Title:
Three dimensional puzzle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A three dimensional puzzle comprising a plurality of layers, at least one of the layers comprising a plurality of seperable pieces; the layers being arrangeable about an elongated former to provide a three dimensional sculpture, wherein each of the pieces individually locks by a locking means to the former to retain a spatial relationship with the former, such that correct assembly of the pieces around the former provides a recognizable entity.



Inventors:
Baruch, Erez (Rechovot, IL)
Application Number:
12/149140
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
04/28/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090189350ORIENTAL CHAIN-RING GAME CARD AND METHOD OF PLAYING THE SAMEJuly, 2009Chang
20090186675High / low card game with a featureJuly, 2009Elias et al.
20090166973Lucky pokyJuly, 2009Aguilera
20100090403PRESS-YOUR-LUCK CHALLENGEApril, 2010Miller et al.
20080111305GAMES WITH COMPONENT ELEMENTS HAVING A LUMINESCENT SURFACES ENABLING PLAY IN THE DARKMay, 2008London
20010017444Perfected gameAugust, 2001Guillen



Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Erez, Baruch (16 Habrigada Street, Rechovot, 76228, omitted)
Claims:
1. A three dimensional puzzle comprising a plurality of layers, at least one of said layers comprising a plurality of separable pieces; said layers being arrangeable about an elongated former to provide a three dimensional sculpture, wherein each of said pieces individually locks to said former by a locking means to retain a spatial relationship with said former, such that correct assembly of the pieces around the former provides a recognizable entity.

2. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former is attached to a base.

3. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 2 wherein said former is attachable to said base via a bearing allowing rotating movement between said former and said base.

4. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a plurality of slats arranged radially around a cylindrical hub and said locking means comprises a slot running along each of said pieces for slottingly engaging one of said slats.

5. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a plurality of equally spaced rods arranged around the circumference of a circle and said locking means comprises a protrusion that is wedgeably afixxable between a pair of said equally spaced rods to be gripped thereby.

6. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a plurality of equally spaced rods arranged around the circumference of a circle and said locking means comprises a pair of jaws for that are wedgeably clampable around one of said equally spaced rods for grippably engaging said rod.

7. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a plurality of spokes arranged around the circumference of a circle and said locking means comprises a pair of jaws for that is wedgeably clampable around one of said spokes for grippably engaging said spoke.

8. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a plurality of ferrous profiles arranged around the circumference of a circle and said locking means comprises a magnet that magentically engages one of said profiles.

9. The three dimensional puzzle of claim 1 wherein said former comprises a polygonal rod having outer faces therearound, said pieces have blunt inner corners having inner faces thereon having widths compatible with said outer faces of said polygonal rod, said locking means being a magnetic locking means, with at least one of said polygonal rod and said pieces being magnetic, and at least one of said polygonal rod and said pieces being magentically attractable.

10. The puzzle of claim 1, said recognizable entity being selected from the list of objects, representations of cartoon characters, likenesses to famous people, stereotypes and representations of animals.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to puzzles. In particular to three dimensional jigsaw puzzles.

BACKGROUND

Jigsaw puzzles are popular pastimes with young and old. They exercise the mental faculties and may have therapeutic and/or educational value.

Traditional jigsaws are created by cutting up two dimensional pictures into pieces. Complexity is added by having more and more pieces. However, jigsaws consisting of large number of pieces require large areas and tend to occupy the table top or work surface for extended periods. If the assembled jigsaw shows an interesting picture, there is little extra complexity involved in jigsaws having large numbers of pieces as the user initially sorts out the pieces into groups, breaking down the task into manageable components. Thus where a landscape picture is cut up into a jigsaw puzzle, the user will sort out the pieces into sky, grass, trees etc.

