June 21, 2010

Octagon Box

I recently purchased Octagon Box from the last CubicDissection auction. It is a Bits and Pieces reproduction of Pile of Disks by Akio Kamei. I had seen it before on Rob Puzzle Page, where he lists the many Bits and Pieces boxes he has purchased over the years. He said this was one of his favorites, so I was happy to see that Eric was selling it. Jeff also did an entry about this puzzle.

There were a few cosmetic issues, so I got a pretty good deal on it. Two of the joints are separating a bit, and it has a few dings on the top. Still, the mechanism works quite well, so I'm quite happy with it. Photo by Eric Fuller.

Visually, it is a nice looking puzzle. The laminations are quite well done, and it has a nice finish on the exterior. There is a nice bevel running along the top and bottom edges, as well as between the lid and body of the box.

Oddly, one segment of the laminations that is supposed to be dark ended up looking light, which kind of throws things off a bit. I thought that this might be a clue at first, but I think it was a mistake. Still, it is fairly well crafted for a Bits and Pieces box.

It took me about 3 minutes to figure this one out, but I think I got lucky. I took a glimpse of the mechanism, thought that I understood it, and then put it back together. Much to my surprise, it didn't work quite like I thought it did. After another 5 minutes I had it open again, and this time I studied the mechanism a bit more.

The mechanism is pretty clever, there are a few little details that were included that make it a nice puzzle. There are some dead ends that sort of give you a hint as to how it works. The one drawback is that solving it can feel a little random, but that is frequently the case with hidden mechanism puzzles.

Overall, a solid puzzle! I'm glad that I was able to find it for sale.

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