Cast Disk (円)

Posted on Sep 14, 2012 by Gabriel | 3 comments
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Today's Cast Puzzle comes from the genius mind of Oskar van Deventer. As a puzzle designer, Oskar has an enthusiasm for mazes and labyrinths, and this shows in many of his creations. The Cast Disk, while it's not exactly a maze, it still feels like one in the sense that you may find yourself going in circles without the slightest hint of where the exit may be. The Disk was released by Hanayama in May 2001 and the key word for it is "circle".

If you have previously played with the Cast O'Gear, then you'll find a slight resemblance with between the two concepts, as both of them have you going around in a circle in order to remove one of the pieces. In my opinion, I liked the design of the O'Gear better, but I enjoyed the challenge of the Disk much better.

The design of the Disk is reminiscent of two cogs that are interlinked and the object is to try and separate them. This would be an effortless task if the disks had all their dents with equal measurements... They actually don't, and this makes the puzzle very fun to play with. Both disks appear to be fused together at a perpendicular plane in their starting position, and this very state is the one you're going for once you separate them and try to put them back together. The dents appear to be identical in both disks, but they are, in reality, a mirror image of each other.

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Hanayama rates the Disk as a level 2/6, and I sort of agree... While it may be a little confusing to keep rotating the disks back and forth and not see a real progress, a careful observation and some persistence will have you separate the disks within 5 or 10 minutes. If you do it randomly, you might be at it for a while.

When you first start to rotate the disks you'll notice that in order to pass to the next opening, you won't be able to perform more than two or three rotations at a time around the same dent. You need to analyse each of these dents and realize which one is the most likely to free the other disk, otherwise you'll keep returning to exact same spot over and over again. The movements necessary to free the disks won't always be in the same direction, as both clockwise and anti-clockwise movements are needed. Returning them to their original state is a bit easier, because you can clearly see where they're supposed to be joined together, unlike the opposite challenge, where the exit is not that easy to see.

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Closing Comments:

The challenge of Cast Disk won't probably offer too much resistance and it's far from being frustrating, but one thing that I love about most Cast Puzzles is that even when they're easy to solve they're still quite fun and enjoyable. The path to solve the Disk is not that easy to remember, so after you've solved it you can still pick it up again for another run.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Disk at Sloyd.fi, as well as any of 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)


Tom Cutrofello said...

I consider this puzzle to be a maze. It has dead ends and one must go backwards to go forwards. The brilliance is that Oskar designed it.

I first saw the plastic prototype about 10 years ago. It's an instant classic,

George said...

Download my analysis of this puzzle at:


Gabriel said...

I like your definition, Tom. Not all mazes have to look like a classic labyrinth, so that's definitely a cool kind of maze.

Thanks for your analysis, George. I added it to the post's links.

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