GEX–The Anti Jigsaw Puzzle

Gecko-shaped tessellating tiles are an addictive toy

By Dave Van Ess

GEX stands for “gecko hexagon tessellating tiles.” Tessellation is just a fancy word meaning shapes that repeat over and over again to cover a surface without any gaps or overlaps. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, except that instead of having many shapes and one solution, you have one shape and many solutions. (So it’s really an anti-jigsaw puzzle, now that I think of it.) You can make all kinds of shapes with the pieces. It is addictively fun.

Cutting the GEX

You have several options when applying the pattern:

• Glue the pattern to the MDF and cut each GEX. Either forego the markings or apply them freehand with a permanent marker.

• Make a laser copy of the pattern, place it facedown on the MDF, and iron it in place. The heat will transfer the lines to the MDF. Cut the GEX and use a permanent marker or a woodburning tool to apply the markings.

• Use a laser to etch the pattern and design into the MDF.

I decided to laser-etch these examples because it saves a lot of time. I belong to a local community-based workspace that has a laser. There might be a similar organization in a city near you. It may be called a maker space, hacker space, or tech center, but is really just a group of people with lots of cool tools and experience who are willing to share both with the public.

Regardless of the method you choose, after you transfer the pattern to the blanks, cut them with a scroll saw. I add color using permanent marker refill ink, but there are a variety of methods to add color to the pieces.

Complete coloring instructions and patterns to make your own GEX can be found in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Spring 2017 (Issue 66). CLICK HERE to purchase the issue. For more articles featured in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Spring 2017 (Issue 66), CLICK HERE.

GEX Vector Pattern

Tags: / / /