Title:
3-Dimensional puzzle and method of forming same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention makes use of the spherical sectors, semi-spheres, cylindrical or circular sections of a solid object or the surface of an object, and breaks them into components. If no such spherical sectors, semi-spheres, cylindrical or circular sections are available on the object, or the existing ones cannot be used for any reason, one can create some adequate ones under allowable circumstances. The puzzle will come into being when any of its broken down components can be shared with (interchanged with components of) other flat or spherical or circular or cylindrical surfaces. The idea of the present invention is rather simple, however it may be applied in a versatile manner.



Inventors:
Mak, Chi Yin (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
11/144128
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
06/02/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/153S
International Classes:
A63F9/06; A63F9/08; (IPC1-7): A63F9/06
View Patent Images:
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20060082056Method and apparatus for conducting a game tournamentApril, 2006Kane et al.



Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHERNOFF, VILHAUER, MCCLUNG & STENZEL, LLP (601 SW Second Avenue, Suite 1600, Portland, OR, 97204, US)
Claims:
1. A three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising: a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; and a plurality of puzzle members engageable with each other and slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member at least about a longitudinal axis of said cross section; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; and wherein said puzzle members are inter-engaged with each other for relative sliding movement.

2. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein a first of said puzzle members has a first extension received within a correspondingly sized and shaped first recess of a second of said puzzle members, whereby said two puzzle members are engageable in a first configuration in which said puzzle members are slidably movable relative to each other along a first path, but are otherwise prevented from being movable from each other.

3. A puzzle according to claim 2 wherein said first of said puzzle members has a second extension received within a correspondingly sized and shaped second recess of said second of said puzzle members, whereby said two puzzle members are engageable in a second configuration in which said puzzle members are slidably movable relative to each other along a second path, but are otherwise prevented from being movable from each other.

4. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said puzzle is in a ring shape.

5. A puzzle according to claim 4 wherein said core member is in a ring shape.

6. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said puzzle is provided on an outer surface of a cylinder.

7. A puzzle according to claim 6 wherein said core member is in the shape of a cylinder.

8. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said core member is generally a sphere or portion of a sphere.

9. A puzzle according to claim 1 further including puzzle units engageable with said puzzle members.

10. A puzzle according to claim 9 wherein said puzzle units are releasably engageable with said puzzle members.

11. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said puzzle is in the form of a vessel or a cap.

12. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein at least part of one puzzle member is engaged with the core member for retaining other puzzle members on said core member.

13. A puzzle according to claim 12 wherein a centre piece of said puzzle member is engaged with the core member.

14. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said puzzle members are engaged with each other by undercuts.

15. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein said puzzle members positioned at the locus of said longitudinal axis are engaged with the core member.

16. A puzzle according to claim 1 further provided with flutes and/or pegs on said puzzle members and/or peg members for engagement with a further layer of puzzle units to form a further puzzle on said original puzzle.

17. A three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising: a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; a plurality of puzzle members slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member; and a plurality of peg members engaged with said outer surface of said core member, each said peg member having an outer part and an inner part; wherein said plurality of puzzle members are engageable with each other and/or with at least one said peg member for relative movement; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; wherein at least one said puzzle member has an outer part and an inner part; and wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is in contact with at least one peg member.

18. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is elastic.

19. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is a spring disc.

20. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said puzzle member deforms during movement of said puzzle member on said core member.

21. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is in contact with the inner part of the peg member.

22. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said puzzle is in a ring shape.

23. A puzzle according to claim 22 wherein said core member is in a ring shape.

24. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said puzzle is provided on an outer surface of a cylinder.

25. A puzzle according to claim 24 wherein said core member is in the shape of a cylinder.

26. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said core member is generally a sphere or a portion of a sphere.

27. A puzzle according to claim 17 further including puzzle units engageable with said puzzle members.

28. A puzzle according to claim 27 wherein said puzzle units are releasably engageable with said puzzle members.

29. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said puzzle is in the form of a vessel or a cap.

30. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said peg member is narrower than said outer part of said peg member.

31. A puzzle according to claim 17 wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is in contact with a plurality of said peg members.

32. A three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising: a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; a plurality of puzzle members slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member; and a plurality of peg members engaged with said outer surface of said core member; wherein said plurality of puzzle members are engageable with each other and/or with said peg members for relative movement; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; and wherein said peg members and said puzzle members are inter-engaged with each other directly or indirectly for relative sliding movement.

33. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein at least part of said peg member is received within a recessed part of said puzzle member for relative sliding movement.

34. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member includes a narrower middle layer sandwiched between two broader outer layers.

35. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member includes a broader middle layer sandwiched between two narrower outer layers.

36. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member includes a longer middle layer sandwiched between two shorter outer layers.

37. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member includes a shorter middle layer sandwiched between two longer outer layers.

38. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein each said peg member includes a wider part and a narrower part, and wherein said peg members are in contact with said core member.

39. A puzzle according to claim 38 wherein said puzzle member has a plurality of inwardly and/or outwardly extending members.

40. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member has a plurality of grooves running along its sides.

41. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said peg member has a number of extensions and/or recesses.

42. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle member has a number of extensions and/or recesses.

43. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein a plurality of peg members are positioned between said fixed peg members.

44. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein a plurality of rail members are positioned between said fixed peg members.

45. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein at least part of said puzzle member is received within a recessed part of said peg member for relative sliding movement.

46. A puzzle according to claim 45 wherein said peg member has a plurality of intersecting grooves.

47. A puzzle according to claim 45 wherein a plurality of peg members are positioned between said fixed peg members.

48. A puzzle according to claim 45 wherein a plurality of rail members are positioned between said fixed peg members.

49. A puzzle according to claim 45 wherein said peg member includes a post which extends above the surface of the puzzle.

50. A puzzle according to claim 48 wherein said rail member includes a rib which extends above the surface of the puzzle.

51. A puzzle according to claim 32 further including puzzle units engageable with said puzzle members.

52. A puzzle according to claim 51 wherein said puzzle units are releasably engageable with said puzzle members.

53. A puzzle according to claim 32 wherein said puzzle is in the form of a vessel or a cap.

54. A puzzle according to claim 32 further provided with flutes and/or pegs on said puzzle members and/or peg members for engagement with a further layer of puzzle units to form a further puzzle on said original puzzle.

Description:

The present invention pertains to a 3-dimensional puzzle, and a way to turn the whole or part of a solid object or the surface of such an object into a 3-dimensional puzzle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Movable-piece type puzzles are known in the prior art. The most famous of these is probably the Rubik's Cube, which, in its original form, provided a cube with six sides, each side being divided into nine pieces. Eight of the nine pieces may be moved in a sliding fashion such that different colors (or printed indicia, or the like) may be aligned to solve the puzzle.

The puzzle of the type discussed here is of the kind that certain or all of its components can be moved to other positions within the physical constraints of the puzzle. There are three basic conditions to satisfy. First, every movement must involve more than one component. Second, the components must be moved according to the constraints established in the puzzle. Third, when the components are at the proper positions, there must be more than one “route” available for each movable component.

The object of the game is to array the components to some desired patterns or get the original overall shape back from the disordered condition. The following are two examples of this type of puzzle.

In the first example, if the components are, say, some color surfaces or alphabets, or the like, the player can make some color patterns or words from the available alphabets, or would be under some rules established by the players themselves to finish the specified color patterns or words within a time frame.

In a second example, if the components are some printed graphics, animated or contoured patterns, the player is to find a way to move all the components back to their original interrelated locations from their dislocated positions.

