This is the newest puzzle in the Cast Series from Japanese puzzle manufacturer Hanayama, and a very nice looking one too as far as I'm concerned. They have only been released in Japan so far, so I was happily surprised to get an email from Wil Strijbos offering them for sale!
Vesa Timonen, who also designed the great looking Cast Loop.
Like most of Hanayama's puzzles this one is also made from solid cast metal which has been given a very nice chrome-style finish. I do like the fact that this one has also used the contrasting 'bright' and 'dark' chrome style, it really shows the definition between the two 'halves' of the puzzle.
At first glance it looks like the puzzle is made up of two ring pieces, but obviously that cannot be the case. In fact this is a four piece puzzle with each of the rings assembled in pairs. There's nothing hidden here, what you see is pretty much what you get.
The Donuts actually hold their final assembled shape really well. There is a bit of rattling but not enough to make the puzzle feel sloppy.
The idea here (like the name choice) is also pretty obvious, you are looking to fully disassemble the puzzle into it's four pieces and then reassemble it. In some ways the Donuts resemble the Cast Marble, which still is my absolute favourite puzzle from the Cast Series thus far.
Marble it requires a little bit of precision as well. However after talking to a few other puzzlers it turns out that it also possible to 'force' a solution, and many amateur puzzlers are likely to find that solution first and think that it is correct. As a general rule; if you're trying to squeeze something through a gap then you're doing it wrong.
Cast Marble and the similarities between the two. Hanayama rate this as a level 4 out of 10, however I would say that it should be a level 3 at the most.
It may not be particularly difficult however this is a very nice looking puzzle with a very elegant solution (if you do it correctly). For the price I'd say that you can't go wrong with adding one of these to your collection.
Like I said my copy of this puzzle came from Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands, and as they haven't been officially released outside of Japan yet (at the time of writing) he is probably the only source of them for at the moment. Please let me know via my email at the bottom of this page if you are after a copy and I'll make sure to pass his details over to you.
EDIT: The Cast Donuts are now available from Puzzle Master and Sloyd!