Sunday, 19 February 2017

Origami: time to put them into frames!!!

Some pictures of "new" creations below. And as usual if you're interested to buy, PM me!

I folded this tessellation in 4 colors some time ago and bought recently a big red sheet to put it as a background color. I also bought a nice black frame with glass (this is not plexi). I can be hanged.
I feel that the contrast of colors is very nice.

At the beginning I had a red sheet of 35cm x 35 cm side but I did not find any frame of that size. So I needed to buy a bigger sheet and cut it. Hence, this is also not the same red color.




Maybe I will also buy a frame for the below folding. This will be a big bigger (but a rectangle and not a square):


I will try to fold other kind of "flat origami" soon, that can be put in frames.

Last is an old folding, but I bought a nice plexi display stand for it. First it makes it even more beautiful. Then it's design. Finally it protects well the folding, maintain it perfectly and you can put a light source under to see the patterns of the folding.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Hel-sin-key

My first review of a kind of puzzles not very developed in the market: the trick key.
You already know the trick locks, the trick bolts. Now let me explain a little bit about the trick keys.

I don't see this kind of puzzles a lot and the only ones I know are designed and crafted by Rocky Chiaro using brass (like for all his puzzles). The goal is obviously to free the ring.


The price is definitely not cheap but the quality is very good and it's handmade. This has a price!

It puzzled me for few minutes, so I have to admit that it's not a difficult puzzle at all. I remember it was ranked with a high difficulty on Rocky's website but he has deleted the difficulty.

I like the mechanism and the name of the puzzle, always funny names for his puzzles!

So you should buy it if you have no trick keys in your collection or if you like metal puzzles. I would have liked a bit more steps and a bit more difficult. But well, it must be difficult to implement a lot of steps in small puzzles like trick keys...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Armadillo cube

In my twisty journey, I could not avoid to tell you quick words about a this twisty: the armadillo cube.

Designed by Michael Kessell Grant Prestidge in New Zealand, the puzzle was initially funded through kickstarter. In case, you should check quickstarter because there are often interesting projects about puzzles.


There are several interesting things to mention about this puzzle: first the shape is nice, the colors are brights. The design can remind you of the famous regular rubik's cube 3x3, but here are some subtle differences like the fact that 2 sides of the cube can share the same colours.
Secondly the pieces can be completely removed in case you want to restart the puzzle. Nothing specially complicated in the mechanism but this is very efficient and make the puzzle's moves pretty smooth (I find the puzzle even smoother after completely disassembling the puzzle).
Reassembling the pieces is not difficult but require a little bit of dexterity as the first pieces are not hold by the other pieces.



Regarding the difficulty of the puzzle, I would rank it in the same level as the regular 3x3 or a little bit more difficult as you have to take into account the shared coloured sides of the puzzle. You have algorithms to solve it. I used the same algorithm as for the regular rubik's cube but I was blocked at some point with 2 corners that could not be orientated the way I wanted. Or maybe I skipped one step...who knows.

The puzzle being available in different shops, you should not have too many difficulties to get one. And it's not expensive!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The "how" trick box

I know, it's not the real name of the puzzles, but for me it's way easier than writting the German name which is difficult to pronounce and write :-)

So this puzzle is a trick box designed and made by Siebenstein Spiele. It consists of several pannels that need to be moved to open the box. The quality is overall good and I like a lot the design with the question mark.

A seasoned puzzler won't have difficulties to open the box because he knows the tricks that a trick box can contain while a newscomer may experience some slight difficulties.

The good thing with this puzzles (despite its puzzling aspect) is that it has enough space to try to imagine how you could modify the puzzle. And if you wonder: yes I have ideas to make it even more challenging...in case the designer reads this blog ;-)

It's definitely a nice introduction to trick boxes.

You can buy it at this nice shop: Brilliant puzzles. They have a lot of choices for trick boxes with all price range, have a look!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Medallion: Hanayama special edition!

