Wednesday 26 October 2011

Four To Square

The Four To Square is a 4-piece 2D packing puzzle designed and made by Jacques Haubrich. This puzzle was entered into the 2011 IPP Competition in Berlin. Made of stainless steel, the puzzle is 73mm square in size. Overall quality and construction is very good and the 4 irregular shaped pieces are of a slightly different colour tone from the tray giving the puzzle a nice contrast. The object is to pack the 4 pieces flat into the tray.
While it might look deceptively simple with just 4 pieces, which is what I had (wrongly) thought initially, the puzzle is actually much harder than it appears. I actually spent quite a bit of time on this puzzle over a number of days, yet I just could not fit in the last piece nicely into the tray. For a while, I even wondered if Jacques had sent me the wrong pieces as he was packing his puzzle off to me or the pieces of my copy were not cut that precisely! Well, thankfully it was neither. Truth be told, after much trying and not getting anywhere with this, I emailed Jacques for a clue. He was kind enough to send me a drawing with one of the pieces in the right position within the tray. Even with his clue, I still took a bit of time to finally get the remaining 3 pieces nicely inside the tray. I was just not thinking out of the tray (or box) and trying to fit the pieces from just one angle!

Overall, a nice little (no pun intended) challenging packing puzzle.


  1. Yes, this puzzle has several "near solutions" which just barely don't work. You start to think maybe the piece tolerances are off. The metal unfortunately seems to stain easily with finger oils or dirt. I haven't tried cleaning them, maybe that would work.

  2. About the metal staining...mine came scotched taped to keep the pieces and the tray together and prevent movement during shipping. When I removed the tape, all the pieces and tray were sticky with the residue...what I did was to get some thinner (I think paint remover will work also) and the thinner was able to remove the residue and all the pieces are now very smooth again....try cleaning with some thinner and see if it works....

  3. Actually my copy looks OK, I guess I was thinking of the copy in the IPP design comp which was getting a lot of use. Thanks for the tip with the thinner!