Lots and Lots of 3D Printed Puzzles

One of my hobbies is making puzzles which aligns perfectly with one of my other hobbies, 3D printing. I recently messed around with Burrtools, a software used to generate specific types of puzzles known as burr puzzles. Some of these puzzles take dozens or even hundreds of moves to complete. In this post I go into detail on a few of the unique puzzles I designed.


My family's puzzle collection. I 3D printed all the puzzles and designed roughly a third of them.

This first puzzle is interesting because it seems easy initially but becomes difficult because the red pieces can only fit together in certain orientations. There are 5 ways all the red pieces can be arranged inside the white frame, but it's only possible to actually slide them inside in one way. I went through several iterations in Burrtools before 3D printing the puzzle on my Ender 3 Pro. 

The solution in the Burrtools GUI

This is another puzzle I designed in Burrtools. It has 4 identical pieces, the first one takes 22 moves to take out. 

This last puzzle utilizes a shape called an Astrolabicon to make a moderately difficult puzzle. The goal is to get all the marbles in the right order, but moving one marble moves a minimum of 5 others. I used magnets on the inside and machined a smooth piece of aluminum for the main axle. If I ever redesign this puzzle I won't use bingo balls again, they're hard to read because the number is only printed on one side. 


I was curious if the puzzle was solvable if I put the marbles in randomly so I wrote a MATLAB script to check. I used a Monte Carlo method to show that through a sequence of 7 rotations and marble movements it's possible to switch two of the marbles but keep the rest in the same position, thus making any combination possible. The code is available here.