Swing Lock

Posted on Jun 13, 2014 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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Why do Trick Locks arouse so much curiosity in us? Why are we so attracted to these intriguing objects? Is it because they have the power to lock away secrets? Is it because they offer the possibility to be unlocked by alternate methods other than the traditional turn of a key? Or is it simply because everyone, puzzler or not, are in the same playing field, since it's up to each one's intuition and cunning to unlock its secret. Whatever it is, one thing is certain, Trick Locks are here to stay and challenge our most inner curiosity.

(Click to Enlarge) - Burgh Lock (in orange)
The object that recently attracted my curiosity and demanded to be explored and discovered is Splinter Spierenburgh's Swing Lock, his second contribution to the Trick Lock family. After Splinter's Burgh Lock (seen above), which was made from 3D-printed nylon, a material not entirely recommended for trick locks, the designer wanted to try something different...and what better way to make a Trick Lock than in stainless steel. The result is a near perfect presentation with a stunning and very well polished design, accomplished after some trial and error, also seen by the accompanied .pdf where we can witness the various stages of design and prototyping (from the LEGO concept to the first prototype in fiberboard) that took place before the final stylish version you see here.

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Metal Version:

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The puzzle has an extraordinary feel to it, much due to its heavy weight that lets you perceive the tiniest of the movements inside the mechanism which are extremely precise. This was not at all possible with the Burgh Lock, as the material was much more fragile. The puzzle measures about 8cm in diameter and 2.2cm in width (3.4" x .9"), and weighs about 625g (1.38lb) - for its size, you can see how heavy it really is. The puzzle has three screws in one of the sides, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you that they're not part of the solution...and not part of the problem either...

Like many Trick Locks, you are provided with a key - A very stylish key, I might add. How the key belongs in the solution is for you to find out for yourself. Sometimes they're necessary, sometimes they're not. One thing you'll immediately notice though, is that the key interacts with some kind of magnet (or magnets) inside the puzzle. As you push the key inside one of the two keyholes and turn it, you can feel it being attracted to something and interacting with some parts of the mechanism. You'll also be able to hear some parts rattling inside, as if there were parts moving freely around the puzzle. You need to feel the shackle's movements with your hand at all times, to know when or if you've made any real progress. The shackle has three positions: neutral, half down and fully down. When you manage to get it fully down you have solved it, and you just need to pull it up and remove it.

When you finally open the puzzle you're not all done, though. You're still half way there. Now, you need to reset the mechanism and be able to close it again. After you've successfully closed it and opened it again in a matter of seconds, thus understanding the mechanism, you can finally say you've solved it. I recommend now to remove those screws and take a look at the mechanism inside - It's a thing of beauty. You'll see the clear window that will let you peer inside, but still protects the mechanism to be accidentally tampered with. You can also put the lid back at a 33º angle so the keyhole allows you to see just a tiny portion of the mechanism. You can use it as a hint for someone struggling with the solution.

Plastic Version:

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Unlike the Burgh Lock, where the only option was the 3D-printed version, the Swing Lock has two version, the metal one and the plastic one. They're basically the same puzzle, but since the two materials are so distinct there's bound to be some differences. The most obvious differences (not counting the price) are the look, as the plastic (PMMA, perspex) is colored black and, of course, the weight, with the plastic version weighing only 114g (.25lb). The dimensions are about the same for the two versions.

As for the solution, there's no major differences from one version to another. I was able to solve the metal version first, in about 20 minutes or so, although it took me much more time to figure out how to close it and ultimately, understand its mechanism. Once I knew what to do I was able to replicate it without any problems in the plastic version. If you ask me what version do I prefer, I'll tell you without a shadow of a doubt, the metal version. But, if you ask me if the plastic version suffers in any way on how the mechanism behaves, I'll tell you absolutely not. It's just a matter of affordability.

Difficulty-wise, I found the Swing Lock slightly easier than the Burgh Lock. The metal surely made me more confident to maneuver it without worrying about breaking it - although you still need to worry about not breaking other things if you drop it on the floor. You need three steps to solve it, but to reset it I found that only one move is necessary. There are at least a couple of different ways to close the lock, but none of it involves doing the steps required to solve it in reverse. You have to be creative.

Quality-wise, the Swing Lock is two steps forward from the Burgh Lock, no question about it. It looks and feels professionally made, and while I don't have something similar to compare it to, like a Popplock, it's certainly worth its high price.

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Closing Comments:

Any Trick Lock collector and enthusiast will love the Swing Lock. I have solved many locks over my years of collecting and I can say that the mechanism is completely unique and original. Both puzzles function as they should, there are some good red herrings along the way to keep you from discovering the solution too soon, and whichever version you end up choosing I'll guarantee you you'll have an amazing experience with it. A must have for any puzzle collector.

Availability: You can get both metal and plastic versions at MFAVE. If at any time there's a shortage of stock, you can be placed on a waiting list by contacting Splinter directly here.


Another review and discussion about the Swing Lock

Yet another review for the Swing Lock


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