Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Petite Passel of Puzzles – 2D Packers

Petite Passel of 2D Packing Puzzles

I recently received a passel of 2D packing puzzles from a very generous member on the Mechanical Puzzles Discord (MPD).  These puzzles make great fidget toys when on the phone.  On a recent call, I found that I went through 5 of them in rapid succession.  To be completely honest, I was pulling the ones that looked easiest while on the phone.  The days of deluding myself by thinking that I can focus on 2 things at the same time have passed.

The puzzles of the petite passel of 2D Packers described here have several things in common.  The goal is to place a set of pieces that lay flat within a frame with a restricted opening top.  They are made from layers of laser-cut acrylic and the frames are held together in the corners by metal hardware.  Each puzzle has its own unique set of identical pieces.  


Doheny by Haym Hirsh
Doheny was designed by Haym Hirsh and made by NothingYetDesigns.  Of the petite passel, this one had the best construction with 2 layers of extra thick green acrylic topped with a thinner piece of clear acrylic.  The layers of acrylic are held together by hex socket bolts with capped hex nuts on the bottom to provide a nice set of legs that won’t scratch furniture.  Small washers are included both on top and bottom.  A slightly thicker washer is included between the clear and green acrylic layers to ensure that the pieces can move freely under the acrylic top once they are inserted.  The 6 pieces to be inserted were made with thick white acrylic to provide a nice contrast with the green frame.  I really like that the name, designer, and shop logo are engraved on the bottom of the clear acrylic.  I don’t know the genesis of the puzzle’s name, but I’m sure that there is a reason for it.  If you know or have a guess, you can include it in a comment.

At first glance, this puzzle looked like it would be the most difficult of the group and in fact it was, but none of these puzzles provided a difficult challenge.  Pretty soon after looking at the pieces and the space that they needed to occupy, I came up with a way to lay them out.  It was a simple matter to then insert the pieces.


C-It by Haym Hirsh
C-It was designed by Haym Hirsh and made by NothingYetDesigns.  The construction is similar to Doheny except that the hardware is black instead of silver and the only washers used were the 4 for the layer spacing.  The top screws also have a lower profile.  C-It was made with a blue frame and black pieces with very little contrast between them.  The name for this puzzle is a bit more obvious than Doheny.  If you can’t see it, look at the pieces and the frame again.  The solve is straight-forward and due to the symmetry of the pieces you don’t even have to worry about putting them in upside-down.  This puzzle is still available at NothingYetDesigns for you to seize it.


Eloquint by Haym Hirsh
Eloquint was designed by Haym Hirsh and made by NothingYetDesigns.  Unlike the prior 2 NothingYetDesigns puzzles, all 3 layers of the frame use thin red acrylic and the hex nuts on the bottom were open and not capped.  The pieces were in light blue.  The name of the puzzle and designer are engraved on the bottom without the NothingYetDesigns logo.

I solved this one and thought the solution was trivial.  So I did what any experienced puzzler would do and doubted that I solved it correctly.  Working at it a bit longer, I found a more complex solution (not to be confused with a complex solution) that I suspect is the intended solution.  The trivial solution resulted from the extra space introduced by the spacers, which allowed for unintended piece movements.  

My favorite part of this puzzle is the name and I find it a shame when I see descriptions of this puzzle referring to the 5 V pentominoe pieces.

Skinny and Fat Lightning?

Skinny and Fat Lightning?
Unfortunately, I received these puzzles second-hand and have no information on them including names, designers, creators, and shops.  How embarrassing!  My guess is that the information is the same for both since the construction looks similar.  The major difference between them is that one has a green frame with brown pieces and the other has a brown frame with blue pieces.  All of the frame layers use the same thin acrylic.  The tolerances on both were well done to allow the movements required to solve the puzzle.  The hardware used to fasten the frame layers used simple phillips head screws and hex nuts.  Unfortunately, some of the screws stick out on the bottom and have sharp edges that will scratch furniture if you’re not careful.  Unlike the NothingYetDesigns puzzles, spacer washers are placed between the 2 colored layers of acrylic instead of between the clear and colored layers of acrylic.  I noticed that this had the benefit of keeping dust and other particles from getting between the clear and colored layers.

It’s obvious that I took great liberties in providing names for this description.  My apologies to all parties concerned.  If you have any information on these puzzles, please post it in the comments.

Neither of these puzzles will stump you for long and they both provide a similar experience.  Lightning only strikes once and after you solve one, the other will lack the same impact.  If you get both, I would recommend avoiding solving them at the same time.


  1. Three blue pieces in black frame = Bolted 1.
    Three black pieces in green frame = Bolted 2.
    (Missing: four green pieces in blue frame = Bolted 3.)
    Designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Rex from the Philippines, some time between November 2020 and July 2021. All good puzzles, fine to share with novices. I thought the experience of each puzzle was different enough that they could be satisfyingly solved in one sitting.
    And yes, be careful not to scratch any table. A tray or a cloth mat is definitely needed.
    Cheers! -Tyler

    1. Thank you for solving that mystery Tyler. That makes it a complete sweep for Haym.