September 17, 2009

Cast Nutcase and Cast Baroq

The day after Christmas, I headed down to Rhode Island with my parents to meet up with my Aunt and Uncle and their two children.  This is something of a tradition for our two families: rather than shipping gifts we just bring them down, go sledding, have dinner, and exchange gifts.

I received two Hanayama puzzles, Cast Nutcase and Cast Baroq. Cast Nutcase is a puzzle designed by Oskar van Deventer: a lot of his work has made it into Hanayama's product line. It consists of two nuts that rotate around a 'bolt' that has a head on each end. Since there is a head on each end, of course, you can't twist the bolts all the way off.

After playing with it for a bit, I found it fairly easy to understand how the puzzle would eventually come apart. The big challenge, however, is figuring out exactly how to implement the solution. At least with my approach, I found that there was a lot of trial and error. Sorry for being so general, but I don't want to give away too much for those of you who may want to give it a try.

Eventually I solved this one while driving home in the dark later that evening, I think it took a little under an hour (no, I wasn't the one driving). That reminds me: there is a small nut inside which is released once you open the puzzle that I lost in the car. I'll have to look for it next time I am home. I suppose you could classify this is a puzzle box since there is some storage space in the middle.

Cast Baroq, designed by Akio Yamamoto is probably one of my favorite puzzles so far. It is quite elegantly designed with beautiful curves and a nice finish. The way the pieces move is quite graceful. The following description from the box captures it quite well:

"This Akio Yamamoto creation consists of two pieces fashioned after the image of intertwining Bach melodies. Following the dynamic build up is an inspirational finale when the two pieces elegantly release from each other."
The actual solution is quite nice: there are quite a few moves required to arrive at it, but it all seems fairly logical (at least for this type of puzzle). The coup de grace is a fabulous move at the end which really was quite a treat. I would highly recommend this one! The only downside is that a slight amount of force is required on one move. This may vary with your particular puzzle, however, as is indicated in the comments at PuzzleMaster. I think that the difficulty rating of 4/6 on this one is appropriate.

In tomorrows post, I'll talk about my experience building one of Bruce Viney's excellent designs: the 25 Move Puzzle Box.

7 comments:

  1. Very cool stuff Brian...looking forward to more entries, john from 'Paradise' :-)

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  2. Thanks John! Glad you're enjoying it!

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  3. Hi Brian

    nice to read in your blog about mechanical puzzles:
    BTW for the Live Cubes: to make cube puzzles with rotation you will have always the problems that the live cubes connections open themeselves during the rotation, real pity; so I make always all the cubes from wood and have up to now round about 500 different cube designs in my colection;
    if you have got some examples for 3x3x3 cubes from Live Cube have a look at them, I think there must be a few of my designs tehre too, all with names form the greek mythology, ( Kreta-Kairatos-Knossos ...)

    all the best
    Bernhard
    www.puzzlewood.de

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  4. Hi Bernhard,

    Thanks! That's another good point about LiveCube, when you're done you just end up with a pile of plastic blocks! I was thinking that I could use dice or something to glue up permanent versions of my favorite cube puzzles, but the idea of having random dots all over the puzzle irks me somewhat. I need to make some wooden cubes.

    I have indeed tried a few of your 3x3x3 designs, I think Kreta and Knossos and enjoyed them. Thanks for posting them on Ishino's site!

    Regards,
    Brian

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  5. I don't quite see how people can solve the Cast Nut so quickly!! I wonder if they are assembling it incorrectly? But presumably it comes in the difficult configuration. I believe that Hanayama made this puzzle harder than in Oskar's original design. In my opinion, you'd have more fun buying a combination lock and trying to solve that than the Cast Nut!

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  6. Yeah, it does seem quite a bit like a combination lock, though you don't know what the turn increments should be, which makes it even harder. I used the amount of 'wiggle' to try to figure out when I was getting close to having things in the right position.

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  7. I could figure out the nutcase quite quickly, but mentioning why how would spoil it.

    Another puzzle you must try is the spiral. That is a very elegant design.

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Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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