Such puzzles have proved to be popular, and other shapes and sizes of such puzzles have been designed. Examples of such puzzles include, but are not limited to, the puzzles disclosed in the following patents, all of which are incorporated herein by reference:

Patent No.Inventor
 D190,660Mote
6,626,431Possidento
6,120,356Li
5,992,850Li
5,826,871Li
5,271,688Chang
4,706,956Abu-Shumays et al.
4,593,907Abu-Shumays et al.
4,586,713Abu-Shumays et al.
4,558,866Alford
4,540,177Horvath
4,478,418Sherman, Jr.
4,474,377Ashley
4,453,715Halpern
4,451,039Hewlett, Jr.
4,427,197Doose
4,421,311Sebesteny
4,415,158Engel
4,405,131Horvath
4,378,117Rubik
4,378,116Rubik
4,344,623Isobe
3,690,672Dreyer
3,655,194Pierson
3,081,089Gustafson
  636,109Bowers

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the present invention, a method is provided to generate an N×N×N element puzzle, (where N refers to any positive integer) of the Rubik's Cube variety, but not limited to the shape of a cube. The puzzle of the present invention can be used to create many numbers of puzzle designs as illustrated herein.

The present invention makes use of the spherical sectors, semi-spheres, cylindrical or circular sections of a solid object or the surface of an object, and breaks them into components. If no such spherical sectors, semi-spheres, cylindrical or circular sections are available on the object, or the existing ones cannot be used for any reason, one can create some adequate ones under allowable circumstances. The puzzle will come into being when any of the sectors or its broken down components can be shared with (interchanged with components of) other flat or spherical or circular or cylindrical surfaces. The idea of the present invention is rather simple, however it can be applied with versatility.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; and a plurality of puzzle members engageable with each other and slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member at least about a longitudinal axis of said cross section; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; and wherein said puzzle members are inter-engaged with each other for relative sliding movement.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; a plurality of puzzle members slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member; and a plurality of peg members engaged with said outer surface of said core member, each said peg member having an outer part and an inner part; wherein said plurality of puzzle members are engageable with each other and/or with at least one said peg member for relative movement; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; wherein at least one said puzzle member has an outer part and an inner part; and wherein said inner part of said puzzle member is in contact with at least one peg member.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a three-dimensional sliding element puzzle comprising a core member having at least one circular or annular cross-section; a plurality of puzzle members slidably movable on an outer surface of said core member; and a plurality of peg members engaged on said outer surface of said core member; wherein said plurality of puzzle members are engageable with each other and/or with said peg members for relative movement; wherein at least one said puzzle member is selectively movable relative to another said puzzle member along at least two different paths; and wherein said peg members and said puzzle members are inter-engaged with each other directly or indirectly for relative sliding movement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A to 1D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view, of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one generally square component and four edge fillers.

FIGS. 2A to 2D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere formed of six of the segments of FIG. 1D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 3A to 3D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from that shown in FIG. 1D.

FIGS. 3E to 3H show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, an exploded front view, and an exploded perspective view, of the segment shown in FIG. 3D.

FIGS. 4A to 4D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere formed of six of the segments of FIG. 3D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 5A to 5D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one generally pentagon component and five edge fillers.

FIGS. 6A to 6C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere formed of twelve of the segments shown in FIG. 5D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 7A to 7D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from that shown in FIG. 5D.

FIGS. 8A to 8C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere formed of twelve of the segments of FIG. 7D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 9A to 9D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one generally triangular component, three big edge fillers and three small edge fillers.

FIGS. 9E to 9G show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, and an exploded front view, of the segment shown in FIG. 9D.

FIGS. 10A to 10C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere formed of four of the segments of FIG. 9D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 11A to 11D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from that shown in FIG. 9D.

FIGS. 12A to 12D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one generally triangular component and three edge fillers, forming part of the segment shown in FIG. 11D.

FIGS. 13A to 13C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere formed of four of the segments of FIG. 11D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 14A to 14D show respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment, which may be used for forming the sphere of FIG. 13A with an arcuate segment of FIG. 11D.

FIGS. 15A to 15D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of five generally triangular components and ten edge fillers.

FIGS. 16A to 16C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere made up of twelve of the segments of FIG. 15D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 17A to 17D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from the sector of FIG. 15D.

FIGS. 18A to 18D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a further arcuate puzzle segment derived from the segment of FIG. 15D.

FIGS. 19A to 19C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere made of twelve of the segments of FIG. 17D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 20A to 20C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere made of twelve of the segments of FIG. 18D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 21A to 21D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from the segment of FIG. 17D.

FIGS. 22A to 22D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment derived from the segment of FIG. 18D.

FIGS. 23A to 23D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one pentagonal component, five triangular fillers and five inter-fillers.

FIGS. 23E to 23H show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, an exploded front view, and an exploded perspective view of the segment shown in FIG. 23D.

FIGS. 24A to 24C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere formed of twelve of the segments of FIG. 23D, with the fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 25A to 25D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one triangular component, nine small fillers and three edge fillers.

FIGS. 26A to 26C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere formed of twenty of the segments of FIG. 25D, with the fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 27A to 27D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment of twenty-seven components.

FIGS. 28A to 28C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view, of a sphere formed of twenty of the segments of FIG. 27D.

FIGS. 29A to 29D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one pentagonal component and five edge fillers.

FIGS. 30A to 30D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate puzzle segment made up of one hexagonal component and six edge fillers.

FIGS. 31A to 31C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere made of twelve of the segments of FIG. 29D and twenty of the segments of FIG. 30D, with the edge fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 32A to 32D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a further arcuate puzzle segment design.

FIGS. 33A to 33D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of another arcuate puzzle segment design.

FIGS. 34A to 34D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere, which may be made up of six of the segments of FIG. 32D or eight of the segments of FIG. 33D, with the fillers shared by adjacent segments.

FIGS. 35A to 35D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a hemisphere, two of which may be combined to form the sphere of FIG. 34D.

FIGS. 36A to 36D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a hemisphere made up of four semi-segments.

FIGS. 37A to 37D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere made up of two of the hemispheres of FIG. 36D.

FIGS. 38A to 38D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a further arcuate puzzle segment.

FIGS. 38E to 38H show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, an exploded front view, and an exploded perspective view of the segment shown in FIG. 38D.

FIGS. 39A to 39D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cylindrical ring conforming to the profile of the segment of FIG. 38D.

FIGS. 40A to 40D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a further cylindrical ring conforming to the profile of the segment of FIG. 38D.

FIGS. 41A to 41D show, respectively, a front view, a side view, a top view and a perspective view of a vessel, the puzzle part of which being formed of fifteen of the arcuate puzzle segments of FIG. 38D or two of the cylindrical rings of FIG. 39D and one cylindrical ring of FIG. 40D.

FIG. 42A to 42D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cylindrical ring, which may be placed around the puzzle of FIG. 39D so that the subassembly may be turned on the vessel of FIG. 41D.

FIGS. 43A to 43C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sub-assembly formed by two conjoining two arcuate puzzle segments with each other.

FIG. 44 shows a ring, which may be formed of eight of the sub-assembly of FIG. 43A.

FIGS. 45A to 45D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a ball with flutes made for receiving the rings of FIG. 44 for relative sliding movement.

FIGS. 46A to 46D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a puzzle formed of three of the rings of FIG. 44 joined together in an orthogonal manner and the ball of FIG. 45D.

FIGS. 47A to 47D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cylindrical ring.

FIGS. 48A to 48D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sector of a cylindrical column.

FIGS. 49A to 49C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a perspective view of a cup, the puzzle part of which being formed of ten of the cylindrical rings of FIG. 47D or twenty of the cylindrical column sectors of FIG. 48D.

FIGS. 50A to 50D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cylindrical ring.

FIGS. 51A to 51D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a ⅙ segment.

FIGS. 52A to 52D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a 1/12 segment.

FIGS. 53A to 53D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a container with a puzzle.

FIGS. 54A to 54D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a puzzle, being a combination of two of the puzzle parts of the container in FIGS. 53A to 53D.

FIGS. 55A to 55D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a puzzle component.

FIGS. 56A to 56D show a core body relative to which the puzzle component shown in FIGS. 55A to 55D is movable.

FIGS. 57A to 57D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a bare puzzle.

FIGS. 58A to 58D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view and a perspective view of a sphere generated from a cube.

FIGS. 59A to 59C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere generated from a dodecahedron.

FIGS. 60A to 60C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere generated from an icosahedron.

FIGS. 61A to 61C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere generated from a tetrahedron.

