Making some last minute gifts for xmas 3D Puzzles

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Blog entry by BenhamDesign posted 12-20-2017 08:09 PM 1423 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So Christmas is upon us and I need some stocking stuffers. So I thought I would build some 3d puzzles cubes.
If you are interested in building a few of these you can download a template.

Watch on YouTube or read about it below

As with most projects, I started milling up the lumber and cutting it to the overall size.

Since it is a pain to sand a bunch of little pieces I decided to the board before I cut it up.
To insure each piece came out to the same size I set a stop on my miter gauge and cut out all the parts.
I cut an extra piece that I will later use to do test cuts on to dial in the fit
Next I cut 2 strips of wood the same thickness as my puzzle pieces to be used as setup blocks
Now it was time to build a jig to hold the puzzles pieces safely and accurately. All the measurements for the jig are drawn out and available in the same file as the template for the pieces.
I used a piece of scrap plywood to build the jig. Cutting 2 pieces, one to attach to my miter gauge the other to act as a hold down when cutting the puzzle out.
To set the hold down piece at the right height I used puzzle pieces as spacers and then screwed the jig together.
With my dado stack in I did a couple of test cuts on some scrap to dial in the width and height before making the 1st cut on my jig.
Then I took one of the spacer blocks I cut earlier and used some CA glue to glue it into the notch I cut. This is the same method I use when setting up for making box joints,.
Once the glue was dry I used the 2nd spacer to position the jig on my miter gauge. I temporarily clamped it in place so I could make some test cuts and move it back and forth as necessary. Once I dial it in I will screw it to the miter gauge so it will be less likely to get knocked out of wack.

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I decided holding these little blocks this close to the dado stack was a little risky for my comfort so I added a couple of toggle clamp to the jig.
Now as you may have figured out by now this is a lot like cutting box joints. The main difference is that keeping track of the shape of the puzzle piece to cut the notches in the right spots.
Following my template on where to cut out the notches, I either position the block against the spacer strip, place a already cut notch over the spacer strip or but it against a spacer block that is notched over the spacer strip.
There is one piece that is shorter than the rest so I saved it to last and repositioned the toggle clamps and the top hold down piece to accommodate it.
Once all the piece where cut out I used my little bench top sander to clean up the notches.
I decided they would look a little cooler if I used my router table to put a small chamfer on them.
To hold them steady while chamfering the ends I repurposed my jig by enlarging the notch to allow for the bit to pass safely around the pieces.
The chamfer bit didn’t get into the corners , so I used a sanding block to clean them up.

-- What I do in and out of the shop at

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3940 days

#1 posted 12-21-2017 11:13 AM

Very nice done Brian. Puzzles are a great Christmas gift. It might be fun to make it into a competition at a family gathering during the holidays.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Fireems's profile


7 posts in 724 days

#2 posted 02-16-2018 03:00 AM

Nice job, I think I will try my hand at this project.

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