A Little Puzzle Box

comments (4) December 21st, 2012 in blogs

DaveRichards David Richards, contributor
thumbs up 8 users recommend

Last weekend I spent a little time in the shop and made some little boxes to use as Christmas gifts. They are based upon a puzzle bank I found in the book Puzzles in Wood by E. M. Wyatt, published in 1956. I wanted these to put gift cards in and, with the dimensions given in the book, the box was a little too small. I made a quick model in SketchUp and from there is was a simple matter of adjusting the size of it so a gift card would fit in diagonally. The box is made of six pieces identically sized so resizing it was done using only the Move and Push/Pull tools.

Armed with the dimensions from my revised model, I headed to the shop and banged out four of these boxes very rapidly. Actually I made five of them. Theese boxes as shown in the book are designed to be a little difficult to assemble and once assembled, nearly impoosible to disassemble without destroying them. I managed to put the first one together as designed. It probably won't ever come apart. I didn't want the recipients of these boxes to have to destroy them so I modified the lids a bit so they will come apart.

Here are the other four boxes with the one in the foreground entirely disassembled.

My father-in-law passed away last week and when my wife saw these boxes she asked if I could do a larger one to contain his remains. He was a math teacher and liked puzzles so she thought this might be something he'd appreciate. With a few minutes of tweaking in SketchUp I had resized the puzzle box to fit the container. We'll probably have his name and the dates of his birth and death laser engraved on the front panel.


While I was playing with this in SketchUp, it occurred to me that for those who are new to SketchUp, it could be a good exercise in learning to use the Move tool. I've put a copy of the SKP file on the 3D Warehouse which you can download. The file consists of a single component so you'll have to make copies and move them around to assemble the box. You can put a slot in the top of the box to make it a coin bank if you'd like.

Happy holidays.


posted in: blogs

Comments (4)

acmartina acmartina writes: Thanks Dave. I missed that subtle point! But I have worked it out. You are right in that it is a good exercise in the move tool. Took me a while to text them all to line up. Thanks :)
Posted: 1:40 pm on January 9th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: Steve, if you want the assembled box model, send me your e-mail address and I'll send you the SKP.

Posted: 11:26 am on January 6th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: Steve, I'm sorry you were disappointed by the fact that there's only one part. That was the idea, though. The entire box is made from six identical pieces and the point of making the SKP file available was to use it as an exercise in gaining proficiency with the Move tool.

If you are planning to make a real puzzle box like this, the single part contains all the information you need to make the entire box.

If you are really not interested in making the copies and moving them to make the rest of the box in SketchUp, I guess I could do that for you.

Posted: 11:17 am on January 6th

acmartina acmartina writes: Hi Dave,
Thanks for the great article. I have always been fascinated by puzzle boxes and keep thinking I should try to build one. I downloaded your SKP file but was disappointed to find it only included a single piece. Could you be enticed to post the complete model? Or are there copyright issues with the original publication? Thanks.
Posted: 9:08 am on January 6th

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