Custom Puzzle Designers
The original Rubik’s Cube, released back in 1980, has not only been a challenge too difficult for most, it has also created hobbies and interests previously impossible, for example puzzle designing. There is no limit on how strange and intricate a new puzzle can be. It can have so many layers it can barely fit together or be a different shape, each preventing a different type of challenge altogether. Here are a few people who are best known for their puzzle creations, some of which have grown to similar popularities as the original.
Uwe Mèffert is a German puzzle designer who, in the 1970’s, created some puzzle similar to Rubiks’ original 3×3 prototype using wood and rubber bands, for his own amusement. He convinced himself that they wouldn’t be worth anything and only dug them back out in 1981 after the original Rubik’s Cube had broken records. He took his designs to a toymaker who agreed to market his puzzles. His most popular puzzle is the Pyraminx, selling millions of pieces in the first few years. He also invented the Skewb puzzle and independently invented the Megaminx at the same time as another puzzle designer.
Fisher, a British puzzle designer, became interested in the cube along with many others back when it was released in 1980. In 1981 he modified two Rubik’s Cubes by joining them, creating a Siamese Cube, a popular puzzle today. He is best known for the Fisher Cube 3×3 shape mod and various cuboid shaped puzzles with different layer numbers, such as the 3x3x4, 2x3x4 and 3x3x5. In the early 2000s he released the first puzzle in which the solver had to rely on shape to solve it instead of sticker colours (such as the Mirror Cube today). This puzzle was mass produced by Uwe Mèffert. Fisher also invented the current world’s Largest Rubik’s Cube, standing at 1.57mx1.57xm1.57m.
Oskar Van Deventer (Netherlands) is one of the most well-known puzzle designers in the world other than Rubik himself, known mostly for his 3D printed puzzle innovations. He is most famous for his “Over-The-Top” 17x17x17 Rubik’s Cube, which held the World Record for the Highest Order Puzzle. The puzzle is available for purchase on Shapeways, along with many of his other puzzles. He uploads regular videos to his YouTube channel, showing off different puzzles that he has created and documenting progress during the creation of these puzzles.
Van Deventer also invented the Gear Cube, originally called the Caution or Danger Cube due to the risk of catching your fingers within the gears, a puzzle that has gear shaped pieces that twist in place when the cube is turned. He has also produced many different variations of the Gear cube, such as the Gear Cube Extreme, the Gear Shift and Gear Mixup puzzles. Uwe Mèffert has mass produced many of Van Deventer’s designs. Another popular puzzle of Oskar’s is the “Oskar’s Treasure Chest”, a hollow version of the standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube which, upon solving, can be opened up to reveal a small compartment for storing objects or a gift.