September 20, 2011


Recently Eric Fuller updated his site, Cubic Dissection, with a bunch of new puzzles he had made. I had heard that he was going to update soon, so I set up my phone so it would make all sorts of a racket when the email notification came in, just in case I was sleeping when it happened. Fortunately, it was in the afternoon, so it wasn't really necessary. This might sound a bit absurd, but Eric's puzzles are known for selling out quite quickly, and I didn't want to miss anything particularly cool.

One of the puzzles I purchased was Zauberflote designed by Gregory Bendetti and made by Eric. It was offered for a very reasonable price of $20 and had a nice appearance with the combination of clear acrylic and yellowheart. I have generally stayed away from this type of burr, since they tend to be quite difficult, but Eric described this one as not too hard so I decided to give it a shot. It takes 14 moves to remove the first piece, which seemed pretty manageable.

This puzzle is one of a series of Zauberflote designs by Gregory with a similar appearance but different numbers of pieces, the one Eric made is Zauberflote - K├Ânigin der Nacht and has six pieces. Check out this link for a bunch of other designs by Gregory, including the other Zauberflote versions.

When it arrived, it was in pieces, since the main challenge is putting it together (though it may take a bit of time to get it apart as well if you don't know how to assemble it). It is pretty small at a little over two inches long, but still a fine size to play with.

I had a few ideas for how it would go together and found it quite easy to get all but the last piece in, unfortunately that last piece proved quite stubborn! I tried different arrangements of the pieces, and didn't have any luck so I set it aside for a bit and returned to it the next day.

Continuing to examine it, I felt like I had exhausted all my options. I had a pretty good idea of how the pieces should be arranged, but it seemed impossible to actually assemble them that way! After a bit of thought, I was finally able to figure it out, and I found it to be rather tricky! Perhaps I'm just a bit rusty with burrs at the moment, but it did take me a while!

It is quite a nice design by Gregory, I may try assembling some of the other Zauberflotes with my LiveCubes to see how they compare. The craftsmanship by Eric is very nice as always, the pieces fit nicely. The only flaw I noticed was two pieces that were slightly chipped on the ends, though it is hardly noticeable. Overall, a nice puzzle for a great price, so I was quite happy about it!

Read more about Zauberflote over at Neil's Puzzle Building Blog.

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