January 2023 Update Preview
New Puzzles Available!
Our new work will be released Monday, January 16th at 3 pm EST (UTC-5) on the Newly Released page:
- Mini Lock by Christoph Lohe
- Psycho Disks (2023 Edition) by Eric Fuller
- FastMaze 0 by Dan Fast
- Bill's Ball Bearing Burr (Aluminum) by Bill Cutler
- Slump Cube (Aluminum) by Wayne Daniel, Ronald Kint-Bruynseels, and Eric Fuller
Please scroll down for detailed information and photos of the new designs.
Back in Stock
January Giveaway Winner
Congratulations to Rick Brefka for winning our January 2023 Giveaway! Rick scored a free copy of Bill's Ball Bearing Burr (Aluminum) by Bill Cutler.
Every update we choose a random member of our newsletter to receive a free puzzle. If you'd like to join, drop your email address in the box on the lower right of any page on the site.
Our next release will be Monday, February 13th, 2023. In that update we hope to include:
- Escalating Box by Eric Fuller (wood puzzle box)
- SherLock: A Notched Trifecta by Girish Sharma (wood take-apart puzzle)
- Aha Box (Aluminum) by Allan Boardman (aluminum puzzle box)
- Three Cubes (Aluminum) by Kohno Ichiro
This month's sticker is a tribute to our late, great founder and chief designer Eric Fuller. It was a project spearheaded by Joshua Darrah with collaboration and input from members of the Mechanical Puzzles Discord community, and showcases some of Eric's many incredible designs over the decades.
Important Note - Care, Storage and Display
Our work is handcrafted to very precise tolerances and must be kept within the range of 40-60% relative humidity at all times. Failure to do so may cause inoperability or permanent damage.
Please read the Caring for Wood Puzzles guide to ensure proper fit and operation. We recommend occasional polishing with Renaissance Wax to keep wood puzzles in top condition.
Now, on to the Puzzles....
|MATERIALS:||Ash & Wenge; or
Bubinga & Birdseye Maple
|EDITION:||150 copies made|
|SIZE:||2" x 1.2" x 1"|
Mini Lock by Christoph Lohe is one of the smallest puzzles we've ever made, packing a clever mechanism into a diminutive functioning wooden padlock. With a relatively easy 6.7 level difficulty it's excellent for new puzzlers, while our usual dedication to precision and quality woodworking makes it a great choice to add to your existing puzzle lock collection.
For this release, we have made two variants: one with an ash body and wenge pieces, and the other with a Bubinga frame and birdseye maple components. Mini Lock ships in an assembled configuration, and each copy is signed and dated.
Approximately 75 copies of each type were made.
Psycho Disks (2023 Edition)
|MATERIAL:||Aluminum & Brass|
|SIZE:||1.2" x 2.4"|
Psycho Disks was inspired by Phil Wigfield's excellent "Spinning Tumblers" design. Eric received a copy for his collection and thought the concept could be significantly expanded. With Phil's approval, he set to work. The result is a combination Take-Apart and Fidget Toy puzzle that's wickedly difficult to solve!
To open Psycho Disks, you must decipher the internal maze and successfully navigate to the end. Once opened, the solver can rearrange the disks to create different challenges! The included quick reset tool minimizes downtime for maximal solve-time.
This new 2023 edition of Psycho Disks is functionally identical to our 2022 release, but adopts the sandblasted finish that we've been using on our other recent aluminum puzzles and the pleasant texture it provides in the hands. Tolerances are very tight, giving the puzzle a precise fit and feel.
Reviews and Blog Posts:
|MATERIAL:||Aluminum & Brass|
|SIZE:||2.25" x 2.25" x 1"|
To solve FastMaze 0, you must navigate the four brass pins through the stacked aluminum mazes until it comes apart into the seven component pieces. Since all elements interact, this is more difficult than it might seem! Making space to allow one move will block others. Finding a solution will take time as you learn the interactions and limitations of each maze piece.
Part of designer Dan Fast's excellent series, FastMaze 0 is smaller than the other three in the collection, but it still packs a solid challenge in a pocket-sized puzzle with a level 18.104.22.168.8.11 solution requiring 94 moves to fully disassemble. Rotations are allowed and sometimes necessary, but no guarantee they will help! The brass pins unscrew for an easy reset using the included instructions should you get hopelessly lost. No force is necessary at any time.
FastMaze 0 is precision crafted from machined aluminum and solid brass. The puzzle does not show any laser cutting marks as cheaper metal puzzles often do. Each piece was custom milled, and the attention to detail is apparent. Every maze edge is micro-chamfered for a smooth feel and easy movement. The plates are finished with fine sandblasting, similar to high-end electronic goods, and are clear anodized which makes them scratch and tarnish resistant. The tight tolerances guarantee smooth movement and make it a joy to pick up and play.
Also available are FastMaze 1, FastMaze 2, and FastMaze 3, each increasing in difficulty.
This puzzle ships assembled. The solution is available upon request.
FastMaze Series Reviews and Blog Posts:
Bill's Ball Bearing Burr (Aluminum)
|MATERIAL:||Aluminum and stainless steel|
|SIZE:||1.9" x 1.9" x 1.9"|
As longtime fans of Bill Cutler's many engaging and unique interlocking burr puzzles, we are excited to release his Ball Bearing Burr design in metal. The normal six-piece assembly is complicated by the addition of two stainless steel ball bearings which must be placed in the correct location before assembly. Once the puzzle is assembled, the bearings can move about within the internal space, requiring you to maneuver them back into the right location in order to unlock the pieces and begin disassembly. This unique concept makes it stand apart from other, more typical six-piece burrs, and if you're a fan of the archetype then this is one you will definitely want to have in your collection.
Made of machined aluminum with a sand-blasted finish, this edition has a pleasant feel in the hands, and its petite size belies the mechanical trickery within. While this version is not quite as precisely fit as our original wood version, due to allowances that had to be made for the ball bearings in conjunction with the metal manufacturing process, it does not affect the functionality in any way, and it's still just as much of a joy to solve. The puzzle ships in an assembled configuration.
Slump Cube (Aluminum)
|DESIGNER:||Wayne Daniel, Ronald Kint-Bruynseels, & Eric Fuller|
|SIZE:||1.5" x 1.5" x 1.5"|
We first released a wooden version of Slump Cube back in 2010, when Eric had this to say about it:
"This puzzle was inspired by the 3x3x3 dovetailed cube that Wayne produced a few years ago. With permission and a little advice I decided to look into reproducing the design. I quickly realized how many possibilities existed in the 3x3 format, and decided to start with a 2x2. I brought Ronald in because his burrtools kung fu is far superior to mine...lucky for me he was in a design slump, so he picked up my gauntlet and ran with it. The result is this optimized level three beauty. The four pairs of identical pieces come together in a somewhat unexpected way. While not terribly difficult, it's a fun puzzle to solve and manipulate, and it displays very well."
This new edition builds on that heritage and is made of precision-machined aluminum with a nice sandblasted finish. We had to go through a few iterations of prototyping and material tests before we were able to find the sweet spot for tolerance and fit, resulting in pieces that slide so smoothly that you'll be hesitant to put this puzzle down and that will look great sitting on your desk, table, or shelf once you do.
Slump Cube ships in an assembled configuration.
We have some restocks of previously released products this month. In case you missed out on them the first time around, there are now additional copies available of:
January Site Review Winner
Congratulations to Yacine Boucif for winning a $100 gift card by submitting a product review! If you want to be entered for the next drawing, submit a review on the website of any recently purchased product before the next update.