[Kagen Sound] is a woodworker and artist who gives a great behind-the-scenes look at his amazingly high-quality puzzle boxes (video). Not only do his varied puzzle box designs show his math background, but they are all made entirely of wood. There are no nails or fasteners; just intricately-fitted wood and some glue.
There’s a lot of variety in his designs, and while it’s all fantastic from beginning to end, two things stood out to us as being of particular interest. One is the “Plus Box” which makes a clicking sound when the pieces are moved (at 2:47) thanks to a clever wooden spring. [Kagen] shows an example of the concept, where a flat wood piece with slots cut from the sides acts as a spring and clicks into notches when moved, providing audible and tactile feedback without anything other than wood.
The other is a patterned puzzle box (at 7:10) whose geometric designs change as the user moves the pieces. A reminder that [Kagen]’s devices are made entirely of wood and glue, so the design comes from two different types of wood assembled and cut at an angle to create the patterns seen. [Kagen] shaves thin layers of veneer from this block to attach to the puzzle pieces as needed to create the patterns without resorting to ink, paint, or decals.
[Kagen] has a math degree but is entirely self-taught as a woodworker, so don’t let lack of formal training stop you from experimenting. You can watch him give a tour of his work in the video, embedded below.
Feeling the urge to make your own puzzle boxes? Take a look at some we’ve seen over the years, and we even have a collection of single-line cryptex fonts to make laser-engraving puzzle bits a little easier.
Continue reading “Design Secrets Of Fantastic, Hand-made Puzzle Boxes”
If you head out into the real world and start twiddling knobs on random safes, you might find yourself being hauled away by uniformed police. A safer pastime might be playing with your own puzzlebox at home, which is precisely what [thediylife] has done with this build.
The design implements a basic safe-cracking game, in which players try to guess the combination to the safe in a series of rounds. Input is via a rotary encoder, hooked up to the Arduino Uno inside. This project really wins because the finish looks so amazing. The safe is constructed out of 3mm MDF, which is lasercut to shape — an easy one to whip up in the average makerspace. The interface is fleshed out with a small OLED screen and some LEDs, while a servo acts as the lock which holds the door shut. When you see the underside of the face plate with components hot glued into holes you’ll really pale at how clean the business side ended up.
It’s a simple build, and one that would make a great party game with a prize hidden inside. We’ve seen other puzzle-box builds before, too — like the GPS-based reverse geocache build. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Lasercut Puzzlebox Is Safe-Cracking Fun”
In The Room Three, players are tasked with collecting mysterious objects known as “Null Shards”. But it seems one player, who goes by the name [Juiceman], took this challenge a bit literally. Starting with promotional art released for the game, he embarked on an epic journey to create a replica “Null Shard” that ended up looking so good that one of them is currently residing in a place of honor at the headquarters of developer Fireproof Games.
The developers had previously released image files to create a papercraft version of the Null Shard on their website, so [Juiceman] based his initial CAD work on these designs. But it turned out the surface texture was a little too complex to laser etch into acrylic without making a soupy mess. He simplified it a bit, while trying to retain the overall effect. From the superb laser-etched acrylic master he made a silicone mold started casting the eight triangular panels needed for two copies of the Shard.
To hold it all together [Juiceman] create a “skeleton” pyramid by first experimenting with designs on a traditional plastic FDM printer. After a few tries he had a workable design and switched over to a laser sintering machine, giving the final frame a gorgeous texture. With the cast panels installed and a few coats of paint, he had his Null Shards.
The final step was to turn down a piece of ash to make a nice base, and 3D print the feet and “claw” mount for the Shard using the same laser sintering process. The finished product looks fantastic, and apparently lives on a shelf next to a similarly constructed replica of the “Lament Configuration” puzzle cube from the Hellraiser films. [Juiceman] says the two replicas are the first entries into his “Geometries of Hell” collection, which incidentally, we’ve decided will officially be the name of our first metal album. All we need to do now is learn how to play instruments.
We’ve previously looked at how 3D printing and a dash of dedication can create some incredible prop builds, and once upon a time, we even ran a Sci-Fi Contest that challenged our readers to bring their favorite movie and game objects into the real world. Builds like this are a perfect example of what happens when a dedicated hacker or maker gets inspired by a piece of entertainment that really resonates with them.
[Thanks to Lauren for the tip]
Puzzle boxes are great opportunities for hacking. You can start with a box which was originally used for something else. You get to design circuitry and controls which offer a complex puzzle for the players. And you can come up with a spectacular reward for those who solve it. [thomas.meston’s] Dr. Hallard’s Dream Transmission Box, which he created for an original party game, has all those elements.
The box was a broken 1948 National NC-33 Ham Radio purchased on eBay after a number of failed bids. Most of it was removed except for the speaker. The electronics is Arduino based, so most of the smarts are in the form of code. Potentiometers and a switch provide the mechanism for players to enter codes. And when the correct code is entered, a relay triggers an external smoke machine and turns on a laser which illuminates a party ball, rewarding the victors. And of course, there are also sound effects as well as a recorded message.
We weren’t kidding when we said puzzle boxes make great hacks. Here’s one which ignites fireworks, one made only from discrete components, and a valentine based one which makes your significant other work for their gift.
[Dr.Duino] recently completed the latest piece of what he calls “Interactive Furniture” – the GoonieBox. It took over 800 hours of design and assembly work and the result is fascinating. Part clock and part puzzle box, it’s loaded with symbols, moving parts, lights, riddles, sounds, switches, and locked compartments. It practically begs visitors to take a closer look.
The concept of Interactive Furniture led [Dr.Duino] to want to create a unique piece of decor that visitors could interact with. That alone wasn’t enough — he wanted something that wouldn’t require any explanation of how it worked; something that intrinsically invited attention, inspection, and exploration. This quest led to creating The GoonieBox, named for its twin inspirations of the 1985 film The Goonies as well as puzzles from the game “The Room“.
Embedded below are two short videos: the first demonstrates the functions of the box, and the second covers the build process. There’s laser-cut wood, plenty of 3D printed parts, and a whole lot of careful planning and testing.
Continue reading “It’s A Clock! It’s A Puzzle! It’s The GoonieBox!”