Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Star Beams

This cute and colourful puzzle came courtesy of Dutchman Oskar van Deventer during the IPP34 Puzzle Exchange in London in 2014. But its an old design which dates back to 1989.

Oskar is one of the rarer prolific designers who is comfortable with both puzzle genres; the twisties and non-twisties and amongst the non-twisties, he has designed over a dozen of the Hanayama Cast puzzles to-date including the Cast Twist and Cast Nutcase. He has also designed some unusual ones that include his Boston Subway and Snakes In A Plane.

Star Beams is an interlocking puzzle consisting of six "beams" produced by 3D printing. Overall quality is good. As described on Oskar's Shapeway shop:-

"The puzzle has six pentagram-shaped beams that are woven through each other. It was in 1989 that Oskar discovered this geometry. It is based on the geometry of a regular dodecahedron (with twelve pentagonal faces). When each of the six axes is offset a bit, this nice tetrahedral geometry results" 

The entire assembly is held together by one beam that cuts through four others.

The object of course is to take it apart and put it back together. Don't let the cute and colourful form factor fool you. While its not difficult to figure out how to take it apart and I got this done rather quickly, the putting together proved impossible for me. Even with the aid of photographs taken along the way, I had a lot of difficulty trying to assemble the lot. The notches and grooves are precisely cut and if you mesh the beams together the wrong way, you have to re-start. Of course given that the puzzle is rather small (each beam is 5cm) made it very fiddly and difficult to handle as well.

Check out Oskar's youtube video of the Star Beams (too bad it doesn't show the solve). Its available from Shapeways for US$38.43 as well as Puzzlemaster, the latter much cheaper at CA$29.99. 


  1. One thing I've noticed about Oskar's 3D printed assembly puzzles: the same color always comes out first (or goes in last). I won't say the color, but Oskar puzzle owners know which one it is.

    1. Really, I didn't know that...now I know which colour to start with first

    2. If Oskar reads this he might change it! But it seems to be the case for all his 3D printed exchange puzzles that I have.