FIGS. 62A to 62C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere generated from a 32-facet “soccer ball”.

FIGS. 63A to 63D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of an arcuate square segment cut by a flat cutting plane.

FIGS. 64A to 64D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere formed of six of the segments shown in FIG. 63D, with the obstructions cleared.

FIGS. 65A to 65D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cone-shape cutting plane cutting one of the sides of two arcuate segments at the same time.

FIGS. 66A to 66D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere with the obstructions cleared.

FIGS. 67A and 67D are respectively a top view and a perspective view of a reversed cone-shape cutting plane cutting two arcuate segments at the same time.

FIG. 67B is a sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 67A.

FIG. 67C is a sectional view taken along the line C-C of FIG. 67A.

FIGS. 68A to 68D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a sphere with the obstructions cleared by the cone-shaped cutting plane of FIG. 67D.

FIGS. 69A and 69B show, respectively, a top view and a side view of a first method in which cylindrical cutting planes cut out a puzzle component.

FIGS. 69C and 69D show, respectively, a top view and a side view of the component cut out by the arrangement in FIGS. 69A and 69B.

FIGS. 70A and 70B show, respectively, a top view and a side view of a second method in which cylindrical cutting planes cut out a puzzle component.

FIGS. 70C and 70D show, respectively, a top view and a side view of the component cut out by the arrangement in FIGS. 70A and 70B.

FIGS. 71A and 71B show, respectively, a top view and a side view of a third method in which cylindrical cutting planes cut out a puzzle component.

FIGS. 71C and 71D show, respectively, a top view and a side view of the puzzle component cut out by the arrangement in FIGS. 71A and 71B.

FIGS. 72A and 72B show, respectively, a top view and a front view of a fourth method in which cylindrical cutting planes cut out a puzzle component.

FIGS. 72C and 72D show, respectively, a top view and a front view of the puzzle component cut out by the arrangement in FIGS. 72A and 72B.

FIGS. 73A and 73B show, respectively, a top view and a front view of a fifth method in which cylindrical cutting planes cut out a component.

FIGS. 73C and 73D show, respectively, a top view and a front view of the puzzle component cut out by the arrangement in FIGS. 73A and 73B.

FIGS. 74A to 74C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of a sphere assembled with the three components of FIGS. 69C-D, FIGS. 70C-D and 71C-D, and FIGS. 72C-D and 73C-D.

FIGS. 75A to 75C show, respectively, a top view, a front view, and a side view of an arcuate puzzle segment.

FIG. 75D shows a vertex view of a sphere formed of a number of the sectors shown in FIG. 75A-C.

FIG. 76A to 76C show, respectively, a top view, a front view, and a side view of a further arcuate puzzle segment.

FIG. 76D shows a vertex view of a sphere formed of a number of the segments shown in FIG. 76A-C.

FIGS. 77A to 77C show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, and an exploded front view, of a few components in one embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 78A to 78D show, respectively, a top view, a front view, a side view, and a perspective view of a sphere built with the components shown in FIGS. 77A-C, but with one of the arcuate puzzle segments removed for showing the inner ball.

FIGS. 79A to 79C are, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of the triangular puzzle component in FIGS. 77A-C.

FIGS. 80A to 80C are, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of the filler in FIGS. 77A-C.

FIGS. 81A to 81D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a component, forming part of the cylinder ring in FIGS. 47A-D, and of the cylinder column in FIGS. 48A-D.

FIGS. 82A to 82D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a spring disc, being an additional component of the sphere shown in FIGS. 16A-C.

FIGS. 83A to 83D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a peg, being a further additional component of the sphere of FIG. 16A-C.

FIG. 84 shows an inner ball assembled with a number of the spring discs of FIGS. 82A-D and a number of the pegs of FIGS. 83A-D.

FIG. 85 shows the actual pegs in the assembly.

FIG. 86 shows the sub-assembly after a number of triangular puzzle components are assembled on the spring discs.

FIGS. 87A to 87D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a skeleton.

FIGS. 88A to 88D show, respectively, an exploded top view, an exploded side view, an exploded front view, and an exploded perspective view of the skeleton of FIGS. 87A-87D with components of the spherical sector of FIGS. 9A-9G

FIGS. 89A to 89D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a first half of the assembly of FIGS. 91A-D.

FIGS. 90A to 90D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a second half of the assembly of FIGS. 91A-D.

FIGS. 91A to 91D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a puzzle assembly, which is basically a sphere modified to an odd object formed from either two of the halves of FIGS. 89A-D or two of the halves of FIGS. 90A-D.

FIG. 92A shows a perspective view of a puzzle assembly based on the sphere of FIGS. 37A-D, having been modified to a long rod.

FIGS. 92B and 92C are two respective views showing the rod in FIG. 92A turned about a plane.

FIGS. 93A to 93D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a cylindrical ring of sixteen tiles.

FIGS. 94A to 94D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of three of the rings of FIGS. 93A-D being joined together in an orthogonal manner to form a puzzle with an inner ball.

FIGS. 95A to 95D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of the rings in Figs. FIGS. 94A-D.

FIGS. 96A to 96D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of the inner ball of FIGS. 94A-D.

FIGS. 97A to 97D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a front view, and a perspective view of a square peg.

FIGS. 98A and 98C show, respectively, a front view and a bottom view of an arcuate puzzle segment, being 1/8th of a sphere.

FIG. 98B is a sectional view taken along line D-D in FIG. 98A.

FIG. 98D is a perspective view of the spherical shell in FIG. 98A.

FIG. 99 shows six poles of the pegs of FIGS. 97A-97D and eight inner triangles of the shells of FIGS. 98A-D assembled on the inner ball, with the top layers of the pegs and the spherical shell segments hidden to reveal the assembly.

FIG. 100 shows the actual pegs in the assembly.

FIG. 101A is a front view of the complete sphere shown in FIG. 100.

FIG. 101B is a sectional view taken along the line E-E in FIG. 101A.

FIGS. 102A to 120D show, respectively, a top view, a side view, a perspective view, and a bottom of a triangular peg.

FIGS. 103A to 103C show, respectively, a top view, a side view, and a front view of an arcuate segment, being 1/8th of a sphere.

FIG. 104 shows a sphere assembled with a number of the triangular pegs of FIGS. 102A-C and a number of the internal portion of the arcuate shell segment of FIGS. 103A-C.

FIGS. 105A and 105B show two perspective views of an inner ball assembled to the sphere of FIG. 104, but with four arcuate shell segments of FIGS. 103A-C hidden.

FIG. 106A shows an arcuate puzzle segment, being 1/6th of a sphere.

FIG. 106B shows a rail for holding adjacent arcuate shell segments together.

FIG. 106C shows a hexagonal peg.

FIG. 107A shows an assembled sphere.

FIG. 107B shows the sphere in FIG. 107A with the top layers of the arcuate shell segments hidden to reveal the inside.

FIG. 108A shows the sphere in FIG. 107B with the pegs and rails removed.

FIG. 108B shows the “naked” pegs and “naked” rails put back onto the sphere, with the top layers of the pegs and rails hidden to reveal the structure underneath.

FIG. 109A shows a peg.

FIG. 109B shows an arcuate shell segment, being 1/6th of a sphere.

FIG. 110A shows an assembled sphere.

FIG. 110B shows the sphere in FIG. 110A, but with the top layers of the arcuate segment shell segments hidden to reveal the inside.

FIG. 111A shows the sphere of FIG. 110A with half of the arcuate segment shells removed.

FIG. 111B shows the sphere of FIG. 111A, in which both the top layers of the arcuate shell segments and the pegs are hidden to reveal the structure underneath.

FIGS. 112A to 112F show various views of an arcuate shell segment, being 1/4th of a hemisphere.

FIG. 113 shows a peg.

FIG. 114 shows the use of three of the pegs of FIG. 113 to keep a number of the arcuate shell segments of FIGS. 112A-F on an inner ball.

FIG. 115 shows an arrangement alternative to that shown in FIG. 114, with additional pegs.

FIG. 116 shows yet a further alternative arrangement in which the additional pegs are replaced by rails.

