Exotic Snakes

Here are a couple of snakes puzzles, very similar to the one I’ve already posted here. I used some nice exotic woods for these. The light striped one is zebrawood, and the dark one is wenge.

I really like the wenge. I’m going to use more of it in the future, I can tell.

Published in: on 20 December, 2010 at 10:48 am  Comments (1)  

It’s a snake!

I was playing around with interlocking 3D puzzles today, and ended up making this snake.

The wood is eastern red oak salvaged from a pallet, and the eye pin is brass.

Edit to add:

I’ve been asked whether the snake holds together when you play with it. It does. If you remove the brass pin that is used for the eyes, you can then take it apart, one piece at a time:

Published in: on 12 June, 2010 at 1:17 am  Comments (4)  

Penguin Family

Here’s a penguin family puzzle Mary Cate and I made. I did the woodworking, and she did the painting.

Published in: on 10 June, 2010 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Animal Family Puzzles

Here’s a few animal family puzzles that I made this weekend. The cats are made from walnut, the elephants from cedar, the horses from salvaged oak (an old bed frame), and the mice from mahogany.

Published in: on 8 March, 2010 at 9:29 am  Comments (2)  

Soma Cube

I found dice at the dollar store the other day, and brought home 30 of them for $3. I then glued them together into a puzzle called a “Soma Cube”.

It’s a great puzzle for kids. Not only are there 240 different configurations for the cube solution, but there are a lot of other shapes that you can make. I was barely able to pry it away from my youngest for long enough to solve the cube and take the picture.

Published in: on 5 January, 2010 at 5:19 pm  Comments (3)  

Ring Puzzle

I was so pleased with out the Coran discs turned out, that I went looking for something else to make on my lathe out of Corian.

The object of the puzzle is to move the rings so that they’re both on the same loop.

I’ve made puzzles like this before, and I helped a group of Boy Scouts make them for their woodworking merit badge, but this is the first time I’ve bothered trying to make a nice version.

It turned out OK.

The wood is mahogany, and the rings are Corian.

Published in: on 2 October, 2009 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  


Once he was taught the trick of how to solve it, I gave my eldest the assignment of counting how many steps it takes to complete the the Tower of Hanoi puzzle for when there are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 discs. Then I was going to sit down with him and explore that relationship.

Instead, he comes to me with a chart showing the number of moves it would take with up to 20 discs. And they were right.

He noticed the pattern himself and “cheated” by applying the formula instead of counting it out by hand.

I’m so proud.

We then went on to calculate that if The Flash could do one million steps per second, it would still take him longer than the age of the universe to solve a 100-disc version.

Published in: on 1 October, 2009 at 10:07 am  Comments (5)  

Towers of Hanoi

I tried my hand at turning Corian this week. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I finally got it working.

So, I was able to make a Towers of Hanoi puzzle.

The discs are two different colors of Corain, the base is mahogany, and the dowels are cherry. It’s finished with mineral oil.

Published in: on 30 September, 2009 at 9:27 pm  Comments (2)  

Tangrams and Fractals

This was a result of a serendipitous miscommunication.

Since I got my hands on some Corian scraps, I’ve been trying to think of good things to make out of it. I had never played with them before, but a tangram set looked like a good fit.

I printed out a tangram pattern and asked Mary Cate how big she thought I should make it. She then answered either “no bigger than that” or “no smaller than that”, depending on which one of us you ask. I went ahead and made the biggest set I could out of the scraps that I had available:

We played around with it, and while it was neat, it was just too darn big. Mary Cate was right! Or wrong! So I made another tangram set, half the size (in area) of the first one. Better, but maybe still too big, so I made an even smaller set, half the size of the previous one. And then for good measure, I did it again:

The neat thing about each one being half the size of the previous one is that a tangram is built out of triangles that are 2 and 4 times the size of the smallest one, so the pieces from one set fit together with the other sets.

It also means that these sets together are really good for making fractal patterns:

Published in: on 10 August, 2009 at 10:47 pm  Comments (1)  

Coin Packing

Here’s a little puzzle/toy that I made this weekend — you have to try to fit 13 nickles into the tray.

They’re slightly different sizes, so the same solutions don’t work on both of them.

coin packing puzzle

Published in: on 27 July, 2009 at 10:34 am  Comments (1)