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Five Tips For Solving Hanayama Cast Puzzles (And One For Putting Them Back Together!)

Five Tips For Solving Hanayama Cast Puzzles (And One For Putting Them Back Together!)

Five Tips For Solving Hanayama Cast Puzzles (And One For Putting Them Back Together!)

Hanayama’s Cast Puzzles are the most popular brainteasers on the market and for good reason.  They are beautifully designed, feel good in your hands, and offer six levels of difficulty.  While providing endless hours of entertainment these puzzles can also be frustrating and seemingly impossible to solve.  Luckily we have five tips to help with every puzzle and one tip for getting them back together.  Start here for helpful tips before you head to AreYouGame for solutions and show that puzzle who is boss!

  1. Start easy and work your way up

If you are new to Hanayama Puzzles, reaching for a high difficulty level may seem like a fun challenge.  Puzzles like Enigma, Infinity, and Nutcase are the most popular in the line but for new puzzlers can be discouraging if they are not solved right away (these can take hours even for a seasoned puzzler).  Starting with a level 3 or 4 cast puzzle is a great place to become familiar with the brainteaser line while building spatial awareness, visual thinking, and problem solving skills needed for the more difficult puzzles.  Delta (level 3) and Marble (level 4) are fan favorites and a great place to start!

  1. Study the pieces and determine what mechanism keeps the pieces together.

Much like a Rubik’s Cube or maze, these complex problems are easier to solve if they are studied and understood before attempted.  Ask yourself these questions; How many pieces are there?  How are they held together?  Is it a series of sliding pieces that function like a maze or a twisting motion that relies on internal threads?  Now start to move the pieces and get a feel for the puzzle.  Does it rotate smoothly but “click” in a certain position?  Perhaps this is a clue for taking the puzzle apart.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a break

Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you discovered the solution only to find it was a red herring.  Maybe you have tried the same thing over and over again expecting different results (Einstein’s definition of insanity).  Putting the puzzle down and coming back with a fresh mindset goes a long way in decreasing frustration and discovering new methods!

  1. Look for points of reference
Hanayama puzzles often have points of reference that are essential to solving a puzzle.  Two otherwise identical pieces may have been stamped differently, one with the puzzles name and the other with the Hanayama logo.  These serve as important reference points for keeping track of what goes where. 
Additionally, no design feature is an “accident” on these masterfully designed puzzles.  See the slot carved into the top of that piece?  Or the flange that overhangs the edge of another?  These are crucial parts of the solution and should be considered early in the process of solving the puzzle.
  1. Don’t force the pieces!

Perhaps this should go without saying but you don’t need to be a powerlifter to solve the puzzles.  As mentioned in tip #4 these are masterfully designed and precision engineered.  If you feel like you are using strength to separate two pieces you are probably doing something wrong.  The metal pieces should not twist or bend as part of the solution.  If you thought this was the final step of the disassembly go back a step, put away that protein bar, and try again.

  1. Remember every step you make towards the solution

You’re going to need a sharp memory for putting the puzzle back together.  Remember, taking it apart is only half of the solution.  When you visit somewhere new for the first time you remember landmarks, turns, and other features to find your way back home.  This should be the same for Hanayama Puzzles.  Putting them back together should be identical to taking them apart, but only in reverse.  Once apart you are also able to go back through the above steps.  Look at the insides of pieces that were not visible when you started.  This is especially true for puzzles like UFO (level 4) and Dial (level 5).  


Bonus: Tip

Have fun!  Remember Hanayama Cast Puzzles are about having a good time learning new skills while challenging yourself.  They are great to enjoy with friends and collect to display like tiny pieces of fine art.  Happy Puzzling!

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