Puzzles

George W. Hart






I have long been a collector and designer of mechanical puzzles. I especially like ones with an interesting geometric structure.  Many of my sculptures are puzzles for me to assemble, somtimes taking months (or even years) before I work out a way to get the parts together.

This page shows some works which I designed to be assembly puzzles, but they are also designed to have a sculptural visual impact. Many involve multiple copies of just one shape of part.  I haven't named all of them.  Click on the images below for a page with larger images and more information about each. Newer ones are towards the bottom.





12-Part Puzzle




12-Part Puzzle



20-Part Puzzle




30-Part Puzzle




30-Part Puzzle



Galactic puzzle

(12 parts)


Anorexic Cube

(8 parts)



Six Pentagons Puzzle

(30 parts)



Six Squares Puzzle

(24 parts)



Four Triangles Puzzle

(12 parts)



Twenty-Part Puzzle




H-Construction

(30 parts)



Cube Puzzle

(2 parts)



FIRE

(2 parts)



EARTH

(3 parts)



AIR

(4 parts)



H-Puzzle

(30 Parts)



Eggheads

(30 parts)



Goldberg Puzzle

(12 parts)



Goldberg Puzzle II

(12 parts)



Sonoma

(12 parts)



12 Sticks





Two Cubes

(24 parts)



Six Sticks




12-Card Star



Tunnel-Cube

The first seven designs above are described in this paper:
G. Hart, "Sculpture Puzzles", London Bridges. (online version, .doc format, 1.44MB)
The next three, made of square struts, are based on geometric ideas from Alan Holden and a lap joint idea of Teacher Lin and Sculptor Wu.  They are described in this paper, which also has paper templates for making your own versions:

G. Hart, "Orderly Tangles Revisited", Proceedings of Bridges 2005: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science, Banff, AB, 2005. (online version

The eleventh one is described here. You can fabricate the parts to assemble it yourself if you have access to an FDM machine. Download the geometry description file from here.
G. Hart, "A Twenty Part Puzzle," Cubism For Fun, issue 74, November 2007.
There are some references about the Cube and FIRE! puzzles here

The 12 Sticks, Two Cubes, and Six Sticks puzzles are from a family of Symmetric Stick Puzzles described here.

For more information about any of the above designs, contact me.



Below is me with a familiar 6-piece diagonal burr puzzle design that I made large, from 4-by-4 pine.



The picture below shows some familiar Stewart Coffin's puzzles which I
have made for myself in oak.  Each consists of six identical components.



P.S. The background image on this page is the solution to a nice puzzle:
       Arrange regular pentagons in the plane so each touches six neighbors.