Sonoma Puzzle/Sculpture

George Hart

I spent a few days with George Miller in Sonoma, CA, in August 2009.  We thought it would be fun to work together with some of my software and some of his hardware to whip up a new puzzle/sculpture design. Since George has a laser-cutter, we were able to design this, fabricate the parts, and assermble it, all in half a day. Above is the final result, which, for lack of a more creative name, I am calling Sonoma.  It consists of twelve foam parts and twelve acrylic spheres, all arranged with an icosahedral structure.  The nice two-tone effect comes about because the foam is a darker blue on the laser-cut edges.

This is the design for each of the identical twelve parts. They touch each other only at their tips.

I was there in part to give a talk at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, where George had co-curated an exhibit
 that included some of my work. A large version of Frabjous that George laser-cut was used on the poster.

Above is a computer-rendering of the design.  Maybe it looks easy to you, but it is quite a knot to put together.

Here I am starting on it.  Stan Isaacs is visiting too and is great with puzzles.

It took a lot of wriggling (and a secret paper cup technique) for us to get all the overs and unders
properly worked out.  (You can also see a hint of George Miller at left in this image.)

It's a type of design that falls completely apart unless the last piece is in place to lock everything together.

To hold it together securely as a sculpture, I superglued acrylic balls into the five-fold joints.
When complete, I donated Sonoma to the Museum to auction off as a fundraiser.  It
is now in the collection of Bret Seligman, who I also thank for taking these photos.
And a big thank you to George Miller for hosting me and initiating all this excellent fun.