Puzzles like jigsaws are filled with fun and excitement and have loads of educational and developmental benefits for people of all ages. They have been around for centuries but their popularity persisted due to their timeless appeal. Young children are encouraged to play puzzles to brain and emotional development while adults play puzzles to pass time or relieve stress because playing with puzzles have a meditative effect that most people find relaxing and uplifting.
While playing with your jigsaw puzzles, have you ever wondered how they were made?
Jigsaw or Scrollsaw
Jigsaw puzzles, as the name suggests, are made traditionally using, well you guess it, a jigsaw. Jigsaw is a type of saw that has a thin blade and used to cut natural materials like fine wood into intricate little pieces that feature illustrations that are either printed or engraved. However, using a jigsaw to make puzzles is so extensive in terms of labour that it is not viable for mass production.
Traditional wooden puzzles are still being made using a jigsaw but considered novelty items. They are mostly produced in small quantities by artisan woodworkers. If you happen to own a jigsaw at home, you can make your own puzzle at home using any picture you want.
In the 1890s, a process called die cutting was developed. Die cutting is a process of cutting a material like cardboard or metal sheets using a die which is typically a sharp metal outline. The same die can also be used for different images as puzzle pieces don’t usually follow the lines. It can stamp out multiple different puzzles for mass production With die cutting, interlocking puzzle pieces were developed and introduced which became the industry standard for modern jigsaw puzzles.
Laser cutting involves a laser cutter and a computer program to create high quality precision cuts on cardboard. This process is commonly used in personalised and customised puzzles that are often made to order.
Since there are different methods of cutting puzzles, the majority of jigsaw puzzles fall into three categories: grid cut, ribbon or strip cut and random cut. Also, whimsy pieces of objects such as people or animals may also be included and manufacturers tend to specialize in different styles.
The pieces of a grid puzzle look pretty much the same whilst the random cut puzzles might appear more difficult at first but are easier to spot.
More than just the cutting process
To create a great jigsaw puzzle, the perfect image must be selected first and the perfect material after. It’s more than just the cutting process. Puzzles have images that range from bright illustrations to works of art. Some puzzles have images that are trickier to complete while others include repetitive images or large spaces of the same color that make completing the puzzle more challenging.
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