Oskar van Deventer
The world of twisty puzzling has come very far since its early progression thanks to the Rubik’s Cube in the early 80s to today, over four decades on. Many puzzle designers have come and gone in both the twist puzzle and speedcubing world, but some designers have been here since the beginning. These designers have contributed vastly to the world of puzzles, and command great respect within the community. Oskar van Deventer, a Dutch puzzle enthusiast, is no exception to this rule.
Born in 1965, Oskar van Deventer has contributed significantly to both the world of twisty puzzling and the 3D printing industry. He has used 3D printing techniques to prototype some of his puzzles which later have been mass produced by large puzzle companies such as Mefferts and Witeden.
Van Deventer is most well-known, however, for his puzzle contributions on his YouTube channel. He has nearly 500 videos on his channel which give short introductions to new creations and puzzles he has made. He demonstrates the puzzle and its mechanism whilst explaining the characteristics of the interconnected parts and how they work together to produce the final puzzle. His videos are incredibly insightful and they are very useful and interesting watches for anybody who is looking to try and design their own puzzles or learn some of the puzzle-making techniques.
Most Popular Creations
Like all puzzle designers, Oskar van Deventer is incredibly well known for just a handful of his amazing puzzle designs. Not all of his puzzles enter mass production, but those that do are highly rated by collectors and solvers alike.
- 17x17x17 “Over the Top” Guinness World Record Cube (picture above) – Prototyped in early 2011, the Over the Top cube is a 5.5-inch square monster puzzle that consists of over 1,500 laser-printed pieces. The puzzle took over 5 hours to assemble. Although the cube no longer holds the World Record, it was the largest of its kind for quite some time, and still larger than the largest mass-produced puzzle available (MoYu’s 13x13x13). This puzzle is available to purchase from Shapeways 3D printing (although you’d have to assemble it yourself!) and costs nearly $3.000 in its entirety.
- Extreme Gear Reduction – (Watch video here) Although not technically a puzzle, this device has shown van Deventer’s true genius in the world of puzzling and designing mind-bending contraptions. This device is constructed in such a way that, to complete one full revolution of the outermost gear (the red gear as shown in van Deventer’s video), the handle would have to be turned 360 degrees 11 million times.
Most Popular Mass-Produced Creations
- Gear Cube – The Gear Cube is one of van Deventer’s most famous designs. At first glance, the puzzle looks like a standard 3x3 cube but with gears, but upon turning you will quickly see that that is not the case. The Gear Cube (originally called the Caution Cube as the prototype had very sharp edges, so caution was advised) has a unique turning style that flips edge pieces as it is moved. If you move one layer, the middle layer moves with it so the centres rotate around the puzzle and the edges spin around.
- Other Gear Puzzles – Oskar has also designed several Gear Cube variants which have also been mass produced. These include: Gear Cube Extreme, Gear Shift, Gear Mixup, Gear Ball and Gear 5x5.
- Treasure Chest – A standard 3x3 puzzle that, when solved, can be opened to reveal a small chamber where a small object can be stored (usually a ring). The cube is reminiscent of the Void Cube, a 3x3 puzzle that operates without a central core via a framework that allows the pieces to move around.
Oskar van Deventer is also a research scientist in the media networking field, and holds a Ph.D. in optics. He has contributed significantly to this field also, and in total has over a hundred publications, over 50 patent applications and over 500 standardizing contributions.
Van Deventer has also won several awards internationally in the Mobile Gaming area.
To this day, van Deventer produces amazing puzzles and continues to upload to his YouTube channel, sometimes several times a week, to show off his newest contraption.