Three Way Slider interlocking burr

Sold out 2004 Limited Edition Set of 30.
Original Price: AU$350.00
One of these puzzles sold in June 2008 at Baxterweb Puzzle Auctions for USD315.00 (original price in USD was 271.00)

People often ask where do you get the idea for a puzzle from?

The concept for this puzzle goes back many years. The first time I met Bill Cutler he said to me that “I figure that anything that can be done to the 6 piece burr has just about been done”. I stored that away in the back of my brain; then years later at IPP23 in Chicago I saw some pieces from Bill’s collection. His version of the Snowflake from W.M.Wyatt’s ‘Wonders in Wood’ made me think, ‘well, maybe everything has not been done to the 6 piece burr yet’.

It seemed like a bit of a challenge; maybe the 6 piece burr is not dead yet.

I chose three known high level burrs and married two of each together on opposite sides of this puzzle. Some of the pieces in these burrs have been mirror-reversed to add to the already high degree of difficulty of this puzzle. I created a completely new six piece burr which I designed specifically to join each set of twins together. The burr has to slide in three directions to allow the multiple moves necessary for each of the end burrs to work. To disassemble, all the burrs must be used simultaneously.

I did not use a computer to design the puzzle but after having a working prototype I did use a computer to test for the number of possible solutions. I ended up testing each set of twins independently because the program I used to test the whole puzzle said at first that it would take some thousands of days to solve. So, I thought maybe it was confused and it would settle if I let it run for a while….. next morning the time went up and now it’s saying 252588 days…. maybe I need a new computer!

I spent about 5 or 6 days just working on the design to get to prototype stage but I’m sure if someone out there wanted to spend more time (and with the help of a computer….) there’s a lot more that could even be done with this concept.

Woods used: The six centre pieces are made from Victorian Ash. A member of the Eucalyptus family (not the Ash family) this timber is also known as Mountain Ash and is Australia’s tallest tree, generally growing to between 55-75m but often up to 100m (over 300 feet) at altitudes over 900m in Victoria. The 24 smaller pieces are made from Queensland Blackbean (also commonly known as Moreton Bay Chestnut) which can be seen growing in rainforests throughout Queensland and northern NSW.

Size: 180mm x 180mm x 180mm (each piece being 20mm x 20mm)

Solutions are not generally provided with Limited Edition puzzles because of the small numbers produced but we’ll do everything we can to assist if you get stuck.