Stephane Chomine. A prolific designer, Stephane has to-date 457 designs, click here to see them.
Eric Fuller. From his website, 40 copies were made priced at US$73/-. Currently all sold out.
Type & Classification
Interlocking, sequential movement
6.7cm (Length) x 6.7cm (Width) and 6.7cm (Height).
Materials & Construction
The cage is Quilted Maple and the pieces Bloodwood. Nice colour contrast. Workmanship is top-notch and fit and finish is excellent. Surprisingly, my copy has not really been affected by the high humidity and despite not being in my camera dry-box, the movements are still smooth and easy.
A word of caution; the edges and corners of the cage are all straight, sharp and precise. One careless drop on a hard or rough surface is almost guaranteed a ding, dent or worse, crack on the cage and Eric will have to make you another one. Handle the puzzle over thick carpet or on your bed.
The Triaxe consists of a cage within which are three different shaped pieces interlocked together. The object of course is to disassemble and fit the pieces back into the cage again. Unlike the HALT reviewed earlier (another of Staphane Chomine's designs), this one is far far more difficult. I took a good half hour or more to remove the first of the three pieces. Thereafter the other two were pretty easy. Mainly through trial and error rather than a systematic or logical sequence.
However, when it came to putting back everything, I was stuck, really stuck. I had lost track of the orientation of the pieces relative to the frame somewhere during disassembly. I found myself the next couple of hours trying to manipulate the pieces to fit each other, without any success. Every time, the last piece was always kept out of the cage somehow and couldn't find its way inside.
In the end I gave up and resorted to Burr Tools. Only with the help of the programme did I manage to fit the pieces back together. No way I could have succeeded without the aid of this life-saving and "frustration alleviating" software.
Extremely difficult! Especially during re-assembly. This is a level 24.3 one-solution only puzzle requiring 24 moves to remove the first piece from the cage!
There are interlocking burrs that look intimidating but in fact are really quite manageable. The Triaxe not only looks intimidating, it IS intimidating! As Eric mentioned on his site..."with only three pieces it's not impossible, but this is definitely an advanced puzzle. Lots of movement and lots of dead ends. Lucky for you I'm shipping it assembled!"
Its a good thing he did; otherwise I would have had no chance even to take it apart without external help!