Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Where Does that F’n Piece Go! - Melting F

Melting F by George Bell
When the puzzle arrived, it had pieces nicely packed in a display case.  On close inspection, the packing appeared trivial.  I was able to take them out, mix them up, and put them back into the display case easily.  I also discovered that there were many solutions.  It will be a couple of years before this one will stump me – hopefully.

Hold on – there’s another piece in the shipping box that it came in.  Surely, it doesn’t go in the case with the other 9 pieces.  Since it’s bigger and oddly shaped, maybe it’s supposed to replace one or two of the other pieces.  However, having worked with a puzzle or two and the fact that the word melting is in the name, I suspected that the additional piece had to be crammed in the case with the other pieces.  You may be tempted to just torch that F’n piece and drip it in between the other pieces, but as puzzlers we’re all about doing things the hard way.

Melting F was made by geometric puzzle packing genius, George Bell, and was his entry in the 2020 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.  This new design is a truncated rhombic dodecahedra packing exercise.  The puzzle consists of 10 3-D printed pieces that need to be packed within a clear acrylic display case.  The 9 identical blue pieces are made from 3 truncated rhombic dodecahedra while the single F piece is made from 5.  You have to squint really hard to convince yourself it looks like an F.

Melting F Pieces
The initial step with these types of puzzles is to determine the type of packing used – in this case, how the truncated rhombic dodecahedra are oriented within the space defined by the display case.  This then defines how the pieces can be oriented within the case.  Then comes the hard part – determining where the pieces have to go.  Although this is not overly difficult, it does take some experimentation to find the solution.

I liked the fact that nine of the pieces were simple identical shapes.  It drops the level of complexity and makes the design approachable for any level of puzzler.  It also displays nicely in the clear acrylic display case.  Melting F can be acquired from George’s PolyPuzzles Etsy Shop when in stock.