OK I assume you all know the Hanayama's famous cast puzzles composed of usually (but not always) 2 pieces to separate and then to reassemble.
This puzzle is also a cast puzzle but does not belong to the "official" list of the cast puzzle series because it's a special and limited edition (hence the price is more expensive than the usual price of cast puzzles).

Designed by Oskar, this puzzle is composed of 2 rings that rotate creating a maze and a "tray" composed of 2 parts that you can push and pull.


So you're facing a 2 sides-maze: you have to move a disk, then push/pull the tray, move the other disk, etc. You need to anticipate the next moves depending on the path of the maze.
My technique to solve was was to look on both side each time.

But don't get me wrong: this is a difficult puzzle. I don't really know the rating of the difficulty as it's not written on the box but I would assume at least 5/6. You can be easily lost and make useless moves!

It reminds me kind of the other cast puzzle called L'oeuf, but I have some difficulties with the previous one as the moves were not super smooth and some slight force was needed. For this medallion puzzle, no force at all is needed, the moves are very smooth!


I even found another challenge with this puzzle!
I did not reassemble the puzzle in the "proper" configuration, resulting in a puzzle with the writting on the top with the flat side of the tray pointing up (come one, it's not just about rotating the whole puzzle hahaha!). If you look well on the first picture I put, the writting was at the bottom.
Who's up for this challenge??

In my mind, this is a really nice addition to your collection and definitely a must-have if you like (like me) the cast puzzles.

Being a special edition it's not available everywhere. I advise Brilliant Puzzle webshop to buy it. They charge the lowest price (compared to other webshops) for this puzzle!
Plus they offer a big range of puzzles. No doubt you will find something suitable for you! :)


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Some nice twisties

My first review of twisties that I want to share with you!!! And top quality of course!

All these twisties come from this puzzle shop online. They are very fast to reply and they offer a very big range of puzzles. I am sure you will find something that suits your twisty taste :)

I decided to go for a super floppy, a basic stickerless 3x3, a skewb and a magic clock.

First let's start with the floppy cube, well, it's not really a cube as it's a 1x3x3 twisty and it's very easy, anybody can solve it and without algorithms.
The very nice thing with this puzzles is that it's flat at the beginning and then you can have a 3D shape. In this case, you just need to make it flat and solve it. Why it's very easy? Because you can turn the small cubes when you have the puzzle like on the picture above. Maybe this feature was not planned? Anyone knows? Because I did see some algorithms to solve this floppy twisty.
Obviously it's not a twisty used for time competition, but who cares. It's smooth enough. I like it. The mean trick is to give it in its 3D shape to someone not used to (even easy) puzzles :) 

Now the 3x3 rubik's cube: this is a DaYan stickerless cube. I heard many good thing about this puzzle and it's known to be one of the best stickerless 3x3 cubes in the market and in my opinion it is! The moves are super smooth and you can make the cut-corner technique easily, which is a top criteria for speed cubes!
Also the good thing about stickerless cubes is the fact the the stickers won't get damaged as there are none :-)
A very very nice cube that everyone should try to get!
 The colors are bright wich is also something pleasant!

Now the magnetic repositionning skewb twisty: it has a cube shape but behaves not like a cube.

This puzzle is way easier than the rubik's cube because there are fewer algorithms and they are easier to remember. You can find them on the internet.
Again, this one is a stickerless and I chose the brand MoYu as it's one of the best quality for the skewb. Again this is a smooth puzzle, I like it a lot. As it's very smooth (and especially when you're not used to that), you need to be careful when making the moves because you can make unexpecting moves as it can turn easily. The good thing with this puzzle is that it's easy to take it apart and reassemble without screwing up the puzzle. You have an X-Y-Z axis and then you just need to put the pieces around it. Easy I told you :)
To be honest, the magnetic repositionning is not really noticeable...I was expecting stronger magnets to reposition faster and more efficiently. Something to improve I feel. Nevermind, I repositioned manually.

