18th Dec 2020, 12:20 PM #1
A Puzzle Box - My first project post
I recently completed this puzzle box and it should prove to be a frustrating but rewarding Christmas gift for my brother.
The box is primarily constructed from Tasmanian Oak with a 7 mm ply base and dark Meranti splines on the mitres. I chose ply for the base for its stability given it is an integral part in respect to the opening mechanism of this box.
Box Side View.jpg Box Top View.jpg
On first inspection there is no visible way to open the box. No catch, hinges etc.
On closer inspection the raised panel lid is set down in a 10mm x 10mm rebate and has very slight movement, giving the puzzler a clue that the lid will most probably pop open.
Lid Rebate.jpg Lid Popped.jpg
The puzzlers first reaction is to turn the box upside down and give the box a sharp tap to see if the lid will budge. Of course it is not this simple.
If the puzzler attempts to manipulate the base, they will note slight movement back and forth.
The lid is retained using four pair of eight-millimetre Neodymium magnets and will not budge. Moving the box in any direction, the puzzler will feel and hear an object/objects rolling around in the box. The key to opening the box is positioning two large decorative marbles from one cavity within the box to another.
The puzzler can clearly hear and feel a marble drop between the cavities when the correct moves are made. If, however, whilst attempting to move the second marble to the correct position the box is turned in the wrong direction, it is highly likely that original marble will return to the cavity locking the mechanism due to the tapered nature of the dividing wall.
Once the correct moves are made and both marbles fall into the secondary cavity, the ply base can be moved forward around 13 mm that will align two magnets with opposing polarity and the lid will simply pop open.
Unlocked Internal.jpg Unlocked Base.jpg
This mechanism is very simple but when a new puzzler is attempting to open the box, it appears to be something straight from NASA.
To compliment the box I purchased two handmade marbles online from a retailer in Tasmania to give the box a final "wow" factor when opened.
I hope you enjoyed the read.
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19th Dec 2020, 04:08 AM #2GOLD MEMBER
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- Apr 2013
19th Dec 2020, 08:39 AM #3
Very ingenious and well made. Even without the marbles it would be a good way to secure the lid for a normal box. I like the marbles too as they're certainly not what you see everyday. I recently saw a woman in Bendigo making glass beads so I assume these would be made the same or similar way.
Do you have a link to where you got your marbles from?Dallas
19th Dec 2020, 10:32 AM #4
My bad, they're based in NSW not Tassie. These marbles are handcrafted in England and I believe the importer/wholesaler is based in Tasmania. I'm using 22mm diameter marbles here.
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19th Dec 2020, 10:37 AM #5
19th Dec 2020, 12:05 PM #6SENIOR MEMBER
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- Mar 2018
That's really clever.
Did you design it yourself or get plans from somewhere?
19th Dec 2020, 07:45 PM #7
19th Dec 2020, 07:47 PM #8
No, not my idea but my design. I saw this style puzzle on pinterest and designed it on the run based off my understanding as to how it may function.
No plans a I am yet to move to sketch up or something similar. If you are interested I can outline some of the key dimensions.
19th Dec 2020, 07:50 PM #9
20th Dec 2020, 03:03 AM #10
External: 250mm Long x 150mm Deep x 87mm High
Materials all thicknessed to 18mm, this is critical so that the 13mm rebate the base slides into is deep enough leaving some meat on the wall.
I lightened the look of the box by making the lid rebate 10 mm wide. This gives the perception that the wall thickness is only 8 mm
The lid is a solid 18mm panel cut vertically on a bevel on the table saw to create the raised panel.
If I were building the internals again, I would thickness the timber to 12mm on he sides leaving the cross piece at 18mm so the V can be cut in this divider.
The diameter of the hole in the divider is 30mm. The marbles are 22mm.
The magnets are 8 mm and set in 10mm to centre from both ends. The opposing polarity magnet is 13mm centre to centre with is neighbour.
With the notes above and photos, I'm hoping you have enough info to get cracking.
Last edited by Dazweeja; 20th Dec 2020 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Typo due to jumpy forum when typing
20th Dec 2020, 09:43 AM #11
Thanks for that info. I will draw it up and post here for anyone interested in having a go themselves.
20th Dec 2020, 09:23 PM #12Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2012
Very clever, well done and thanks for sharing the project and the deatails
20th Dec 2020, 10:34 PM #13
21st Dec 2020, 01:07 AM #14
21st Dec 2020, 09:03 AM #15
My only problem I found was trying to work out the size of the base. The rebates were 13mm deep on the sides for it to slide in to but were they equal on both sides?
I drew it so the base is 13mm into the rebate on one side when locked and 2mm into the other side. This would allow 11mm of movement to open it when the marbles are released. Are my assumptions correct or do I need to alter a couple of things?
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