I missed out on getting a copy of Rescube when Eric Fuller first sold them on Cubic Dissection in 2009, but managed to snag a copy when it came up on a recent auction at the same site.
Rescube was designed by Sam Cornwell and entered in the 2006 IPP Puzzle Design Competition. The competition entry was made in pine and plywood and the subsequent version produced by Eric had a curly maple shuttle enclosed in a granadillo framework with (some) clear acrylic sides. The contrast between the light wood of the shuttle and the dark frame makes for a great looking puzzle and the clear sides dramatically enhance its looks.
The shuttle rests snugly inside the frame that has a few sides half-enclosed in acrylic – three of them along the diagonal and two between mid-points of opposite sides. There’s one side exposed almost entirely, save for a single ‘tooth’ hanging from one side. The combination of half-open sides allows a little movement of the shuttle that can then be manoeuvred from its starting position to somewhere nearer the open side.
The shape of the shuttle deliberately makes manoeuvring it inside the framework a bit tricky and restricts what it can do, rather successfully. Early on I decided what I needed to try and do based on the shape of the shuttle and the shape of the framework – spent a while getting the shuttle into the right spot to execute “the move” I had in mind, only to realise that it couldn’t work because of the tight tolerances between the pieces – it’s very unforgiving and will only let you solve it one way – excellent!
Fiddling around a little more opened up some new possibilities, one of which turned out to be “the answer” – and it included a neat little twist on things that I hadn’t been expecting when I was trying to picture the likely solution.
It’s a neat little puzzle that provides an interesting little challenge despite having only two pieces and looking relatively benign while at rest. Beautifully made by Eric, who put a lot of work into engineering strong joints on both the frame and the shuttle to ensure that it continues to perplex long into the future…