Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Lock 14

The Lock 14 was Eckbert Waldleben's IPP34 exchange puzzle. When I first picked it up, I thought it was similar to the Lock 250 that I had played with a while back. But how wrong I was. Although both were designed Jean-Claude Constantin, the Lock 14 is really in a class of its own in terms of difficulty. 

Overall the Lock 14 is well made and fabricated with layers of precise laser cut wood, held together with steel screws. The object of the puzzle is to remove the shackle from the lock body. Like the Lock 250, the Lock 14 is also a N-nary type puzzle [I didn't know this and thanks very much to Goetz Schwandtner for pointing this out to me]. But unlike the Lock 250, the Lock 14's mechanism is hidden even tho it works on the N-nary system. The hidden mechanism holds the shackle in place. From the outside, you can see three ball bearings in their cavity via three peepholes, and those are just about all the clues given to get you going with the puzzle.  

The solving consists of manipulating three sliders inside the lock in a particular sequence to get the sliders to move to their respective positions which will then free the shackle. But because the mechanism is hidden and the ball bearings restrict the movement of the sliders, it becomes a very difficult task indeed. I struggled with the Lock 14 for quite a long time and finally asked fellow blogger Allard Walker for the solution. 

One look told me that I would not have been able to solve it on my own without help. Thankfully, the schematics and diagrams were well illustrated with step by step instructions, but even then, I missed a step or two along the way and had to re-start. I was quite glad when I finally got the shackle out and after taking my photos, proceeded to get it back into place. A real toughie! And do be careful here not to use force as the wooden parts are delicate and not built to stand abuse and rough play.

[Goetz has also mentioned to me that the lighter coloured portion of the shackle can also be opened but not removed!...hmm didn't know that; certainly not indicated in the solution]


  1. That's a great looking lock puzzle. Which other JCC maze type puzzles do you recommend?

    1. Yes, does look like a real lock doesn't it?...I don't have much experience with JCC maze type puzzles, so can't really comment. I quite like the Lock 250, which is a decent solve and another great looking lock.

    2. You may want to contact Goetz Schwandtner for his opinion. He has a huge collection of N-nary and other JCC puzzles