New Orleans, LA to Anchorage, AK
We are a small firm originally from New Orleans and since Hurricane Katrina have resided in Alaska. Our puzzles are designed using computer aided design (CAD) and are manufactured using state-of-the-art laser cutting, welding, and fabrication technology. Our puzzles are laser cut to tolerances of .004" and are then welded or fastened and hand polished to create a look and feel that is stunning to see and amazing to touch. Some are packaged in custom cases that compliment the unique nature of each item. Our puzzles are difficult to design and reproduce. Many of our puzzles are one-of-a-kind works of art that are wonderful to see and touch and come in varying sizes and levels of difficulty.
Level of Difficulty
Our puzzles are rated on a 1-5 scale of difficulty. Most puzzles have a unique solution. Many of the puzzles have no visual design on the surface of each piece. Many of the puzzles piecse hace an identical polished finish on each side so that each piece may be used on either side to complete the finished design. Many of the puzzles have identical interlocking pieces so that each piece may interlock with any other piece. All of this is to increase the level of difficulty.
Each puzzle has a laser etched serial number. Either that number is the puzzle series, or in the case of the one-of-a-kind puzzle, a unique number. This is to aid you in replacing puzzle pieces or solution maps.
Each puzzle comes with a solution map to help you correctly assemble the puzzle. The puzzle pieces on the solution maps are numbered and correspond to the hand-numbered pieces on most puzzles. If a puzzle is not hand-numbered it is because the pieces are too thin or only have a few pieces. If you lose your solution map, you can go to our web site and download a replacement by selecting your puzzle serial number.
If you happen to misplace a puzzle piece don’t worry. Replacement pieces are available for most puzzles that are not one-of-a-kind original art. Send us your puzzle serial number along with the piece number and we will manufacture a replacement piece for a resonable fee.
We have also begun to work with other artists. Our first addition to the puzzle stable is Aurora Sidney-Ando. Check out her work here:
We have begun working with Hope Community Resources in Anchorage, AK. Their special needs adults paint beautiful designs on old bed sheet material and we laminate them to acrylic sheet and cut them using one of our designs. Check out their work here:
Hope Community Resources
Diabolical Puzzles - “Devilishly Difficult”
New Orleans, Louisiana
by Scott Fredrickson, Owner/Artist
When I devised the idea to create highly complex puzzles made of stainless steel, I presented a wood prototype to a local machine shop in New Orleans and was told by the shop owner that the only way he could produce designs of such high precision was by using computer-aided design. I went to CAD school and had my initial design created, which I brought back to the same machine shop to have it cut from stainless steel. The shop owner informed me he would only cut the prototype in aluminum since stainless steel was a lot more difficult, and proceeded to charge me an arm and a leg. Upon completing the first puzzle, the machinist said he wouldn’t do the job again, it was too difficult.
Not being one to quit, I took the prototype and CAD design to ten more machine shops in Louisiana and was turned down by every one of them because the job was too difficult. I wanted .004" tolerance between puzzle pieces for a good, tight fit across the puzzle, plus a particular finish with no welding marks and, hopefully, square internal corners.
A person at one of the machine shops suggested I contact another shop because they were “artsy fartsy” and cut things with a laser. I met with them and began discussing the project. During these initial discussions I also decided to bid out the project to more than 40 laser shops across North America. Most of these shops did not even bid on the project because of its difficulty, and I rejected the other shops because they had no interest in making “art.”
For almost two years, designswere fed to this shop and the puzzles were cut and fabricated over and over until the desired tolerances, intricate fit between pieces and finish was created. The guys on the shop floor thought I was nuts for rotating each individual puzzle piece a different degree in the cutting skeleton. But they eventually saw how intricate the finished product looked, and then they understood.
Being an artist, I had no background in machine shop or lasers, but that actually worked to my advantage. Because I did not know the existing or perceived limitations of the equipment and methods, andI was able to ask innocent questions about why the puzzles couldn’t have a certain tolerance, a certain look or a certain finish. The initial answer was always, “It can’t be done, because we’ve never done that before.” But through hard work and innovation new techniques and methods to deliver a wonderful product that has not been duplicated anywhere else in the world was developed.
Since the initial design of the stainless steel puzzles, we have purchased our own laser to cut and fabricate the acrylic puzzles you see on our site.