And the last puzzle is a magic clock. It can be considered as a twisty as well because the principle is pretty the same.
Actually you need to scramble the 9 clocks by turning the wheels on the side of the puzzles, while moving up or down the 4 buttons on the center of the puzzle. I have not yet solved it, but there are techniques to do so on the internet and the technique is also provided with the puzzles (though I must admit it's not super clear-for me I mean). Be warned: you need to solve the nine clocks on each side, so a total of 18 clocks!!


You can also push/pull several buttons at the same time, resulting in moving the time on the clocks in different ways (when moving the wheels).
This is a fun puzzle to play with and I like that it's a different design. It's good to see other things than cubes, d'ont you think so? :)
After scrambling it, now it's time to solve it!!!....pun intended??....

All these 4 puzzles come from this shop, which I strongly advise to you.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Pharaoh's Secret

Designed by Perry McDaniel and produced by Norman Sandfield, this nice dovetail bears well its name as the goal is to open it and discover the secret of the Pharaoh.


This puzzle is a nice addition to the series of dovetail puzzles by the Sandfield brothers and implements a nice and pretty new kind of step. 
Not being a difficult puzzle, this one shows its secrets pretty quickly. Indeed, it does not have a lot of steps and they are pretty easy to discover.

A good thing with this puzzle is that you don't have to be as careful as with other dovetail puzzles because it's unlikely that you will cut yourself with the dovetail joints.

Usually, Pharaoh's pyramids were pretty much like a giant puzzle to solve to be able to reach the Pharaoh and one could have expected more steps to open this pyramid.

However, the nice shape of the puzzle and mechanism are worth the case to have it in your collection or to play with it.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Chain store

Awarded at past IPP, this puzzle comes from the genius mind of the designer Goh Pit Khiam and was made by the very talentuous Tom Lensch.

Tom is used to crafting puzzles made by Pit Khiam and his puzzles are usually very good and have a little something that makes them very special. Just take the example of this puzzle: packing puzzles are common, not original. But packing puzzles using a chain of 5 links...well I have never seen it before! Have you?


Despite the fragile look of the chain, I can say that it's strong enough (unless you use useless brute force!) to be handled and manipulated without fear that the chain breaks. You have to believe the ability of Tom, he knows what he crafts!!!

I have played with the puzzle for some time before finding the solution and I would say it's pretty challenging, but not overly difficult compared to many other packing puzzles.
It's easy to put some part of the chain inside the box, but it's way more challenging to put all the chain, and remember that you have to pack the chain so that the top is flat...! :-)

Next attempt may be the right one....maybe...

My method was to try packing the chain outside of the box and see how it can fit or not inside. And I do think it's better to play like that, because you may not be able to arrange the links of the chain when the chain is inside the box. No force needed, just clever moves to try to make the chain "as small as possible" without too many holes or useless gaps.

There is only one solution and I really wonder how you can find that there is only one solution and how to write a program that gives you the precise solution..Nevermind, it's another kind of puzzle I assume...

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Cast diamond

From the 3 newest cast puzzles is one from Scott Elliott (his first puzzle to be produced by Hanayama, if I am right), and what a start!

This cast diamond is only ratted as difficulty 1, so the easiest, but I am sure you will take more time to solve it than what you first expected!


Usually cast puzzles come attached to each other and your goal is to disassemble them. But here, the 2 pieces of the puzzle come not attached. Well, obviously (after you know how to solve the puzzle) the real challenge is to assemble the 2 pieces!

I do love the shape of the pieces and the very nice way both pieces come together.

I definitely advise it for anyone and I would even put it in my favourite from group 1 of cast puzzles along with cast loop.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

X-Y-Z burr

Not sure why it's called a burr nor why XYZ are used for, but the thing I know is that this is a very nice metal puzzle designed and made by R.D Rose some time ago.


The colors are nice and the shape as well. You cannot go wrong with a R.D Rose puzzle as I think they belong to the most original metal puzzles.

