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Thursday 13 October 2011

Magic Billet Box

This is a very solid puzzle box that I obtained quite a while ago now directly from the designer & manufacturer living in Oregon (US); Eric Krusen.

It is called the Magic Billet Box, and it is definitely not one of those puzzle boxes that you would be worried about someone breaking by accident. Here is a little about the box written by Eric:
"Our goal is to create a unique one-of-a-kind keepsake item CNC machine made from the highest of quality material where the end results will be a remarkable piece of art displaying the logo of your choice. We pride ourselves on the ability to personalize and detail these Magic Billet Boxes with such defined precision. These Magic Billet Boxes are extremely high quality pieces and will last a life time."
And considering that all of these boxes are CNC machined from solid aluminium I'm pretty certain that he is right in saying that they will last a lifetime.

The generic version of this box is plain non-anodised aluminium, but as you can see from my picture I decided to go for the black version. I thought it looked cooler, and it was also about $10 cheaper than the plain one. At first I was a little bit worried that the anodised colour would start to scratch and wear off over time, but I've had it for quite a while now and even though it has been puzzled over many times it isn't showing any signs of wear at all.

Looking at the puzzle to begin with it can be quite hard to find where the lid actually is due to the precision machined lid and dovetail sliders. One of the perks of getting the black version is that it makes the joins of the lid more difficult for the eye to see. Once you have worked out where the lid is it is pretty trivial to remove it completely. While doing so it isn't hard to notice that there are some very strong magnets at work in this little box. And once the lid is open you will still find yourself staring at a closed box. Very odd indeed. This is the main puzzle aspect at work here, and I have seen it confuse both amateur and avid puzzlers in equal measure.

The solution is simple and yet very satisfying. Even though it may be tempting to resort to lots of force it is completely unnecessary. Sadly I accidentally saw a video showing the solution to this puzzle, so I can't give an account of how difficult I found it, but judging by other puzzlers that I have seen pick it up it is not too difficult, normally not taking more than five minutes.

When ordering a Magic Billet Box you can specify from two different types of opening mechanism, and one of these requires an extra step compared with the other. If you were looking to own one of these and really wanted to enjoy solving it I would recommend you do not visit the site yourself and that you get someone else to order it for you making sure that they ask for the more difficult mechanism. Sadly the site shows pictures and video of the solution, which I'm not a fan of, and that is why I'm not including a link until the end of this post in order to give you guys the fair warning that I didn't have.

This puzzle is available from between $55 and $150. There are some really cool anodised and engraved versions available as well as the ability for you to request custom designs. All of these can be found on the dedicated site here: Magic Billet Box (CAUTION: THERE BE SPOILERS)

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