To add a further dimension to puzzles, three dimensional puzzles have been created.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,327,718 to Kassler and U.S. Pat. No. 2,399,599 to Owen disclose children's toys having stackable pieces but which do not involve piece sequencing. Many other issued patents also disclose a multi-piece toy, and different types and degrees of pattern recognition and pattern matching are involved.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,493,697 to Raczkowski describes a profile building puzzle comprising a plurality of layers wherein each layer slides over a central post. The individual layers may be puzzles themselves, comprising a plurality of pieces. However, the pieces in each layer do not individually engage the post.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,981,506 to Wayne and Brian describes a three dimensional relief that consists of a plurality of parallelepiped blocks having varying heights, planar sides and a curved upper surface, that are connected together by special pin and hole interlocks randomly spaced in predetermined locations to form a three dimensional puzzle with at least a curved upper surface. Two or more puzzles can be made by initially assembling the blocks into a polyhedron with six rectangular faces and sawing along a predetermined path to separate the polyhedron into individual puzzles. Complex shaped objects may be assembled from the pieces, but the puzzle is not a stacking puzzle having a central core.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,856,308 to Breslow and Dunn describes a Three Dimensional Game Apparatus comprising, in combination, an upright hollow column resembling an elevator shaft having indicia therealong representing a plurality of floors along the elevator shaft. There is a slot in the column at each floor. A plurality of playing pieces are positionable into said upright column, through the slots, each playing piece having indicia thereon correlated to at least one of said floors. A plunger is vertically movably mounted on said upright column and has a simulated elevator thereon for alignment with said floors. A plurality of instruction cards direct movement of the simulated elevator within the column. Transparent strips set in the column permit viewing of the position of the simulated elevator.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,259,804 to Samuels provides a toy with stackable facial-expression puzzles, and although its use helps develop pattern recognition and pattern matching skills, there is no requirement for particular pattern sequencing. U.S. Pat. No. 4,356,659 to Clarke teaches a take-apart doll that comprises a stackable three-dimension toy.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,104,345 to Lyman discloses a multi-piece toy that can be stacked in a three-dimension configuration.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,810,357 to Brink describes a stackable three dimensional toy for spatial learning for children that comprises molded cores having adjacent zones configured to correspond to unitary planar shape members that stack in predetermined sequence.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,165,689 to Forsse and Forsse describes a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle sculpture, that includes a frame which defines the shape of the sculpture, and a puzzle assembled to the frame. The frame has a three-dimensional configuration and includes a channel extending around the periphery of each frame section to hold the puzzle pieces in place. Each frame section provides a substantially planar surface circumscribed by a channel, which planar surface provides a support for the puzzle pieces. The planar surfaces include one or more apertures which are utilized to remove the puzzle pieces from the frame. Separable frame members are assembled to one another utilizing pin and hole interlocks. The three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle sculpture, when fully assembled, provides a decorative piece of art which may be subsequently disassembled and reassembled as desired. In this development, flat traditional two dimensional jigsaw pieces are assembled onto a three dimensional former.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,086 to Druckman and Hershkowits describes a sculpture puzzle which includes a base and a core which is attached to, and extends from, the base. The sculpture puzzle is constructed by sequentially mounting a number of planar segments to form a three dimensional figure.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,806,853 also to Druckman and Hershkowits describes a further sculpture puzzle which includes a base and a core which is attached to, and extends from, the base. The sculpture puzzle is constructed by sequentially mounting a number of planar segments to form a three dimensional figure. Here each layer simply slides over the core. In one embodiment, shown in FIG. 9 thereof, one or more layers may comprise two pieces that fit together around the core. To assemble the puzzle, the layers must be stacked from the base upwards.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,276,684 to Druckman, Hershkowits and Kishon also relates to a puzzle comprising a plurality of planar elements and a main core member. When the plurality of planar elements are assembled in a correct order then the planar elements together define a recognizable three-dimensional figure. In some aspects of the invention the planar elements comprise at least first and second sub-groups of planar elements. The first sub-group of planar elements are for assembly on the main core member. The assembled three-dimensional figure comprises a plurality of separately identifiable components. One of the components is defined totally by the second sub-group of planar elements and is an entity identifiable separately from the remainder of the assembled puzzle. In some embodiments the planar elements of the second sub-group are mounted on a branch core member. The planar elements of the second sub-group can be mounted on a branch core member so that they are not parallel to the planar elements of the first sub-group.

European Patent Application Number EP0877645A1 describes a puzzle toy which, when assembled, forms a three-dimensional figure or statue etc. Once again, this has core member and number of planar elements which are sequentially mounted on core member to form the figure.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,700,177 to Lemelson describes yet another stacked components assembly toy, for constructing a three-dimensional composite object as defined by the successive edges of a plurality of planar members stacked upon one another in a particular order. An axial structure such as a pair of rods is mounted to a base structure and passes through holes of each of the stacked members to align the holes of each such member and thereby fix its position and orientation. The toy may be provided as a puzzle with the user left to discover the particular order of stacking which results in the predetermined composite object, or each member may be labeled to indicate its stacking order.