The goal is to disassemble it, but if you have the opportunity to play with it, I advise that it's shown to you disassembled. Indeed, separating the pieces is very easy and can be done even by a child. Reassembling the pieces is the real challenge!


The pieces are identical and there is no clear hints how the pieces could go together and it can even seem that they cannot be put together...

Obviously a co-motion move will have to be done at some point, this is not a spoiler!

I think this is a pleasant puzzle to play with either by burr lovers who can think they will have to solve a burr or by non-burr lovers who will actually play with not a burr (yes, this is not a burr at all despite the name!!) :-)

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Opened lock!

Sorry guys, the name can be disappointing, but the lock is not opened...but transparent, or almost!
Hence its name: transparent lock

Yes, you can see what's inside the lock and what you're doing. Easy then? Not complicated indeed, but we'll see.

First a picture!

So you notice pure quality, right? A lock that is firmy locked and a T-shaped tool.

This is a pretty big lock, but a pretty light (compared to its size) as well because most of the lock is just....empty space !!! :-)

I feel this is one of the most original trick locks because of its design. Regarding the puzzling aspect: this is definitely a nice one to solve, easy to repeat, but overall a not too difficult puzzle.

You should not have too many difficulties to find the steps needed (there are several) that are pleasant.
I was blocked on a step, the last one, that I managed to solve though. But it appeared to me a little bit fetched and I would have prefered a more elegant step!

It's not easy to put a picture of the lock solved without spoiling too much, but I am sure you imagine how it should look like once solved, like all trick locks: when the shackle is opened!!!

To conclude, definitely a puzzle to have in your collection or to have played with. However, a little bit more difficult would not have been bad :)


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ze chinnyhedron

Here is my first review of a Chin's puzzle!!

First you noticed the strange title, right? ("ze" instead of "the") and the name "chinnyhedron". Well, all the puzzles from Stephen Chin have a strange and pretty funny name. Maybe to remember them more easily?
A chinnyhedron is just a solid...or a strange geometrical solid made by Chinny (one of the several nicknames of the designer!) which goal is "just" to disassemble the puzzle. Easy? Not so!


The first difficulty is you have to put your fingers on the right pieces and there is no hints where you have to push/pull the pieces. So actually if you have 3 fingers pushing, maybe you're pushing 2 in the right direction but you're making the wrong move with the 3rd one, resulting in doing nothing :-)

So even if you have only 2 pieces to separate, well this is pretty challenging for only 2 pieces!!!

The puzzle is made even more difficult that the fit is pretty tight (too tight in my opinion, but maybe a bit less tight would make the puzzles disassemble by itself?), so you have to PUSH/PULL and not only push/pull, you get it?


Stephen Chin created other geometrical solids with the same goal but not the same number of pieces, hence several levels of difficulty for puzzles that looks the same!

I feel this is a pitty that the design does not release more of his puzzles and does not sell them. Sure it's not his job and more a hobby, but I am sure many people would like to enjoy his puzzles.
Stephen if you see that, make some more puzzles please!!! :-)

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Revenge lock

No! It's not a puzzle made by Gary Foshee, even if it has some shares features: a lock with no key nor no keyholes, and a rod in the center of the lock that can be moved up or down and that is blocked sometimes.

Actually this is a puzzle made by Wil Strijbos long time ago (no idea when...) with a pretty funny name. One can try to think out why this name. I have some assumptions: maybe Wil could not solve the lunatic lock crafted by Gary Foshee and wanted to take his revenge on him by crafting an even more difficult trick lock? Or maybe Wil was challenged to craft a trick lock, but failed and took his revenge by releasing this puzzle...other assumptions in the audience??


When playing with this puzzle you will notice the common features with the lunatic lock and then you will try to repeat the same steps...Well, this is a more difficult puzzle and you will see a more complex mechanism once opened (yes, when it's opened, you can clearly see what's inside!).