FIG. 117A shows the use of square pegs, in place of those shown in FIG. 115.

FIG. 117B shows a square peg as used in the puzzle in FIG. 117A.

FIG. 118 shows the use of square pegs.

FIG. 119A shows an arcuate segment shell, being of a 1/4th of a hemisphere.

FIG. 119B shows a peg.

FIG. 120 shows a puzzle using a number of the pegs in FIG. 119B.

FIG. 121 shows a further puzzle using a number of the pegs in FIG. 119B.

FIG. 122A shows a puzzle similar to that shown in FIG. 120, with the space between the pegs filled with rails.

FIG. 122B shows a rail used in the puzzle in FIG. 122A.

FIGS. 123A to 123E show various views of an arcuate segment shell, being 1/4th of a hemisphere.

FIG. 124A shows a ball assembly with an inner ball mounted with a number of pegs and rails, with four of the arcuate segment shells removed to show the inner details.

FIG. 124B shows a peg.

FIG. 124C shows a rail.

FIG. 125A to 125E show various views of a segment of an arcuate segment shell, being in the form of 1/4th of a hemisphere.

FIG. 126A shows a ball assembly with an inner ball mounted with a number of pegs and rails, with three of the spherical shell segments removed to show the inner details.

FIGS. 126B and 126D show two perspective views of the peg in FIG. 126A,

FIG. 126C shows the rail in FIG. 126A.

FIG. 127A shows a ball assembly with an inner ball mounted with a number of pegs and rails, with three of the spherical shell segments removed to show the inner details.

FIG. 127B shows a peg used in the assembly of FIG. 127A.

FIG. 127C shows a rail used in the assembly of FIG. 127A.

FIG. 127D shows a spherical shell segment used in the assembly of FIG. 127A.

FIG. 128A shows a rail with a raised rib.

FIG. 128B to 128D show various views of a peg with a post.

FIGS. 129A and 129B show a puzzle globe using a number of the rails of FIG. 128A and a number of the pegs of FIG. 128B-C.

FIGS. 130 and 131A-C show various views of a further puzzle globe formed of a number of the rails of FIG. 128A and a number of the pegs of FIG. 128B-D.

FIG. 132A to 132D show various views of a yet further globe puzzle using a number of the rails of FIG. 128A and a number of the pegs of FIG. 128B-D, with the posts of the pegs and ribs of the rails widened and not raised.

FIG. 133A shows a fluted inner ball

FIG. 133B shows an arcuate puzzle segment, being in the form of 1/6th of a sphere.

FIG. 134A shows an assembled sphere formed of the inner ball of FIG. 133A and a number of the segments of FIG. 133B.

FIG. 134B shows the same sphere as shown in FIG. 134A, but with the top layers of the arcuate segment shells hidden to reveal their pegs trapped by inside the undercut flutes.

FIG. 135A shows an inner ball pre-assembled with six pegs about the equatorial region.

FIG. 135B shows a fluted arcuate puzzle segment, being in the form of 1/6th of a sphere.

FIG. 136A shows an assembled sphere formed of the inner ball of FIG. 135A and five of the segments of FIG. 135B.

FIG. 136B shows the same assembled sphere of FIG. 136A, with the top layers of the arcuate shell segments hidden to reveal the interior structure.

FIGS. 137A to 137D show various views of a vessel modified from the puzzle design of FIG. 10A-C.

FIGS. 138A to 138D show various views of a vessel modified from the spherical sector of FIG. 14A-D.

FIGS. 139A to 139D show various views of a vessel modified from the puzzle design of FIGS. 24A-C.

FIGS. 140A to 140D show various views of a vessel modified and simplified from the puzzle globe of FIGS. 34A-D.

FIG. 141A to 141D show various views of a puzzle based on the puzzle of FIGS. 2A-D, but with the cutting planes altered.

FIGS. 142A to 142F show various views of a puzzle globe based on the puzzle globe of FIGS. 10A-C with different cutting planes.

FIGS. 143A to 143D show various views of a puzzle based on the puzzle globe of FIGS. 142A-F, which is in turn based on the puzzle globe of FIGS. 10A-C with different cutting planes.

FIGS. 144A to 144D show a puzzle generated from the puzzle globe of FIGS. 10A-C, with the positions of the cutting planes adjusted.

FIGS. 145A and 145B show, respectively, an exploded top view and an exploded side view of the puzzle of FIGS. 143A-D, in which the core puzzle of is the puzzle of FIGS. 142A-F.

FIGS. 146A to 146C show various views of a puzzle modified on the basis of the puzzle globe of FIGS. 24A-C.

FIG. 147 is an exploded view of a further puzzle according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1A to 1D show an arcuate puzzle segment 100 made up of one generally square component 102 and four adjacent edge fillers 104. Six of these segments may combine to form a sphere 200 as shown in FIGS. 2A to 2D. The edge fillers 104 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 100. In particular, each of the edge fillers 104 is slidably movable relative to the square component 102 along their respective common surface. It is thus possible to provide graphic or other patterns on the surface of the components 102 and edge fillers 104, to thereby form a puzzle.

FIGS. 3A to 3H show an arcuate puzzle segment 300, derived from the segment 100 of FIGS. 1A to 1D. Six of these segments 300 may be used for forming a sphere 400 as shown in FIGS. 4A to 4D. It can be seen that there are interlocking arrangements between the parts forming the segments 300, which will be discussed in more detail below.

As noted above, in a Rubik's Cube, eight puzzle pieces may be moved in a sliding fashion. The piece at the center cannot slide. The three pieces at each side can be viewed as similar to the “edge fillers” of the present invention. Moreover, the puzzle of FIGS. 4A to 4D can be changed to somewhat like a 5×5×5 Rubik's Cube. However, because the spacing between the “cuts” is not considered for this purpose, the eight corners (vertexes) of the cube may be void. By adjusting the spacing and number of “cuts”, one can make another N×N×N cubic puzzle.

FIGS. 5A to 5D show an arcuate puzzle segment 500 made up of one central pentagonal component 502 and five edge fillers 504, in which the edge fillers are slidably movable relative to the central component 502 along their respective common surface. Twelve of these segments 500 may be used for forming a puzzle sphere 600 of FIGS. 6A-C. When forming the sphere 600, the edge fillers 504 are common parts shared by adjacent spherical segments 500.

FIGS. 7A to 7D show an arcuate puzzle segment 700 based on that shown in FIGS. 5A to 5D, with the central component 502 and edge fillers 504 further cut to form additional sub-parts. Twelve of these segments 700 may be used for forming a sphere 800 as shown in FIGS. 8A to 8C. When forming the puzzle sphere 800, all components other than the pentagon 802 at the center of each segment may be common parts shared by adjacent spherical segments 800.

FIGS. 9A to 9G show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 900 made up of one central triangular component 902, three big edge fillers 904 and three small edge fillers 906, which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surfaces. Four of these segments 900 may be used for forming a puzzle sphere 1000 in FIGS. 10A to 10C. All the edge fillers 904, 906 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 900, when forming the sphere 1000.

FIGS. 11A to 11D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 1100, being derived on that shown in FIGS. 9A to 9G The segment 1100 includes another arcuate puzzle segment 1200, as shown in FIGS. 12A to 12D, which is made up of one central generally triangular component 1202 and three edge fillers 1204, which are slidably movable relative to the component 1202 along their respective common surface. Four of the segments 1100 may be used for forming a sphere 1300 as shown in FIGS. 13A-C. On the other hand, the puzzle sphere 1300 may instead be formed with an arcuate puzzle segment 1100 and an arcuate puzzle segment 1400 shown in FIGS. 14A to 14D. If the segment 1400 is considered to be the sector for turning, all components may be common parts shared with by the adjacent segments 1100, 1400. If, on the other hand, the segment 1100 is considered to be the segment for turning, all components other than the triangle at the center of the segment may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 1100, 1400.

FIGS. 15A to 15D show an arcuate puzzle segment 1500 made up of five generally triangular components 1502 and ten edge fillers 1504. Twelve of these segments 1500 may be combined to form a puzzle sphere 1600 as shown in FIGS. 16A-C. All components may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 1500 when forming the sphere 1600.