United Kingdom Publication Number GB2357705A describes a three-dimensional sliding puzzle that involves the ordering of movable pieces until a recognizable or pre-defined, external pattern is successfully completed. The three-dimensional puzzle comprises a tracked inner core and a number of movable connected external pieces that have a recognizable display of colours, icons and/or patterns on the external surface of the moving pieces. The puzzle may be of a hand held size, and the movement of the external pieces may be facilitated by a system of grooved tracks into which the external pieces are connected by a protruding stem whose end can be fashioned so that it fits into the grooved tracks on the inner core, allowing the external moving pieces to be permanently attached yet capable of moving around the inner core. The external movable pieces can be moved around the grooved tracks of the inner core to allow the correct alignment of the colours and or patterns on the external surface. The course of the grooved tracks (FIG. 5, 9) over the inner core may be altered so that the difficulty of the puzzle can be increased or decreased. Here the puzzle is one of sliding pieces around a frame to produce an image, rather than a construction puzzle for assembling separate pieces.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,513,970 to Opresco et al. describes a three dimensional amusement puzzle having eight outer bodies rotatably connected via magnets to a spherical core. This Polymorphic twist puzzle has eight outer bodies or blocks that may be rotated, four at a time, about any one of three axes, so that different shapes may be presented in different combinations of said outer bodies. The outer bodies present a desired shape, such as an egg, sphere, clown's head or other desired shape only when the outer bodies are in proper combination. The outer bodies revolve about a spherical core, and are releasably maintained assembled about said core by magnetic means on the adjoining surfaces of the outer bodies.

World Publication Number WO2002/07835 to Song et al. describes a cubic puzzle structure for developing an intellectual faculty of infants or children through assembling puzzles or games in a three dimensional space. A cubic body is laterally cut into a lot of slices and each hole is formed at the center of each slice to be aligned with a long z-axis on the sustaining board. These slices can be stacked one by one through the hole and z-axis on the sustaining board, finally reaching the original complete unit. In addition, drawings or character letters are printed on the surface of cubic body or slices to enhance one's imagination or help assembling. In addition, the number of z-axis can be easily extended into more than one z-axis to add more interests or increase level of difficulty, where each slice is segmented again into smaller sectors which forms a separate unit of puzzle on every level of slice. Here, each piece has a hole therethrough for threading over a peg in turn. Optionally a number fo parralel pegs are provided, and each slice comprises a plurality of pieces that each slide over one of the pegs. The puzzle must be assembled from the base upwards, one layer at a time by threading over the pegs.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,858 to Nix describes deformable foam toys and puzzles wherein novel resilient foam puzzles can be removed from puzzle form and converted into a three dimensional objects, such as toy foam animals. The objects preferably include interchangeable parts, and more preferably include articulating appendages which are interchangeably attachable to a body portion at pivot structures that are affixed to, or which extend thru, the body portions. Preferably, pivot structures are formed by resilient foam pivot pins having deformable retaining caps at opposing ends thereof, which, in the case of foam animals, serve to retain articulating limbs. Alternately, a hex-shaped socket aperture defined by a wall edge portion is provided as a joint socket in one or more of the limbs, and a parallepiped, and preferably an elongated rectangular shoulder pin or hip pin is provided for displaceable frictional engagement with the hex shaped socket to articulate the limbs to desired positions. In animal form, such foam articles provide an interesting, attention focusing toy for children. Various designs can be used to increase the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The toys can be made in the shape and size appropriate to suggest any desired objects or animal species. The design provides an interesting novel structure for assembling toy animals.

United Kingdom Publication Number UK 2,333,717 describes yet another stacking puzzle.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,655,685 to Tsai describes yet another three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Here, the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle includes a three-dimensional core body having a vertical axis and including a plurality of stackable block units formed by cutting the core body along a plurality of transverse cutting planes that are transverse to the vertical axis. Each of the block units has top and bottom surfaces which are opposite to each other in a vertical direction that is parallel to the vertical axis, and includes at least two block members formed by cutting each of the stackable block units along at least one vertical cutting plane that is parallel to and that passes through the vertical axis. A plurality of interlocking members are disposed to interlock removably an adjacent pair of the block units. Essentially, each piece has a peg protruding therefrom which engages a corresponding socket in adjacent pieces. The central pole is dispensed with and one can start assembly from any position, building upwards or downwards. Each piece is attached to its neighbours.

