Category Archives: 3d

Plastic snake (2)

On June 8, I published a couple of figures which can be made with the plastic snake puzzle of Clown Games, and 5 years ago I wrote about another one.

My wife Jos and our daughter Margreet made a cpouple of new figures, which are too goof not to share with you, especially as some of the recent ones are real gems.

Plastic snake

Last week I purchased another snake. It is not the first one I obtained, and if its price wasn’t ridiculously low at 4 euro, it would have remained in the shop at The Hague (or was it Utrecht?) Central station. The producer is listed as Clown Games.

You can read about the previous one here.

The packaging consisted of plastic, which I had to cup open.

At 4 euro it was so cheap that wondered if it would fall apart before i finished the booklet with examples, but it actually turned out to be sturdy, and even to a degree where it requires some force to turn.

The little instruction leaflet contained just 4 figures:

These can indeed be constructed:

There are numerous figures one can make with the snake. Credits for the following figures mostly go to my wife Jos and our daughter Margreet:

Magic snake

The magic snake is a plastic puzzle manufactured by Shuo Yi toys factory, Shang Hua town, China. It is constructed of a series of half cubes, cut diagonally, and connected with what loooks like a string. I don’t know the price, it’s a present given by “Black Pete”.

The packaging looks cheap, and the back carries the images of 9 3D figures which can be constructed with it.

Here are some more figures which you may wish to create:
magic snake flower mini 20131201_203705

magic snake stairs mini20131201_190442

magic snake knot white mini 20131201_130846

magic snake knot green mini 20131201_130547

magic snake cylinder mini 20131201_123846

magic snake cobra 20131201_121013

magic snake rectangle mini 20131201_092023

figuren en kerst 001

figuren en kerst 009

figuren en kerst 011

figuren en kerst 012

figuren en kerst 006


Review metal puzzles from TTIE and Eureka

This is one of three reviews to be published this summer while i’m away on holiday,

This post is about metal puzzles that I received for my birthday and fathersday. My thanks go to the family members who donated them.

The metal puzzles from T.T.I.E, PO Box 62 2420 AB The Netherlands are a series of sturdy metal puzzles. They come in grey boxes, which are mostly of a standard size.

SAM_0632 simple TTIE Many of the smaller ones look like standard problems, consisting of 1 twist. I was not able to find their website, zo it is probably not a very big firm.

SAM_0631 Three rings from Eureka! 3d puzzlesTwo of the puzzles I received are more original, they come from Eureka! 3D puzzles. The one with three rings is nice, I havent seen it before, though all the elements are very standard.

The puzzle which I christianed “Double E” is a nice one. It took it with me to the office, where my puzzle friends quickly solved it. Then I twisted them into each other again, and somehow we have been unable to separate them again.

You can find the website of the supplier at, though they only sell to retailers, and dont seem to sell to individuals.

Review crystal jigsaw puzzles

This is one of three reviews to be published this summer while I’m away on holiday,

This post is about plastic 3D jigsaw puzzles that I received for my birthday and fathersday. My thanks of course go to the family members who donated them.

Now I must confess that I dont like jigsaws puzzles. One reasons is they are way too common for my taste. Another reason is that they do not tax my brain enough: it needs diligent work, but not hard work.
But when it comes to 3D puzzles, the borderline becomes fuzzy. Ravensburg has published 3D jigsaw puzzles for I estimate over a decade. All pieces look like ordinary pieces, except they are thicker, so you can build walls and roofs with them.

On the other end of the 3d spectrum are the Japanese kumiki puzles, often beautifully made of wood, and representing several types of buildings, animals, fruit and other objects.


Somewhere in between are the plastic 3D jigsaw puzzles. I discovered them on the web, as produced by Kimzel Gmbh in Germany. They have a series of about 40 models. I ordered mine through Moenen and Mariken. This shop is in Dutch, and I can recommend their service, which was excellent.
If you live in the USA, you can order them from Amazon, where they are marketed by BePuzzled.

The number of pieces varies greatly. I have an apple of 13 pices, several of 46 pieces, and I have seen some of 90-100 pieces. Despite their name, they are not really crystal, but a sturdy plastic that looks like it. The copyright belongs to Beverley Enterprises Inc. & Jeruel Ind Co Ltd. The latter is a China based Toys and Puzzle producer, and the puzzles are produced in China. The pieces fit together really well. I guess the plastic does make them affordable, prices range from 3-20 euros.

Review Hanayama puzzles

This is one of three reviews to be published this summer while i’m away on holiday,

This post is about metal puzzles that I received for my birthday and fathersday. My thanks of course go to the family members who donated them.


The Hanayama series is a series of beautiful iron cast puzzles published by hanayame toys in Japan.

There are 2 kinds of packaging around, one is a beautiful shiny red/black cardboard box, the other a dull grey-green? cardboard box, which I dont have myself but did see on ads in the USA.

The puzzles themselves are very solid, and have varying degrees of difficulty. The manufacturer has them labeled with a number of stars, more stars meaning more difficult. Many of the puzzles have been designed by well established names in the puzzle world such as Oskar van Deventer and Nob Yoshigahara.

New puzzles seem to be published regularly, and can be mail ordered at several places:

They have varying degrees of difficulty, 1-5, and come without a solution, though you may try the generally know video sites if you are completely stuck. I now have one of the rings, the cast duet and the cast quartet, and probably one or more others, and I’m very satisfied with them. There must be somewhere between 50 and a 100 of them by now,

Soma cube

Though this blog mainly concentrates on logical puzzles, this post is about the Soma Cube, invented by Danish scientist Piet Hein in 1933 during a lecture on quantum physics. The name SOMA may be related to the name of an array.

It is a solid dissection puzzle, where a 3x3x3 cube is divided into 7 pieces:
Somacube pieces
You can easily create your own set with a saw and some wood glue.

The Soma cube has been discussed in detail by Martin Gardner and John Horton Conway, and the book Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays contains a detailed analysis of the Soma cube problem. There are 240 distinct solutions of the Soma cube puzzle, excluding rotations and reflections.

Piet Hein also published or authorized a booklet with puzzles. I found a copy here. However, I found 2 figures with a number of blocks less than 27, so I have discarded them and added two of the problems listed below in this file.

Here are some problems I did not find elsewhere on the web:
soma cube figure c01
soma cube figure c02
soma cube figure c03
soma cube figure c04
soma cube figure c05
soma cube figure c06 (Thanks go to fellow consultant Harrie Jans for this one!)
soma cube figure c07
soma cube figure c08

Many people noticed that the pieces used are not all tetracubes, and the tricube is a strange duck in the pond. In response several people have suggested something dubbed Soma+, but that is a subject for a different post in this blog.

There is an awful lot of literature on the web. Here are some links:
* Thorleif Bundgaard collected a very nice and very extensive collection of figures which can be made with the soma cube pieces.
* Chapter 24: Pursuing Puzzles Purposefully from the book “Winning Ways II “
* Article on english wikipedia on soma cube
* Article on englsih wikipedia on tetrominoes
* List of figures
* All 240 solutions to the cube
* Instructions for making a soma cube

If you solved it, we have the solution to nr 1, nr 2, nr 3, nr 4, nr 5, nr 6, nr 7, and nr 8