The Snow Phoenix ~ A Puzzle Extrodinaire

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Project by KelSnake posted 12-01-2014 01:49 PM 2345 views 6 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Snow Phoenix ~ A Puzzle Extrodinaire

It has taken me nearly three years (part time, around the rest of life goings on), to complete this puzzle project. This is a 78 “moves to open” puzzle chest that has an additional 5 moves to remove the lid and back so that the secret piano key system can be viewed. No system is repeated twice, and the last drawer to open is locked by 5 different systems all preventing one from getting to the next level.

The challenge was to revive a child’s 34 key “plink-plink” style piano and incorporate it into a working combination lock system as the main feature for this playable piano. I had no idea how I was going to make that work when I took the job, but figured that I would sort it out as I went.

As it turns out it took looking outside the box for materials that would allow this system to work properly. So, to unlock this system, you need to key the last 7 notes perfectly without hitting a wrong key. Hitting a wrong key will reset the lock and you will have to start over. The engineering challenge was to solve how to be able to strike an unlock key and a lock key at the same time, there couldn’t be an opposing force. Also, how do I design it so that if I were to hit an unlock key once, the system needed to work so that if I hit the same key twice that it would be detectable in how the key felt when pressed.

Once I got out of my own way and let my thinking, searching, creating mind take over I was able to fashion a piece that has become my own benchmark. I will sit and bask in the achievemnt of having completed this lil’ beauty for another 5 minutes, but then like any artist, its like, ‘Whats Next”?

Comments are awlays appreciated. : )

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

21 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2149 days

#1 posted 12-01-2014 01:54 PM

What? You just HAD to name this one ”A Puzzle Extrodinaire”?

Like NONE of your other ones aren’t already that???

And Oh yeah, Mr Smarty Pants…. I HAVE the solution!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View KelSnake's profile


234 posts in 1465 days

#2 posted 12-01-2014 01:57 PM, Joe, you crack me up! ...though, I cannot see a flaw in Penny’s solution, lmao!

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2149 days

#3 posted 12-01-2014 02:10 PM

And I certainly hope you WROTE DOWN those 78 steps, you know in case you die before anybody solves it.

So how ‘bout show it to us in the OPEN position? Or will that give away any of the unlocking secrets?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View TexUSAF's profile


106 posts in 2109 days

#4 posted 12-01-2014 03:11 PM

WOW,,,, that is amazing!

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 1753 days

#5 posted 12-01-2014 03:39 PM

Wow, that is so amazing and beautiful.

-- steve, simple and effective

View KelSnake's profile


234 posts in 1465 days

#6 posted 12-01-2014 03:43 PM

Here is the pic with the drawers removed and the top/back removed. Though it is hard to see from this angle all the crafty mechanics at work. I will have to see if I have a better one. ; )

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View KelSnake's profile


234 posts in 1465 days

#7 posted 12-01-2014 03:47 PM

Here it is, ...this pic looks down through the final level in the top portion of the piano. With the bottom piece removed you can see the music hammers on the right side of the pic and the mechanics on the left side. Its all very tight in there with not much room for fingers, being able to remove the back was essential to the design as far as furture service needs (if any).

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View hotncold's profile


784 posts in 1687 days

#8 posted 12-01-2014 03:59 PM

Even without the “puzzle mechanics”, this is an extraordinarily beautiful piece!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View KelSnake's profile


234 posts in 1465 days

#9 posted 12-01-2014 05:50 PM

Hey thanks guys!

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View bobasaurus's profile


3531 posts in 3327 days

#10 posted 12-01-2014 09:41 PM

Wow, this is an incredible piece. I love puzzle boxes… I have a 12-move box at home that I thought was impressive until I saw yours. Great craftsmanship and engineering. Are most of the moves to open your box actually notes on the keyboard? I would like to see a video of you opening this thing.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3256 posts in 3855 days

#11 posted 12-02-2014 02:58 AM

That’s some very lovely grain in the wood. Is the musical score lasered or wood-burned? Is that the 78 steps that one must play flawlessly to open the box?


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View hunter71's profile


3249 posts in 3329 days

#12 posted 12-02-2014 02:59 AM

One word, amazing. My hats off to you sir.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2331 days

#13 posted 12-02-2014 03:28 AM

I’ve been starring at this masterpiece for the last 10 minutes. It is one incredible example of woodworking and engineering. You have created timeless art with a true value to be determined in the far future as a show piece in a museum. I’m not just impressed. I’m floored by your project.

By the way, Kel Snake is an awesome name.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1691 days

#14 posted 12-02-2014 04:16 AM

That’s crazy cool! Beautiful woodworking, first of all. I cannot get through reading the instructions and figuring it out, let alone doing it.

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2940 days

#15 posted 12-02-2014 04:29 AM

Oh you do have an evil mind. :-)
But I mean that in a very complimentary way.
I love this.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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