World Publication Number WO2004/039465 to Bouchard et al. describes a puzzle device having a shaft member and a number of adjacent like wheels rotatably mounted onto the shaft member. A number of tiles are distributed over peripheral surfaces of the wheels and slideably mounted on them for lateral sliding from one of the wheels to an adjacent wheel provided that the adjacent wheel has a space adapted to slideably receive the tile and that the tile is properly aligned with the space. The tiles bear indicia determining desired final puzzle positions over the cylindrical puzzle surface defined by the peripheral surfaces of the wheels. Pin and slot arrangements interconnect the wheels for communicating rotation from one of the wheels to all immediately adjacent wheels whenever the concerned wheel is rotated past a specific rotation angle. This type of puzzle is not a jigsaw type puzzle of seperable pieces at all.

World Publication Number WO2004/0123500 to Lau relates to a three-dimensional puzzle hanging ornament comprising a ring, a bolt, a hanging ornament body and a layer of puzzle pieces. The hanging ornament body is three-dimensional in shape and has a round opening with screw threads inside. The front end of the bolt has screw threads. The surface of the front end of the bolt is made of magnet. The surface of the hanging ornament body, onto which the puzzle pieces are attached, is magnetic. The present invention is portable, with pieces not easily fallen off and is convenient to play with. As the present invention is three-dimensional in shape, it has higher entertainment and aesthetic value than conventional two-dimensional puzzles. The present invention can serve as a dual-purpose entertainment and ornamental object, the appearance of which is attractive and decorative. This is in contrast to conventional puzzles, which only serve a single gaming purpose. Here the pieces are essentially a three dimensional shell, such as the outer layer of a ball that has been cut into two dimensional jigsaw puzzle piece. These fit onto a magnetic core that holds the pieces in place.

Japanese Publication Number JP 07155460A2 describes a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle of iron and on which press molding and painting processing are performed, on a core material composed of a magnet.

United States Published Application Number US20030168804A1 describes a three-dimensional puzzle that includes a three-dimensional core body having a vertical axis and including a plurality of stackable block units formed by cutting the core body along a plurality of transverse cutting planes that are transverse to the vertical axis. Each of the block units has top and bottom surfaces which are opposite to each other in a vertical direction that is parallel to the vertical axis, and includes at least two block members formed by cutting each of the stackable block units along at least one vertical cutting plane that is parallel to and that passes through the vertical axis. A plurality of interlocking members are disposed to interlock removably an adjacent pair of the block units.

Despite the developments described above and the many patents in this crowded field there is still a demand for further puzzles that are challenging and fun, and the present invention addresses this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an aim of the invention to provide a three dimensional puzzle form assembling a three dimensional image from a plurality of pieces arranged in layers round a former, such that any piece may be attached to the former so as to maintain its orientation and position with respect to the former, without first laying down supporting layers.

In a first aspect, the present invention is directed to providing a three dimensional puzzle comprising a plurality of layers, at least one of said layers comprising a plurality of seperable pieces; said layers being arrangeable about an elongated former to provide a three dimensional sculpture, wherein each of said pieces individually lock by a locking means to said former to retain a spatial relationship with said former, such that correct assembly of the pieces around the former provides a recognizable entity.

Typically the former is attached to a base. Preferably via a bearing allowing rotating movement between said former and said base.

In one family of embodiments, the former comprises a plurality of slats arranged radially around a cylindrical hub and the locking means comprises a slot running along each of said pieces for slottingly engaging one of said slats.

In another family of embodiments, the former comprises a plurality of equally spaced rods arranged around the circumference of a circle and the locking means comprises a protrusion that is wedgeably afixxable between a pair of said equally spaced rods to be gripped thereby.

In yet another family of embodiments, the former comprises a plurality of equally spaced rods arranged around the circumference of a circle and the locking means comprises a pair of jaws that are wedgeably clampable around one of the equally spaced rods for grippably engaging the rod.

In still yet another family of embodiments, former comprises a plurality of spokes arranged around the circumference of a circle and the locking means comprises a pair of jaws for that is wedgeably clampable around one of said spokes for grippably engaging said spoke.

In yet a further family of embodiments, former comprises a plurality of ferrous profiles arranged around the circumference of a circle and the locking means comprises a magnet that magentically engages one of said profiles.

