I manufactured a small number of these puzzles for friends and family. If you have one, be aware that there are spoilers on this page. Though, honestly, I’ve spent hours staring at the puzzle solution and I still have trouble solving it, so you probably don’t have anything to worry about. ;-)
UPDATE Nov 2, 2023: I manufactured a few more of these puzzles and put them up for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/grwster
I was nerd sniped by the announcement of the aperiodic “hat” monotile by David Smith, Joseph Samuel Myers, Craig S. Kaplan, and Chaim Goodman-Strauss:
After printing out and playing with some tiles, I became intrigued with the idea of making a puzzle.
I selected a patch of tiling that fit nicely within a hexagon and created a CAD model for it using my homebrew python cnc milling library. There are 56 tiles in the puzzle, 7 of which are mirror images of the other 49.
I experimented with cutting tiles on my cnc router, but quickly decided that laser cutting was the way to go. So, I added DXF export to my python cnc milling library and sent the files to a laser cutting service.
The first parts that I got back didn’t have adequate clearances within the border to fit the pieces.
No problem, I traced the outline with sharpie and used that as my guide.
I didn’t have any intuition for how hard the puzzle would be to solve given the fixed border, but it turned out to be easy enough to screw up the tiling to make it challenging!
It took me about an hour to solve it the first time.
Back to CAD modeling, I increased the clearance for the pieces within the border. I also created two smaller puzzles, with 37 and 20 tiles respectively, and experimented with breaking the border for the 56 tile puzzle up into pieces.
The new borders were a success, but I still needed more clearance between the pieces themselves. The smaller puzzles were easier to solve, as expected, but still not trivial.
I ordered a new set of slightly smaller pieces and they fit perfectly! And, yes, even with all of the time I’ve spent working on this puzzle, I still have trouble solving it.
With everything fitting nicely, I placed a larger order and put together a few puzzles for friends and family (they’re all gone). If you have one, I hope you enjoy it!
The insert included with each puzzle points here: https://www.grwster.com/monopuzzle
The day after I placed the larger order there was a new announcement from David Smith, Joseph Samuel Myers, Craig S. Kaplan, and Chaim Goodman-Strauss, for the aperiodic “spectre” monotile that tiles without reflections (so there really is just one tile):
I might have to make a new puzzle…