle Rings 5.
From Bernhard I picked up some nice pre-ordered items (some of them were sold out already): Petit Puzzle, Rotator, Keyhole, Turnkey, Irene Alternate, and Two Wheeled Cube.
Added on 2014-04-08
Today a heavy metal package from Puzzlemaster in Canada: Two new Cast puzzles: Cast Harmony and Cast Twist. Then some new additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Rat Race and Tree Puzzle. Both are implementations of "Ingenious Rings Puzzles", which I have added to the compendium earlier this year.
News update on 2014-04-01
No April's fool, but I have really solved the Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 puzzle and removed all the sticks and bars from the puzzle. After the long interweaved-binary sequence for the first piece, there are a couple of moves for each piece (I would estimate no more than 10 per piece), including some half-unit moves taking the half-notches into account. Most of the strange moves I found earlier now appeared in the sequence for a piece. While removing the pieces, I carefully arranged the pieces in a way such that I would know which piece would belong where. Even with this information the puzzle is difficult enough to reassemble, as you have to know the order in which the pieces get back in, and what the configuration of the other pieces should be at that point. Luckily and unlike the disassembly you can see through the hole and see what has to be aligned to make room for the new piece. A real boxed burr experience. Very nice concept, I like it!
Added on 2014-03-29
Today two special updates:
Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. Is this beautiful red and shiny box a burr, is it an n-ary puzzle? Well, it seems it is both. It clearly has some Gray code moves in it and then also some burr-like moves that are not following Gray codes at all. The name Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 tries to summarize that there are two groups of pieces (bars and sticks), which both follow a binary GC move pattern at first and are interlocked. Then some nice half notches based moves appear that are usually only found in burrs by Bill Cutler and Jerry McFarland. Some solving experiences: After finding out about the binary GC first, the first group of moves becomes pretty evident. However, at a later point this sequence ends abruptly. Now you are on your own, like with high level burrs: searching for possible moves without being able to look into the box. After a while a pattern becomes clear and then the first piece comes out. Fascinating puzzle! It is a worthy new addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Clever design, Namick!
Added on 2014-03-27
Today some very nice and beautiful burr puzzles from Alfons: The Mino and Jucar are a new type of burr actively discussed on facebook. Alfons made the Mino with nicely grained pieces for me, but additionally he also included the ones that were first built and presented on facebook -- as a special collector's item. After all the nice 18 pieces burrs lately, the Sand Witch and the Kameleon are a good distraction, with a mixture of different piece shapes in one burr. The Kameleon seems to mix them as the real animal mixes colors on its skin. Then there is one addition to the Burr Zoo: It seems, Alfons has finally found the master of all those pets he locked into the burrs before, the The Devil and his Pet.
Added on 2014-03-15
When I had some twisty puzzles visiting last weekend together with my puzzle friends, I just had to go to Calvin's store afterwards and order some. The arrived today already, which is very quick: 3x3x3 Pitcher Octo-Star Cube, Evil Eye II Dodecahedron, and Curvy Copter Plus
Added on 2014-03-11
Today a parcel with some nice little puzzles arrived from Eric. They are both nice and little, but that was intended: Rail Box, Carbo Cube, Gaia, and Vortex.
Added on 2014-03-09
Yesterday I was hosting the second MZPP and we seven puzzle friends attending had a very fun event. Chris brought me a nice little 2x2x2 Fortune Cat and I am sure this will bring good fortune to me and my collection. Thanks, Chris!
Added on 2014-03-05
Recently I made a visit to the zoo and wrote up a little report on the things I have seen there. Wrong page, you think? Well, it was a zoo of Animal Burrs, and the report is the new Burr Zoo group page. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2014-02-19
Recently I have been playing a lot with some "Animal Burrs", how I like to call them: traditional traditional 18 pieces burrs, which have one or two extra pieces hidden inside that have the form of an animal. I am in the middle of working my way through the Devil's pet family. I have completely disassembled (and therefore freed) Devil's Pet 1 and Devil's Pet 2. Two pieces came out from Devil's Pet 3 already and next will be Devil's Pet 4. Now today I have received a package from Stephan with some of his latest creations in this field. The Beware of the Snake is an 18 pieces burr and is the home of a snake, which is currently in the wild and needs to go back into the burr. All these animal puzzles so far have been 18(+x) piece burrs with very static animals — not much space in there. The Camelride has only 12(+1) pieces, but the camel moves a lot even early in the solution. Nice puzzles in this group and beautiful to look at!
Added on 2014-02-08
From Alfons I received a package full of very nice puzzles, mostly traditional 18 pieces burrs. The first is a traditional 18 pieces burr, although not of traditional shape: Saturn, and looks a bit like the Crusade. Then there are three traditional ones with high and very high level: Minerva, Morpheus, and Apollo; all with nice exotic woods. The Lange Wapper 54-2 is a small version and slight variant of the Lange Wapper 54. It has pieces of 10 units length (not the standard 8), but with a unit size about half the one of the other burrs, it is a nice tiny puzzle -- blending in into the class of small 18 pieces burrs that became popular recently. The last one is The Box, which looks like a puzzle box, but I would rather call it an interlocking puzzle, maybe even a burr. When playing with it, you will find that it behaves like one of these sophisticated Japanese Karakuri puzzle boxes, but looking at the inside, you will find a core and some hooked panels that look more like an interlocking or burr puzzle. To me it is a burr behaving a bit like a puzzle box.
