Saturday 22 January 2022

Bruns Metal Barrel Puzzle

Andriy, aka ‘Engineer Bruns’ has been making and selling machined metal puzzles from his web shop for a few years now. He’s been producing some curiosities (cube-in-cube-in-cube-in-cube anyone?) and ornaments (I couldn’t resist a copy of the Bender-like figurine) and then recently he began selling a puzzle of his own design in the form of a mini oil barrel – so I signed up for one because I was keen to encourage him to explore his own designs.[When you order something it goes on the list to be made, by hand, so expect to have to wait a bit for your personally made puzzles.] 

What’s clear from the extensive library of YouTube videos is that Bruns knows his stuff – there’s a fair amount of teaching and techie stuff about metal lathe work that I’m not going to profess to understand the half of, but it’s clear he’s doing something he loves – and he’s doing it really well! [Fair warning: if you watch any of the videos of Bruns making his puzzles you'll also see their solutions.]

The Metal Barrel Puzzle is just that – designed to resemble a scaled down 44-gallon drum, it’s a little aluminium barrel – complete with a BRUNS logo and a cap engraved on the lid… it looks great, but what’s it like as a puzzle I hear you ask…

Well first of all, let me point out the obvious: I’m writing about it – so I like it. (I don’t write about puzzles I don’t like, remember?) Secondly, having solved it, I immediately wanted to tell my mates about it because I thought it was a great puzzle… so there you go – you needn’t bother reading the rest, really.

Starting out, this little guy gives away just the slightest clue to where you start making some progress… and if you don’t explore enough, you won’t get any further…

Once you find how to make some progress you might think you’re onto a winner and this puzzle is going to yield its secrets in no time at all… only it’s going to kick you in the teeth and stop you dead in your tracks… time to THINK(c).

Having thunk you may indeed make some further progress, only to...(you guessed it!) be stuck dead in your tracks all over again… and this time you’re going to have to really THINK(c)!

When you do manage to get this little guy opened you’re rewarded with a full view of all of the innards (which I suspect will be simpler than you’ve imagined them to be!) and a Bruns original Skynet coin – from the future! :-)

What I really like about this puzzle is the number of times it forces you to stop and think – you think you understand things only to realise that you don’t and you’re forced to start THINKing all over again… that's what I really like in my puzzles, and Bruns delivers in this one, beautifully.

Here’s hoping that he’s suitably encouraged to continue experimenting with his own new puzzle designs!

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