Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Four Cross Twelve


Name
Four Cross Twelve

Designer
Guy Brette


Manufacturer
Eric Fuller. Puzzle was from www.cubicdissection.com for US$69. Currently sold out.

Type & Classification
Interlocking Burr

Dimensions
7.5 cm (Height) x 5.7 cm (Width) x 5.7 cm (Depth).

Materials & Construction
Maple and Purpleheart for the twelve pieces. Quality of construction, fit and finish is excellent. In fact the tolerances on my copy were so tight that after a few days left untouched in the room, a couple of the pieces were of a much tighter fit than what I would have liked. But a day in my camera dry box and everything was back to normal.

Overview
This puzzle allowed me to properly learn Burr Tools for the first time. For this I wish to thank puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam for his help in teaching me how to use the software. I spent the good part of an afternoon at Goh's home not only looking at the over two hundred or so puzzles in his collection (many which are burrs and packing puzzles; and a number of which are his own designs) but also managed to sit down with him to having hands-on practice on how to define and form the pieces and use the programme solver.

One of Goh Pit Khiam's several puzzle cabinets.
This one above has door seals and an internal
heating rod to reduce humidity to prevent puzzle lock-ups
Left on my own, I would never have been able to figure out how to assemble the pieces together (yes, Eric shipped them unassembled). I used the photo of the Four Cross Twelve on his website to try to figure out things. But since I am so bad at this type of burr puzzles, as usual I got nowhere and patience is not exactly my forte.

Difficulty Level
Extremely! According to Eric, he says its "also quite difficult with a whopping level 9.9.9 solution. I'd call it the crown jewel of this update in terms of difficulty and appearance."  It takes nine moves to remove the first piece! Burrtools indicates there are 96 solutions to the Four Cross Twelve.

Summary
Hmm...having now learnt BurrTools, I am considering looking for the more interesting and rare interlocking burrs to acquire. Until recently (with my rather excessive horde of Pelikan made puzzles), I have hardly collected many burrs, packing or similar sort puzzles. But I think all that is set to change. While I am very unlikely to be able to solve any decent burr on my own, I am more than happy with the thrill I get taking apart and putting together one following the animated movements of this wonderful computer programme.

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