No doubt, you will have a lot of fun solving this one and get your "ah-ha" moments and your "what's wrong with that" moments as well :-)

You are not really blind when solving with the puzzles as you can get some hints from it. First you will hear things ratling from the inside. Then, you will see something moving in the hole on a side of the lock. Sometimes it moves, sometimes not. Maybe it's related with the solution or maybe it's just a trap.

Being a fan of trick locks, I think this is a nice addition to any collection and it's highly collectible! Especially when you know that it was crafted by Wil Strijbos, who is not used at all to crafting trick locks.

Hope that Will will come sooner or latter with another trick lock!!


Thursday, 24 November 2016

String octet

Recently crafted by Brian Menold and designed by Goh Pit Khiam, this is not only a puzzle, but 13 puzzles itself!

Well you have to solve 13 challenges, so it will take you some time to solve all of them :-)

You have several pieces on which a path is drawn and 2 filler pieces. The goal is to make a continuous path from the starting piece to the end piece by using all the pieces (sometimes you can complete the goal with less than all the pieces, but well, it just means you failed...) and the 2 fillers. Brian includes a paper with hints, which consists in telling you where to place these 2 fillers. But I am sure you will not look at the hints, will you??

Almost....





Obviously you have 2 sides for each piece and then depending on the orientation of the piece, the path is changed. The initial design was with straight lines, but I feel this is nice to have these curves, and maybe it can confuse people, making the challenges even more difficult?

When I saw the puzzle, I thought it would be super (or too) easy, well....definitely not. This is challenging, and so far I have not yet solved all the challenges. This is not the common packing puzzle you're used to seeing and this is what makes this puzzle very interesting.

The quality of the puzzle is nice and Brian is a very friendly craftman, always replying to emails and questions, even if he is very busy....If everyone could be like him ;-)

The puzzle is still available HERE. I am sure Brian will be happy to sell it to you, but don't wait too long because the puzzles are sold out quickly! It's worth the money!


Friday, 18 November 2016

Bolt #7

Marcel Gillen, designer and maker of this puzzle, is not only known for his maze puzzles but also for his bolts. There were several bolts, the look is pretty similar but the challenges are not exactly the same.

This is not a spoiler what I will say: this is a maze! You will find out soon that you need to solve a bolt maze, as you will hear the famous "click" sound that indicates you've been trapped and may restart from the beginning.


This is a challenging puzzle (like all Marcel Gillen's by the way!). I like the feature with the pin as I think this was a very advanced stage of the puzzle maze puzzles in its kind before the revomaze puzzle. This is the most challenging bolt puzzle you can find. But well, usually bolt puzzles are also called "trick bolts" and don't involve a lot of steps. This bolt puzzle is not a trick bolt.

Needless to say that the quality is very good and that you will have to deal with a pretty heavy brass puzzle

Maybe I can submit you another challenge whether you have or not played with this puzzle: find a way to cheat to solve quickly the puzzle.
Cheating is a way of puzzling sometimes ;-)

Friday, 11 November 2016

Time to fold....some kinetic origami

Some new creations with nice papers.

The size is not that big, but it requires very long strip of papers...and it's time-consuming to fold. But the result is worth the effort.

As usual, the foldings can be sold if interested.

There are several shapes: the basic one is the square. Then you also have a rectangle and finally an hexagon. I must admit I am not really happy with the hexagon as I feel it's not very beautiful because of the proportions, and it's a bit too tricky to fold. It's enjoyable to play with though. But it was my first try, I will improve myself :-)

Honestly the square is the easiest to fold, and it has the best looking in my opinion. Simple is always good!

The goal is to twist the layers to make nice shapes


I thought I had to make a video, sorry but I was alone to hold my smartphone on one hand and press the start button and twist the layers with my other hand...Not practical....
video


 If you were wondering, it's perfectly normal not to have perfect geometrical square or rectangle. There is always a little something that is "out" of the square for example, and it allows to have these kinetic origami with layers such like that. If you have a perfect square, the layers will be put each over the others and you won't have the same design. I prefer the ones I folded.


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