Sphere Factor

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Project by KelSnake posted 11-11-2014 05:10 AM 2016 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sphere Factor

I am always looking for the next puzzle challenge, and one day I came across this vintage tin box that had ornate embossing on five sides. Very cool in that these boxes came standard with a softwood lining, usually Cedar which is great since you can glue wood parts easily ontop the existing wood. You can epoxy parts directly to the metal, but I do prefer this way most.

What you are seeing is a three level marble maze styled puzzle box. This is very, very difficult to solve because the holes you see in the last picture are trap doors straight down to the first level. To open the locking system you need to work the steel ball to the top layer and rest the weight of the steel ball against the lock, which is just enough to release the lid. Certain parts of the solution require you to travel the steel ball while the tin box is upside down. The better you can make a mental image of the path the steel marble makes on each layer, the easier to solve, though without knowing how to unlock the mechanism, it takes many, many tries.

Once opened, you can see the two tiny secret compartments that are not really big enough to put much into but a few random thoughts.

If I were to make another one I see opportunities to make the layers out of different materials so that the ball sounds different as it hits the end stops on each layer.

This exact locking system isn’t offered on my website but there is a marble maze design there where you can see the basic design and how to build a weight sensitive release lock. With this design, if you apply too much “inertia added weight”, the steel ball will pass right on through and you are back at the start point again. A very easy design to build.

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~ Find me on Etsy ~

4 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23308 posts in 5013 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 07:44 AM

Interesting idea. Nice job.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4671 days

#2 posted 11-11-2014 08:49 AM

Great work and I can see a lot of people will enjoy finding a solution with this clever box. Personally I get my kicks from woodworking, which I find more than puzzling enough.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View KelSnake's profile


252 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 11-11-2014 02:33 PM

Its all about the joy it brings us, in whatever stream we find ourselves. Thanks guys!

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~ Find me on Etsy ~

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4203 days

#4 posted 09-17-2018 11:39 AM

This is a very creative box and a unique find!

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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