News update on 2014-01-14
In the meantime, I have solved all the Karakuri X-mas presents, and Iwahara's little box with the two devices took me longest to solve. All very fascinating puzzles of completely different kinds. Today I have received my membership letter with the solution to the names and craftsmen quiz (I did not need the solutions to the puzzles any more). Seems I was right with my guess and can now uncover: Pirates Box by Miyamoto, Bean Bag Drawer by Iwahara, Expansion IV-2 by Kamei, and Ring Box 2 by Kawashima.
Added on 2014-01-11
First package of this year, straight from Hong Kong: Lattice Cube, which could also be called "Master Dino Cube".
Added on 2013-12-24
From Stephan I received a nice Christmas puzzle: La Mente. A very nice and beautiful puzzle from the category of boxed 6-piece burrs. Thank you, Stephan!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and puzzling New Year!
Added on 2013-12-20
Now look at that! I finally managed to remove the second and then also the third and fourth piece of the Columbus. Must have been some 60 or 70 more moves, but I was not able to count. Had to concentrate on the move sequences, which are really fascinating. Sometimes after a few moves you do not even know how to get back! Nice to solve.
Added on 2013-12-19
Today a nice package from Dan arrived, who found a nice puzzle for me. It is an Electro 1, a traditional entry for both compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Dan!
Added on 2013-12-18
I am still solving for the second piece of the Columbus burr received last week, and have found some very interesting moves — must be close! What other ways are there to prepare for Christmas time? Perhaps with some season's greetings from Japan with some Karakuri X-mas presents arrived today: Xmas 1, Xmas 2, Xmas 3, and Xmas 4. I do not know the names of these little beauties, but I am sure about who created which. If you would like to guess who was the craftsman for which, please drop me a mail. I will not make it too easy here by telling you which craftsmen I selected, but for some there is a pretty obvious style and I am convinced I know who is responsible for which (and then there are also the colorful cardboard boxes ...). Later I will provide an update with the names and craftsmen, but that will usually take until next year.
Added on 2013-12-12
Today a nice little traditional 18 pieces burr from Alfons Eyckmans: Columbus. It only takes 7 moves to remove the first piece, so it should be easy, right? Wrong! Alltogether there are 114 moves required for the full disassembly so the puzzle is actually getting more difficult to the end. If you have a look at the pictures, be assured that the nice exotic woods look much better in reality! Thank you, Alfons!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
Added on 2013-12-06
Today a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing a new special puzzle for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Namick!
Railing with Draining This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. It is a nice sliding pieces puzzle, which is ternary, but needs less pieces than other puzzles of that type. While the Tern Key puzzle employs two switches between each two sliders, this puzzle only has one switch between each two sliders. Let's see if you can figure out where the name Railing with Draining ternary comes from. I find it quite obvious if you have a look at how the puzzle looks like and how it works. Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Today also a second package with some early Christmas presents arrived from John Lin (Customs officers did not believe that but insisted it was commercial): Some nice new Skewb based puzzles: Squished Skewb (the name says all how this puzzle looks like — it is not a Skewb and not cubic), and Skewb Curvy Rhombohedron. Both are of high quality and have the nice clicking Skewb mechanism I like. Thank you, John!
Added on 2013-11-14
Today two packages with nice puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page arrived. The first contained a Octet for heavy disentanglement (luckily I managed the smaller Sextet yesterday without entangling myself). The second one a whole load of Frequency Doublers: 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, that last one is not for me and will travel on, but I was able to study and solve this new puzzle — for research purposes, of course!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
The other package was from Alfons Eyckmans. It contains a zoo of some more animals trapped in an 18 pieces burr. Can you find out which the others are? I have two such puzzles already. When I asked Alfons for a new one he created, it turned out that there were 4 different variations already. The new pets are all diabolical animals crafted in nice woods: Devil's Pet 1, Devil's Pet 2, Devil's Pet 3, and Devil's Pet 4. Once freed, they all look a bit different, but all like some sort of hellhound. In case I needed it against such fierce creatures, Alfons included a sword in my package: Damocles, whose name tells me it might not be easy to get out and to use. It employs the same general idea like the recently published Excalibur, but the sword itself is completely different.
Added on 2013-10-28
After the n-ary news of last weekend, a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing two special puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. The first puzzle from this package has been on an oddyssey already. It nearly reached me a couple of months ago, but then something bad happened to the package and for some reason it returned home. Now the Binary Bud is with me, and it is the one that has been in the compendium since the IPP33 Design Competition, in which this design took part this year. It is a very nice little binary puzzle.
