Tuesday, 8 July 2014

School Bus

Designed by Alfons Eyckmans in 2013, my copy of the School Bus was also built for me by Alfons. Alfons had featured the School Bus on his FaceBook page a while back and after seeing it, I shot him an email asking if he could make one for me. 

Alfons will take requests for custom builds of his own designs (of which there are over 200 to-date) but expect to wait no less than a month, since he can only devote 2 days or so a week to puzzle making and he has a lot of orders to fulfil.

Mine is copy #3. Fellow puzzle collector Goetz Schwandtner has a copy and probably the third is kept by Alfons. 

The School Bus is an interlocking burr measuring a relatively large 13cm x 6cm x 5cm. My version is made of Beech for the box frame and Wenge for the pieces. Nice colour combination. Very well built overall with nice finishing; save for several very tiny chips near the edge of one or two of the square holes on the side. Mine was also a bit tight (caused by the local humidity) and I had to leave it in my camera dry box for several days to loosen up the pieces, which became better as I played with it.

The object is the remove the pieces, consisting of 4 regular burr pieces 6 units long and two sliders 13 units long each, from the box.

Despite playing with it on and off over a couple of weeks, I got nowhere with this one. Not even able to remove a single piece. A real tough cookie requiring a total of 72 moves with 18 to get the first piece out. Thank goodness www.puzzlewillbeplayed.com had all the images of the School Bus pieces and I was able to generate a Burr Tools solution to help me solve. No matter tho'; the take apart (and re-assembly) were still very fun using Burr Tools. And even these took a while to complete form start to end.

Inspired by Alfons' School Bus, I took the liberty of expanding upon his design and came up with my own "Tour Bus XL" (after all, what's larger than a school bus?). My design has 2 additional burr pieces and an extra slider, making it dimensionally much larger at 19cm x 8cm x 5cm. 169 moves to completely remove all the pieces.

Tour Bus XL

I am thinking of asking Alfons to make me copy of the Tour Bus XL, but alas, I fear it may be a bit wasted on me, seeing that I can't even solve the School Bus without help.


  1. You definitely should get a copy of your own design made! It looks brilliant!


    1. Thanks Kevin. Still considering!

    2. Love your TOUR BUS XL puzzle, but I am slightly confused by the Burr Tools rendering of the partially opened view. Specifically, the three sliders look to be 2 X 2 X 19 units, yet the olive green slider looks like it is 3 units wide....one unit seems to be interlocked into the red slider. Maybe I am wrong. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? The top layer of the olive green puzzle slider looks like this:
      X X X
      Each "X" represents one unit.

      I'm confused.