Sunday 10 June 2012

Jos Bergmans cubes

I apologise for the little hiatus in posting! I felt I was getting a little stale and needed a break. But, I am back again having made a good number of new toy purchases (not told Mrs S yet!!!) and am ready to go. It is a nice mixture of special craftsman made puzzles as well as a rather extensive hoard from Puzzle Master.

Starting with Pirouette, I had initially played with this at the 3rd Midlands Puzzle party. This was just a prototype that Richard had made for his own pleasure. He had not at that time gained permission to sell the design so could not let any one have it. I recall quite vividly my exclamation when it came apart with such a beautiful final set of moves. Richard had only made the one copy for his own personal use and had not asked permission to produce it for sale. I encouraged him at the time that he should but it didn't seem to occur. I reminded him once and he seemed to get the idea that it might be a seller!!!

When it came up for sale on the Puzzle Paradise auction site, I couldn't resist it and bought it immediately - remembering that very first exclamation many months earlier. It is still available on Richard's Etsy store. This time it is made in a large format than the original and is all the better for it.

Richard's description is:
"This has to be one of my new favourite puzzles. It is a classic Jos Bergmans design which builds on the techniques first demonstrated in Whirlwind to create a puzzle that requires multiple rotations and coordinated movements. Jos also has a knack for coming up with great names for his puzzles and this one is truly balletic to watch as it gracefully spins in different directions as it slowly comes apart."

It is a 4 cm interlocking 4x4x4 cube with no internal or external holes. It consists of 6 pieces with 1 solution. Be warned that rotations are required and Burrtools is thus not helpful! The number of steps needed to remove each piece - 1-2-2-5. This doesn't sound difficult but just try it!

Needless to say that when it arrived, I had no recollection of what I had done before and so started from scratch. I agree with Richard - it is a balletic set of moves with the last set particularly lovely! I exclaimed all over again! Here are the pieces:

Pirouette pieces
I gave this to someone at work to play with during a very long orthopaedic case and she managed to take it apart in about 1/2 hour! She was really pleased with herself until I said now it was time to put it back together again and that I had absolutely no recollection of how it was done! After an hour she had 3 pieces in place only and was totally stuck having (as usual) not paid any attention to the disassembly process!! She was a little sory for me when it took me another 2 hours to work out how to reassemble it from scratch! If you are feeling particularly brave then order it from Richard in the disassembled state. Go on! I dare you!!!

So with the description saying that Pirouette had been based on Whirlwind, I couldn't resist buying this one too on the same auction. This is a similar 4cm cube in Richard's new format and consists of 5 pieces. It doesn't seem to be available on Etsy but can be ordered in a number of single colours from Shapeways (or you can contact Richard via the Shapeways messaging service and I am sure he would make one for you).

Richard's description is:
"This one requires rotations and has a great surprise ending. Even though I have previously solved this puzzle, it still took me a good 20 minutes to refind the solution. If you haven't done this one before, I would allow considerably longer."
How could I resist it?

This one is also interesting because one of the early moves is rotational but also has a coordinate motion to it with 2 pieces. It took me quite some time to find it! Reassembly is quite easy if done straight away but leave it for a while and then try it - it'll make you sweat a bit!!! I photographed quite a lot of these cubes in one session and had them all in pieces at the same time. Several of these (including this one) took me a very long time to find the solution again! Maybe I should have photographed them individually instead of dismantling them all at once! Doh!! Not very bright yet again!!

Whirlwind pieces
As you can gather now I am hopelessly addicted to these puzzles and think they are a great and reasonably priced way to try out lots of different designers wares! I am trying to stop myself from buying any more for now as I have other purchases coming.

One of the cubes from Richard was so good that Eric Fuller made a few in wood and I couldn't resist buying one of those too! Mine is in Canarywood & Cocobolo. You just cannot have too many interlocking cube puzzles can you??

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