Derek Bosch. Very well known in the community for his cylindrical burr designs range, see for example the Helical Burr. For his other works, click here. I just realized I do have a copy of his "Derek's Half Dozen"....stay tuned for a future post on this one.
Produced by Steve Nicholls. May be available but in limited quantities. You can contact Steve here.
16cm x 4.5cm diameter
Materials & Construction
3D printed in plastic resin. Very well made and absolutely gorgeous colours. Mine's a bright yellow and purple. I saw other colourful combinations as well at IPP. Nicely presented in a transparent carrying tube.
Looking like a delicious ice lolly, you can probably guess why the puzzle is called Pole Dancers. No prizes here. The puzzle was also Steve's IPP35 Exchange Puzzle in Ottawa, Canada last year. The goal here is to separate the purple and yellow pieces from the rod.
For this type of cylindrical puzzles, 3D printing is probably the best (and only) choice available. I seriously doubt if they can be made in wood. As I mentioned previously in my review of the Helical Burr, the manipulation of a 3D printed burr like this is never going to be as slippery smooth as a well made interlocking wooden burr. However, it is sufficiently slick for comfortable play and I did not experience any jamming. One of the advantages of 3D printing is that the puzzle won't expand in humid climates unlike their wooden cousins. In fact as I played more, the puzzle got quit "seasoned" after a while and the movement of the pieces became smoother overall.
Solving consists of pulling, pushing and rotating the pieces around the axis of the rod. The pieces are interlocked together via grooves and notches on their insides and the surface of the rod. Typically trial and error is required at the beginning to see how the pieces interact with each other. Careful observation of the movements is also necessary, particularly when you want to re-assemble the puzzle later. And remember the orientation of the pieces too. I don't know the exact number of moves as I lost count somewhere after the first 5 to 6. But by my estimation, I think its somewhere between 13 to 15 moves for full dis-assembly. Honestly the dance gets quite confusing halfway through!
Its a difficult puzzle no doubt, but strangely I felt it was a bit less difficult than the Helical Burr which had four pieces (vs three for Pole Dancers) and even fewer moves. Maybe the Helical Burr was the first time I was playing with this sort of puzzle and hadn't gotten used to it yet.
While Helical Burr required only the removal of the first piece and the rest became pretty straight forward coming apart, Pole Dancers is tricky in the sense that you are not sure which end of the rod the two pieces emerge from (or is it from both ends?) and you get a bit confused halfway and need to back track once you hit a dead end.
Another great design here from Derek Bosch. Well made, colourful and a nice alternative to the usual rectilinear wooden burrs. And what an appropriate name!