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Mr Puzzle - We've got puzzles!

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Puzzles by Designer > Bill Cutler


IPP23searsburrs.jpg

Bill Cutler has been interested in puzzles, particularly the 6 piece burr puzzle, since he saw his first example in a drugstore window when he was a young boy.  He has always been particularly interested in burrs that required multiple moves to take out the first piece and since then he's design some of the hardest interlocking burr puzzles around.

Bill Cutler is also well known for using his skills as a software engineer to write programs for analysis and solution of puzzles. In the early 1980's he wrote his first program to take apart interlocking puzzles made from cubes and this led to his the 3 year analysis of all 35.5 billion 6-piece burrs.

Left: Bill Cutler and Brian Young exchanging Sears Tower themed Burrs at IPP23 in Chicago.

 




Mega Six 6 piece multiple move wood burr Standard Mega Six 6 piece multiple move wood burr Standard


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DIFFICULTY RATING 9 

The puzzle is to assemble the six piece burr. 

This puzzle really does show a case of 'don't judge a book by it's cover'.  It may look like other six piece burrs on the outside but it is DEFINITELY not.  The puzzle is incredibly more complicated than the commonly known six piece puzzle. This photo shows the Mega Six when it's about half way together or apart).  

Bill Cutler first used a computer program to analyse six piece burrs in 1974 but it took until 1990 to analyse all possible six piece burr combinations. 

Mega Six is the result of that search for the maximum number of moves for a six piece burr with a unique solution.  This does not mean it has a unique assembly, due to the number of internal voids.  In theory the pieces should fit together in 20 different ways however, the reality is that you can physically only put the puzzle together in one of the 20 assemblies.

Not only OUR hardest six piece burr but THE hardest six piece burr!

Covered by Australian Design Registration No 151844 and is made under license to Bill Cutler.

This puzzle is also available in our Craftsman Range in Jarrah, Blackbean or Silver Ash (Click here).

 
Mega Six 6 piece multiple move wooden burr Craftsman Mega Six 6 piece multiple move wooden burr Craftsman


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Wood Selection



DIFFICULTY RATING 9 

The puzzle is to assemble the six piece burr.

This puzzle really does show a case of 'don't judge a book by it's cover'.  It may look like other six piece burrs on the outside but it is DEFINITELY not.  The puzzle is incredibly more complicated than the commonly known six piece puzzle.

Bill Cutler first used a computer program to analyse six piece burrs in 1974 but it took until 1990 to analyse all possible six piece burr combinations. 

Mega Six is the result of that search for the maximum number of moves for a six piece burr with a unique solution.  This does not mean it has a unique assembly, due to the number of internal voids.  In theory the pieces should fit together in 20 different ways however, the reality is that you can physically only put the puzzle together in one of the 20 assemblies.

Not only OUR hardest six piece burr but THE hardest six piece burr!

Timber varieties:  2. Queensland Blackbean  (sorry these are no longer available - 1. Queensland Silver Ash 3. Western Australian Jarrah)

As well as our Craftsman Range this puzzle is also available in our
Standard Range (Click here).

Covered by Australian Design Registration No 151844 and is made under license to Bill Cutler.

 
Wausau '83 14 piece burr Wausau '83 14 piece burr


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 DIFFICULTY RATING 7

The object of the puzzle is to disassemble the 14 piece rectilinear burr.

This puzzle was designed by Bill Cutler in 1983 as a continuing part of his Wausau series of burrs.  There are 11 moves to remove the first piece from this puzzle.  Once the series was completed in 1984 Bill described this third puzzle in the series of four , Wausau '83, as the “best of the Wausau series”.

 
Wausau '82 13 piece burr Wausau '82 13 piece burr


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 DIFFICULTY RATING 8

The object of the puzzle is to dissassemble the 13 piece rectilinear burr.  

This puzzle was designed by Bill Cutler in 1982 as part of his Wausau series of burrs.  Prior to this he had worked mostly with the standard six piece burr but this series was an experiment in different patterns of rods along the 3 axes.   Bill describes this second puzzle in the series, Wausau '82,  as one of his favourite designs, saying it uses a lock picking technique.

 
SOLD OUT Visible Burr interlocking burr SOLD OUT Visible Burr interlocking burr N/A





NOTE: Original selling price in USD was 202.00. In September 2008 one of these puzzles sold on the Baxterweb Puzzle Auctions, Featuring the Ron Zezima Collection for USD 250.00.

This 24 piece burr puzzle was designed by Bill Cutler in 1978.visible.jpg

When Bill Cutler was describing his Visible Burr he said "I like to design burrs which are difficult to take apart. This requires irregular notches in the pieces, and I usually like to hide these in the interior of the puzzle. With the Visible Burr, I decided to make all of the notches visible to the solver. Solution of this puzzle can thus be done by analyzing the notches, rather then by using trial-and-error."

To enhance this view of the puzzle we chose to use much larger pieces. This should now provide you with the best possible view and a good chance to test your skill at solving by visual analysis as Bill hoped you would, rather than trial and error.

