I wanted to try my hand at designing a hidden maze and I also know a guy who can do laser cutting and familiar with the puzzles (packing ones) that he has been churning out for me. It was also an opportunity to try out Burr Tools for this design...a puzzle with only ONE moving piece.
Basically the Naked Maze consists of 3 layers of 10mm thick acrylic (plexiglass) that is glued together and these 3 are sandwiched by a 3mm top and 3mm bottom translucent coloured layer. Each of the 3 main layers have maze channels cut into it and the combination of the 3 layers results in both horizontal and vertical channels throughout the "box".
The maze has a number of twists and turns and in this first prototype, there are about 12 dead-ends. The object is to pass a ball bearing through the hole in the green layer, navigate and exit the ball from the hole in the orange layer. For this puzzle, I used a 9.5mm ball bearing that is heavy enough and fits very nicely inside the channels.
I know how the channels run (cos I designed them) so it wasn't difficult for me to navigate the ball to the exit rather quickly. I am curious to see how another puzzler or non-puzzler would perform, so this coming weekend, I will try it on some unsuspecting friends and also ask award-winning puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam to have a go at it when we next catch up. My next prototype will be a 4 layer maze which should make it even more challenging, particularly if its a blacked-out totally blind one.
And did I mention its really cool to see the solve on Burr Tools...as you watch a little cube (representing the ball bearing), going in one hole and out the exit, racing through the channels using the shortest route possible!