8 L-ements

Posted on by Gabriel | 3 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
The 8 L-ements is a very interesting Assembly/Packing wooden puzzle invented by Prof. Rick Eason and manufactured exclusively at Puzzle Crafthouse (a.k.a Creative Crafthouse). It's dimensions are 9x9x9cm (about 3.5"). The inventor also has two other related puzzles, the Nine L-ements and the Seven L-ements.

As the name suggests, there are eight L-shaped pieces, all dissimilar and with different widths. Saying that all pieces resemble the letter L is a bit of a stretch, though, but you get the idea, as they all make a right angle like an L. The puzzle also reminds me of George Bell's Nine Bed Nightmare, because of the same type of L-shaped pieces.

The pieces can be divided into two main groups. One group has four one-unit thick pieces that can range between four and eight units in area. The other group has four two-unit thick pieces, and these can be between six and sixteen units in area.

The main goal of the 8 L-ements puzzle is to assemble a 4x4x4 cube. There's only one solution to accomplish this, excluding rotations. In order to practice, you can also build many other rectangular shapes from three to seven pieces. Including with the puzzle is an instruction sheet with 40 challenges and their respective number of available solutions.

(Click to Enlarge) - The 8 Ls

I have solved several of the secondary challenges and they're all relatively easy to solve, and most of them have multiple solutions. You can also see in my photos, at the end of the post, one challenge example per number of pieces: 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The alternative challenges are a great way to practice how the pieces interact with each other, but at the same time gives you many more reasons to keep puzzling.

The real trouble is assembling the puzzle with all of its eight pieces, which took more time than I would've expected, being that it's rated by Puzzle Crafthouse as a level 3 (out of 5+). I received the puzzle over a month ago and have been trying on and off since then, until I finally solved it last weekend. I can't really say why it took longer to solve, but sometimes puzzles have this way of being harder than expected, which might not be a bad thing if you don't get easily frustrated...

Update: I've been informed that the 8 L-ements puzzle is in fact a level 4 puzzle and not a 3 like it was described in Puzzle Crafthouse's website. This has now been corrected.

The 8 L-ements puzzle is available at Puzzle Crafthouse for an affordable $20 USD.

Closing Comments:

I enjoyed playing with the 8 L-ements very much. It did take a little more time to solve than I would've liked, but I din't mind, because I could solve its many other challenges in between sessions. Despite being easier than the main task, the secondary challenges are a very welcome addition to the puzzle, expanding its lasting appeal. Given the fact that many of these challenges have dozens and even hundreds of possible solutions, there's plenty to keep you entertained for weeks to come. Great to keep around in a desk for when you're bored.

Alternative Challenges:

(Click to Enlarge) - 3 Pieces form a 2x3x3

(Click to Enlarge) - 4 Pieces form a 3x3x4

(Click to Enlarge) - 5 Pieces form a 2x3x5

(Click to Enlarge) - 6 Pieces form a 3x4x4

(Click to Enlarge) - 7 Pieces form a 3x3x6


George said...

Very nice! I bought the "Seven Elements" from Rick, it is a great puzzle. He does not glue blocks together to make his L's but saws them from a solid block of Maple. This makes for very nice looking pieces.

When I invented the "Nine Bed Nightmare", I was not aware of any of Rick's designs! Fortunately, it is not similar to any of them.

Gabriel said...

I did notice that his pieces were very well made. The copy I have from Puzzle Crafthouse does have two parts glued into a piece, though, but it's still a great puzzle.

George said...

Gluing two wood blocks together is the normal way to make these pieces. Cutting the L from a single chunk is tricky. If you cut too deep it will leave a line, too shallow and there will be a rough bit where it breaks off. That is why Rick's puzzles are more expensive than those from Creative Crafthouse!

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