The first Tetrex puzzle was announced in late 2006. I plan to revisit this design sometime soon. In the meantime, here are some photos and notes from the original prototypes!
The Textrex puzzle is made up of a series of connected solid polyhedra. The parts are hinged in a way similar to the Rubik's Magic line of popular folding puzzles.
The first prototype was built using 4 sided dice. Grooves were routed into the dice using a tabletop router. Then, the dice were painted and connected together with nylon filament.
The initial prototype proved that the idea would work. I built more prototypes with different numbers of parts to help me decide what size of puzzle to make.
These prototypes showed that painting would not be an option due to rubbing between the pieces while hinging. I decided to use clear machined polycarbonate tiles for the second version of the puzzle.
For the second prototype, I machined tiles in polycarbonate. Each tile had to be sanded with high grit sandpaper, and then polished to a clear smooth finish.
The tiles were glued into pairs of 2 using acrylic cement. Colored patterns printed on card stock were cut, folded, and inserted into 2 pairs of tiles, making each tetrahedra. In this prototype, every face and corner are uniquely labeled, to help me determine interesting patterns.
Once all ten tetrahedra were assembled, they were ready for assembly!
Here are a few pictures of patterns made using the final puzzle:
Here is a short demo home video of this prototype in action.
For a few more photos and a bit of discussion, please see this TwistyPuzzles.com forum tread: