|(Click to Enlarge)|
The Cast Radix is one of the most fascinating designs of the Cast Puzzle family. Its striking appearance is achieved by this ancient golden finish, which makes it look more of an art object than an actual puzzle. I bet that if you show this to your non-puzzle friends, only a few of them will say it's a puzzle, if any... Unless they all know that you're crazy about puzzles, in which case they'll still doubt it's a puzzle.
The Radix (from the mathematical term "radical axis") was designed by Akio Yamamoto and released by Hanayama in February 2005. The key word for this one is "sprout", because apparently the main pieces look like two intertwined sprouts.
The puzzle is comprised by three pieces, two of which appear almost identical. Almost, because the only dissimilarity is in the bottom part of the pieces, which makes a huge difference, as the puzzle aspect revolves around this characteristic.
The goal of the Radix is to remove both sprouts from the base, but the solution, like the shape, is anything but simple. Hanayama rates the Radix as a 4 out of 6, but as of recently, they re-rated some of the Cast Puzzles to a more appropriate rating, and as a result the Radix is now considered a 5 out of 6 - exactly my thoughts.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Partially Disassembled|
Solving the Radix is a game of patience. It was only after an hour or so that I was able to remove the sprouts from the base. I could classify the movements as somewhat intuitive, because the first part is easy to figure out. However, even though you have an idea of how the pieces should be freed, the final movements don't seem to follow your instinct. Be careful and don't use force, because it's easy to get the pieces stuck in a complex loop. I was a bit careless and had some trouble to try and free the pieces to normal movement again.
Returning the pieces to their original state is a less complex task, but it's still a challenge. You need to pay attention to the correct placing of the base and which piece goes first. You might need a couple of tries to figure this out, but you can see right away if the sprout fits the base. After getting the first step right, the following steps are yet another dance of crazy loops in a mad sequence.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Solved|
Even after solving the Cast Radix, I'm still fascinated by it. How Mr. Yamamoto came up with such a design is mind blowing. No wonder he got the Grand Prize at the 25th IPP Design Competition in 2005. The puzzle is simply a masterpiece and a must-have in any puzzle lover's home.
Availability: The Cast Radix is available at Sloyd.fi, and so are all the others in the Cast Series.
Hanayama Cast (in English) - Very useful website in English, with plenty of information on all things Cast.
Hanayama's Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)