Between 1993 and 1999 there were just 30 of these puzzles sold by Bill Cutler and a few were sold earlier than that. The pieces were divided into 3 groups of 8, each group being made from a distinctive coloured wood. We've translated those colours into three Australian native hardwoods. This puzzle has been made from 1. Queensland Silver Ash 2. Flooded Gum (also known as Rose Gum for it's distinctive pink heartwood) 3. Queensland Blackbean.

Each piece has Mr Puzzle's signature routing on both ends. Each individual piece of the puzzle has been lacquered then buffed and waxed.

Size: 210mm x 210mm x 210mm (each piece 30mm x 30mm x 210mm) A very big puzzle!
Packaged: Assembled by default. We can also ship disassembled on request.

 
SOLD OUT Helix the Burr interlocking burr puzzle SOLD OUT Helix the Burr interlocking burr puzzle N/A





NOTE: Original selling price in USD was 240.00. In June 2008 one of these puzzles sold at Baxterweb Puzzle Auctions, Featuring the Ron Zezima Collection for USD 1650.00.

The name of this burr comes from the spiral structure that is created by the 8 pieces surrounding the central 5 piece core.

This burr features what Bill Cutler considers to be the most interesting disassembly sequence he has ever created. From the time I’ve spent ‘playing’ with the puzzle during manufacture I have to agree. It’s very different and quite an enjoyable challenge.

A true collector's item. There were originally just 20 puzzles made by Jerry McFarland and sold from 1990-1992. Bill himself had earlier made and sold a smaller number of puzzles and to this day regrets that he even sold his last production model in 1994. So you can see this puzzle is very rare, and after this 30 we will never make it again either.

Because of the way this puzzle works it has been necessary to work to extremely fine tolerances when machining the pieces. Like all the puzzles we make, this puzzle has been lacquered inside and out to help maintain this precision. Each individual piece of our Limited Edition puzzles is buffed and waxed as well.

This puzzle made under license to Bill Cutler.

General Information from Bill Cutler's official publication of 1983
This information reproduced with the kind permission of Bill Cutler.

The name comes from the spiral nature of the main pieces.
The basic design was thought up in the summer of 1982 and was originally intended to become the Wausau '82 puzzle, however, the design quickly became too complex. The puzzle was formally introduced at the Sixth Annual International Puzzle Party at Jerry Slocum's house on April 2, 1983.
The first solution was received from Edward Hordern.
The puzzle has many notches which are 1/3 and 1/4 the width of the rods, so that problems of tolerance and humidity changes are magnified. In addition, the very nature of the way the puzzle was intended to disassemble makes these problems worse still, and the likelihood of having incorrect methods of disassembly increases.
To top this off Stan Isaacs discovered a way to disassemble the original puzzle which was clearly a 'bug' (error). The bug was corrected by minor changes to two pieces.

Wood used:
Tasmanian Oak. Not a member of the oak family at all but rather a eucalypt. The name Tasmanian Oak was originally used by early European timber workers who believed the eucalypts showed the same strength as English Oak.

Size: 150mm x 150mm x 150mm (13 pieces, each 30mm x 30mm)

 
SOLD OUT 18 Piece II - Bill Cutler designed burr puzzle SOLD OUT 18 Piece II - Bill Cutler designed burr puzzle N/A





One of many burrs Bill Cutler designed in the 1960's and 1970's this burr is one he calls "an 'off center' burr". Bill says, "in 'off-center' burrs any two rods that intersect do so half-way through the widths of their rods as opposed to the 'altekruse' burrs in which pieces intersect each other with their full widths". This puzzle has 12 identical pieces and is therefore not one of Bill's most difficult burrs. However, the shape of this puzzle is aesthetically pleasing and the pieces interlock in an interesting way.

If you were not one of the lucky people to get one of only 35 of these puzzles made for Bill Cutler by Jerry McFarland between 1994 & 2001 now's your chance to own one.

The puzzle is crafted from Black Wattle.
Size: 150mm x 150mm x 150mm (18 pieces each 30mm x 30mm x 150mm)

 
SOLD OUT The Architect's Dream N/A





The object of the puzzle is to build the six piece burr inside the wooden casing.
The casing itself is not designed to come apart.
The casing is taken from a design called DRAFTSMAN'S DREAM show in Edwin Wyatt's book WONDERS IN WOOD (1956).
The burr will go together in several different ways, but only one way inside the casing. It was originally designed by BILL CUTLER.
The burr is crafted from Queensland Silver Ash inside a casing of New Guinea Rosewood.
 
SOLD OUT 314 + 1 N/A





314 different six block burrs in one puzzle... plus one other puzzle.
Bill Cutler's name in synonymous with the six piece burr. In 1977-78 he published an article called The Six-Piece Burr in the Journal of Recreational Mathematics in which he showed there are 25 different pieces which in combination can make up to 314 different six piece burrs.
There are 42 burr pieces in total which can be combined in different ways to make up the 314 different six block burrs.
+1     How to open the box that contains them?
Made from Queensland Silver Ash they are presented inside a 'trick' locking box of New Guinea Rosewood.
 

 


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