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Tern Key

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Tern Key.jpg
Tern Key by Eric Fuller
Photo courtesy of Cubic Dissection
Tern Key
Limited to
2009 - 50
2013 - 30
4.0 x 6.0"
2009 & 2013
Not Available
# of Pieces
Cast Acrylic, Nylon, Stainless Steel
134 Moves
Separate the 2 pieces and reunite them

"This excellent take-apart puzzle is the follow up to Pit’s 2004 “The Key Puzzle” design. The original Key Puzzle used a binary locking mechanism. Tern Key ups the ante with a trinary implementation, yielding a hefty 134 move solution with four locks! Precision cut from solid cast acrylic and painstakingly hand assembled, this puzzle has a nice weight/feel, and will not be confused with cheaper mass produced take apart items. The construction uses contrasting press fit dowel pins to align the internals, and the push pins are stainless so they do not corrode over time." -Eric Fuller

"My Ternary Burr design was based on the Chinese Rings puzzle but using the ternary (base-3) instead of the binary (base-2) Gray-code system used in Bill Cutler’s Binary Burr. The idea of a ternary system came from Markus Goetz’s Crazy Elephant Dance puzzle. The way the puzzles operate in both bases are very different. Having designed the Key puzzle which is a 2D version of Bill Cutler’s Binary Burr, would it be possible to design a 2D version of the Ternary Burr? For some time, I could not design a workable prototype and thought it may not be possible since the Crazy Elephant Dance puzzle required 3 layers. After some discussions about variations of the Chinese Rings puzzle with Dan Feldman, I went back to the drawing board and found a working design. I spent some time simplifying the design and I am very happy with how it turned out. This 4-ring design was chosen because the ratio of the external rectangle was 29/18 = 1.61 which is very close to the Golden Ratio." -Goh Pit Khiam