How to Make Your Own 3D Puzzle

Written by jeva anand Google
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Three-dimensional puzzles fascinate young and old alike. They come in a number of varieties: jigsaw puzzles, 3-D tangram puzzles and animal model puzzles, for example. Especially fascinating are 3-D puzzles that create animal models from interlocking pieces.

To create a three-dimensional animal puzzle, you should be able to use simple hand tools, such as coping saws, mitre saws and sandpaper. Three-D animal puzzles consist of a spine, torso pieces, pelvic piece, shoulder piece, limbs and head.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tracing paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Plywood, 1/4 inch thick
  • Coping saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Wood chisel, 1/4 inch wide
  • Sandpaper

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    Planning the 3-D Puzzle

  1. 1

    Sketch your animal roughly; you just need to have a general idea to work from.

  2. 2

    Draft front, side and top views of the animal. The views should be created in a 1:1 scale and include only contours, no rendering.

  3. 3

    Design the puzzle's spine from the side view--with a long, slotted strip. Centrally located, it runs the length of your puzzle, holding it together. Give the backbone a width of at least 1-inch. The slots are 1/2-inch deep and 1/4-inch wide. Place them 3/8 inches apart.

  4. 4

    Design the puzzle's torso pieces from the side, top and front views. The torso pieces are a series of concentric shapes. Each torso piece needs to include a slot 1/2-inch deep and 1/4-inch wide to connect it to the puzzle's spine. The exact number of pieces depends on the design and length of the animal.

  5. 5

    Design the pelvic and shoulder pieces. These pieces need three 1/2-inch by 1/4-inch slots--one to attach them to the spine and two to attach the limbs to them.

  6. 6

    Design the animal puzzle's head and limbs, consisting of one or several pieces, depending on how complex you want the puzzle to be. Remember to include the necessary 1/2-inch by 1/4-inch slots to connect the pieces to each other and the spine.

    Creating the Pieces

  1. 1

    Transfer each piece to the plywood, using carbon paper. Make sure that whenever possible, the 1/2-inch by 1/4-inch slots are aligned with the wood grain.

  2. 2

    Cut out the puzzle pieces with your coping saw. Sand the edges until smooth to the touch.

  3. 3

    Cut the 1/2-inch by 1/4-inch slots into your pieces. Use the mitre saw to cut the sides. Punch the out with the 1/4-inch wood chisel. Sand the slots until smooth.

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