Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Tube It In

Happy New Year everyone! Hope all of you had wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations and holidays. For my first post for 2014, I have chosen a puzzle that was designed and made many years ago, in fact over 32 years ago!....well as one might say, this one is a blast from the past!

Tube It In

Wil Strijbos. For a list of Wil's other puzzle designs, click here. I had asked Wil when he designed Tube It In. Here is his reply...

In 1982 I took the “Tube it In” with me as a small gift on the 5th IPP. Location: Jerry Slocum, 257 South Palm Drive, Beverly Hills. At that time there was no exchange tradition. Later on I used a second version as an Exchange Gift but I can not remember which year that was.

I made the “Tube it In” in cooperation with the Tube Company I was working for. So it is more then 32 years ago we created this puzzle. 

Wil Strijbos. Its unavailable, even from Wil himself.

Type & Classification

4.5 cm (Length) x 2.8 cm (Width) and 2.8 cm (Height). Smallish in size but packs quite a bit of weight (no pun intended).

Materials & Construction
Galvanised steel (thanks to Michel van Ipenburg for pointing this out). 

My copy is a used one with scuffs, scratches and stains. Hey, but what do you expect, its over 30 years old! But overall construction and fit is good. John Devost also made a wooden version of the same puzzle.

The Tube It In came to me as a gift courtesy of fellow Singaporean puzzle collector and designer Goh Pit Khiam

Consisting of 14 cross-sectionally cut pieces of square and rectangular tubes of different sizes, the object is to unpack and repack all the smaller pieces into the largest piece. As you can tell from the picture, the 13 smaller pieces will need to fit into each other before finally going into the last piece. 

The puzzle came to me in the solved state already so I had the advantage of slowly (and I mean really slowly) removing each piece, laying all the pieces out nicely on my puzzle table in proper order. I knew that if I randomly scattered the 14 pieces all over, I would have had a damn hard time with the reassembly.

After a couple of rounds of unpacking and repacking, I kind of got the gist of it. There is an order of sorts; where the smaller pieces are suppose to go, namely into several smaller sub-groups before combining into the last 3 largest pieces.

Difficulty Rating 
Would have been very difficult if it came unassembled, which I was thankful it was not! Particularly so when there are so many (ie 14) pieces involved! But even if you received it in the solved state and you accidentally messed up the pieces while unpacking, you will likely run into difficulties along the way. Photographs of each stage of disassembly is recommended, since the puzzle does not come with a solution.

While this puzzle came out in 1982, I think Tube It In is still very unique and original in today's context as a packing puzzle, primarily because it is constructed of existing materials; ie aluminium tubing (cut to the different dimensions) for all its pieces. And given its rarity, no doubt at all as a collector's puzzle.


  1. Hi Jerry, best wishes to you too! Seeing the pictures above and reading your post I think the material used is actually galvanised steel instead of aluminium. Besides that it's always great to read your posts.

  2. Hi Michel, thanks for the info. I have correct my post.