Mechanical Puzzle Classification

by Jerry Slocum

Used with permission

Mechanical Puzzle Types (Example name is bold)

  1. Put -Together Puzzles-Putting the object together is the puzzle.
    1. 2 Dimensional assembly puzzles ( Tangrams, Anchor, T, jigsaw,etc.)
    2. 3 Dimensional assembly puzzles -Non-Interlocking (Soma,etc.)
    3. Miscellaneous put-together-(Instant Insanity, puzzle rings, etc.)
    4. Matchstick puzzles
  2. Take -Apart Puzzles-Taking the object apart or open is the puzzle.
    1. Trick or secret opening puzzles -(Puzzle boxes, etc.)
    2. Secret compartment puzzles (Slopes, coins, etc.)
    3. Trick locks & keys
    4. Trick matchboxes (matchsafes )
    5. Trick knives
  3. Interlocking Solid Puzzles-Disassembly & assembly to solve puzzle.
    1. Figural (Animals, objects, etc.)
    2. Geometric objects (Cube, etc. )
    3. 3-D jigsaw puzzles
    4. Burr puzzles
    5. Keychain puzzles
    6. Miscellaneous interlocking solid puzzles
  4. Disentanglement Puzzles-Disentanglement & entanglement to solve puzzle.
    1. Cast Iron & sheet metal puzzles
    2. Wire puzzles (Chinese Rings, etc.)
    3. String puzzles ( Non-rigid disentanglement )
    4. Miscellaneous disentanglement puzzles
  5. Sequential Movement Puzzles-Moving parts of object to a goal is the puzzle.
    1. Solitaire puzzles (Remove pegs, counters, etc. by jumping )
    2. Counter puzzles (Rearrange counters, pegs, etc. by jumping )
    3. Sliding piece puzzles (2D & 3D )
    4. Rotating piece puzzles (3D-Rubik’s cube ,etc. )
    5. Maze & route puzzles
    6. Miscellaneous sequential movement puzzles (Tower of Hanoi, etc.)
    7. Mazes and Labyrinths for People
  6. Dexterity Puzzles-Manual dexterity is primary to solve puzzle .
    1. Throw & catch (Cup & ball, etc. )
    2. Rolling ball puzzles
    3. Maze dexterity puzzles
    4. Miscellaneous dexterity puzzles
  7.  Puzzle Vessels – Drinking without spilling, or filling a vessel is the puzzle.
    (Puzzle Jugs, Bottom fill wine & tea pots, Pitchers, etc. )
  8. Vanish Puzzles – The puzzle is to explain a vanished or changed image.
    (Loyd’s Get Off the Earth, etc.)
  9. Folding Puzzles – The puzzle is to fold a paper or hinged object, to form a specifi ed pattern. (2D & 3D)
    (Fifth Pig Puzzle, etc.)
  10. Impossible Puzzles – The puzzle is to explain how an object was made or why it behaves in a seemingly impossible way. (Arrow thru bottle, celt, etc.)

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