The Cast Dial is the work of Vesa Timonen of Finland, who has todate designed a large number of Cast puzzles for Hanayama as well as other non-Cast puzzles. A really nice soft-spoken gentleman whom I have had the pleasure of meeting at the past several IPPs. The Dial was released about a year back in November 2016. My copy was purchased from Allen Stein of Puzzlemaster, Canada during the IPP37 Puzzle Party in Paris this past August.
Dimensionally the Dial measures along each side at about 55mm. Like most Hanayama puzzles, this one is made of cast zinc alloy. Quality of the Dial is very good and despite there being moving parts, I didn’t feel any “looseness” and the puzzle feels heavy and solid in the palm.
The dark triangular portion houses two light coloured “dials” that are pressed flat against each other. The objective of the Dial is to remove the two dials from the triangular “cage”, which itself can be separated into two parts. So disassembled, there are altogether 4 parts. The dials can rotate on all axes within their housing and you can turn each dial in a counter direction against the other.
This is a level 4 (or 4 stars) difficulty puzzle meaning that it is “Fairly Hard”, with level 5 being “Hard” and level 6 “Very Hard”. Like many Hanayama Cast puzzles where it is not obvious what needs to be done (because the mechanism is hidden), I started with gentle manipulation of the dials and trying to turn them and also tugging at the two pieces that form the triangular cage. The packaging itself also has some cryptic clues “Turn the dials on the front and back, both sides and proceed. It is important not only to go forward, but also to step down one step at a time”…and I duly followed these instructions. And pretty good clues they were too, provided you have a good sense of feel for the pieces.
Without adding any spoilers here for those who have not solved the puzzle, the dials interact with each other and need to be turned in such a way that will enable a release of the dials themselves and the cage. I took approximately ten minutes or so before the various parts started to separate. I had a pretty good idea of the mechanism holding the parts together…and hence was able to turn both dials and cage to the point where they separated nicely. No force needed whatsoever. Putting everything back together should have been simply the reverse but I had more trouble doing this than taking the Dial apart. And it took me a tad longer before I secure all the parts back to their original positions. The difficulty rating is about right here IMHO; challenging but not frustratingly so. Once you see the progress you are making, persistence will probably take you through the end. Then comes the harder part…reassembly!