This is an old sliding puzzle. A simple puzzle to make but fun to play. You start with, CANAMA PANAL empty square at bottom right
And you try to make, PANAMA CANAL by sliding puzzle pieces. The solution of this puzzle require minimum 21 moves. I cut puzzle pieces from 30 x 10 mm ready stock. Each puzzle piece is 30x30x10 mm. For making the try, I used 10×10 mm ready stock and 10 mm plywood. If you round corners a little and chamfer all edges, pieces will slide better. For sliding puzzles, ı advise making the try 2-3 mm bigger than total pieces dimensions. If you want play and test before making this one, you can play online here.
For designing this sliding puzzle, I am inspired from well-known classic “Get my goat puzzle” . As you can see from photo, the piece with goat illustration is different from “Get my goat puzzle”. Photo show start position ( After putting removed two piece into the box). At the beginning the goat is outside of the fence. The aim of this puzzle is to put the goat into the fence. The solution also is different an a little tricky. At first look you will see the solution as impossible. But there is a small trick. You can guess the solution according the photo.
Tips for making your own puzzle:
1 – For making this puzzle I used 30×10 mm ready beech stock. Box frame is made from 10×10 mm ready stock. And the base is made of 6 mm plywood.
2 – As you can see from photo I used small and thin magnets for auto positioning pieces. But I don’t advise to use magnets for sliding puzzles. They stick more than I was expected and make difficult to move pieces.
3- Making the box 2-3 mm bigger than total dimension of pieces is advised for all wooden puzzles because wood change dimension according weather conditions.
Why this puzzle is interesting for me? The book say “This is the first puzzle design to include square and rectangular pieces with full movement of all pieces” and also there are another note that say “was it ever produced”. I don’t see before a physical copy of this puzzle and I decided to make one for my self. Now, this puzzle is produced at least one copy. I made this puzzle from 4 mm acrylic with laser cut. Colored spots are pushpin heads I drilled holes and glued inside of holes pushpin heads. Two color spots are made by gluing two half pushpin head. You can make also this puzzle from wood or plywood and instead of using color spots, you can paint wood. An easy to make puzzle with a scroll saw.
In the photo you can see the start position. Pieces should be on the opposite side of the tray to their respective colours. In final position all colors on tiles must match with edge colors. The solution is 70 (76) move.
If you make one, you will be one of the few players of this puzzle in the world.
In a factory there a huge machine. Maintenance team must change the old gears of this machine with new ones. But gears aren’t easily accessible. And factory engineers decide to use the machine turntable. But there are some problems. Machine turn table turns only 90 degree with missing gears and also some other pieces from gear box enters into the turn table. Now they must find a solution with less possible move.
This puzzle is one of my sliding puzzle designs. Different from classical sliding puzzles. The aim of this puzzle is changing red and blue pieces in correct order. At the center of the board there are a disc with four slot. Disc rotation is limited and can rotate only 90 degree clockwise and after back again counterclockwise. That movement make this puzzle difficult and confusing.
There are four different variation. But two of them is more interesting. First I like describe XL version. This is the version seen on the left big picture. I mounted the clear acrylic top cover. At the center of each pieces there are a small hole that make it easy to play with a toothpick. (I take other photos without a cover because of reflection risk.). This version is the most difficult version. There are three extra green disk that make more difficult it. For this puzzle I count only the quarter rotation of the center disk as a move. Because shifting operations isn’t too much important and also counting only the center disc rotations is easier. I tested it with some friends and they find it very confusing. Some of them, in half way of the solution confuse also which color goes up and down. My solution for this starting to solve always with blue ones on the upside. I played a lot of time. I have a score for minimum number of move. But I will not share here. That may be a shame for me later.
The other variation is S version without any green disc. It’s very easy with 6 empty space at the beginning. But if you search the minimum number of move, this puzzle require a different style of thinking. Differently then other sliding puzzles, instead of thinking sliding operations you must try to use center disk better and keep it busy in each turn.
The other variations with one and two disc has an increasing difficulty.
For puzzle enthusiasts and mathematicians finding the minimum number of move may be a good challenge. I don’t know minimum number of moves as I haven’t a computer analyze tool for this. Also it’s possible to write a java applet and play online or make a mobile device application with four level of difficulty. If you can make you can publish it in anyway that you like.
And if you need laser cutting file asci DXF file is here. You can transform easily to other formats. I made a few design change for better center mechanism for this reason laser cut file is a little different from my puzzle. I made a clear acrylic cover for this puzzle. But this make difficult to play. For playing I prefer an open top puzzle.