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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Aluminium Cylinder (Wil Strijbos)

This is a puzzle that I really hunted for. It just looks spectacular, and now that I own one I can also confirm that the craftsmanship is absolutely superb.
I have also decided to start using my own pictures from now on because it adds a kind of personal touch to my blog and also avoids any nasty copyright issues.

This puzzle is made by puzzle designer Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands. It is entirely milled from solid aluminium block (apart from some of the contents), which makes it absolutely impossible to open without finding the correct solution. Unless you own an angle grinder of course.

Looking at the puzzle you can see two parts which I shall call the base and the lid, and both are engraved with a two digit number. The base also has a small hole drilled through the bottom into the cylinder. Now obviously the objective is quite 'simply' to open the cylinder. As always, this is not quite as easy as it may sound.

The lid will depress very slightly and spring back up again. You can also hear rattling from the inside and the lid will rotate a full 360 degrees in either direction.

I think this puzzle took me around 2 hours to solve which I believe was partly through luck, but I have spoken to many people who have had this puzzle for months and even years and have not solved it. Plus the mechanism really is brilliant.

On top of all of this Wil is also a really nice guy to order from and chat with. I don't want to post his details here, but if you do a bit of internet hunting I'm sure you will be able to track him down. Failing that, drop me a message with your email and I might be able to help you out.

Where I got the Aluminium Cylinder from: Wil Strijbos

And now it is also available from Sloyd in Finland.

After a few comments and emails I thought it would be worth adding this info on fixing a jammed Aluminium Cylinder:

Turn it upside down, spray a decent amount of WD40 into the hole, leave for a little while. Turn it back over and drain out the excess WD40. That should get it moving again.


  1. yo Oli, its gdamatov77 from Revo forums, any chance you can help me get one of these?

  2. Indeed I can! Reply sent via the Revomaze Forum.

  3. Hi Oli,

    I bought 1 direct from Wil. I agree with you - beautifully made and actually quite difficult to solve. It took me about a day to work out the basic mechanism and another 3 to actually solve it completely and open the puzzle (probably 6 hours in total). Haven't had the courage to put it back together yet as not sure I will be able to repeat it! After the revo's and the Bill Cutler burrs, this must rank as one of my favourites.

  4. Well done for having it open in only three days! I know of people who have owned one for literally years and never solved it. You shouldn't have too much trouble repeating the process, just pay close attention when putting it back together and you'll be fine.

  5. Douglas Cameron6 May 2011 at 09:47

    Hi Oli,
    As someone who has solved the Aluminium Cylinder you might be able to help me. I gave mine to a friend to try and solve and they have somehow managed to completely lock the machanism. There is virtually no movement possible of the lid. Any ideas what they have done and how it might be fixed? I'm thinking of inserting something through the hole in the bottom to free whatever is causing the lockup. Hope you can help. Douglas

  6. Hi Douglas,

    As far as I can work out there is physically no way that the internal mechanism should ever get jammed. The only way I could see this happening is if something was put in through the hole at the bottom, or if the cylinder was subjected to some serious force (but it really would have to be a lot of force to break it).

    Send me an email to the address at the bottom of my blog page and I will send you Wil's contact details. If anyone knows what's gone wrong then it's him.

    1. Hi Oli,
      I came across the same issue stated above. I let my friend try and they handed it back with the mechanism stuck and barely turning, have you found out anything regarding this issue?

  7. Hello Oli,

    I bought this puzzle yesterday 20 aug 2013 (I am lucky to live in The Netherlands with a puzzle shop nearby in Amsterdam) and tonight I solved it withing an hour.... am I a very clever person perhaps? It felt like opening a bank safe... I like your blog by the way, I am a puzzle addict too!


No puzzle spoilers please!

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