Physics & Math Puzzles

Four Marble Puzzle

Get this well crafted puzzle from Creative Crafthouse here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Crossroads Four Marble Puzzle 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Four Marble Puzzle 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Four Marble Puzzle: physics brain teaser- move all four marbles to their corner locations simultaneously. Each slot slopes down towards the center such that the marbles tend to stay at the center- so, how would one get them to roll outward at the same time? The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun basic physics principles. Answer below and swipe to reveal solution. A beautiful and well-made puzzle from Creative Crafthouse. 

Two Marble Puzzle

Great versions of the puzzle avaliable:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Two Marble Puzzle, or get this set of puzzles
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Two Marble Puzzles

Similar 4 marble version of this puzzle available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Four Marble Puzzle  

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Two Marble Puzzle: physics brain teaser- move both marbles to their top locations on each side simultaneously. The solution to this puzzle relies on some fun basic physics principles- can you figure out which ones? Swipe to reveal solution. Found this well made version of this classic physics puzzle at a gift shop in San Francisco (note Golden Gate Bridge motif).

Raketti Puzzle

Versions of this puzzle avaioable fron these sources: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Raketti Physics Puzzle 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Raketti Puzzle: a favorite physics brain teaser in my collection- the challenge is to remove the cone topped cylinder from the hole without touching the bottom container (no fair using sticky tape). It can be done in a matter of seconds! The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun physics principles. 


Coin Escape Puzzle

Available here: 
From Grand Illusions: BUY NOW: Coin Escape Puzzle

Another coin escape puzzle (fits US Dollar), the YOT: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Silver Dollar Escape Puzzle

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Coin Escape Puzzle: physics brain teaser- remove the coin without breaking the container or using any tools other than your hands. Of course you spin it to get the quarter out- but exactly how? The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun basic physics of spinning things. Answer below and swipe to reveal solution. 

TrueBalance

Get the full version (8 disks made of wood) or the mini (6 disks, blue or red plastic): 
From Amazon: BUY NOW TrueBalance Coordination Puzzle 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

TrueBalance: coordination challenge puzzle- get the six disks, connected by bearing swivels, into a vertical stack by only tilting the handle. Harder than it looks to get each disk’s center of mass above the one below at the same time into the unstable equilibrium final state. The swivels constrain the system, limiting the degrees of freedom, and allowing strange and interesting motion. Kinetic art as a toy! 

Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle

This beautifully made puzzle available here:: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Rhombic Blocks 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle: There are 9 possible ways three rhombuses can be joined together along a common edge, and similar to pentominoes, these 9 tri-rhombs can tile a polyhedron, in this case a hexagon. There are 14 solutions to this puzzle, and one where no same-colored pieces touch. A beautiful math discovery by puzzle master Stuart Coffin.


Impossible Card Case

Get this fun card case here and support this amazing museum:

From the MoMath Store: BUY NOW: Rollover Card Case

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Impossible Card Case: this business card carrier has a special double hinge that allows it to be opened from either side, and transforms from stripes of white and silver to black and silver. I use this to carry @physicsfun bling diffractive stickers. Sometimes called a magic or flip case, the ribbon construction is similar to the famous Jacob’s Ladder toy I’ve featured and dscribed. 

Impossible Threads

Available here:

From Crux: BUY NOW: Impossible Threads 

Impossible Threads: a classic project for learning machinist skills on a metal lathe where threads are made in the middle of a rod with solid ends- how then where the nuts placed on the threads? The ends are indeed the same piece of metal and where never detached. Swipe to reveal the method that takes advantage of how precisely metal can be machined. 


Impossible Bottle with Arrow

Get an impossibe object from this artist here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottles and Objects

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Impossible Bottle with Arrow Sculpture Puzzle: a new seemingly impossible object in my collection- Created with clever engineering, this “impossible” syrup bottle contains a wooden arrow that should not fit through its neck. The wood of the arrow is notably one uncut piece, and yet a metal washer is also somehow trapped on the shaft of the arrow. The puzzle aspect is to consider how the bottle was produced (I personally have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). I can tell you with high certainty that the bottle was never cut or altered in anyway, and it was not somehow formed around the objects. This bottle by Brad Byers is an expertly crated example of the impossible object genre.

