Engraved dome puzzle

I wanted to see if I could make an engraved dome puzzle (instead of printed).

These two are small (8.5"), and were each made from a single sheet of Proofgrade light plywood (cherry, maple). The 1/8" plywood is just barely usable for this purpose; any thicker and it wouldn’t work.

Pieces were laid out individually, each with its own little section of the engraving, and given a kerf adjustment.

Weeding and cleaning requires a clever approach. After damaging the maple puzzle, I changed my method and did the following, which seemed to work fine. (I’m still a novice at engraving, so be skeptical.)

  1. Remove the proofgrade masking and substitute your own low-tack masking (both sides).
  2. Engrave the picture, cut a rectangle around it, then flip it upside down.
  3. Cut the pieces.
  4. With the cut puzzle still lying in the print bed (upside-down, masked both sides), use strong adhesive sheets to laminate heavy card stock to it. This lets you pick up the cut puzzle and weed/wash it as a single piece.
  5. Take it out, turn it right-side up, and use Gorilla tape to weed the engraved side (carefully!).
  6. Clean the engraved side using @evansd2’s alcohol bath technique.
  7. Turn it back over on top of paper towels, and then remove the masking from the back side (peel off the adhered cardstock), and clean up any remaining masking with gorilla tape. Pull away the frame and let the pieces dry.

Thanks so much for sharing your process for these unique puzzles. Your patience and skill pays off with such attractive results.


Magnificent! That’s a winning combination for sure.


I can’t imagine the nightmare of weeding an engraved puzzle.

p.s. I’m still in awe of the domed puzzles.


Some more cool ones.


That’s so clever a technique


Your dome puzzles really are on another level.