Another Puzzle Box Idea

Here is a link to a puzzle box that is really cool. I would have never thought of this. Will have to try to draw up a design that minimizes non laser work and glueing. As he says, the concept has been around a long time, so don’t know about copyright.

Pretty nifty concept. Oh, oh, did show my age by using the word “nifty”?


Quite certainly no copyright to worry about. Centrifugal puzzles are quite common, just barely failing to qualify as ubiquitous.


Just doing a mental breakdown of precisely what is needed to make this:

The basic outside box is trivial for laser work. A bit of dremel or other action to get the bevel/fillet/whatever for the curved edges on the top. Spray lacquer for the finish.

Inside you have the four pieces that hold the rods to make the puzzle work. Those are where (as you mention) some glue will be needed. You could do an interlocking configuration to minimize this need. Or even do a tabbed insert to the side walls. Makes it a bit more apparent something is happening inside… but you can work the extra cuts and wood into a design, or cover with some veneer to hide everything.

The other option to avoid glue needs on the inside bits is to make them extend all the way to the bottom. Then it is press-fit, just like the Glowforge candle holder. This also keeps you from getting small parts trapped in the box.

You need to drill holes in the wood for the rods. No way to laser that (unless you keep the rods less than 1/2" thick I suppose).

The bottom of the lid you can do with laser by making it three stacked layers. That gets you the groove for the pins to slide in to. But it also makes the lid weaker, and prone to breaking when some meathead decides more force IS the answer.

So, if you want to keep the lid as a single piece, then you will need a CNC, table saw, or some other manner of making the full length groove.

The pins are most likely able to be purchased. But if you have to make some yourself, probably the easiest way would be getting some nails and chopping them down to appropriate size. You just need a small flared end to keep the pins from falling out when the box is open.

You could modify the design in many ways. Like using longer rods on a swivel-hinge, such that every corner has the hinge for a different side. Same end result, but now it only opens if you rotate in the proper direction.


Kind of what I thought, wondered what the copyright tag on the video was referring to. The video? The name? In any case, I’m going to make some for any small gifts I give in the future.

@jacobturner, these are exactly the things I was thinking about, including using somewhat decoratively placed tabs for the material holding the pins. If glueing those parts is what I decide to do, then drilling could be avoided by horizontal layering pieces with the inner most piece having holes just big enough for the shaft of the pins and the others big enough to have the head of the pins slide.

I’ll probably layer and glue the inside of the box top, maybe cutting holes for dowels or square pieces of wood to keep them perfectly lined up when assembling. They could go all the way through the top to form a decorative pattern, or I could deep engrave part way through the bottom of the uppermost layer to seat the dowel or wood to keep things perfectly lined up.

Centrifugal puzzles are tons of fun and a great fit for laser projects. I’ve been planning to make a few of these plus some rolling ball puzzle boxes once I’ve got mah lasers.


another great idea, find a coupe of new things every day on these boards.