FIGS. 17A to 17D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 1700, and FIGS. 18A to 18D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 1800, both being derived from the segment 1500 shown in FIGS. 15A to 15D. Twelve of each of the segments 1700, 1800 may be used for forming a puzzle sphere 1900 shown in FIGS. 19A-C, or a puzzle sphere 2000 shown in FIGS. 20A to 20C.

It can be seen that each of the segments 1700, 1800 includes an arcuate puzzle segment 2100 as shown in FIGS. 21A to 21D and an arcuate puzzle segment 2200 as shown in FIGS. 22A to 22D. All components may be common parts shared by adjacent segments when forming the spheres 1900, 2000.

FIGS. 23A to 23H show an arcuate puzzle segment 2300 made up of one central generally pentagonal component 2302, five generally triangular fillers 2304 and five inter-fillers 2306, which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface. Twelve of these segments 2300 may be used for forming a puzzle sphere 2400 of FIG. 24. All the triangular fillers 2304 and inter-fillers 2306 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 2300 when forming the sphere 2400. It can be seen that the segment 700 shown in FIGS. 7A-D may be considered to be equivalent to the segment 500 in FIGS. 5A-D plus the segment 2300 shown in FIGS. 23A-H.

FIGS. 25A to 25D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 2500 made up of one central triangular component 2502, nine small fillers 2504 and three edge fillers 2506, which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface. Twenty of these segments 2500 may be used for forming a sphere 2600 as shown in FIGS. 26A to 26C. All the fillers 2504 and edge fillers 2506 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 2500, when forming the puzzle sphere 2600.

FIGS. 27A to 27D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 2700 of twenty-seven components, which are slidably movable relative to each other along their respective common surface. Twenty of these segments 2700 may be used for forming a sphere 2800 as shown in FIGS. 28A to 28C. All components in the sector 2700 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 2700 when forming the sphere puzzle 2800.

FIGS. 29A to 29D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 2900 made up of one central arcuate pentagonal component 2902 and five edge fillers 2904. The edge fillers 2904 are slidably movable relative to the central component 2902 along their respective common surface. FIGS. 30A to 30D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 3000 made up of one central arcuate hexagonal component 3002 and six edge fillers 3004. The edge fillers 3004 are slidably movable relative to the central component 3002 along their respective common surface. Twelve segments 2900 and twenty segments 3000 may be used for forming a sphere 3100 as shown in FIGS. 31A-C. The edge fillers 2904, 3004 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 2900, 3000 when forming the sphere puzzle 3100.

FIGS. 32A to 32D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 3200, and FIGS. 33A to 33D show another arcuate puzzle segment 3300, each being formed of a number of slidably movable components. Six of the segments 3200 or eight of the segments 3300 may be combined to form a sphere puzzle 3400 as shown FIGS. 34A to 34D. All components other than a big arcuate square component 3202 at the center of the segment 3200, or a big arcuate triangular component 3302 at the center of the segment 3300 may be common parts shared by adjacent segments 3200, 3300 when forming the sphere puzzle 3400.

The sphere 3400 may also be formed by two of the hemispheres 3500 as shown in FIGS. 35A to 35D, in which the various components are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface.

FIGS. 36A to 36D show various views of a hemisphere 3600 made up of four segments 3602 which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface. Two such hemispheres 3600 may be used for forming a sphere 3700 of FIGS. 37A-D.

The puzzle of the present invention may also use cylindrical rings. FIGS. 38A to 38H show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment 3800, and FIGS. 39A-39D and FIGS. 40A-D show various views of two cylindrical rings 3900, 4000 conforming to the profile of the segment 3800. Fifteen of the segments 3800 or two of the cylindrical rings 3900 and one cylindrical ring 4000 shown in FIGS. 40A-D may be used for forming a puzzle part 4102 of a vessel 4100 shown in FIGS. 41A to 41D. All components may be commonly shared with by adjacent cylindrical rings 3900, 4000, and the edge fillers of the segments 3800 may also be shared by adjacent segments 3900, 4000. A further cylindrical ring 4200 of FIGS. 42A-D may comprise a component of the puzzle part 4102, being engaged with the cylindrical ring 3900 for simultaneous rotational movement about their common longitudinal axis.

FIGS. 43A to 43C show two arcuate puzzle segments 4300, 4302 conjoined with each other to form a sub-assembly 4304. Eight such sub-assemblies 4304 may be combined to form a puzzle ring 4400 as shown in FIG. 44, in which the components are slidably movable relative to each other along their respective common surface. Three of the rings 4400 may be joined together in an orthogonal manner to form a puzzle part as shown in FIGS. 46A-D, to be assembled on a core ball 4500 as shown in FIGS. 45A to 45D. The rings 4400 may be moved along intersecting recesses 4502 of the ball 4500. The recesses 4502 of the ball 4500 may be made according to the outline of the rings 4400. The recesses 4502 may be smoothened, only leaving some slight interference between the recesses 4502 and the rings 4400, so that the rings 4400 may seat in their proper positions. All components may be common parts throughout the three rings 4400 shown in FIGS. 46A-D, and the edge fillers of any arcuate puzzle segment 4300, 4302 may also be shared by adjacent segments 4300, 4302 when forming the rings 4400.

FIGS. 47A to 47D show various views of a cylindrical ring 4700 with a number of interlocking puzzle units 4702, which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface. FIGS. 48A to 48D show various views of part 4802 of a cylindrical column. The part 4802 is formed of a number of interlocking puzzle units 4804, which are slidably movable relative to one another along their respective common surface. Ten of the cylindrical rings 4700 or twenty of the cylindrical column parts 4802 may be combined to form the puzzle part 4902 of a cup 4900 shown in FIGS. 49A to 49C. All the interlocking puzzle units 4702, 4804 may be commonly shared by adjacent cylindrical rings 4700 and cylindrical column parts 4802.

Puzzles made in accordance with the present invention may also use cylindrical rings and circular surfaces. FIGS. 50A to 50D show various views of a ring 5000 with an internal circular cavity 5002 and six outer surfaces 5004 arranged in a regular hexagonal shape. Each of the outer surfaces 5004 has an inner semi-circular groove 5006, and an outer semi-circular groove 5008, arranged concentrically with each other. FIGS. 51A to 51D show various views of a segment 5100, being 1/6th of a circle and FIGS. 52A to 52D show various views of a segment 5200, being 1/12 of a circle. To form the puzzle part of a cup 5300 as shown in FIGS. 53A to 53D, two of the rings 5000 engaged with each other, in which the open ends of the semi-circular grooves 5006, 5008 on each surface 5004 are aligned with one another to form two concentric circles. Six sectors 5100 are provided side by side in the inner circle formed by the semi-grooves 5006, and twelve sectors 5200 are provided side by side in the outer circle formed by the semi-grooves 5008. All sectors 5100, 5200 may be common parts shared by the surfaces 5004. FIGS. 54A to 54D show a puzzle 5400, being a combination of two of the puzzle part of FIGS. 53A to 53D.

The cylindrical ring 5000 may be broken down into puzzle body components 5500 of FIGS. 55A to 55D that may be moved along the recesses and protrusions of the intersection of two cylinders 5600 of FIGS. 56A to 56D. FIGS. 57A to 57D show a bare puzzle 5700. All circular sectors may be common parts shared by adjacent circular surfaces. Also, the four puzzle body components of FIGS. 55A to 55D 61 may be interchanged with other puzzle body components of this puzzle.

FIGS. 93A to 93D show a cylindrical ring 9300 of sixteen tiles 9302. Three of the rings 9300 may be joined together in an orthogonal manner to form the puzzle part of a ball 9400 as shown in FIGS. 94A to 94D. FIGS. 95A to 95D show inter-engagement of the rings 9300 and FIGS. 96A to 96D show the inner ball 9600. All the tiles 9302 may be commonly shared with other cylindrical rings. The embodiments shown in FIGS. 94A to 96D may be developed to those shown in FIGS. 43A to 46D.

