This puzzle is an exclusive to this store, & not available elsewhere !

The Astrolabacus is probably the rarest puzzle in the world, & since it's invention in 1997 has only been sold by the inventor & ourselves, with a product run of around 250. It was discontinued in 2006, when we ran out of stock, & has now been recommissioned for manufacture.

The three versions of the Astrolabacus are now due with us in approximately 2016, being the Std (red, gree, blue & yellow), a Sports Commemorative (gold, silver, bronze & white), a 2-colour simpler version (black, & white). & possibly a fourth, being the Chrome (gold body, with silver balls).

A Siamese version is planned for the next phase.(subject to design constraints). Others variants, & some entirely new puzzles will be produced, in late 2016/7.

This ingenious puzzle consists of a loop of six segments. Each segment has two coloured tunnels containing three coloured balls. Some tunnels connect up to form a loop containing 18 balls. The balls in this loop can be shifted around. The segments are connected to each other with a hinge so that the shape of the puzzle can be changed, and by doing so the loop can be formed using the other tunnels of the segments. The aim is to put each coloured ball in the tunnel of the same colour.
This is a fascinating puzzle, and very confusing. The puzzle feels strangely organic when you change its shape, and it takes a long time to get used to where the loop forms from the tunnels.
Astrolabacus was invented and designed by John D. Harris, & patented in 1997.
The puzzle is symmetrical, and remains so even when it changes its shape (180 degree rotational symmetry around a central axis). The balls therefore occur in pairs which remain opposite each other. There are four colours (red, blue, green, yellow), and the tunnels are coloured in such a way that every pair occurs exactly once.
There are 18 pairs coloured balls which can be permuted in 18! ways. The balls of a pair can also be swapped, so there are (at most) 18!·218 ways to arrange them all. There are however indistinguishable ball pairs - there are 6 pairs of colours, all occurring three times. This gives a total of 18!·218/3!6 = 35,972,733,468,672,000.
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Astrolabacus puzzle
  Astrolabus puzzle - very rare, unsusual, & with a distinctive organically styled s..

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