The Pinwheel is a very interesting new puzzle design by Bram Cohem.  It consists of 6 identical pieces and is very difficult to take apart as the solution is not obvious.   Each piece is CNC machined out of a solid block of wood.   Each block is glued up in 3 layers using walnut or  cherry.   3D assembly instructions are included.  It measures 1.6” thick by 4.75” in diameter  (4 cm x 12 cm ).

This may be the only difficult to take apart non-orthogonal puzzle with identical pieces.

Due to the difficult CNC setup  and other projects I will not be making these for at least 3 years.

$ 200

Six identical but strangely shaped pieces.

Pinwheel History

Version 1.

The first prototype was made by George Miller with 3D printing based on a burrtools file sent by Brad Cohem.  It was called Shattered Bolt. This model worked fine but was a little tight. George also laser cut a couple out of acrylic. After an Acrylic version broke, Bram did a redesign for strength which also gave superior motion. This became version 2 below.


Version  2.

Bram used laser cut acrylic to make small models of version 2 for his exchange puzzle for IPP29,  renaming the puzzle Pinwheel.  At the same time, George Miller suggested to Jerry McFarland that this puzzle should be made in wood.  Jerry made 2 prototypes, using CAD/CAM and CNC machining.   These were made of walnut and cherry and were shown at IPP29 in San Francisco.  Both models were well received except George Miller noticed a jamming problem.  See below.

Version 3.

Due to the jamming problem with version 2,  Bram reduced the thickness of the design and also extended the length of the arms on the bottom and top layers.   This greatly reduced the jamming problem and this is the final design that will be made starting in January 2010.

Machining one side of a pinwheel piece.

Pinwheel CNC setup