Further enhancements to the present invention may be also possible. In the above examples, not only have the puzzles been introduced, but the concept has been taught that the puzzles may be (or may further be) enhanced according to the above-mentioned methods or the combination of them. For example, the spherical sectors 4304 of FIGS. 43A to 43D may be divided horizontally like the sector 3800 shown in FIGS. 38A to 38D, if required, and many examples cited above may further be divided into hemispheres, as in the case of the sphere 3400 in FIGS. 34A to 34D.

The components for the puzzles of the present invention may be cut as follows. For the sake of illustration the present discussion will concentrate on spherical sectors since cutting a hemisphere, or cutting a component from cylindrical or circular surfaces is self-explanatory.

It is possible to generate polyhedrons into a spherical shape. FIGS. 58A-58D, 59A-59C, 60A-60C, 61A-61C and 62A-62C show spheres generated from a cube, a dodecahedron, an icosahedrons, a tetrahedron and a 32-facet “soccer ball”, respectively. A sphere so generated should be concentric with the polyhedrons.

A basic cutting rule is that all the arcuate puzzle segments in the present invention may be turned about its axis but must not be obstructed by the adjoining spherical sectors. Therefore, all the obstructions must be cleared. In fact, the obstructions may be the common areas between the adjoining segments. After the clearing action, fillers may be inserted to fill up the voids so created.

The cutting tool may comprise, for purposes of illustration of the present invention, a face-milling cutter. The spindle of the cutter may be perpendicular to the work piece. Though a flat cutting face may be used for cutting majority of the arcuate puzzle segments so far discussed, it does not mean that only flat cutting faces may be used for cutting the segments. Flat cuttings planes may be chosen here for discussion because it is easier to indicate that the flat bottom of the segments may be turned on top of the flat surface formed by other segments.

In fact, the cutting plane may be a flat plane, a cylinder or a cone surface of any arbitrary angle. FIGS. 63A to 63D show an arcuate puzzle segment 6300 cut by a flat cutting plane. FIGS. 64A to 64D show a sphere 6400 formed of six segments 6300, with the obstructions cleared by a flat cutting plane.

FIGS. 65A to 65D show a cone-shape cutting plane 6502 cutting a side of two arcuate puzzle segments 6504 at the same time. FIGS. 66A to 66D show a sphere 6600 with the obstructions cleared by such a cutting plane. Components of the segments 3800 of FIGS. 38A to 38D, and 4300 of FIGS. 43A to 43C may be typical cone cutter examples—the vertex of the cone-shape cutting plane coincides with the center of the sphere. FIGS. 67A to 67D show a reversed cone-shape cutting plane 6702 cutting two arcuate puzzle segments 6704 at the same time. FIGS. 68A to 68D show a sphere 6800 with the obstructions cleared by such the cutting plane 6702. The cutters for the fillers may be the inverse of the cutters described above, so that the filler side may be retained while the opposite side of the object at may be removed.

Cylindrical cutting plane may be different from the above cutting planes. It may be like a drill or a core-cutter. It may be used for making way for the adjoining arcuate puzzle segments; therefore its diameter may be the same as that of the concerned adjoining segments. FIGS. 69A-69B, 70A-70B, 71A-71B, 72A-72B, and 73A-73B show how cylindrical cutting planes cut the components out. The cylindrical cutting planes may be drawn like a plate or a ring and placed at different heights aiming easy review. The cut components are also illustrated in FIGS. 69C-69D, 70C-70D, 71C-71D, 72C-72D, and 73C-73D. These components may be used for forming the segment 2500 shown in FIGS. 25A to 25D. In particular, FIGS. 69A-D show the center triangle being cut by three cylinders. The edge filler is cut by four cylinders, as shown in FIGS. 70A-D, and by two hollow cylinders, as shown in FIGS. 71A-D. The small filler may be cut by two hollow cylinders, as shown in FIGS. 72A-D, and by two cylinders, as shown in FIGS. 73A-D. FIGS. 74A to 74D show a sphere 7400 assembled with these components.

The arrangement of the cutting planes will now be further described. As mentioned previously, the polyhedrons have to be generated to spheres concentric to the original polyhedrons. The spindle of the cutter may be perpendicular to the flat facets of the polyhedron. Some examples are the arcuate puzzle segments 100 (FIGS. 1A-D), 500 (FIGS. 5A-D), 900 (FIGS. 9A-D), and 3200 (FIGS. 32A-D).

The spindle of the cutter may also be in line with the axes of the vertexes of the sphere, e.g. an arcuate puzzle segment 7500 as shown in FIGS. 75A to 75C, or a arcuate puzzle segment 7600 as shown in FIGS. 76A to 76C. In fact, these two segments 7500, 7600 of the same icosahedrons but cut at different heights. Moreover, for better understanding of the invention, the vertex of the respective sphere is illustrated in FIGS. 75D and 76D respectively. Here may be some more examples—the triangle at the center of the segment 1400 in FIGS. 14A-D may be the vertex of a tetrahedron; the center of the segment 2700 of FIGS. 27A-D may be the vertex of a dodecahedron; and the center triangle of the segment 3300 of FIGS. 33A-D may be the vertex of a cube.

The spindle of the cylindrical cutter may also be perpendicular to the flat facets of the polyhedron or coincide with the axes of the vertexes of the sphere. The segment 2500 of FIGS. 25A-D may be cut with a cylindrical cutter with a spindle perpendicular to the flat facet of the polyhedron.

The cutting plane may also be any plane symmetrically bisecting the sphere. A combination of cutting planes for an object may also be possible. For example, the sphere 3400 of FIGS. 34A-D may be built with the segment 3200 of FIGS. 32A-D, or the segment 3300 of FIGS. 33A-D, or the hemisphere 3500 of FIGS. 35A-D.

The structure of the present invention will be described in connection with the following methods. In a first method, the components are latched with each other, movable on top of the inner layer of the puzzle. FIG. 77A to 77C show an exploded view of a few components in one embodiment of the present invention. It can be seen that three fillers 7704 latch underneath a central arcuate triangular component 7702. FIGS. 78A to 78D show a sphere 7800 built with the components 7702, 7704 of FIGS. 77A-C, with one of the segments removed for showing an inner ball 7802. FIGS. 79A-C show an arcuate triangular component and FIGS. 80A-C show a filler 8000, which may be combined to form the sphere 1600 as shown in FIGS. 16A-D. Undercuts may be added to the required position of the components whenever necessary, to be further discussed below.

To facilitate the assembly operation, the lastly assembled filler may be split into two, upper and lower halves which may later be snapped back together or joined back with screw, glue, solvent, sonic welding, heat-staking and whatever possible means. Similarly, other components with undercut portions may be similarly formed, as illustrated hereinafter, and they may be broken down into sub-components and assembled back afterwards.

Undercuts may be added to the required position of the puzzle components whenever necessary (to be further discussed below) to prevent the components from going sideway. However it is also possible to instead fix the center component on the inner ball.

Returning to undercuts, FIGS. 81A to 81D show a puzzle component 4702 of the ring 4700 of FIGS. 47A to 47D or a component 4804 of the part 4802 of FIGS. 48A to 48D. It can be seen that the puzzle component 4702 has on a side a trapezoidal extension/latch 4712, and on an opposite end a correspondingly shaped and sized trapezoidal recess 4714. By way of such an arrangement, an extension 4712 of a first puzzle component 4702 may be received within a recess 4714 of a second puzzle component 4702, as in the case of a dovetail joint, whereby the two puzzle components 4702 are inter-engaged with each other, such that while one of the components 4702 may be slidably movable relative to the other component 4702 parallel to the bi-directional axis L-L shown in FIG. 81D, they cannot be otherwise movable from each other.

Furthermore, a third side of the component 4702 is provided with an L-shaped extension/latch 4716, and a correspondingly shaped and sized L-shaped recess 4718 is provided on a side opposite to the third side. By way of such an arrangement, an extension 4716 of a first puzzle component 4702 may be received within a recess 4718 of a second puzzle component 4702, whereby the two puzzle components 4702 are inter-engaged with each other, such that while one of the components 4702 may be slidably movable relative to the other component 4702 parallel to the curved bi-directional axis M-M shown in FIG. 81C, they cannot be otherwise movable from each other.

