Computational Design of Generalized Centrifugal Puzzles

Naoki Kita
Takafumi Saito

SMI 2020

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Mechanical puzzles have fascinated many people for a long time. While some puzzles require complex procedures to solve, there are puzzles that can be solved easily if the solver understands the underlying mechanism. In this paper, we focus on mechanical puzzles that can be solved by spin such that centrifugal force is applied to the internal mechanical core to unlock the locked state. While traditional centrifugal puzzles are limited to simple shapes, we propose a computational design method to generalize such puzzles by embedding the mechanical core into 3D models. We parameterize the internal core mechanism and optimize the design under several design constraints, and we generate a support structure that helps users solve puzzles easily because generalized puzzles cannot always be spun steadily and easily due to complex surfaces and non-flat contact areas. Additionally, we embed multiple cores into a model. To solve a multi-core puzzle, the user must follow certain orders to unlock each locking mechanism. We fabricate a variety of designed puzzles and demonstrate whether they can be physically unlocked.


Fabrication results
Another fabrication results



This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant number 19K24338.


  title = "Computational design of generalized centrifugal puzzles",
  journal = "Computers & Graphics",
  volume = "90",
  pages = "21 - 28",
  year = "2020",
  issn = "0097-8493",
  doi = "",
  url = "",
  author = "Naoki Kita and Takafumi Saito",
  keywords = "Computational design, Digital fabrication, Puzzles",