Thursday 3 April 2014

This Is "It"!

This is "it"? You are probably wondering what sort of puzzles these are. 

 Nope, nothing to do with information technology, computers or software (more on this last one later) but I am referring to the Cockpit and Petit puzzles, both by Japanese designer Osanori Yamamoto. As of to-date, he has 175 designs! Many of which have have become production copies including the following which I own:-

First off, both of these puzzles are smallish in size as compared to the typical cuboid interlocking puzzle. Both are around 5cm cube, with the Cockpit a couple of mm larger all round. Given that the Petit has only 3 pieces and the Cockpit has 4, it is quite possible to make a puzzle in a much smaller package yet remaining comfortable during handling.

Both puzzles came to me from Pelikan. Craftsmanship, fit and finish is excellent. Fellow puzzle blogger Allard Walker had commented in one of his posts that the superb quality to be found from Pelikan these days is comparable with a certain North American puzzle maker (now I wonder who that might be?). Yes, I couldn't agree more! And not to mention at great value for money prices too! 


The Cockpit is made of Jatoba for the frame and Maple for the pieces (2 of which are congruent). It didn't take me long to unlock the 3 intersecting pieces. No particular way of solving for me, just the usual random manipulation at the beginning and thereafter, seeing how the pieces interacted to try to get them apart.  

Putting everything back together was altogether different. I found a solution pretty quickly which got the pieces back to what appeared to be their original positions in the frame. But I knew it wasn't the right solution since it took me quite a number of moves to take them apart initially. I checked the solution with Burr Tools and found that I had used the easiest of 4 possible solutions (just 6 steps) which probably wasn't intended. The more difficult solution takes 20 steps to get that first piece out.


This one I found less difficult than the Cockpit. The Petit is made from Cherry (frame) and Paduak (pieces). Consisting of just 2 pieces interlocked within the frame, it was a much easier task trying to remember the moves, which were also far fewer than Cockpit. I managed to disengage and later assembled the pieces without the aid of Burr Tools. I would think that for Petit, even with a trial and error approach and persistence may achieve the desired result, but not the Cockpit.

Petit is definitely recommended for less experienced burr puzzlers (myself included) as it gives a good challenge but wouldn't frustrate you. To begin with, just a total of 3 pieces is already much less physically intimidating and this undoubtedly inspires confidence. The Petit is definitely much more manageable with far fewer steps. Available from Puzzlewood, Germany.