Wednesday 24 August 2011

Bolted Closed

Bolted closed
The Bolted closed puzzle came from Puzzle Master. It is manufactured by Bits and Pieces and is pretty cheap; it certainly looks quite intriguing. It has been reviewed before by Neil on his blog. Unlike his copy mine had not solved itself before I received it! It is quite stunning on the shelf - visitors will definitely take it down for a try!

It consists of a wooden base with two wooden uprights attached to it through which a bolt is loosely fed (it is not threaded through the uprights and can slide left and right freely). A nut is threaded roughly centrally on the bolt and is glued or welded into place (it cannot be moved at all). Half way between the uprights are two copper or dowels and lying freely within this contraption is a very large steel ball bearing. No matter how you place the ball and the bolt the ball is firmly trapped. The aim, obviously, is to release the ball.

This is rated as an 8 out of 10 by Puzzle Master (Demanding) which I completely disagree with - I think it is more of a 6 for experienced puzzlers (bearing in mind that their scores begin at 5) and a 7 at a push for novices. A video review of this on YouTube had a kid stating that this was a difficult puzzle but I suspect he was only 10 or 12 years old! If a solution is included I threw it out with the box and doubt you will need it.

My biggest issue with this version made by Bits and Pieces (as opposed to some others that have been discussed on puzzle forums) is that it is not made terribly well. Everything is quite loose and one of the uprights wobbles about quite precariously - although it won't fall apart on you. The picture on the Bits and Pieces website doesn't have such a big gap around the upright. The real downside of this is that the locking mechanism can be seen if you look carefully. This tells you how the ball is to be released and it only takes a little fiddling to work out how to release this locking mechanism. Any experienced puzzler will be aware of the various techniques that can be used on this - I had it open in less than 5 minutes!

Bolted Closed - opened!
The mechanism is fairly standard and would have been much harder to find if the upright had been made to better tolerances.

Overall I did enjoy this one and for the money you can't complain. Probably best for the novice or young puzzler.


  1. I have one of these, and according to the instructions I should be able to remove the ball as the gimmick magnet deal inside the wooden block is disengaged. However, it's not coming out. Unfortunately I can't find a solution online that shows exactly how to go about this. I'm assuming mine was just constructed poorly...

    1. I’m sorry to hear you got a defective copy. They were all very poorly made. Mine was too loose and yours too tight.