The Chess box - puzzle box - 30 steps

A simple looking puzzle box with a Chess pattern on the sides. This box takes 30 steps to open. It also has an extra secret bonus secret… :innocent: The box is 132 x 72 x 72 mm, but you can scale it to a different size.

I made a laser cut file and a building plan for this puzzle box. The laser cut file is a .svg. I’ve also made a .pdf file which will explain how to assemble to box step by step. I used a 3D model I made to clarify the steps with pictures.

If you’re interested in the building plan, you can get it on my website:

The laser cut file for cutting the wood for this puzzle box has a square around it. This will allow you to easily scale the laser cut file for any wood thickness. I used 4 mm wood for making my puzzle box, and it resulted in a box which was 13.2 x 13.2 x 7.2 cm.

The square around the laser cut files is 450 by 275 mm for 4 mm wood. If you want to use an other wood thickness, scale the laser cut file accordingly.

There are four laser cut files. Two for normal wood. These two will use the entire sheet of wood. The laser cut files will have up to four different layers. One for the square to scale the file, One for cutting, One for engraving and a last one for cutting the holes for the magnets. (these holes have a diameter of 4.7 mm. This way the magnets (of 5 mm) will be friction fit. If you scale the building plan, or if you want to use different size magnets you should change the size of these holes.)

The other two files are for the wood which will be on the outside of the box. I used walnut and Beech wood. Both will only use 1/3 of the sheet of wood.

Besides the laser cut wood you will need:

  • Glue.
  • Sanding paper.
  • 4 metal pins with a diameter of 4 mm and a length of 11 mm.
  • 1 metal pin with a diameter of 4 mm and a length of 70 mm.
  • 18 cirkel magnets with a diameter of 5 mm and a thickness of 4 mm. (The magnets I used had a thickness of 3 mm, which will work as well.)

I made the metal pins by cutting up a nail with the right diameter.

I’ve always liked the idea of buttons for puzzle boxes. I’ve made multiple boxes with buttons which stick out, but I’ve never been able to make a box the way I imagined the buttons. A few weeks before designing this puzzle box I’ve bought a laser cutter myself. Because I can now test designs more easy I started working on a puzzle I’ve been thinking about for several years. However, the puzzle turned out to be way to complex to start with. Because of that I started making this box.

This puzzle box is basically a simple version of the complex box I’ve been thinking about. However, don’t let this fool you! This box isn’t easy to open… I’ve added engravings on the sliders of this puzzle to give some clues about how to open this puzzle.

I’ve tested multiple things with this puzzle box. The most important part are the way the buttons of this box are hidden in de design. I also wanted to hide the lid in such a way it feels like there isn’t a lid. I’m really happy with how this box turned out, and I’m now working on the extra complex version I’ve been wanting to make for years.

opening solution:


Beautiful project and great writeup . :blush:


Thank you! Now that I have a Glowforge I can finally share my enthusiasm with others. :grinning:


Nice work, very appealing! How long does assembly take?


Less time than solving it, I’d wager…


I got to be honest, it took me quite some time. A lot of parts needed to bee sanded down a little for everything to work smooth. I think it took me around 10 to 20 hours. However, I’m a perfectionist, so you should be able to do it a lot faster if you don’t want everything to align perfect. :wink:


A friend of mine managed to open it in around 30/40 minutes!


You’re not supposed to say that! :joy:




Super cool.


That is amazing! Thank you for sharing! I have been watching Chris Ramsay on Youtube lately and this seems something he might be interested in.


Thank you :grinning: I have sent a box to mrpuzzle. I’m considering to send one to Chris Ramsay, but I haven’t decided yet because of the amount of time it takes to make a box.


Seems like those two always have the same puzzles, I figured one was passing them along to the other when they were done.


This is an outstanding project. Thanks.


This is awesome!!! Thank you so much for your post.

My husband has always loved puzzles like this.


What a great design! Thanks so much for sharing it.

I bet it was fun to think the whole thing through and then watch it emerge into the physical world. Using the :glowforge: to turn a fully worked through idea into physical reality is like magic.


Very generous of you to share this amazing design.


Well, for €12.00…

Which is fair, for sure.


Oh, I thought that was an SVG up there (hard to tell on my iPad). In any case, a fair price as you say.


You think they pass them on to each other? Hmm never thought about that. I noticed they have the same puzzles sometimes. I think you might be right :face_with_monocle:

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