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The Three Main Mechanical Puzzles Everyone Should Own-1

A Guide to Mechanical Puzzles

Favourite mechanical puzzles

Do you have favourite mechanical puzzles? Can these short snippets of puzzle related wisdom make you think differently about your collection of puzzles? Recently, TheMetagrobologist began contacting many puzzle designers, craftsmen and collectors worldwide for their thoughts and opinions on ‘What in their opinion are ‘The 3 main mechanical puzzles everyone should discover, or aspire, or attempt to own?’

Demonstrating how enthusiastic they are for puzzles, many of these puzzlists got back to us within hours to reveal their personal opinion regarding individual mechanical puzzle collecting. Others talked about particular classifications and types. We hope you enjoy part one and two of our initial journey and if you feel you would like to contribute to the article with your opinions, email us or get in contact with us on our social Facebook page. We have over twenty more answers to reveal over the coming weeks. Enjoy.

Can these short snippets of puzzle related wisdom make you think differently about your collection of puzzles? Recently, TheMetagrobologist began contacting many puzzle designers, craftsmen and collectors worldwide for their thoughts and opinions on ‘What in their opinion is ‘The three main puzzles everyone should discover, or aspire, or attempt to own?’

Demonstrating how enthusiastic they are for puzzles, many of these puzzlists got back to us within hours to reveal their personal opinion regarding individual mechanical puzzle collecting. Others talked about particular classifications and types. We hope you enjoy part one and two of our initial journey and if you feel you would like to contribute to the article with your opinions, email us or get in contact with us on our social Facebook page. We have over twenty more answers to reveal over the coming weeks. Enjoy.

In Part I, we had the thoughts of Bernhard Schweitzer, Donald Bell, Thomas Jolly, Kagen Sound and Kelly Snache.
In Part II, we had Eric Fuller, Alfons Eyckmans, Scott Kim, Michail Toulouzas, Gregory Benedetti.
In Part III, we had Simon Nightingale, Jack Krijnen, Kate Jones, Laurie Brokenshire and Jim Strayer.
In Part IV, we had John Haché, Nick Baxter, Professor Peter Hajek, Michel Van Ipenburg and Roxanne Wong.
In Part V, we have Diniar Namdarian, Goetz Schwandtner, Allard Walker, Goh Pit Khiam and Nigel Croot.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

1. Bernhard Schweitzer

Bernhard Schweitzer is an active Metagrobologist at Puzzlewood.de and he has the workshop and collection to prove it.

Bernhard described his three main mechanical puzzles as:
1. First of all, you have to own a puzzle designed by the incredible Stewart Coffin. They may be the first interlocking cube including a turn, his Convolution or one of his very nice designed polyhedral puzzles like Peanut in a nice combination of Wood.

2. The second one I would recommend is one of the intelligent designed six Piece Burrs by Bill Cutler, e.g. A programmer’s nightmare.

3. Lastly, let’s not forget one of the designs by Michael Toulouzas who is a very talented follower of Stewart Coffin but with fantastic new ideas and designs, more times awarded in the design competition during the last years; I would choose the Vault.

2. Donald Bell

Donald Bell has a wood workshop, a computer and a serious interest in “recreational” mathematics. Although not a serious puzzle collector, he enjoys making mechanical puzzles from existing designs and often experiments with new designs of my own.

Donald Bell described his three main mechanical puzzles as:
I think you have to have three different types of a puzzle for the “best three”.;

1. A “put together” puzzle – maybe a set of pentominoes, Nobs Never-Ending Puzzle or Coffins “Snowflake.”

2. A sequential puzzle – one of the 6-piece burrs perhaps, or a string entanglement puzzle.;

3. Lastly, a puzzle with a big “Aha!” factor, where it can only be solved when you have an intellectual breakthrough. Bill Cutler’s “Blockhead” perhaps. Or a Japanese puzzle box.

3. Thomas Jolly

Tom explained that this question can be considered multiple ways; what are the most collectable puzzles, what are the most intense complex designs, what are the most elegant designs, what are the most beautiful puzzles? However, my criteria for puzzles everyone should own is elegance; simplicity of design merged with difficulty and a definite “Aha” moment when you solve it. I also like the design to be accessible to novice puzzlers, which eliminates most burrs from my selection. So my selections are going to be a bit odd. Thomas Jolly is an active Metagrobologist at Jolly Games and he has the workshop and collection to prove it.

1. For one, there’s the ODD puzzle by Hirokazu Iwasawa (Iwahiro’s). It initially seems impossible when you first play with it, then it all comes together. I love that puzzle;

2. Second is Hirokazu Iwasawa (Iwahiro’s) Rectangular Jam, another elegantly simple puzzle with a fairly hard-to-find solution.

3. Lastly, I’d have Vesa Timonen’s Symmetrick on my list. Only two pieces, yet amazingly hard to solve. Having a “Top 3” is difficult; I like these because I can hand them to my non-puzzler friends to solve, and even if they can’t solve them, they’re amused by the fact that a solution exists. They provide a good lesson in design for other puzzle creators. If I were to pick the most beautiful samples in my collection, the list would be completely different.

It’s funny that two of my selections are from Hirokazu Iwasawa (Iwahiro); I hadn’t really realised that until I wrote this. Anyway, if I were to sell my whole collection except for 100 puzzles, these would be three I would keep.

4. Kagen Sound

Kagen described his three main puzzles as Kagen Sound (formerly Kagen Schaefer) is an active Metagrobologist. He is a full-time artist and woodworker who has been designing and making secret opening boxes for 12 years. He is acknowledged by the Karakuri Creation Group in Japan, a guild of secret opening box makers, as a master box maker. He has received many awards for his designs from the International Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

For me, creating a puzzle is just as fun as solving one. I would encourage anyone to make three prototypes of their own best puzzle ideas, no matter how wacky.

5. Kelly Snache

Kelly described his three main puzzles as Kelly Snache is a Native American woodworking artist from Georgina Island, Ontario whose passion for the unique is vividly seen in his creations. His enthusiasm for breathing life into an old box has become his passion.

1. As a puzzle designer/builder, I would recommend looking for three different puzzles that function differently rather than 3 specific pieces.

2. To anyone wanting to design wooden puzzle boxes, I would recommend viewing designs that feature mechanisms that are “internal” and those that are “external” in nature as they can be entirely different in the way they function.

3. A third design style I would suggest would be any design that features any external addition that disguises its true function.

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