The puzzle may, when assembled, resemble any recognizable entity, such as a common object, a representation of a cartoon character, a likenesse of a bust of a person, such as a famous person or a stereotype or an animal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

For a better understanding of the invention and to show how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, purely by way of example, to the accompanying drawings.

With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention; the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice.

In particular, it will be noted that the designs for the individual puzzles are by way of example only, and that the actual puzzles may take almost any form.

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is an isometric projection of a car puzzle that consists of a horizontal car constructed around a horizontal former attached to a base;

FIG. 2 is an isometric projection showing a child assembling a disassembled puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an isometric projection of a partially assembled puzzle of FIG. 1 angled to the base by rotation of the former around its support;

FIG. 4 is a schematic cross section through one layer of a generalized embodiment of the invention, having eight pieces in each layer, the former comprising eight slats radiating from a hub and a plurality of 45° wedge shaped pieces, each having a slot that engages one of the slats of the former;

FIG. 5 is a schematic cross section through one layer of another generalized embodiment of the invention, having four pieces in each layer, the former comprising four slats radiating from a hub and a plurality of 90° wedge shaped pieces, each having a slot that engages one of the slats of the former;

FIG. 6 is a schematic cross section through one layer of a further generalized embodiment of the invention, having eight pieces in each layer, the former comprising eight parallel wires/rods arranged around the circumference of a circle to form an octacubical framework, and a plurality of 45° wedge shaped pieces, each having a slot that engages one of the wires/rods of the former;

FIG. 7 is a schematic cross section through one layer of another generalized embodiment of the invention, having four pieces in each layer, the former comprising four ferrous slats radiating from a hub and a plurality of 90° wedge shaped pieces, each having magnetic inserts that wedge between the ferrous slats and engage them by virtue of the magnets;

FIG. 8 is a schematic cross section through one layer of yet another generalized embodiment of the invention, again having four pieces in each layer. In this case, the former has a polygonal cross section. Each wedge shaped piece, has a magnetic insert in a short end thereof, that magnetically engages the former;

FIG. 9 is an isometric projection of a globe, having eight pieces in each layer, the former comprising eight parallel wires/rods arranged around the circumference of a circle to form an octacubical framework, and a plurality of 45° wedge shaped pieces, each having a pair of notches in tapering walls thereof, the wedge shaped piece for wedging between a pair of adjacent parallel wires/rods and the pair of notches for engaging the pair of adjacent wires/rods of the former;

FIG. 10 is a schematic cross section through one layer of a further generalized embodiment of the invention, having four pieces in each layer, the former comprising eight parallel wires/rods arranged around the circumference of a circle to form an octacubical framework, and a plurality of 90° wedge shaped pieces, each having a tongue that is wedgeable between a pair of adjacent wires/rods to engages the piece onto the former;

FIG. 11 is an isometric projection of further generalized embodiment of the invention, that consists of base having a central peg extending perpendicularly therefrom, and having a plurality of disks extending periodically from the peg, such that a layer of pieces having slots therein, slottingly engage each disk to form a layer of the puzzle;

FIG. 12 is a schematic elevation of an assembled teddy bear puzzle comprising a plurality of pieces arranged in layers around a central pillar extending from a base, the pillar being connected to the base by a bearing allowing free rotation therearound, and

FIG. 13 is a schematic elevation of an assembled crouching cat puzzle comprising a plurality of pieces arranged in layers around a central pillar extending at an angle from a base, the pillar being connected to the base by a bearing allowing free rotation therearound.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to three dimensional puzzles that may be assembled from separable pieces. There are many such puzzles in the prior art, however, the present invention differs from those known to the inventors in that each piece is separately attachable to a former or core, and individually engages the former or core, such that the position and orientation of the piece with respect to the former or core is fixed, regardless of whether neighbouring pieces are in position or otherwise.

By way of example, with reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a car puzzle 10 is shown. The car puzzle 10 is assembled around a former 12 from a plurality of pieces 14A-14N. The former 12 fits onto a support 16 that is connected to a base 18, such that, with particular reference to FIG. 3, former 12 is free to rotate around support 16, allowing puzzle to be tilted or rotated.

