As you can probably tell by it's design this is another of Jean Claude Constantin's creations:
This great little puzzle is called 'Fat Lock' and it has actually turned out to be my favourite puzzle by Jean Claude Constantin thus far.
In true JCC fashion this is crafted from laser cut wood pieces and stainless steel bolts, and I love the natural feel of the pieces.
Inside the main body of this puzzle there are four sliding wooden plates with mazes engraved into them. There is also a metal bolt which can slide along the slot in the main body which runs within the mazes of the inner plates. The goal is to navigate all of the maze plates into the correct position around the bolt to make it possible to remove the central wooden plate which is holding the shackle piece in place. It sounds confusing but it all makes sense when you see it for real.
The way in which this puzzle works is extremely clever, and that is what makes this my favourite! The maze plates work on a kind of binary system, and you have to work this out in order to open the lock. It took me a good while to work out that what I thought to be random movements were in fact a very specific sequence.
All in all it took me about 20 minutes or so to solve the Fat Lock, and to repeat the solution actually does take a fair bit of time considering how the puzzle operates. It is a phenomenal puzzle, and I recommend that if you get the chance to buy one then don't hesitate!
This puzzle is on loan to me from a fellow puzzler, but he got it through Wil Strijbos who is now working closely with Jean Claude Constantin.
EDIT: Since writing this I decided that I liked this puzzle so much that I would buy my own copy from Wil Strijbos. Not only that, I also took the time to count how many steps it takes to fully solve this puzzle, and that is 500. It takes 250 steps to open the lock and then the same 250 steps in reverse to close it again. And it is awesome!