Introduction: Tessellation Gecko Puzzle

Picture of Tessellation Gecko Puzzle

Here is a challenging puzzle that is comprised of 19 tessellated geckos that are combined into seven puzzle pieces. (Six of three and a remaining single.) It is a little over 4½" in diameter so it also makes an excellent coaster.

Included is the DXF file for the laser and a PDF of the solution.

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

There are 19 gecko hexagon tessellations in this puzzle. It is patterned after MC Escher's lizards. Here is the rationale of how I designed the six pieces. I knew that 19 hexagons form a larger hexagon. I decided to start with a center piece and two gecko to its surfaces 120 degrees apart. As the figure shows, there are six unique variations. Sp 3 x 6 + 1 = 19

Step 2: Materials

Because of the fine detail you cannot make them from solid wood. But plywood, mdf, or acrylic plastic are great. I make them from a material 1/16" to 1/8" thick.

The puzzle can be made from a piece of material at least 4"by4 ½". To make it easier to align for the laser I use pieces 5" square. I used a utility panel of plywood. It is 4ft by 8ft by 0.106" thick.

Plywood.

It cost about $11 with tax and I can cut 171 pieces from it. That comes out to less than 7 cents per puzzle. Probably a dime each when you toss the bad pieces. It is utility ply, you know.

Cut your material and then go find a laser. The pattern has four different colors. Only one is to cut completely through the material. The other three are just to etch. The DXF file is included.

Step 3: Package It Up

Picture of Package It Up

I have included a PDF of the solution so you can easily put them together. (I designed the damn thing and I have a hard time putting it back together even with the cheat sheet.) The other advantage is that it you print it on card stock it is stiff enough to be the backing for packaging. It has cut lines for a 6" square which is just perfect for placing in a ziplock bag.

These are excellent to make for craft fairs and I bet you will quickly see them on Etsy. Please do so with my permission and my blessings. I request you donate a nickel to your favorite charity for each one you sell. Of course this is a non binding request. Enjoy!

I would love to see a video of someone actually solving this without the cheat sheet

Comments

Jordan Bell (author)2017-10-14

Thanks for this! I adapted your design to make individual lizards. A great way to use up scrap acrylic. The kids love them! And so do I!

I like to make them from MDF and let the kids color hem with crayons, I them heat them with a heat gun (hair dryer will do). The heat helps set the color.

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