Redstone Box (Hide the Redstone)

Posted on by Gabriel | 7 comments
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Bernhard Schweitzer is a German puzzle designer with lots of great puzzles under his name. The Redstone Box is a fine example of his ingenuity and, coupled with Creative Crafthouse's high quality manufacturing and polish to their products, is sure to satisfy even the most demanding collectors and puzzle enthusiasts alike.

The Redstone Box is a 3D Packing Puzzle where the goal is to hide an extra piece (the red block) inside the already apparently filled box. You need to reassemble the pieces in a way so that the volume of the extra piece can be accommodated in the box and still be able to slide the lid and close it. To my knowledge, there's only one solution for this, excluding rotations. This is definitely not a puzzle for beginners and can be extremely challenging.

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It comes unsolved in its box, with the red block placed in its special slot. The lid slides off, so you can store the pieces in the box without worrying about losing them. The box measures 11.6cm x 7.8cm x 6.6cm (4.6" x 3" x 2.6"), so it's a nice sized puzzle, made with hardwood and very well built.

The puzzle consists of eight pieces with different sizes and shapes, plus the red block. Some of the blocks have the same height, but besides this there are no two identical blocks. This packing problem is, in a way, quite similar to the classic Calibron 12, except the latter is in 2D. But the different sizes of the pieces and the solving process is somewhat similar.

What I did find similar is that both puzzles are among some of the most difficult puzzles I had the pleasure to play with, but not the satisfaction of solving. To solve a puzzle like this, one must have a mathematical approach to it, which I don't have. There's no way you can solve these puzzles by trial and error, at least in a timely manner, or you'd be the most lucky person in the world.

To get the puzzle back to its original state you have several ways to do it, although I found none so far. It's still a difficult puzzle, whether you do it with the red piece or not. It's good that there are various solutions (without the red piece), so you can enjoy it many times over.

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Closing Comments:

The Redstone Box is a superb puzzle. Yes, I can enjoy and appreciate a puzzle that I failed to solve. I love puzzles, both easy and difficult alike, and this one deserves a chance, even if you think you won't solve it. It's a great addition to any collection.

Availability: I got the Redstone Box from PuzzleMaster, available for about $20 CAD. More from Creative Crafthouse can be found there as well as some others from Bernhard Schweitzer.



Hans Havermann said...

This is T.H. O'Beirne's famous "Melting Block", widely disseminated in (Delft and Botermans, 1978) "Creative Puzzles of the World". My copy of it was made by Bill Cutler in 1983. It's a great show-off puzzle once you've learned the two packings.

Boxes and Booze said...

Very clever puzzle!

George said...

I don't think "Melting Block" is that difficult. Certainly much easier than Calibron 12. Have another go at it!

Jerry said...

I have heard of this one under its various names and made by various individuals. Looks very difficult to me considering there are 10 pieces. There is a version I saw at the recent IPP35 made by Tom Lensch...I didn't dare to tip out the pieces just in case I couldn't get the pieces back in! But beautifully made. It also reminds me of Parcel Post, I think about 20 pieces? which is also very hard!

Gabriel said...

Thank's for the messages, fellow puzzlers. I do think it's a very difficult puzzle. Almost any packing puzzle with rectangular pieces with different sizes - the Parcel Post is another one (thanks for pointing that out, Jerry) - are extremely challenging. It requires a mathematical approach and a very thorough analysis. Cheers!

George said...

I remember reading an article by Bill Cutler on box packing puzzles where he mentions Melting Block as being the easiest one. It is the one he pulls out for his non-puzzle visitors. I believe this article is in one of the Gathering For Gardner volumes. YMMV!!

George said...

I found the article I mentioned on Bill Cutler's website:
It first appeared in the book "The Mathemagician and Pied Puzzler".

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