Pegs may be employed to replace some of the latches. Regarding the same sphere 1600 shown in FIG. 16, there may be two additional components—an elastic spring disc 8200 as illustrated in FIGS. 82A to 82D, and a peg 8300 as shown in FIGS. 83A to 83D. The peg 8300 has a wider outer disc 8302, a narrower inner disc 8304 and a post 8306. FIG. 84 shows an inner ball assembled with a number of the spring discs 8200 and pegs 8300, in which, in order to reveal all the components, the outer disc 8302 of the pegs 8300 has been removed. FIG. 85 shows the inner ball as assembled with a number of the spring discs 8200 and the actual pegs 8300. The spring disc 8200 may be the foot of the triangle. After the triangles 8602 are assembled on the spring discs 8200, the sub-assembly should look like FIG. 86. For purposes of illustration, the fillers are not shown.

The structure may be such that all twelve pegs 8300 are fixed on the inner ball while the spring discs 8200 may revolve round the pegs 8300. The spring disc 8200 may be so designed that it may contact the inner discs 8304 of, and hold position among, the three pegs 8300 around it. However, during revolution about the axis of the peg 8300, the spring discs 8200 may shrink while passing through the pegs 8300. Anyway, a weak spring force may be good enough. The main idea is that the outer disc 8302 of the peg 8300 should trap the inner part of the puzzle member, i.e. the spring disc 8200 of the triangle 8602, from dropping out.

In another example, FIGS. 97A to 97D show a square peg 9700, and FIGS. 98A to 98D show an arcuate puzzle segment 9800, being in the form of 1/8th of a sphere. FIG. 99 shows six pegs 9700 and eight segments 9800 assembled on the inner ball, with the top layers of the pegs 9700 and that of the segments 9800 hidden to reveal the assembly. FIG. 100 shows the actual pegs 9700 in the assembly. FIGS. 101A and 101B show the complete sphere. The hemisphere made with four segments 9800 may revolve about the axis of the peg 9700 of FIGS. 97A-D.

As a further example, FIGS. 102A to 102D show a triangular peg 10200, and FIGS. 103A to 103C show an arcuate puzzle segment shell 10300, being in the form of 1/4th of a hemisphere. It can be seen that the segment shell 10300 has three in-turned undercut portions 10302, each at an angle of the segment shell 10300. FIG. 104 shows a sphere 10400 assembled with the peg 10200 of FIGS. 102A-D, and the segments 10300 of FIGS. 103A-C, but with the top layer removed for showing the assembly. FIGS. 105A and 105B show that the inner ball may be assembled to the sphere of FIG. 104, with four of the segments 10300 hidden. The appearance of the fully assembled sphere is the same as the sphere 3700 of FIGS. 37A-D. A hemisphere made with four of the segments 10300 of FIGS. 103A-C may be turned along the four pegs 10200 on the same hemisphere. For the above two examples, one of the segments 10300 may need to be fixed on the inner ball or the peg 10200 underneath it in order to keep all the segments 10300 and pegs 10200 on the proper tracks.

In a third method, the inner ball may be replaced by a skeleton, which may provide each arcuate puzzle segment a pole for assembly. Then the components of that segment may be rotated about the axle of the corresponding pole. FIGS. 87A to 87D show such a skeleton 8700. FIGS. 88A to 88D show an exploded view of the skeleton 8700 with components of the segment 900 of FIGS. 9A-9G Since all components of the sector 900 may be latched with each other, the skeleton 8700 only needs to be fixed with the triangle at the center of the spherical sector 900. FIGS. 10A-C show the fully assembled sphere 1000.

In a fourth method, the components may be trapped in an undercut groove. For example, the components of FIGS. 51A-D and 52A-D may be trapped inside the undercut groove 5006, 5008 of FIGS. 50A-D or that of FIGS. 55A-D. In fact, as long as the components of FIGS. 51A-D and 52A-D do not drop out from the fences of the grooves of FIGS. 50A-D or 55A-D, they may be of other shapes, say, circular or spherical shapes. Moreover, the mating circular surfaces of the body (i.e., that shown in FIGS. 50A-D or 55A-D) and the components (i.e., that shown in FIGS. 51A-D and 52A-D) may be flat or of cone shape or spherical shape.

A fifth method may be provided, which may be a combination of the above four methods. For example, with regard to the sphere 3400 of FIGS. 34A-D, the first method may be adopted for most components and the second method for the components at the rim of the hemispheres. There may be still many other possible combinations within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The surface of the puzzle may be protruded to any shape as long as no portion of any components goes beyond any of the cutting planes of the components. For example the shape of the puzzles may be made back to the shape of the original polyhedrons as long as no profile of any component interferes with any of the cutting planes. In addition, the puzzles generated from the present invention may also take the form of shapes of popular characters (e.g., cartoon characters or the like).

As another example, FIGS. 89A to 89D and 90A to 90D show two different halves of the shape of the 3-dimensional puzzle 9100 of FIGS. 91A to 91D, which may be basically a sphere, but modified to an odd-shaped object formed with three cylinders intersected together. Since components of the modified shape do not cut any of the cutting planes, therefore all components, like the sphere 3700 shown in FIGS. 37A to 37D, may be shared with the adjacent halves or hemispheres. FIGS. 92A to 92C show another example demonstrating that although the sphere 3700 of FIGS. 37A-D has been modified to a long rod, halves of such rod may still be turned about the three orthogonal planes. In particular, FIGS. 92A to 92C show the same puzzle with different halves turned by 45°.

FIGS. 106A to 106C show, respectively, an arcuate puzzle segment, being in the form of 1/6th of a sphere shell 10602, a rail 10604 for holding adjacent segments 10602 together, and a hexagonal peg 10606, for forming a sphere 10702 as shown in FIG. 107A. As shown in FIG. 106A, the segment 10602 has an outer layer 10602a and a narrower inner layer 10602b. The same sphere 10702 is shown in FIG. 107B with a top layers 10602a of the segments 10602 removed. FIG. 108A shows an inner ball 10802 of the sphere 10702, with the rails 10604 and pegs 10606 removed, whereas in FIG. 108A, only the “naked” rails and pegs are replaced, in the sense that the respective outer layers of the rails and pegs are removed for revealing the interior structure. The two pegs 10606 are fixed diametrically on the inner ball 10802, whereas the rails 10604 are movable relative to the inner ball 10802. A hemisphere made with three shells 10602 may thus revolve together with two rails 10604 engaged underneath.

As a further example, FIG. 109A shows a peg 10902 with a wider outer layer 10902a and a narrower inner layer 10902b fixedly secured with each other. FIG. 109B shows an arcuate puzzle segment shell 10904, being in the form of 1/6th of a sphere, which is slidable over and relative to the peg 10902. As shown in FIG. 109B, the segment shell 10904 has an outer layer 10904a provided with a hook portion 10904b at each longitudinal end.

FIG. 110A shows a sphere 11000 formed of six segment shells 10904 and six pegs 10902, and FIG. 110B shows the same sphere 11000 but with the outer layer 10904a of the segment shells 10904 removed, thus showing only the hook portion 10904b. FIG. 111A shows the same sphere 11000, but with three segment shells 10904 removed. As to FIG. 111B, such shows the inner ball 11100 with only the inner layers 10902b of the peg 10902 and the hook portions 10904b of the segment shells 10904. It can be seen that, by way of this arrangement, and with the pegs 10902 fixed on the inner ball 11100, and with one of the segment shells 10904 fixedly engaged with the inner ball 11100 or with the peg 10902 underneath it, the segments shells 10904 may be slidably movable relative to one another along their common surfaces.

