Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Enigma and Chain Metal Puzzles

The enigma is one of my favorite mechanical puzzles. This puzzle was invented by Eldon Vaughn and patented in America in 1975. and manufactured and distributed worldwide by Hanayama, a toy company based in Japan. The object to dis-join the three somewhat swirled pieces of this puzzle and then to put them back together again. Basically, the technique to solve this puzzle involves several sequences of sliding through, rotating, overhanging and a tricky move at the end to dis-join the two remaining pieces. Separating the last two pieces is already challenging in itself. Putting it back is more difficult than the first task of disassembling it. I really had a fun time with this puzzle. Once or twice a week, I toy with the moves so I will never forget the sequences (more than 8). I also love the feel of this puzzle, so stern yet docile, so lustrous and fusible.

Another cast puzzle which I like is the Chain puzzle which was invented by Oskar van Deventer. His creation won an honorable mention in the International Puzzle Competition in 2002. This puzzle is made up of three interlocking chains which can be dis-joined by several maneuvers. Proper placement of the chains is necessary to release them apart. The final move demands placing one chain on gutter to enable one of the chains to pass through. I had fun with this one, and putting them back was also a challenge.