Put-Together - Six Block, Six Step Puzzle

Six Block, Six Step Puzzle
Larger Photograph (72.5K)

Six Block, Six Step Puzzle
Designer:Thomas H. O'Beirne
Craftsman:Tom Lensch (1st)
Trevor Wood (2nd))
Material:Mahogany (Pieces) & Walnut (Box)
Partrige Wood (Pieces), Bubinga & Mexican Walnut (Box)
Pieces:6, plus the box

The design for this puzzle was published by Thomas H. O'Beirne in the New Scientist (Number 224) March 2, 1961. His objective was to find a set of six equal-volume pieces that can be assembled to fill any one of six different rectangular block shapes. The pieces are made up from twenty-four 3x4x6 unit blocks. Using 30x40x60mm results in a nice size.To make the pieces, begin by making six "L" shaped pieces from three of the blocks (see photograph). Then attach a forth block to all six of the possible 6x4 block faces resulting in three of the blocks in one layer and the forth in the other. Sorry, I wasn't up to drawing them.
The first shape to make is 18x8x12 units. Then for the next five shapes, divide the blocks into two groups of three pieces and shift them to make shapes of 24x8x9, 24x12x6, 16x18x6, 16x12x9 and finally 12x12x12. This is a very elegant puzzle.
An excellent article on O'Beirne's Six Block, Six Step Puzzle has been contributed by Brian E. Butler.