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A unique ball puzzle. Sold in small quantities online.
A very interesting and unusual design. Six curved sections are joined with pivots end-to-end to form a continuous loop. Each section contains two rows of three coloured beads. The sections can be twisted to align in different ways.
There are six distinct alignments where the outer 18 beads can be cycled through the sections. The puzzle is solved when all the beads are in the correspondingly coloured halves of the sections.
The puzzle was only ever sold online, marketed directly by the inventor through the now defunct site www.astrolabacus.com and through eBay.
The inventor discovered it somewhat by accident. Astrolabacus started out to be a benzene ring, but the designer made it wrong. The irony amazed him that one of nature's most rigid structures could be made quite floppy with such a small change.
The inventor started with a model that had each section be 90 degrees instead of the eventual 81 degrees. There were originally 4 balls, not 3 per section. The prototype was made via "stereo lithography" and costed around $1700. The mold costed $17000. The inventor was ready to start making a business, but his wife was not happy where we were, so we needed to move. Due to personal circumstances a second round never happened.
Although the parts were made in an engineering company, the inventor himself assembled them in his garage. Thus, to say that it's 'factory-made' is only partially true. No more 300 sample were made this way.
A well thought out, solidly constructed, challenging and rare puzzle. The movement is incredibly fluid for something so solid.
Diameter: 72 mm
Weight: 144 grams
Thank you to the following people for their assistance in helping collect the information on this page: MaxWiz.
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