About the Project
What is the Printable Puzzle Project?
Mechanical puzzles are puzzles that are based on the manipulation of objects in physical space (as opposed to, say, crossword puzzles or Sudoku, which are solved with pencil and paper). The most famous examples - such as Rubik's Cube, Tangrams, and the 15 Puzzle - are widely known throughout the world. Alongside these well-publicized examples is a vast repertoire of less prominent designs that number in the tens of thousands.
Because there are so many great puzzle designs, only a small fraction of them can be made commercially available at any given time. Moreover, successful production of a mechanical puzzle often requires its components to be manufactured very accurately, so that great skill and attention to detail are required in order to craft puzzles using traditional wood- or metalworking techniques. While puzzles made by the most talented craftspeople are genuine works of art, the effort required to create them further limits their availability.
3D printing provides a way for individuals to produce their own copies of many designs in the catalog, with great accuracy and at reasonable expense. Printed puzzles do not match the aesthetic beauty of artisan woodcraft, but if modeled properly they can nonetheless be quite attractive and entirely functional. As 3D printers grow in popularity, they will have a transformative effect on puzzle availability, enabling a much greater fraction of the catalog to be "always in print".
The Printable Puzzle Project aims to create a curated catalog of puzzle models, by a variety of designers, that is readily available for 3D printing. All our models are free and open source and are distributed under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial use only: anyone may print any of our models, free of charge, for their own personal use; but our license does not permit selling or otherwise profiting from models or prints.
Models are distributed as STL files, ready for printing on any 3D printer. Care has gone into making them as easy to print as feasible.
We create (and solve!) test prints for all our models before posting them, to ensure that each design is faithfully rendered.
All our models are rendered in OpenSCAD using the open-source puzzlecad library. We provide source code for all models, so that advanced users can modify them (for example, to customize aesthetics) and re-render from scratch. The source code also serves to document the precise structure of each design.
Who We Are
The Printable Puzzle Project is a collaboration among many people:
- Puzzle designers
- Site maintainer and administrator
- Content and model contributors
Site content is (c) 2019-2020 the Printable Puzzle Project
All puzzle designs are (c) their respective designers and are licensed for personal, non-commercial use only.