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Friday, 18 May 2012

BurrCube No.1 (Jerry McFarland)

This next puzzle is pretty interesting due to the fact that it can fall into two different puzzle categories, both as a burr and as a packing puzzle. I first came across it when I had a quick go at Allard's copy during MPP1, and I failed to solve it there. As my excuse there were many other shiny puzzles to play with, so I'm going to say I was distracted by something else forcing me to leave this one unsolved. Luckily my good friend recently loaned me his copy to have a go at, so I got another chance to redeem my past failure.

 This is BurrCube No.1, designed and made by Jerry McFarland. As you can see it has a box, therefore it probably is a packing puzzle. But then look at the next picture, those are definitely burr pieces...that pack into the box. Hence the burr/packing hybrid puzzle classification.

Keeping true to his style Jerry has put serious effort into making this puzzle. The cuts and finishes are absolutely superb, plus his chose some really nice woods as well. The box is made from walnut with a maple bottom plate, and the fifteen burr pieces are made from walnut, cherry and maple.

The goal here is to get all fifteen pieces flush into the box. The solution is unique and has no internal voids.

I started my solving approach the same way I start all packing puzzles, by dumping all of the pieces straight out with my eyes closed and scrambling the pieces.
Straight away I noticed something about the pieces that I failed to notice the first time, and it gave me a massive hint towards the solution. After that it was a matter of trial and error using my initial observation, which yielded a correct solution after about 20 minutes or so.

This is a really fun puzzle to solve! It really makes a change playing with burr pieces without trying to make them into a standard burr shape. Assembling burr pieces into a 3x3x3 cube felt really bizarre, but I think there should definitely be more puzzles like this! It is easy enough for anyone to attempt, but I'd say that it's also difficult and enjoyable enough to grab the attention of the more adept burr solvers out there.

For anyone interested in this and other puzzles of extraordinary quality, check out Jerry's site. Also have a read of Allard's thoughts on the BurrCube No.1.

1 comment:

  1. 20 minutes! That is a whole lot quicker than me! It took me an hour at least to solve mine! But then you are a much more experienced puzzler than me!

    Thanks for reminding me - I should do my own reviews of Burrcubes 1, 2 & 3.



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