GC machine ternary The second puzzle is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time on this web page (and also in the compendium). It is also special because of the nice technical look, that underlines the name GC machine ternary and also special because of the nice new mechanism. There are five sliders and four wheels in this mechanism, and a control knob. The control knob ensures that exactly one slider may move at a time (indicated by the numbers on it), while the weels link the sliders together to a ternary mechanism. The sliders of course have three positions and the last picture shows the goal configuration with all five sliders pulled out as far as possible. A unique and very nice concept, and also fun to play with, believe me! It is contained in the compendium, as it is a ternary puzzle — hence the name, while the "GC" in the name stands for "Gray Code", of course.Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Added on 2013-10-26
Second puzzle event in a week was going to the "Spiel" in Essen and meeting puzzlers from different countries and even continents there. At Jean-Claude Constantin's booth I expected to see one puzzle for the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Instead he pulled out one after another until six new designs lay in front of me, so this is a big update not only for my web page, but also for the compendium. The new puzzles are Steuerrad, Spiralschloss, Uhrwerk, Seestern, 522, and Labynary. Some have extra challenges of hidden ball mazes, and they are of arities 2, 3, and 11. What better way to invite you to look into the compendium, where you will find more details about the puzzles!
Of course I also got some other puzzles from Jean-Claude, like one of his Light Bulbs and a Trick Lock. This lock is something I have been searching for some time. It has 3 independent locking mechanisms and they require 12 steps — a true beast!
At the Rombol booth I found some interesting new designs I did not have: T-one, Rotpack 1, Sliced Bread, and Gear.
Added on 2013-10-22
Last weekend was DCD in the Netherlands and I brought back many puzzles again: From Wil I got a Trapezoid Symmetry Puzzle and the two latest cast puzzles from Japan, still in their original Japanese packag: G&G and Cylinder. Bernhard had some nice pre-orders for me (some sold out now already): Coaxial, Mysterious Galaxy, and Galaxy Z. Oskar gave me one of his Impossiburrs (can you see the geometry?), and from Tony Fisher one of his latest originals, a Starpad (where did the rest of that Starminx go?). After meeting Jack Krijnen, I now had some of his old and new creations: The Cube (interesting design from 1980), Tippy (downsized version of the Tipperary, both in complexity and real size), Elevenses, Framed!, and Grandpa Framed (two additions to the 18 pieces burr group, the first ones with frame). The last one is a Grandfather Burr (by W. van der Poel), put into a frame. From the designer of the Grandfather Burr, I got an unknown Puzzle of 3 joined 4 piece burrs (probably by Interlocking Puzzles). After the talks (see below), I received a Perrier Bottle and three nice folding puzzles. I was also looking for a Quatro -- of course Marcel had one for sale. Finally, I received a nice Carthesian Wallet from Michel.
At the DCD I also gave a lecture about my compendium. You can download the slides here, but I did a lot of talking, which is not included in the slides.
Added on 2013-10-10
Today a nice little package from Austria, from Stephan Baumegger. It contained one of his latest creations, an Excalibur. The name and the look of the nicely crafted puzzle suggest that you need force to pull out the sword, but in reality mental strength is required: It is a high level burr with 9 pieces in a box.
Added on 2013-09-19
Today a nice little package from Australia with four exchange puzzles from IPP33 by MrPuzzle, all nice nontrivial burrs: Kumiki Airlines (comes assembled, but has to be assembled in a different way), P Burr, Stepping Burr, and Brace Yourself.
Added on 2013-09-12
From Nowstore a new and interesting shapemod: the Pillowed Hexaminx
Added on 2013-09-10
At MPP (Midlands Puzzle Party) Adin Townsend presented a ternary puzzle created from Lego. It is closely related to the Crazy Elephant Dance and works the same way. When building instructions were published for this puzzle, I built myself a Lego Ternary Gray Code Puzzle and after verification that it behaved correctly, I put it into n-ary puzzle group page and of course the Compendium.
Added on 2013-08-31
Earlier than expected I received a package of nice puzzles from Tom Lensch — very nice craftmanship! The order dates back to last year's IPP when I met the designer Ken Irvine and was fortunate to order some of his new designs: K22 Multiwood Cube, K24 Walnut Cube (named after the wood of the prototype), and K27 Accordion Cube (one wood as opposed to Eric's Multiwood version I already have).
Special Update on 2013-08-30
I know that there are many puzzlers interested in the n-ary Puzzle Group. There are more such puzzles than shown on this page, so I have created a compendium of all of them known to me over the last months, containing more data about the puzzles, a formal definition, and some interesting mathematical properties. All that is now published in the:
Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles
Enjoy reading and browsing the big list of puzzles!
Added on 2013-08-28
From Stephan Baumegger I received an 18 pieces burr, which he designed in a box. This is not only the first design of this kind I know, but also a beautifully crafted puzzle: Centauri. It has level 13 (i.e. 13 moves to take out the first piece), so it should be easy. Think again: The following pieces require another 141, 34, 8, and 17 moves, so it is a real monster to solve. Will keep me busy for a very long time, I guess.
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.