With reference to FIG. 3, in one embodiment, former 12 comprises a plurality of slats 12A-12I that run along axis X-X of the former 12 and extend radially from the hub 20 (FIG. 2) that slips over the support 16. Each piece 14n has a slit Sn therealong which can slip over and engage one of the slats 12A-12I. Thus piece 14J has a slit Sj that slots onto slat 12A of former 12. By constructing pieces 14A-14n from a resilient material such as polystyrene or polypropylene, the slot Sn of each piece 14n can be pressed onto a slat 12A-12n and will engagingly grip same. In this manner, the individual pieces 14A-14n can be indivually positioned or repositioned in any position on former 12.

With reference to FIG. 4, each piece 114n may be wedge shaped, the former 112 may comprise eight elongated slats 112A-112H that radiate from a central hub 120, so for example, slot S114 may engagingly clip onto slat 112A and piece 114A will thereby engage slat 112A and be held to hub 120 thereby.

The number of slats may vary considerably between embodiments, depending on the complexity of the puzzle and the degree of intended difficulty of its assemblage. In FIG. 5 for example, four such slats 312A-312D are provided, and each layer of the puzzle will include only four pieces 314A-314D.

As shown in FIG. 6, in another embodiment, the former 520 comprises a plurality of parrallel wires or rods 412A-412H. The slat in each piece 414A-414H clips over the rod in the same way as it clips over the slats in previos embodiments, mutatis mutandis.

With reference to FIG. 7, the former 620 may comprise metallic slats, and the pieces 614A-614D may slip between the slats and be held in place by magnetic inserts 630. In other embodiments, the pieces could have ferrous inserts, and the former could be magnetic, or, indeed both former and inserts could be magnetic, of opposing polarities.

Referring to FIG. 8, magnetic inserts 670 set in the blunted inner corner of a wedged shaped pieces 660A-D may be utilized with a polygonal former 650, in this case, four such wedge shaped pieces may magnetically engage sides 651A-D of a square poygonal former 650. As described hereinabove, with reference to FIG. 7, mutatis mutandis, in other embodiments, the former 650 might be magnetic and the wedge shaped pieces 660 might be ferrously attracted to the magnetic former, or both former 650 and inserts 670 might be oppositely poled magnets. Obviously, the former may be magnetic.

With reference to FIG. 9, in yet another embodiment, the former once again comprises a plurality of paralel rods or wires 820, and the internal sides 814A-814N of each wedge shaped piece 826 have notches 830 for aiding their wedging between the rods or wires, each wire/rod 820 may engage pieces on each side, along its length, or, as shown in FIG. 10, in a further embodiment that is a variation of this system, the rods 822 may be arranged in pairs 822A-B, 823A-B, 524A-B, 825A-B each pair 822A-B only engaging one piece 827 in each layer. In both cases the pieces 826, 827, may, if correctly oriented, simply clicking into place between the rod/wires.

With reference to FIG. 11, in yet another embodiment, the former 1020 may comprises a rod having a plurality of disks 1030 therearound that are substantially perpendicular thereto. Each piece 1014 in each layer may slip onto one of these disks 1030. A slit 1040 in the piece 1014 wedgably engaging the disk.

There are thus several locking means by which each of the pieces may individually lock onto a former to retain a spatial relationship therewith.

Although, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the pieces of the puzzle may be fairly chunky for assembling by a child, and will typically be fabricated from expanded polypropylene foam or the like, in other embodiments, the pieces may be die cast from metal to produce a small, high quality executive toy, for example.

As shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 3, the former may be configured parralel to a base and the puzzle may be assembled around a horizontal axis, or as shown in FIG. 12, the former 1120 may be configured perpendicular to the base and the puzzle may be assembled around a vertical axis. Indeed, as shown in FIG. 13, in other embodiments the former 1220 may be angled to the base at any other angle, between the horizontal and the vertical.

The assembled puzzle may have 2 or more pieces per layer. The layers may have two parralel surfaces that are perpendicular to the former, or may not be parralel. The assembled puzzle may produce a very wide range of characters or objects.

Preferably, the former may be rotated around its axis, but this is not necessarily so.

The puzzle may, when assembled, resemble any recognizable entity, such as a common object, a representation of a cartoon character, a likenesse of a bust of a person, such as a famous person, a stereotype or an animal.

Thus persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and includes both combinations and sub combinations of the various features described hereinabove as well as variations and modifications thereof, which would occur to persons skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description.

In the claims, the word “comprise”, and variations thereof such as “comprises”, “comprising” and the like indicate that the components listed are included, but not generally to the exclusion of other components.





 
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