Saturday 2 March 2013

Jerry Loo's Ball In Cylinder

Unfortunately this blog post isn't the second part to my latest Eric Fuller Package because I still haven't completed them both yet (or even one of them!!), so that one will have to wait.

In the mean time, I thought I'd review another puzzle I received from a fellow puzzle blogger, recently turned puzzle designer, by the name of Jerry Loo.

RevoLUTION Ball Puzzle (Image courtesy of Jerry Loo)
When I first started puzzling and joined the Revomaze forum, Jerry would pop up occasionally to offer encouragement to anyone that needed it. I then realised that several of the guys on the forum had blog which naturally led me to Jerry's Small Puzzle Collection blog.

It was from there (and a few posts on the Revomaze forum) that I discovered Jerry's new found calling as a puzzle designer, in the form of his RevoLUTION Ball Puzzle. Designing a puzzle is easy (for some people, not me!!), but actually having one made that works is a great achievement.

But Jerry wasn't going to stop there. Shortly after he had began working on another idea and very soon he had another working prototype, called the Ball in Cylinder.

Ball in Cylinder V1 Prototype #2 (left)
and Prototype #1 (right)
After a few tweaks to the design (ending on Prototype #3) and finding a metal fabricator to produce the puzzle in larger quantities, Jerry was able to sell his first puzzle to some of the guys on the Revomaze forum. A few of them wrote reviews (Allard's review, Kevin's review and Roxanne's review) and others posted nice comments on the forum.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to grab one of the 15 first releases, but I emailed Jerry and was put on the list for one of the second batch and here it is!!!

It's about 7.5cm tall, 4.5cm in diameter and is made of Aluminium.Therefore has a nice weight to it, not too light and not as heavy as a Revomaze. It has been likened to Wil Stijbos' Aluminium and Washer Cylinders, as well as the Revomazes and Iwahiro's AlCyl. Jerry says that Anodising was too expensive so he left it plain with the brushed and polished Aluminium look.

Puzzle wise it's a very unique and clever puzzle. The aim is to get the hidden ball bearing out, however what makes that difficult is the addition of an extra ball bearing. Therefore you can't just hear where the hidden ball bearing is inside the puzzle because there are two rattling around. 

Final Ball in Cylinder V1
There is a hole in the top, through which you can see a long "corridor" with the extra ball bearing at the end, but it's obvious it can't come out because it won't fit through the hole in the top. Also you can see two holes in the sides of the "corridor", opposite each other. You assume that there must be some sort of elaborate maze inside the cylinder, which you have to navigate, to allow the ball bearing to fall out through one of the holes in the "corridor" and out of the hole in the top.

However it's much simpler than that, but hindsight is a great thing!!!! It took me a week to open this puzzle (on and off, of course!!), which is still quite embarrassing, but it's quite a tough puzzle compared to it's simplicity, which is GREAT!!

I actually came across the solution accidentally. I was fiddling around with it, as you do, rotating it and rocking the ball bearings back and forth. I put it down for a while and when I picked it up, tilting the hole in the top downwards, the ball bearing shot out of the end scaring the life out of me!!!  I spent the next five minutes on my hands and knees trying to find the ball bearing on my bedroom floor!!!

Ball In Cylinder V1 completed
After finding it I popped it back inside and had another go to work out exactly what I'd done to get it out. After solving it several times afterwards, I finally drew a picture in my head of what was inside, but I wanted to see inside for myself. So I sent a quick email to Jerry who told me that it wasn't possible for me to see inside because it needs a special tool to open it and I could damage the puzzle it without said tool. Thankfully, he also attached the Solution file to his email which contained a nice step by step solution for the puzzle and a picture of the internals. The solution was exactly the one I'd found and the picture satisfied my curiosity.

Overall, Jerry has produced a really great puzzle with a very clever and unique design. I just love the puzzles that are really simple but take ages to solve, because that is the sign of a truly great puzzle design. 

I will really enjoy giving this one out to friends and watching them struggle, knowing how simple it is (and not telling them!!!) ........ MWAAHAHAHA!!!

Jerry is already working on his Ball in Cylinder V2, which he says is "externally similar in appearance, but with a different mechanism and trick and is much harder than the V1".

I, for one, can't wait!!!!

That's all for now!!!


Jerry's Mechanical Puzzle Collection on Facebook
Ball In Cylinder on the Puzzle Wiki, Puzzle Place
Jerry's own review
Allard's review on his blog, Puzzling Times
Kevin's review on his blog, PuzzleMad
Roxanne's Review on her blog, IPP and Other Puzzle Frustrations


  1. Great review!

    Ihave given this to several friends and most have struggled. A couple have worked out the mechanism in minutes and solved it too! Put me to shame!


    1. Thanks :D

      Yeah that is always the worry, telling them it took you so long to solve and then them solving it there and then in front of you!!


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