Thursday 2 December 2021


Its here on Kickstarter! Click the link HERE.

I designed the Skull (aka Cranium) sometime in 2019 and back then several puzzlers/crafters had made 3D prints of my early designs including Jeremy Rayner from the UK and a puzzler (can't remember his name) from South Korea. Eric Fuller of Cubicdissection made a very small batch out of acrylic for sale on his website as well. I think it was pretty well received. The Skull here post-dates another "skull" design of mine; the Berro-Skull (haha, yes a play on the famous Beroccal). 

The Berro-Skull was my first skull design. As you can see its a bit crude looking

Skull (aka Cranium) generously 3D printed and gifted to me by Jeremy Raynor, UK

A South Korean teacher made this early version of the Skull out of plastic cubes

Final Prototype from PuzzleMaster

The original Skull design was 50 plus or so pieces pieces but I managed to refine my design over many months and bumped the piece and move count up to the current 67 and 116 respectively. The Skull is a serial interlocking puzzle which basically means that there is a particular order of sorts to both disassembling and assembling the pieces.

I tried to find ways to produce a copy of the Skull in stainless steel on my own but was not successful. Laser cutting 67 pieces was not only prohibitively expensive for one or two copies, but the real challenge was to ensure that the pieces could interlock together without getting stuck. This would required very precise cutting and tight tolerances. If any of pieces jammed or did not fit properly, the whole puzzle was wasted. Unlike wooden puzzles, you can't simply "sand" a piece down to make it fit, not without the correct type of equipment which I certainly did not have. My local fabricator was experienced in heavy metal works but not puzzles, so could not quite understand how puzzle things worked.

I was fortunate that Leon Stein from PuzzleMaster of Canada decided to give the Skull a go at commercial production in stainless steel on Kickstarter. This is my second collaboration with PuzzleMaster. For their first Kickstarter campaign a couple of years back, they chose my Dirty Dozen and Lattice puzzles, two interlocking flat burr puzzles. The campaign then was successful, which gave them confidence to attempt the second one here. Youtube videos of DirtyDozen and Lattice also started appearing soon after from several notable Youtube puzzle solvers. As of this writing, Dirty Dozen is sold out but PuzzleMaster has indicated to me they are producing more copies which will be available soon.

Trying to fabricate 67 steel pieces which dovetails together nicely with each other is no easy task. A lot of work went into the prototyping of the Skull with their manufacturer (this took well over a year and Covid-19 didn't help either) before they were happy with the final version for the Kickstarter campaign you see here. Also a very Big Thank You to Rex Rossano Perez for his time and effort to come up with laser-cut computer drawings of the Skull and Berro-Skull for me.

To back this Kickstarter Skull campaign, click HERE.

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