Wooden Trapped Sphere in Cube

(out of production)

Trapped Sphere in Cube: a surprising aspect of the geometry of spheres and cubes- carved from a single block of wood is a sphere trapped within a cube frame. A classic folk woodworking novelty reconceived here with precision machining to create this seemingly impossible object. 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Impossible Pipe Elbows

These are very hard to find- I had to make this one. Contact @physicsfun via DM if you really want one.

Many other types of impossible objects are avialable- see these links and videos: Impossible Objects

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Impossible Pipe Elbows: made from standard pipe fittings held together only by their threads. No glue of any kind was used in its making. Design inspired by puzzle maker and artist Saul Bobroff.


Impossible Caged Golf Ball 

Some nice versions of this impossible object available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Golf Ball in Wood Cage

See more of these thought puzzles in my collection here: Impossible Objects

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Impossible Caged Golf Ball: Here a regular off-the-shelf golf ball is somehow trapped within a cage made from a solid piece of hardwood walnut. Neither the ball nor the wood were cut or glued in the fabrication process. The puzzle aspect is to consider how this object was produced (I have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist).

Jack in the Box Puzzle

Order this amazing puzzle here:

From Craighill & Art of Play: Order Now: Jack in the Box

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Jack in the Box Puzzle: eight solid aluminum pieces form a textured cube when carefully stacked- yet the same eight pieces can also be packed around a six pronged “jack” to form a second smooth silver cube that is barely larger that the first. Similar to the 2D Matsuyama’s paradox puzzle, a small square is centered on each face of the cube in the second solution. Some stages of assembly shown here under rotation to emphasize the beautiful symmetries in the design and avoid spoilers to the challenge. Created by Rod Bogart and engineered into existence by the talented folks at @craighillcompany, and I send a hearty thank you to my friends at @artofplay for sending me this unique and special puzzle. 


The Magic Octagon Coin

Get this new amazing coin here:

From Shire Post Mint: BUY NOW: Magic Octagon Coin

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

“Magic Octagon” Challenge: introducing a beautiful copper coin version of this puzzle of successive rotations. Which way will the light arrow point after left and right rotations of the dark arrow? No trickery here- just the math of geometry, symmetry, rotations, and reflections and how our intuitions often fail us upon first attempts. Swipe twice for second challenge. In collaboration with my friends at @shirepostmint 

 

Doubly Impossible Bottle

Each constructed by hand, each a work of art-  get a personalized bottle here:

From The Bottleologist website: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottle with Frame

From his Etsy store: BUY NOW: Impossible Bottles

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Doubly Impossible Bottle: the newest seemingly impossible object in my collection from craftsman/artist Grant Wicks @thebottleologist. An “impossible nail” object was somehow assembled within a Fannys Bay Whisky bottle- and personalized with my logo too! The puzzle aspect is to consider how the bottle was produced (I personally have some theories- but I do not know the secrets of this artist). I can tell you with high certainty that the bottle was never cut or altered in anyway, and it was not somehow formed around the objects inside. 

Square Dissection Puzzles

Get these and other well made disection puzzles here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Square Dissection Puzzles

These puzzles are expertly laser cut and sold by GamesEfce. I spray-painted the pieces of mine to better show the shapes and relationships for the video. 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Square Dissection Puzzles: a square can be cut (dissected) into polygons and then reassembled into other regular polygons. Shown here: an equilateral triangle, a pentagon, and a hexagon. These are the record holders for smallest number of pieces needed: triangle (4 pieces by Henry Dudeney 1902), hexagon (5 pieces Paul Busschop 1870s) and pentagon (6 pieces Robert Brodie 1891). Fun fact- It is not known if any of these records are the smallest possible, no mathematical proofs yet exist on this question.