Friday 11 January 2013

Melting Block

Time for another review I guess!!

This review is on another puzzle in my latest package from Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands. It is definitely one of my favourite puzzles so far in my collection as its a seemingly impossible puzzle with no hidden tricks, truly a mind-boggler!!!

It's called the Melting Block and it's designed by Tom O'Beirne, though I'm not sure who made my copy.

Melting Block
It consists simply of a box, made out of Oak, and nine differently sized cuboids. At the start of the puzzle, one Mahogany cuboid is located on the lid of the box, which also helps to remove the lid!! The aim of the puzzle is to 'melt' this block into the box, obviously so the lid can still be closed!!

Upon removing the lid you find the other eight cuboids neatly packed into the box with no obvious gaps visible on the top layer. So you automatically think "Ok, there must be some gaps on the bottom layer".

At this point most people either tip the box upside-down to remove the cuboids or take out the top layer piece by piece, both ultimately reveal no such gaps on the bottom layer either.

All nine blocks removed
Understandably this is quite confusing and had me stumped for a couple of hours at least. I began by comparing the size difference between each block which reveals some similarities and some slight differences, but none enough to make the solving any easier. I also drew out a rectangle on a piece of paper to work on so I didn't have to keep reaching inside the box. But unfortunately, although it may seem like a good idea, it actually proves more useful to use the box because of the way this puzzle works.

I don't think I'll be giving the puzzle away completely by saying this, because it is the only logical, and therefore correct, explanation for this puzzle. The solution, as I stated earlier, is not a 'trick'. The extra block will in fact physically fit inside the box, therefore meaning there is gap in the box to start with. I only noticed said gap after I had solved the puzzle and reverted it back to its starting position.

Melting Block completed with Mahogany block inserted
(blurred for spoiler reasons)
In its completed state, all nine pieces fit in the box quite snugly, but not tight. Whereas, in its start position, the pieces can move slightly. This is the gap the ninth block will fit into, though obviously the other eight blocks need rearranging first to make this gap a 'ninth block' void.

So with some trial and error, and many many variations of block arrangements, I eventually came across the solution, allowing the ninth block to fit inside the box that appeared full at the start!!

That is why I love this puzzle. It's simply an volumetric maths problem, no hidden tricks!!!

That's all for now!!

(Once again, thanks for reading and please post any comments, suggestions and criticisms in the comments below!!)


  1. Maybe you should blur the solved picture so as not to give away the solution.

    I have the same version you do and it is a great puzzle.


  2. Another well-written review! You are off to a good start. Funny thing I only received the Melting Block from Wil yesterday myself. Still working on it. And I agree-be careful when you post pictures of solved puzzles. For the matter if I ever seen a spoiler of a puzzle, then even if I liked it, I wouldn't be buying it anymore.


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