Puzzle Box

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Project by Lazyman posted 01-21-2015 07:19 PM 2830 views 5 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

This puzzle box was inspired by Erhan Cubukcuoglu’s designs that you can find plans for here:
I discovered this after seeing John Olsen's version on LJ

I drew up my own plans in SketchUp and I decided to use a hidden lock approach using rare earth magnets. The top of the handle is actually the key which hides a magnet inside and is held in place on the top as the magnet is attracted to a screw. The tumblers each have a magnet in one end. There are 2 different tumblers with the magnet’s pole determining whether it will be pushed or pulled into place. Part of the puzzle is determining which side of the key to use to move the magnets into the open position. There are tumblers at each end with one end requiring you to use the north pole of the magnet and the other the south pole. Using the wrong pole pushes/pulls the tumblers into the locked position. In my original design, I planned to have 5 tumblers at each end but experimentation showed that the magnets in each tumbler attracted each other, making it difficult to consistently unlock it so I only used 3 with stationary dividers glued in between them to reduce the interaction between the magnets. You can see how the tumblers are made in the 5th picture.

This is made from cedar (western red I think) fence pickets planed down to 1/4” thick. I intentionally kept the knots to add interesting grain. Because it was not kiln dried the lid started to warp after planning so I glued some aromatic cedar scraps with grain at a 90 degree angle to re-flatten it and make the top a little stronger as well. I finished the outside using 3 coats of Minwax wiping poly. The inside was left unfinished.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

1 comment so far

View Ivan's profile


15504 posts in 3479 days

#1 posted 01-22-2015 06:56 PM

Interesting box woodplaying.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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