Monday 19 November 2012

RevoLUTION Ball Puzzle

This is my 100th post!!!

How time flies since my first post over a year and a half ago. For this post, I have decided (instead of the usual puzzle review) to showcase a puzzle of my own creation; something that I designed myself.

This puzzle of mine is inspired by the genre of the hidden maze puzzle, the latter which usually consist of a blind maze, the object of which is to navigate a marble or ball bearing from a start point to an end point.  Examples of such puzzles are the Lost Marble Puzzle and Magic Dice. The most famous of all the hidden maze puzzles in recent years is of course none other than the Revomaze.

Externally my puzzle appears to resemble a Revomaze Silver Extreme. It is approximately 10.5cm long and slightly over 3.5cm in diameter. It is made of aluminium and steel. But here’s where any similarity ends. Unlike the Revomaze series which all have extremely difficult to solve and intricate hidden maze designs, my little project is rather simple and very amateurish. 

I managed to source aluminium cheaply from a local supplier and by good fortune, a metal fabricator willing to produce a single unit of my puzzle at a very reasonable price.

The puzzle consists of 6 circular discs, each approximately 1.2cm thick and stacked together to form a cylinder shape. The discs are held together with an extended steel screw rod running through the discs and secured at the other end by two nuts. 

The object of the puzzle is to navigate a 6mm ball bearing from a side hole in the topmost disc, through each of the stacked discs and out through a similar side hole at the bottom disc. The discs are able to rotate freely and to navigate the ball bearing, you turn each disc to allow the ball bearing to pass through, from one to the next. Each of the discs has a hole drilled through and the trick is to align the holes to form a “passage” for the ball bearing to pass. 

Dexterity is required here since you will need to rotate the discs to feel (and hear) the ball bearing drop from one disc to the next. To make the puzzle much harder, I drilled some “blind” holes on each of the disc, so that if the ball bearing falls into a blind hole, you will need to turn the puzzle upside down to let the ball bearing fall out to re-start again. This has actually made the puzzle a lot more difficult than necessary as I can testify to.

This is my first puzzle design project and I am quite happy I managed at least to get a prototype unit produced that actually works.

I have just finished a second puzzle design and its now in the hands of my fabricator friend. This puzzle involves a ball bearing inside a cylinder that needs to be removed (and no, it’s nothing like Wil Strijbos’ Aluminium Cylinder Box or Washer Cylinder; I am not even remotely close to such genius).

Many thanks to Erhan Cubukcuoglu of Puzzlehan for his comments and advice on puzzle making and hidden mazes.

Update (19 January 2013) - My second puzzle design, which I call the Ball In Cylinder Puzzle, has been produced. Details can be found HERE.


  1. Nice work Jerry - congrats on your first puzzle design and thanks for sharing it with the rest of us! allard

  2. Congratulations Jerry!
    100 posts! Awesome - I have no doubt your page view count will be good too!

    AND your own puzzle designed and successfully prototyped - phenomenal!

    Here's to the next 100 and commercial production of your puzzle!

    All the best,

    1. Thanks Kevin...seriously I doubt my first puzzle will go into any form of production, not in any sizeable quantity anyway...these are fabricated by hand using traditional cutting/milling machines..and to be honest, not the best design technically, even though it works as a puzzle. I have just done my second design, and I think this one will be much much better than the first...harder to solve, but easier to produce!

  3. Great first design Jerry! Any of these for sale?

    1. Thanks Will, but not for this first design of second design perhaps if I can get it right ...will see how it turns out from the fabricator in the next couple of weeks

  4. Jerry that's fantastic! Add me to the list of congratulators as well as those on the wish list.

  5. Congratulations again. This is really a nice design and making a metal prototype for a puzzle is amazing.The idea is really nice and original but making only one copy prototype limit a lot of thing in design. If it was possible a mass production with big quantities, this puzzle is also a good puzzle for production.

    I am looking forward for your second design.