Sunday, 10 November 2013

Framework II

Name
Framework II

Designer
Markus Gotz. For a brief history of how Eric came to produce the Framework II, click here.


Manufacturer
Eric Fuller. Website www.cubicdissection.com. 38 copies were made, each priced at US$69, currently all sold out.

Type & Classification
3D packing puzzle; sequential movement

Dimensions
14.3 cm (Width) x 1.9 cm (Depth) x 16.2 cm (Height)

Materials & Construction
The thing that attracted me to this puzzle was the beauty of the multi-coloured display employing the different exotic woods. It really looks like a work of abstract art on a stand.

This Framework II comes in a combination of 11 different hardwoods. The stand is made of either Cherry or Walnut while the individual pieces are constructed from Walnut, Sapele, Yellowheart, Wenge, Maple, Bloodwood, Paduak, Rosewood, Holly and Purpleheart. Construction, fit and finish is excellent and the tolerances between the internal pieces are very precise and tight. Again, like The Decoy I have to rest the puzzle in my camera drybox to reduce the humidity to the level where the pieces are loose enough move. 

Overview
The Framework II came assembled (thank goodness and Eric.) The object is to remove the seven pieces from the frame and re-assemble them back into frame. This is one of the more unusual packing puzzle designs as one will discover from the way the internal pieces fit within the frame. Each of the pieces have "extra" coloured squares and/or rectangles stuck to on both sides. In the assembled state, the extra pieces overlap and "hug" the frame.

The myriad of colours and their diagonal orientation relative to the frame also make the pieces visually confusing. And there is only one solution here.


Removing the pieces was actually not too difficult; after you remove the one "locking" piece that holds the puzzle together, the rest consist of a combination of sliding moves and extracting the pieces from the frame in a particular order.

I am lousy with high-level packing puzzles. So in order to ensure that I would not have too much trouble later on fitting the pieces back, I documented the sequence of moves with photos taken with my cell phone camera. This was to be my safety net in the event I got stuck later on (which I did).

After all the pieces came out, true enough trouble started when I tried to put the pieces back in the same order. While I could get the first two or three pieces in correctly, I got stuck subsequently. As mentioned, the multi-coloured extra squares and rectangles found on the internal pieces are diagonally glued, so this adds tremendously to confuse the orientation of as as well as making it very difficult to remember the shape of the pieces and where they are to go. Pieces would simply not fit or be jammed against each other or the sides of the frame.

But with the help of my photos, I followed the reverse sequence and got each piece back into the frame, With a bit more practice, I managed to memorise the order the pieces came out and went in, so after some time, I could actually do it without any external help.

Difficulty Rating
Very difficult without a solution I would imagine! I wouldn't have been able to solve it if I were not able to rely on the photos I took. As quoted from Eric's site, Markus Gotz remarks:-

There are many different ways to assemble the seven pieces of the puzzle outside of the frame to a square. But only one of these options can actually be built into the frame. This puzzle's really not for beginners!"

Summary
A rather unique design for a packing puzzle. Very challenging indeed but once you study and memorise the moves, can be solved repeatedly. But constant practice here would be needed. I don't think its a puzzle you can tuck away for a few months and expect to be able to re-solve easily when you bring it out again.

Notwithstanding, a damn attractive standing piece of puzzle art that displays really well!

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