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 Hall Of Spiral-Flex Chinese Puzzle Rings owners

   Bits & Pieces                     Lynn Yarbrough
           Triple Decker              Rosewood & Tiger Maple

Note:   Although this solution shows my pine wood version throughout,
it is still the same for Bits & Pieces' anodized aluminum version.

This is the first puzzle of a limited quantity of five, made out of pine wood .   V-grooves were notched in the middle of one edge on each of the four outside pieces of the double 3-piece subassemblies to facilitate easier initial ‘setup’ (I thought).   As I started the ‘initial’ setup, I thought I understood (and therefore easily accepted the fact) how the v-grooves would have made it easier for one to ‘catch and hold’ the other crossmember subassembly . . . and help keep from snapping the very tip of the angled end, seeing as how this is soft pine wood one is working with .

This earlier alteration was done before subsequent knowledge of what the pieces were supposed to look like was made available (no v-grooves) .

The next four versions that followed were made without any v-grooves, the puzzles were fabricated to exact precision, thus making the initial ‘setup’ extremely difficult to manipulate ( almost impossible, without some sort of jig that would hold the primary subassembly in place ), especially trying to be very careful not to snap off the very tiny tips of the angled ends .

As you can see from this pic (after clicking on it for closer inspection), the fit is very precise.   This version seemed to have taken ~forever~ to initialize the starting setup.

The tips of the angled ends would just barely have to ‘catch and hold’ the side edge of its complimentary perpendicular crossmember before continuing on with the main ‘baby-step’ movements of slowly moving the outer pieces towards their complimentary angle ends, while the middle pieces slowly move their way down towards the center of the structure, eventually making their way to be flat along the same plane as their two outer parts .

In essence, the more precise the tolerance in the fitting of the pieces, the more difficult to actually get the ‘setup’ started, only because a person’s dexterity would have to be at its utmost degree of execution .   However, once started, the remaining movements were fairly easy, although extremely slow in progress .

Such is the devilishness of this ingenious item .

Naturally, as you start the following steps, keep in mind that you are working with the commercial metal version, so there are no v-notches.   However, as I have stated further on, this aluminum copy (Triple Decker) has been fabricated in either Malaysia, Thailand or Taiwan -- or some such country -- by underpaid workers, and as such, have unfortunately produced a fairly sloppy puzzle.   So the need for exactness and preciseness in your movements have been brought down a notch because of the aforementioned reasons.

To begin with, in one hand place one 3-piece subassembly so that the middle piece is slightly behind the other two . . . . .
This is very important !
Never allow the middle piece to be in front of the outer two !

With the other hand, place the two outer pieces from the second sub-assembly up against the angled ends of the first subassembly .

Now place the middle piece in between .

All pieces from both subassemblies must be parallel to each other throughout your progress !
Just do the best you can to keep them parallel.
But, keep in mind, as mentioned above, that you're dealing with a low-quality craftsmanship aluminum copy, so your attention to the pieces being kept in parallel has now settled down a notch.

Start working the middle pieces so that the tips of their angled ends just start to catch . . . and hold . . . the edge of the v-grooves of their complimentary crossmembers from the opposite subassembly .   Once caught, slowly work the outer pieces alternately from both subassemblies closer to their respective complimentary angled sections .

You will probably find it easy to just flip the entire puzzle over - alternately - to adjust the pieces accordingly as you progress through the solution .

Make sure you have a good hold on your puzzle before flipping, or you will lose the rigidity of the structure, and it will collapse . . . raising your level of frustration up one notch .

This movement will automatically allow for further movement of the middle pieces straight into the center of their complimentary crossmember subassemblies .   In other words, as you’re looking down onto the puzzle, one outer piece moves to the left, the other outer piece moves to the right, while the middle piece moves away from you straight down towards the center .