Jigsaw puzzles are a popular pastime with young and old folks, and only require a flat surface like a table top. A jigsaw puzzle consists of oddly shaped flat pieces that when properly assembled form a composite picture. Pieces are typically made of cardboard, wood or plastic. Dozens of puzzle manufacturers around the world utilise high technology, including lasers, to cut the puzzle pieces. Get creative and use your own pictures or photos to make puzzles. Enlarge your artwork in a printed format and then glue it onto cardboard sheets. Go a step further and make and use your own jigsaw puzzle cutter to make puzzles.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Plywood sheet
- Wood cutting tool
- Metal sheeting, 2-inches wide
- Metal cutter
- Leather gloves
- Epoxy glue
Cut a piece of plywood sheeting that will serve as a base for the puzzle cutter. Make it 2 inches larger on all sides than the desired size of the finished puzzles. Smooth away rough edges on the sides using a sander to make handling more comfortable.
Draw a line 2 inches from the edge of the wood and continue it around the entire perimeter. This will indicate placement for the border of the puzzle pieces for the puzzles you make. Starting at the border, draw patterned pieces on the wood and continue until the whole area inside the border is complete. Pattern your pieces after ones you've seen or trace the designs from an existing puzzle, piece by piece. Make sure each piece has a knob on one side and a knobby indentation on the other so that adjacent pieces fit together snugly. The knob helps keep puzzle pieces in place as people put them together.
Use a cutting tool and cut into the wood along all straight and curved marked lines to create a groove. Make even cuts and gouge the wood to about 1/8-inch thick to provide a sturdy base for the metal mould.
File or grind one edge of the narrow metal sheeting to provide a sharp cutting surface. Use a power grinder or manually sharpen it with a sharpening stone. Wear thick but pliable leather gloves to protect your hands from the sharp metal. Cut the metal sheeting with a metal cutter into teeth that will be about 2 inches long and about 1/4-inch wide.
Insert metal teeth along the groove, sharp side facing up. Liberally apply epoxy glue to secure them into place. Continue putting in teeth until all grooves are filled. The puzzle pattern will become evident as you progress. Ensure that the tops of the teeth are all at the same height so that when it's pressed into a cardboard-backed picture, it will cut it into the desired puzzle pieces.
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