We’re continuing our efforts to enhance traditional jigsaw puzzle craft using new technologies. Today we’re releasing a new series of jigsaw puzzles that can be put together in multiple ways. Each one-of-a-kind puzzle is actually a puzzle in a puzzle!
These 2-in-1 puzzles are designed to be extra challenging. Believe it or not, we’ve had people ask us to make our puzzles harder, so this is our answer. We’ve taken away all the clues that people normally use to put a puzzle together. Like our Natural Puzzles, these puzzles have no image, so assembly is guided solely by the shapes of the pieces. We further intensified the difficulty by eliminating the edge pieces and whimsies that usually serve as helpful starting points for puzzle assembly. Finally, to make things even more interesting, we included a sub-puzzle embedded within the puzzle! Roughly 70 colored pieces distributed throughout the 400-piece rectangular puzzle can be removed to form a smaller, circular puzzle.
John Stokes III, a puzzle crafter whose work we admire, proposed the idea of a puzzle within a puzzle to us at last year’s Puzzle Parley. One of the neat things about this concept is that you can actually only do it with digitally fabricated puzzles. When cutting wood puzzles by hand, two edges only fit together if they were physically cut apart with same pass of the scroll saw. Over the years, puzzlers have developed clever ways to make puzzles that fit together in different ways like cutting several pieces of plywood stacked together to create puzzles that can go together with some flexibility (ex. Stokes’ Octastar puzzle). But these methods are still limited by the physical constraints of a saw blade. However, using a laser cutter, we can create precise pieces that interlock even if they were cut separated or from different pieces of wood. Since then, we’ve been scheming of various ways to incorporate multiple configurations into our puzzles.
The embedded puzzle concept would be impossible without our technology-driven approach to design. We had to make several technical enhancements to the puzzle system in this new series. For these puzzles, we generate a smaller puzzle, automatically extract all the individual pieces, and then insert them into a larger puzzle as whimsies. In order to make sure the pieces are an exact fit, the whimsies need to be precise vector shapes instead of the raster whimsies we had developed before. In addition, we enhanced our automatic fixing features so that the inner puzzle pieces were robust enough for the whimsy insertion process.
The back of a 2-in-1 puzzle. The colored pieces are only stained on one side. Each puzzle includes two special laser engraved pieces: one with an edition number and another with the nervous system logo. Currently the puzzles are available with orange or purple pieces. We can do other colors by special request.
The 2-in-1 Challenge puzzles are now available for $200 on our website here.
We’ve also added a smaller challenge puzzle to our collection called the Amoeba Puzzle. The Amoeba is series of challenging, one of a kind puzzles featuring our amoeba style pieces. We’ve used the laser to darken the center of each piece to create a pattern of cell walls on one side of the puzzle. This puzzle is an extra challenge because it has no edge pieces and no image to guide assembly. Also, the woodgrain of the pieces does not match up. Each puzzle is a 7″ circle with around 70 pieces. They are available for $45 on our website here.