FIG. 112A to 112F show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment shell 11200, being in the form of 1/4th of a hemisphere, with three tracks 11202 running on its inner surface and alongside its three sides. FIG. 113 shows a peg 11300, having a generally square base 11302 provided with four quarter-circle extensions 11304 each adjacent a corner of the base 11302. The extensions 11304 are sized and configured to be received within the tracks 11300 for relative sliding movement. By way of such an arrangement, and as shown in FIG. 114, it is possible to secure all eight segment shells 11200 on an inner ball 11400 by three pegs 11300 fixedly on the inner ball 11400, so that the segment shells 11200 may be moved relative to one another along their common surfaces. Of course, for better engagement between the inner ball 11400 and the segment shells 11200, more pegs 11300 may be provided.

As an alternative, rows of movable pegs 11300a may be provided, as shown in FIG. 115, between the fixed pegs 11300. As a further alternative, instead of having rows of movable pegs 11300a, a movable rail 11600 (as shown in FIG. 116B) may be positioned between two fixed pegs 11300 (as shown in FIG. 116A) for bridging the fixed pegs 11300. All the additional pegs 11300a and rails 11600 are not fixed on the inner ball 11400.

As a still further alternative, FIG. 117A shows an arrangement similar to that shown in FIG. 115, but with fixed pegs 11700 (as shown in FIG. 117B) having square extensions instead of quadrant extensions. Similarly, FIG. 118 shows the use of rails 11800 for bridging the fixed pegs 11700.

FIG. 119A shows a further arcuate puzzle segment shell 11900, being in the form of 1/4th of a hemisphere, and FIG. 119B shows a peg 11902. The segment shell 11900 has three tracks 11904 running along and parallel to the three sides of the segment shell 11900. The peg 11902 has a circular base 11906 and four quarter-circle extensions 11908. The peg 11902 and its extensions 11908 are sized and configured such that two parallel ridges 11910 lying side by side, one for each segment 11900, may be received within the spaces between the extensions 11908, and the extension 11908 may be received within the track 11904 for relative sliding movement.

Thus, as shown in FIG. 120, a puzzle sphere 12000 may be formed of an inner core globe 12002 fixed with a number of pegs 11902, over which are engaged with eight of the segment shells 11900. One of the segment shells 11900 may be fixed with the peg 11902 underneath it or with the inner ball 12002. Similar to the example discussed above, rows of pegs 11902a may be provided between the pegs 11902 (as shown in FIG. 121); or rails 12200 (as shown in FIG. 122B) may be provided between the pegs 11902 (as shown in FIG. 122A).

FIGS. 123A to 123E show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment shell 12300, being in the shape of 1/4th of a hemisphere; FIG. 124B shows a peg 12400; and FIG. 124C shows a rail 12402. It can be seen that on an inner surface of the segment shell 12300 are provided with three undercuts 12302, each running parallel to and alongside a side of the segment shell 12300. As to the peg 12400, there is a central square protrusion 12404 surrounded by four recesses 12406, each forming a track adapted to receive an undercut 12302 for relative sliding movement. As to the elongate rail 12402, such includes two parallel tracks 12408, each being of the same width as, and for alignment with, the recesses 12406 of the peg 12400. With the arrangement as shown in FIG. 124A, an inner ball 12410 is fixed with a number of pegs 12400 with the recesses facing the inner ball 12410. A number of rails 12402 are positioned between the pegs 12400 for bridging the pegs 12400. The segment shells 12300 may thus be engaged onto the inner ball 12410 by having the undercuts 12302 received within the recess of the pegs 12400 and the tracks 12408 for relative sliding movement.

FIGS. 125A to 125D show various views of an arcuate puzzle segment shell 12500, being in the shape of 1/4th of a hemisphere; FIGS. 126B and 126D show a rear perspective view and a front perspective view of a peg 12600; and FIG. 126C shows a rail 12602. As shown in FIG. 126A, an inner ball 12604 is fixed with a number of pegs 12600 with their respective intersecting recesses 12606 facing outwardly. The rails are positioned between and bridging the pegs 12600, with a central track 12608, also facing outwardly, and in alignment with the recesses 12606 of the pegs 12600. A number of continuous intersecting tracks are thus provided on the inner ball 12604. As to the segment shell 12500, such is provided with three ridges 12502, each running parallel to and along a respective side of the shell 12500. By way of such an arrangement, the shell 12500 may be engaged with the pegs 12600 and the rails 12602 for relative sliding movement.

Although the undercuts have thus far been shown as in a generally “L” shape, it is possible to have in the shape of a straight slope (as in the case of the arrangement shown in FIGS. 127A to 127D), a curved slope or an irregular slope.

In the examples discussed above, the arcuate puzzle segment shells, in the assembled puzzle, cover the pegs and the rails. It is, however, possible to add a raised rib on the rail (as shown in FIG. 128A), and a post on the peg (as shown in FIGS. 128B to 128D), so as to reveal the positions of the pegs and rails in the assembled puzzle sphere, as shown in FIGS. 129A and 129B. With sufficient rails and pegs, a puzzle globe (e.g. bearing a world map thereon) may be provided, as shown in FIGS. 130 and 131A to 131C, with the ribs being the longitudes and the equator. Such raised ribs and posts may be applied to other puzzles.

Instead of providing ribs or posts which extend beyond the outer surface of the segment shells in the assembled puzzle globe, it is possible to widen the post or ribs to form the puzzle globe 13200 as shown in FIGS. 132A to 132D. In this puzzle globe 13200, the pole positions 13202 are formed of two semicircles only. Similarly, such widened posts and ribs may be applied to other puzzles.

As a general summary, and as shown in the above examples, the pegs may be of a variety of shapes and configurations; the space between the pegs may be filled with pegs or rails; the undercuts may be provided by flanges extending inwardly or outwardly from the pegs; the undercuts may also be provided by flanges extending upwardly or downwardly from the segment shells; the undercuts may be of a generally “L” shape, a straight slope, a curved slope, or an irregular slope; a post may be provided on the peg; and a raised rib may be provided on the rail.

As a further embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 133A shows a fluted inner ball 13300 and an arcuate puzzle segment shell 13302, being in the form of a 1/6th of a sphere. It can be seen from FIG. 133B that a circular extension 13304 is provided on an inner surface of the shell 13303. FIG. 134A shows a puzzle sphere 13400 formed of the inner ball 13300 and six segment shells 13302. The same assembled puzzle sphere 13400 is shown in FIG. 134B, but with the outer shells removed, thus showing only the circular extensions 13304 only. It can be seen that the circular extensions 13304 are received within undercuts of the fluted inner ball 13300 for retaining the segments 13302 on the inner ball 13300 for relative movement.

As an alternative, the undercuts may be provided on the inner surface of the arcuate puzzle segment shell, and the pegs be provided on the surface of the inner ball, as shown in FIGS. 135A, 135B, 136A and 136B.

FIGS. 137A-D, 138A-D, 139A-D and 140A-D show various vessels/containers, each bearing a puzzle part. It is of course possible to form caps bearing a puzzle part. On the other hand, FIGS. 141A-D, 142A-D, 143A-D and 144A-D are modified versions of puzzles generated from previously discussed puzzles, but with different cutting planes.

It is possible to provide further layer(s) onto the puzzles so far discussed above. For example, FIGS. 145A and 145B show two exploded views of a puzzle. The core puzzle 14500 is the one as shown in FIGS. 142A-F. When the outer components are fixed (either releasably or not) onto the core puzzle 14500, such will form the puzzle as shown in FIGS. 143A to 143D.

The puzzle shown in FIGS. 146A-C is modified from the one shown in FIGS. 24A-C. FIG. 147 is an exploded view showing the addition of further components onto the puzzle in FIGS. 146A-C. With such an arrangement, it is possible to shape the further components such that the resultant puzzle resembles any desired shape or configuration, e.g. the head of an animal. In particular, FIGS. 145A-B and 147 thus show that puzzles according to the present invention may be snapped on with another outer layer which may be rather thick, so as to allow the resultant puzzle to be formed into various contours or animal shapes.

While various preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.

For example, the drawings in this presentation are conceptual drawings only. In actual design, clearance between components may be provided and various parts would be slightly rounded to prevent sharp corners, sharp edges, and the like. In addition, one can apply any combination of the above-discussed shapes into in an actual design. Moreover, if the puzzle components are too smooth for manipulation, the surface may be textured wherever necessary.





 
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